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need help writting bass lines I can sing with, that aren't boring?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tamz, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Here's the thing I love to play bass but, I also love to sing as well, I'm finding it hard to write a bass line that is not only interesting but am able to sing with while I'm playing. :help:
  2. meta


    Mar 11, 2009
    yes.... I used to play guitar and sing, and doing it on the bass is quite different than playing guitar and singing. with guitar you don't need to hold a groove down (well, not on most songs anyways) and can get into a rhythmic pattern that is easy to sing with.

    the bass is different. you have to groove with the song all the time or it sounds like ****. It's like every song is as difficult to sing and play along with as say... the tragically hip's song so hard done by (which is a real bitch to play guitar and sing along with).

    sorry to have gotten off track... what I have found is that you can take Sting and his music (the early stuff anyways) as the working model. the bass lines are not boring, they are quite groovy in parts, and easy to sing with. but overall not terribly complicated. it is more with less in a way. If you want to play really complicated bass lines and sing - good luck! hope you can pull it off, but almost nobody can really do it well. but a simple bass line that you can groove to the drummer and still sing is perfectly doable.

    less is more. be groovy with fewer notes. you'll sound just as good playing the bass (even better probably) than playing too many notes. which reminds me of Amadeus (the quote "too many notes") anyways I'm rambling, but I'd say if you can't write an interesting bass line with fewer notes, you should learn.

    or take trip on the wilder side: play chords on your bass when you sing. rock chords (first and 5ths) sound wicked on the d and g strings (and ok on the a and d strings). 7th chords minor and major sound great on the a d and g strings. You can bounce between the e string and a chord for variety, or play a small fill and finish it off with a few strums of a chord. then you don't need to worry so much about playing lines, and still cover the sonic bottom of the song.
  3. LCW

    LCW Banned

    Mar 2, 2009
    i have three idols one of them is sting , he is great at what your working towards look up the police and practice some songs good groove and vocals but there pretty easy bass lines
  4. I'd say focus on mastering the pentatonic (if you aren't sufficient in it already) and build off that. You can make a plethora of funky lines with very little hand movement up and down the neck and it should make singing easier. Practice it without looking and familiarize yourself with the note on each fret until it's second nature.
  5. Well obviously the scale can go anywhere on the neck, but to build off root notes and spice things up, you don't have to travel up and down the neck.
  6. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    A couple of people have mentioned The Police, which I find interesting because I've been surprised by how difficult it is to both play bass and sing many of their songs. They leave a lot of space for each instrument and often use different rhythmic patterns to help create that space. I often find those differences can make singing and playing extremely challenging.

    I've always been a Police fan, but once I started playing bass my appreciation for Sting specifically went way, WAY up.
  7. paul_wolfe


    Mar 8, 2009
    One thing I've seen in interviews (people like Geddy Lee, Jack Bruce, Mike Mills etc) is that they work on the bass line - play it over and over until they've committed it to subconscious memory and then start working on the vocals.

    A good test of whether you've done that (if you go down that road) is to play a line you know really well and then start talking to yourself, or talk to a friend. If you can hold the bassline down whilst having a conversation you'll be able to sing as well.

    The trick is to have the bassline not only down pat, but so that you can play it wihtout having to think about it (when you do this the problem occurs when you have to THINK about it. I used to a lot of BVs with my band and we were playing La Bamba and a punter asked me a question, totally threw me out of my 'subconscious playing trance' and then I spent the rest of the song trying to work out how to play the line! I knew mentally what the notes in the line where, and also the rhythm, but could I connect the two? Not a chance!)
  8. meta


    Mar 11, 2009
    For sure they have a lot of complicated songs, but a good deal of them are fairly simple and those are the ones I think most people are thinking about... message in a bottle is only a few notes in the verse, walking on the moon is dead simple, that sort of thing. Some of the police stuff seems downright almost impossible to play and sing though, I 100% agree.

    and +1 for getting the line down before you try to sing ;)

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