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opinions on melodic? playing

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Samie, Dec 15, 2000.

  1. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
  2. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    My opinion is that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste best on whole-wheat bread.

  3. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    OK, I get the point. ON his sight there are some real audio samples of his solo album. Do you guys think that this guy is any good, or is he just playing with fancy FX?

    Fruther more, I am asking What is the role of the Solo basS, is it to be a melodic intrument like some sort of tuba or should it have some grovee also.
  4. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I think he´s really cool, the FX thing does just make it cooler (or something..)
  5. well... I own his album and I must say I love it! (I´m listening to it right now!)

    He IS really good (based on what I´ve heard....) and being able to play with those FX the way he does... WOAH! :D

    yo, Steve! I think I should get commision for putting out such a good word for you! :rolleyes: :D

    (damnit! I wasn´t going to post more posts than 420... ah, well...)
  6. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    I didn´t like it! I like to be open minded about new stuff but I must say that I thought it was limited melodic and in rythm. I don't think that the bass was exploited to its full potential at all. There was one nice song, but it would probably sound nicer on a spanish guitar than on a bass. Of course I am no one to say all this things, it is just my opinion. Nice melodies ..maybe great bass playing nah..!

  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    OK Samie - where can we hear your stuff and how you exploit the "full potential" of the bass guitar? Let's hear your playing and then I might take what you say more seriously.

    It's very easy to be negative, but how would you do it better?

    I choose to be a bass player because I like the sound of the bass both as a supporting and melodic instrument - maybe you should re-think what you play if you don't really like bass?
  8. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I have just listened to some samples of Steve's playing and I am very impressed. Their are so many different styles and ways to play a bass, none of which are wrong.

    Maybe Samie you prefer to listen to something your brain can understand and is alittle easier for you to play like Def Lepard or AC\DC.
  9. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Fair enough Samie, it's part and parcel of being a musician - particularly one dealing in a musical currency that has no current pop credentials - that not everyone is going to like what you do, or even 'get' it... I'm interested in what it means to 'exploit the full potential' of the bass - surely bass is just an instrument same as any other, and as such is a vehicle for music that holds myriad potentialities which can be exploited or discarded depending on the music that the performer hears. I play what's going on in my head, and feel very fortunate to have found an audience who appreciate that, and have no ill feeling towards those who don't like it. Whether or not my music is 'limited' melodically or rhythmically is kinda hard to comment on as it's not really measurable, though it is interesting that in almost every review and interview that I've had, the main recurring theme has been that of melodic invention... There's room for a difference of opinion, but often it's a matter of different strokes for different folks. There are musicians hailed as geniuses that do nothing for me, and others that are unknown that I would 'walk on my lips through busted glass' to listen to. That's the joy of art vs science.

    There's no information about you in your profile, so I have no idea what kind of musical background you have, and whether or not it's just a stylistic variation...

    Your initial question about the role of solo bass perhaps indicates that you think there is such a thing - playing bass solo is just about music, same as playing cello in an orchestra, jamming in a band, singing in the bath or any other musical persuit. To think in terms of 'roles' is, I think, to limit the scope of one's musical endeavours. My musical 'voice' is currently best expressed though the sound of my bass, and I exploit looping technology to more fully realise the sound in my head, and as I said, thankfully a fairly large audience seem to connect with that. For an alternate view-point on what I do, have a read of either the interview that's on the talkbass home page with me, written by John C Smith, or have a read of this review of a recent gig of mine by a fabulous London based music writer, Dann Chinn -

    From reading the review, it seems to me that Dann 'gets' what I do...

    I wish you all the best in your own musical adventure, and hope that stressing about the 'role' of a particular instrument doesn't hold you back in exploring the potential of your own musical dreams.

    Thanks to Phreaky, Odie and The_Bass for voicing their appreciation of what I do - Kjartan, when I can afford to start putting people on commission for saying nice things about me, you're top of the list. For now though, I'll have to rely on your goodwill :oops:)


  10. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    Hey, mine was a positive input.. really. I think Jaco(and many others) exploited the full potential of the instrument because he could be melodic and he could groove. I also play spanish guitar. I would hate to se a spanish guitar concert were there were playing only base lines.. sorry.

