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Opinions on doubling/lockstep

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Peace Cee, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    We bass palyers have many firm stances (i.e. "less is more", "heck yeah solo...progression man!" or "Solo? Get a guitar", etc.)
    Well, I'm in a good band, and the guitar palyer writes many of the songs. He is metal influenced, plays classical guitar, and the band went 2 years sans a bass player. Also, he is one of those guys who sorta sulks after some gigs because that hammer on in the third bar of the solo was muffled or the pentatonic riff on the third chorus didn't go so well. This even when the ladies are dancing all night, swinging their hair around and stuff.
    Well, he wants to raise the bar. So he writes these parts where we double some riffs. It feels like a waste of instrument even though it is impressive. Also, he takes the "I'm only interested in impressing musicians" appoach. Our songs have 5 or 6 parts with many time changes.
    What is your bass player opinion on doubling? Of course everything in its time or if its appropriate, but what is your broad view of this. For clarity, let's say how would you feel about a lot of lockstep? I have posted something similar if it sounds familiar.
  2. klaus486


    Jun 27, 2009
    portland or
    sales geek Portland Music co.
    It's common in metal and can make a super impact when done at the right time for the right reason. If it advances the song then no problem if not be prepared to offer an alternative line.
  3. Midfour


    Aug 26, 2010
    Doubling rarely doesn't work, so as long as you don't have a better line written it's probably best to just go with it.
  4. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Personally, my preference in creating music is to take an improvisational approach and to creat texture and counterpoint. I don't mean playing all over the place, but rather, choosing lines within the construct of the piece of music on the fly. Listening to what's going on and generally countering it rather than doubling it. If the guitar line is moving up, I move down, etc.

    But, in an odd way, too much variety can be as monotonous as not enough variety, so everything has it's place. This question begets the comparison between riff-based music and more chordally based music. The concept of doubling is more applicable to riff-based tunes rather than chordal tunes (think Hey Bulldog vs. Hey Jude, if you will).

    So, doubling has its place, but I don't agree that "doubling rarely doesn't work." Too much doubling, especially on lines that maybe aren't too terribly interesting, is just going to make the monotony more powerful.

    What about mixing doubling with counterpoint? Within a single line, judicious use of doubled notes coupled with similarly judicious use of counter-movement. Now you're creating and intertwining rather than just mimicing. My $0.02.
  5. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I have a bad feeling that if he takes the "I'm only interested in impressing musicians" appoach you might see less of those dancing ladies 'swinging their hair' unless the music is super catchy.
  6. +1 I can't agree more, if doubling in parts sound good then go for it, i think you could use that to create quite a bit of energy on stage, the problems come in when the band stops playing for the audience and starts playing to the one muso at the back who can actually understand what they doing.
    Good luck with the band and new ideas.
  7. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    That impressing the musicians approach is great and all, but it's also why bands like Dream Theater are lauded for their technical skill but get no radio play or mainstream attention. Which works for them, and a lot of other bands of course, but it's not exactly going to land you a lot of (paying) gigs and severely limits the kinds of venues you can play.

    That said, there's nothing wrong with not ALWAYS playing a counter melody. As mentioned before, doubling up, especially in a break down or a huge build, can give the song huge impact and generate a "Space" in the sound that can help push a progression or melody since the listener has less assaulting his or her senses. It also adds a "depth" to the chords or notes you're playing together since you increases the range of what the melody is capable of.

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