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Needing help with country

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassGuyFL, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    I got a new road gig a few weeks ago and it's going ok so far however it's mainly a country band and I have little to no background playing country. I'm struggling with getting the feel down with the older 1-5 stuff. I'm mostly a rock/pop/top 40 type and as Austin Powers would say it's just not my bag.

    I do need to get it down though I don't want to lose this gig but I dunno of it's just a mental block or it just more laid back than I'm used to.

    Any suggestions I'm sort of at a loss I can get the parts down but it's too stiff and no bounce to it. I can tell the band is losing patience too.
  2. phmike


    Oct 25, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Listen, listen, listen to music in the style you are playing and then hit the woodshed.
    You got a job in a band playing music you don't know - I should be so lucky . . . .
  3. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    I guess the point I'm trying to make is the drummer plays a lot of syncopated accents and they want it to be funky. I can make Brick House funky just not sure how to make George Strait funky.
  4. There is all kinds of Country. New Country and Old Country. New Country is like Pop and Rock. Old Country is all major key and mostly I IV V dirt simple three chord songs. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8q0io_beginner-country-bass-guitar-introd_music The first 1:30 of the video will give you what you need to play Country bass.

    Ole classic Country bands will be using fake chord sheet music and following the chord progression playing a root-five with chromatic runs to the next chord. Much more than that will get you fish eyes from the guys.

    Lock in with the kick drum, follow the chord progression, and call attention to the chord changes with chromatic runs to the next chord. Chromatic run to the next chord; target the next chord's root note - miss it by three frets, then walk to it one fret per beat and be on the root for the chord change.

    Keep it simple, your fun comes with the chromatic runs.
    If in doubt less is more in Country.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Um.... WHAT???? Your problem is the drummer. Syncopation and George Strait have no place in the same song. If the stupid drummer would just play the stuff you would be fine. But he's obviously "too cool" to play "regular" country. Oy. Hurts my head.
  6. Syco_bass

    Syco_bass Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Tucson, Arizona

  7. country has three basic bass patterns a bounce I-V,cut time single on the 1 double note the 3(that an be a root twice or root and 5) and a 4 count shuffle walking bass line which can be any number of combinations of patterns depending on the singers voice and lead instrument notes. keep it simple first and listen. I play fills all night depending on drummer syncs but you have to work those out between you.remember this in country people dance to the drum beat and the bass count. you move the song from chord to chord with chromatic walks. don't fight against what feels right to you they hired you so they must believe you can do it.Not as easy as all those rock gods think is it? good luck and keep it smoothhhhhhhhhhhh!
  8. Good point about people dance to Country music -- each moving together with the music. To do that you need a steady beat.

  9. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Funky country?
    Do they want you to play accents where the drummer and previous bassist did OR is this their idea of "making it their own" ?
    I've run into both of the above esp. when it is a cover of a classic and I try VERY hard to do the "old masters" justice. I've even run into the situation where I played the song structure-wise EXACTLY like the original artist but the band had learned it on-the-fly somewhere, sometimes even in the wrong key(or changed to suit the vocalist) and my part did not fit what they were doing.

    A recorder such as the Zoom H4 at rehearsals and gigs is very helpful when in a new situation as you can check the timing, drum-bass function(or not!), and it will record the answers you get when you ask(yes, you should) how they want it played if what you are doing is not working.

    Do practice as much country as possible. I had never played any classic country but only "country" where the basslines caught my ear(i.e. Brooks and Dunn agressive-sounding bass in "Nothing About You" ) after I moved to Texas 24 years ago. The band I'm in now does a number of classic country tunes(George Jones, Merle Haggard, George Strait, etc) although we're short on the shuffle type(no fiddle or steel player). You and the drummer doing your jobs = folks dancing is correct. On many songs you will find less is more.
  10. exidor


    Jul 10, 2011
    I can't remember where I read it it may have been the bass player book,
    when it comes to playing country think of the simplest bass line then play half as much.
  11. I have a long history of playing country, mostly professionally on the road with artists you've probably heard of.

    Follow the kick.

    Remember it's dance music. Stay as solid and as locked with the kick as possible. Most Country dancing, especially two step, is based of the bass. It gets hard with a drummer that doesn't keep it steady so do your best. If you've got a drummer that plays with a kick, you way ahead of the game. If not, he needs to think about if he wants to do it on a national level. I can count on one hand the pro drummers that DON'T use a click. There's so much automation in shows now that it's a must for light, video and aux. track synching.

    Don't OVER play. Space is good. This works in every form of modern music, but getting some people to realize it (guitarists) is another thing. It makes the band sound MORE solid and when someone let's loose it makes them sound BETTER than they are.

    When playing a shuffle, I let my jazz influence come out.

    If you have a keyboard player. Be ballsy and do what I have to do from time to time. Walk over to him, stand on his left and look at the keyboard. Bracket the bottom couple of octaves or so with your hands and say "got it covered". "Don't try to double me. We'll end up walking on each other and it will sound like crap."

    Most modern country is just 80's area rock. (Tell me Jason Aldean's "She's Country" isn't an 80's riff metal song.) People like Keith Urban is very pop rock. And then there's the blues rock guys like Trent Tomlinson.

    This is why I LOVE playing country, it's got it all.

    As far as the 1-5 thing. Play on the kick but know when NOT to move. If you're about to change chords playing a 1 -1 will work better, especially if you going to the 5 chord.
  12. oh my sadowsky, can you count the number of bass players you have heard that never knew when to double the root note instead of bouncing 1-5.drives me almost as crazy as a keyboardest playing the bass line on a shuffle:eyebrow:starts up chainsaw looks at keyboards right hand:eek: next we ought to tell him how to play a minor chord walking line.
  13. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    hmm....funky!? most of that older stuff is pretty straight and simple ....check out Keith Urban's Band The Ranch ...one album - 1998 or so....they call it Funktry ....

    is it possible your guys have this in mind and are trying to put a new spin on the old school stuff?

    other than that, Got2sadowskyNYC has some wonderful advise! i've played the Jason Aldean hits! Arena Rock! You got that right .....Keith Urban has become the new rick springfield or something!
  14. I advise guys trying to get the root 5 thing down to visualise a swinging pendulum, with each end of the arc being a half note. Also playing 1 1 on the bar preceding a change is essential, otherwise it sounds as if you dont know where the changes are. Immerse yourself in Merle Haggard, George Straight, and check out early Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band on Youtube. Bassist Emory Gordy Jnr, despite mainly playing with his back to the audience, was one of the absolute masters of country bass, both in root 5 (eg Making Believe) and in rock style (eg C'est La Vie).
  15. Thanks guys. Playing 1-1 solved a problem for me.

    Using root-5 and taking off on the chromatic run from the 5 never did seem right. Instead of root-5 and then the walk, root-root then the walk is much better.

  16. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    Some great advice guys I really appreciate it.
  17. ZBirdV8


    Feb 26, 2012
    Detroit Michigan
    Listen to a lot of Waylon Jennings. He has old school county basslines pretty high in the mix.
  18. Kubicki440


    Feb 6, 2011
    Well as long as they don't get as funky as David Hasselholff's loose meat sandwich you should be fine. :bassist:

    I agree lock in with the kick drum.
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    I just got a gig in a country band. I've got a very eclectic background so it has been easy to pick up the changes, but the feel is much harder. It's the difference between playing country music on bass and being a country music bass player. One is easy, the other takes a lot of hard work.
  20. Yep, Country is dirt simple, but, hard to pull off. It's that feel thing. You gotta feel it.

    Have fun, it'll come.
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