    But this is positive. I its just my opinion, something to thing about. I don't have to be patitucci to have an opinion. I think the bass can be a great melodic instrument but it doesn't need to leave behind its heritage to do that.

    Nice stuff but it would probably sound better on a guitar(maybe a classical or jazz guitar which have nice lows).

    *Maybe I am not enough of a snob to like something just because its different..(the king is naked...remeber the story)

    It is good to explore new things though, so my intention is to be positive. These are things to consider..I feel that there is a whole side of the bass that is not even issued in these stuff.

  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Feces-uv-yer-choice Bruce. While you do have to be a good listener to be a good player being a good listener does not necessarily imply being a good player. The "oh yeah, let's see you do better" rebuttal to Samie's criticism serves no constructive purpose and is dare I say beneath you? I figger that Samie is in the forward moving minority in that he is even listening to solo bass and thinking about what he hears. He should be encouraged rather than put down.

    Samie, don't be too quick to judge. You will find that as you continue to listen you will in general move to hearing less where you thought there was more and more where you thought there was less. And as you expand your influences and explore and overcome your own weaknesses you will start to hear more of the subtleties of others who have done the same.
  12. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    Sound Advice! thanx
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Thank for the gratuitous insults Jeff! What I was getting at was that Samie was saying "it was limited melodic and in rythm" - this to me sounds very negative and not at all borne out by what I've heard. I see a lot of negative criticism in this forum and I had just been reading yet another "Fender Sucks" thread immediately before.

    My thoughts on reading Samie's post was - well how could it be more melodic and rhythmic - what would you suggest? On re-reading my own post it does seem a bit harsh and on reflection I would tone it down. But I did feel that it was - shall I say "rude" - in the extreme to visit the part of the forum where Steve give sup his time to answer our questions and then proceed to trash his album!! :rolleyes:

    I know Steve doesn't need me to defend him and his reply is far more eloquent and magnanimous than anything I could write, but I just felt indignant "for" him. Here is someone who is prepared to give us the benefit of his considerable experience in bassplaying and what do we do - just be negative about his work! I was just incredulous and my emotions got the better of my judgement - as you say this should be "beneath me", but at the time I was trying hard not get angry. ;)

    The one good thing about this, is that it reminded me to order a copy of Steve's CD, which I did, via the internet facility yesterday.
  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC

    I'da been surprised if you had _not_ just been reading another "Fender Sucks" thread before you wrote that response, it really sounded as if _that_ was what you were responding to. Now I'm not sure my response was intended to be gratuitously insulting but what ever the case it was without a doubt my pleasure. :D
    Interested to hear what you think of SL's disc.

    [Edited by jeffbonny on 12-17-2000 at 05:37 AM]
  15. I checked out "drifting" and I thought it was great. I liked how he got his bass to sound like whale songs. I imagined myself traversing a surreal underwater landscape while listening to it.
    To answer Samie's question I think there is definitely room for melodic solo bass in this world. If everyone stuck to their predifined roles this world would be a pretty grim place. As far as your complaint that the bass wasn't exploited to it's full potential...you're right...The Problem is no one man can exploit the bass' full potential on one album. The bass has a limitless potential...that's what's so great about.
  16. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    That "Jaco" remark is poorly placed. One, he didn't record that much solo bass. Two, why should another player / composer feel they have to follow the same explorations as another.

    I think you are comparing what are the passing results of two pretty dissimilar goals, and managed in the bargain to diss Steve with your blundering about. If it isn't your cup of tea (or whatever beverage), fine. But you've shown questionable ability to critique so far.

    <-- greenboy ---<<<
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, I ordered it on the website on the 16th and it arrived yesterday 19th - very prompt service!

