My random rant on Solo bass.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Whafrodamus, Aug 26, 2004.

  1. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    In my opinion, most cases of solo bassery are horrible.. especially when covering someone elses songs.. and with one track. Who wants to hear someone play a bunch of fast riffs all alone. With us here, the bass players, there's no real better player (A lot of people here fail to grasp this). We all have something to put on the table. Anyone playing fast little slappy tappy things doesn't make them good, especially if they have no foundation for the song/groove. You can do it, I can do it.. whoop. Music isn't a competition. Anyone can play PoT Suckily, or even well... but who would listen to it? Infact, most solo bassists usually have some sort of backup band or instrumentals. Jaco had Weather Report, Looping, or his big band. Victor wooten has his digital drum beats, loops, Bela Fleck and Pals.. When he was playing amazing grace, Vic provided both ends of things (high and low).. Steve Lawson has himself.. other tracks on the recordings.. himself.. You get the picture. With 99% of all situations, playing something alone, especially to impress a few people, isn't worth it. Having a bass player alone really soloing with nothing else is no fun for the listener or the player :-\.. Bass is just part of the musical jigsaw and we need to see the whole picture.

    Music is like thanksgiving dinner. Everyone brings something to the table, and everyone appreciates the food.. except for the annoying drunken uncle who brought 2 day old gas station hotdogs, and hates half the people's dishes. Don't be the annoying uncle. Play music with friends, and don't play with yourself too much or you'll go blind.. I'm talking about bass playing..... *thumbs up*

    Exceptions: Jaco's Amerika.. It's part of the 1%.. we all know and love it... don't we?

    Unemploid likes this.
  2. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Well I would say you are maybe speaking more generally of people who are good players vs. those who are bad. I don't want to listen to bad players period, solo or with a group. Sure not many people can make solo bass interesting but that goes for almost any instrument that a person can pick up. What about a player playing with just drums? Does that fit into your solo category? Go listen to Matt Garrison's "duet" or "Three Tree" to hear a bass player who can really play his butt off by himself (with percussion) and keep it interesting, or in my opinion incredible. Frankly I think it just comes down to a person's skill level...

    You come across as kinda angry in your everything ok? :confused:
  3. i dunno, wooten's version of norweigian wood is pretty good.

    just for reference, what is your idea of a bad solo? i am not saying i am all for bass solos 100% of the time, but i just want to know what kind of bass solo you had in mind.
  4. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    As is his version of One Night in Tunisia.

    brad cook
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this thread should be moved to Steve Lawson and Michael Manring's forum !!! :meh:
  6. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    That's great. I hope you feel better after getting it all out.

    I happen to simply enjoy music that I enjoy, regardless of how many people it took to perform it. So, you won't mind if I think your opinion, well....uninformed, incorrect, unsolicited and ignored.
  7. I dunno about this. There's a time for music, and then there's a time for musical wankery and showing off, but as long as you don't show off all the time, then it'll keep the audience happy between musicalness and seeing someone jumping about playing a mental slap bass solo. I mean look at shredders, it isn't always very msuical, but it can be fun to watch, and it just depends what you want to get out of the music, or what kind of mood you are in.
  8. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Opinions are opinions. No hard feelings :D

    Atleast we all like cheesecake.. Or do we? :meh:
  9. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Oh, I'm not angry. I'm just ranting because I was uber tired and needed to rant about something. As you said with Matt Garrison's Duet, he had drums :-\.. Though someone can play their butt off amazingly well, it still feels kind of empty without atleast drums or something IMO. Unless the emptiness of the song is used to boost the "emotional" level of a song (AKA Amerika, a tear comes to the eye :bawl: ). But I agree with you, it is 110% more unpleasent to hear a bad solo bassist over a good solo bassist.
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    You were the recipient of my first post of the day (ie before caffeine). You are more than entitled to your opinion. But, to simply discount solo bass at this stage of your playing and development seems counterproductive and shuts off a vast, growing field of music when it's just starting to get really interesting with people like Mike Dimin, Michael Manring, Steve Lawson, Stew, Max, etc, etc pushing the boundaries.
  11. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    I agree... unbacked solo bass doesn't appeal to me personally... I prefer the sound of interaction and I find bass far more suitable as an ensemble instrument than a solo instrument... there are many many instruments I find more erm.. timbrally appealing in the register you find above the 12th fret than the bass guitar... the notes might be great but the tone usually turns me off

    but, if people enjoy hearing solo bass performances, good luck to them.. i'm all in favour of people getting the entertainment they want :)
    One Drop likes this.
  12. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Personally, I don't find any faults or deficiencies with solo bass. It's in the same boat as solo guitar or solo piano to me.

    That said, in my own writing, I don't really gravitate towards solo bass. But I never compose like that for any instrument though; when I write a guitar part, I'm always thinking in the back of my mind how a piano part would fit in, or how the bass guitar will fit in. I'm just hardwired for an ensemble method in my writing. I do love listening to solo pieces though.
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i don't. i think both of them are incredibly musical and enjoyable when they play. i am very entertained by them, regardless of the format.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I might agree if you had said "many" rather than "most". Not too many people even ATTEMPT it because it's such an unforgiving situation. Sure, a lot of bassists may do one solo piece on a CD that otherwise features a band, but not many attempt entire albums of solo performances or live solo performances either.

    That said, I think you just haven't heard enough great bass solo performances. Dave Holland has recorded two CDs of solo bass (plus one of solo cello) that I find absolutely beautiful. A few bassists have attempted Bach's cello suites (most recently Edgar Meyer). I've seen Edgar perform solo a few times, he is incredibly musical and his solo compositions would be great pieces of music even if played on a different instrument.
  15. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    +1 just another "I don't like this and here is my justification on this subjective matter" thread.
  16. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Indeed it is :).
  17. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    (Feel free to close this at any time :p)
  18. Wildside


    Jan 12, 2004
    theater of pain
    I like solo bass shredding, I really enjoy seeing billy sheehan or stu hamm or john aldrete just rip away. I also enjoy drum soloing by dudes that are really sick like virgil donati or mike mangini or thomas lang. Obviously it's not fun to watch some hack wank away poorly at any instrument...but when a virtuoso is at work i usually find it very enjoyable.
  19. um, would this be Stu Hamm, by any chance?

    from the lows,