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need some blues advise

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ryan morris, Sep 20, 2000.

  1. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Hey, I have been playin bass for 4 years. It went from being one of my fun side things, to starting to rule my life. I have 2 basses now, none of which I am too happy with. At first they got the job done, but as my skill increases I am finding I need more notes and a little more structure. I have decided on blues as my main inspiration. I have been listening to a whole lot of the Doors and Jimi Hendrix. My style is changing and my bass needs to change too. I need a nice 5 string with some nice clear tight notes. I also need to learn more blues. If you can please suggest some basses for me to try out and test I'd be very appreciative. laterskaters
  2. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    If I were setting out to buy a bass "strictly" for playing the Blues I would buy a 4 string Fender Precision and put flatwound strings on it. Buy a lot of Blues CD's and listen, listen, listen. Get some BB King, Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf music. Get comfortable playing 12 bar blues all over the neck. Mel Bay publishes a good blues bass book and companion CD that's worth a look as well. Have fun and good luck in your quest.

  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    MJB, he asks for a clear, tight 5 string, and you try to sell him a Fender with flats, bad boy! :D

    Check out a Ernie Ball/Musicman Stingray 5, you can't go wrong with that.
    Just visit the music shops in your area and have a look, try as many basses as you can - only you know what you like...

    It's in the fingers, not the Fender...:D

    [Edited by JMX on 09-20-2000 at 06:45 PM]
  4. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    You want a clear, tight 5 string? One word...


    If your budget won't support that option, you might want to try out a Reverend Rumblefish 5.
  5. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Well I did say, "If I were setting out..." :D
  6. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Au Contraire, if you want a nice tight 5-string, make sure you look into a passive setup. The Modulus is a bit too brittle for blues, IMO. I would also follow the advice to use flatwounds, or at least ground or half rounds. A good blues sound should be clear, but warm, and active pickups tend to be a bit on the sharp side of tone.
    As far as material, I'd suggest not only some of the masters (like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters), but also a blend of different eras. So, you can listen to both old and new Johnny Winter, old John Mayall, old Fleetwood Mac, Arcangels, Stevie Ray, Buddy Guy, Ten Years After, Rory Gallagher, Delbert McClinton.....
  7. A great choice for a blues 5 string would be a Fender Roscoe Beck 5. Has a nice warm thick passive tone, plenty of tonal options, and a real full and tight B string. Nose around for a used one, they're not super expensive and are really good basses, particularly for your needs. Heck it was designed by one of (IMO) the best blues bassists around.
    Speaking of bands to listen to, and Roscoe Beck, get some Robben Ford and the Blue Line, you WON'T be sorry.
  8. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    thanks all. I finally have one whole free day tomorrow and I think I will try and hit some music shops around here and try out some of your wonderful suggestions. I just talked to my grandmother, great lady, and she is a huge blues fan. She has all kinds of wonderful cd's. I don't know why I never asked her before. Thanks again
  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    While you're out, check out a couple of Stevie Ray Vaughn's albums. Tommy Shannon plays a great blues line in just about anything that Stevie did! I'm not a huge fan, but appreciate it for what it was!

    Also, give Donald "Duck" Dunn a listen. I'm not too familiar with his stuff, but he's been around forever! I do know the stuff he did with the Blues Brothers, for example. The live version of Sweet Home Chicago has a fantastic bass line!

    As for basses, I'd suggest something a little more traditional. Sadowsky, Lakland, Mike Lull are all great alternatives to Fender. Lakland even makes a model that Duck Dunn has been using on his recent tours with Neil Young and CSN&Y.
  10. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    ryan, you have one VERY cool grandmother! By the way, Tommy Shannon is who you'll hear on very early Johnny Winter.
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    As a big blues fan myself, I endorse the suggestions of those above including Tommy Shannon, Roscoe Beck and Duck Dunn's work on Blues Brothers' albums and the work of Willie Dixon who played blues with a double bass. Nathan East, who often plays bass for Eric Clapton's blues work is a worthwhile bassist to listen to also. I also suggest you listen to the music of the wonderful blues harpist Junior Wells (now deceased.) He has such a tremendous feel for the blues. I think you can learn almost as much from listening to the great blues harpists and pianists as you can from the bassists because you can sense the "feel."

    Jason Oldsted

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