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Odd Techniques n Effects

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by heath_the_great, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Just Curious to what (odd) Techniques you guys prefer/like to use....from the begining i was really into the whole finger/tap and slap thing...to tell the truth it was Primus's tommy the cat film clip/song that pushed me over the edge to buy my first bass...but i was raised on stuff like led zep, chic, chili peppers, SRV, Crowded House and pink floyd....so my bass instincts were really set in at a young age...but lately ive been really interested in flaminco style and left hand slapping...also using a few effects such as combining fuzz and delay (thank you jimmy page!)

    so what i really wannas know is am i being greedy trying to do it all/most of it....or is just natural to try and be a smart ass...

    cheers heath
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    it's certainly natural to want to be a smart-ass. Whether it's helpful is another thing. Not all that is natural is good... ;)

    It does make sense to want to get as many textures, sounds and musical ideas out of your instrument as possible. It's your voice, and you want your musical vocabulary to be as wide as possible. This includes all the melody harmoy rhythm specifics but also let quatifiable things like phrasing, articulation, tone, 'feel', and context.

    fave weird techniques? I have a few, a lot of them are percussive - using the heel of my right hand to give basslines a back beat is about the most obvious one. I also drag my nails across the strings with of of them muted to get a kind of scrunchy sound. I fret the strings off the end of the neck with my left hand fingernails, and pick the strings with my right hand fingernails to get a kind of woodblock/koto sound. I use a volume pedal to swell notes in... there are loads.

    The big issue with all of them is a control one - getting them so that you can 'play' them, rather than fumble through some half-assed noises. getting to know any technique is a fairly lengthy process that follows a particular sequence -


    imitate - copying the idea from wherever
    assimilate - getting a handle on how it works, and the variations in it, getting in control of the basic idea
    integrate - making it work alongside whatever else you do, and being able to switch back and forth comfortably, so it doesn't stand out as a one trick thing
    innovate - doing your own thing with it, taking it somewhere new.

    follow that lot, and you won't go far wrong.

  3. Thanks steve.....

    just curious....who would you say has inspired/affected you the most....limit of 5 artist/ppl :p

    for me:
    1. Charles Mingus
    2. Stevie Wonder
    3. Jimmy Page
    4. Stu Hamm
    5. Stevie Ray Vaughn

    there are many more..but i beleive that these ppl have affected me the most...

    And Again...but this time..the top 10 songs that have...yada yada yada....

    1. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow What A Wonderful World
    2. Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing
    3. SRV - Couldn't Stand The Weather
    4. Parliament - Dr. Funkenstien :D
    5. Fly Me To The Moon - Many, Many Artists...but the best i like is a live version by Diana Krall, also a live version of sinatra
    6. Chic - Le Freak
    7. Led Zeppelin - Since Ive Been Loving You....Greatest rock song Based on feel
    8. Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground
    9. Charles Mingus - Fables Of Faubus
    10. Eric Johnson - Manhattan

    well...yada yada yada.....

    cheers heath
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    oh boy, that's a really tricky one!

    OK, top 5 in no particular order and subject to adjustment after 5 minutes...

    Bruce Cockburn
    Bill Frisell
    Michael Manring
    Joni Mitchell
    John Coltrane

    top 10 tracks????? depends what they are the top 10 of - top 10 inspiration for playing solo? top 10 greatest songs? top 10 make me cry songs?

    anyway, here's 10 important tracks from my life thus far, for differing reasons...

    Child Of The Wind - Bruce Cockburn
    The Enourmous Room - Michael Manring
    Inconsolable - Jonatha Brooke
    Edge Of The World - Iona
    Knocks Me Off My Feet - Stevie Wonder
    When Love Breaks Down - Prefab Sprout
    Lovesong - The Cure
    Sometimes It Snows In April - Prince
    Refuge Of the Roads - Joni Mitchell
    Bright Sized Life - Pat Metheny

    but there are hundreds, possibly thousands of individual tracks and whole albums that have shaped the way I view music, from Napalm Death to Harry Partch, Madonna to Kings X, Sanju Sahai to Jim Hall, Sheila Chandra to D'Angelo...


  5. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    I'd definitely encourage you to try whatever techniques and effects that appeal to you, Heath. There's a time and a place for everything of course, but I think'd be a terrible shame to go through life without ever exploring the ideas that pique your interest. As for myself, I try not to think too much in terms of differentiated techniques these days, but rather I try to conceptualize the method of playing the bass as a kind of gestalt that has the ability to reflect the full range of human experience.

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