    I do really like a lot of the fretless sounding solos - there are sounds like this, but not quite like this - a genuine original voice exploiting the possibilities of 6-string fretless for melodic soloing. I do believe that bass sounds very different to say "Spanish Guitar" and this comes over very well. I'm not a great fan of effects and especially distortion, but I can see that Steve is adding variety for the audience in terms of tonal variations. As a bass player, I could sit through a lot of clean bass sound, but I can appreciate that it makes sense to draw an audience in with other sounds.

    I got another "objective" opinion, as I put this on early this morning and my girlfriend was still sleeping, but heard this as she was waking up and told me how the sound merged into her dream and became a red, black and white building that she explored with hard metallic walls and geometric shapes. Honestly!

    Me, I'm more a "tone freak" and listen to the bass sound in every record I hear anyway. I can see that this type of music is almost the opposite to what most bass players do in that they provide an unobtrusive supportive role, so may seem strange to people on this site, but it's no different to me, to listening to an unaccompanied Bach violin piece or a Piano Sonata, but more interesting because it's the instrument I play. I'm glad that the bass can justify its place in solo music and hope that Steve continues to develop this type of music.
  18. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    Ok. Ok. I am really surprised at every body's response which kind of confirms my fears worst fears. Steve's music is nice, I´ll give you that. You like the melodies, the fx, the ambience, sure I'll give you that also. But from there to "virtuoso" solo playing there is a long long way!!

    If I woke up my wife with backstreet boys or britney spears she might like it, but if I woke her up with say.. chick Corea she would crash the cd player on my head. Does that make Brit better musician that Chick?

    Yeah, the bass is a beautiful melodic instrument, no doubt about that( I think it lost part of that capability with when the put frets on it). Luckly frettless are comming back! but is nice and sweet the future of the bass or can we hope for more?
  19. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK

    I'm really reluctant to reply to this, as getting into debate about the validity of my own music is generally counter productive, but you do raise a few points about the nature of music and its 'value'...

    >>>You like the melodies, the fx, the ambience, sure I'll give you that also. But from there to "virtuoso" solo playing there is a long long way!!<<<

    Who said anything about virtuoso? How would one measure that anyway? Why does the fact that you seem to not connect with what I do mean that other people don't? As I said before there are people hailed as genius that I really don't get, don't enjoy and can't see the point of. There are other albums that are 'nice', that would wake me up with a great feeling, that I think are outstanding - Kind Of Blue would be one, Beyond The Missourri Sky would be another. Neither albums are hailed for their displays of virtuosity, but both are deeply personal musical statements that connect with me.

    Because they would be nice to wake up to doesn't make them any less vauable, or more valuable.

    whether or not 'nice and sweet' is the future of bass is not even a question I could understand, let alone answer - my music isn't about being a virtuoso, being the 'future of bass' or about exploiting the full potential of the instrument... it's not about any of those things. If others have it connect with them on those levels, then great, if they just like the tunes, great. If, as seems to be the case with you, they don't like it, or find it dull, I'm glad you got to listen to it before you bought it, as it would have been a total waste of your money.

    The future of bass is not caried by any one person or player, in the same way that the history of bass doesn't hang on one person - even Jaco got his ideas from other people, and then made them his own. And while he was creating a new voice, so were Percy Jones, Stanley Clarke, louis Johnson, Jack Bruce... I doubt any of them were intentionally thinking 'aha, new voice' but were instead playing what felt right to them, making the music that was a part of them. I make my living playing bass, doing sessions, playing in theatres, jazz groups, doing pop sessions, tours.... my solo stuff is my music, more so than anything else I do, there's no big idea or statement attached to it, no virtuosic intent, no future of bass aspirations... You're talking on a level that if it were introduced into the music making process would take it, I fear, down a very contrived alley...

    That some writers and listeners have called what I do 'virtuosic' or 'inspiring' or 'new' or whatever, is an expression of how they feel when listening to it. That some of them are great players in their own right, or experienced journalists with a deep knowlegge of thier field does encourage me greatly. that some people will go 'yeah, it's nice - so what?' or conclude the the effects are 'all smoke and mirrors' is an inevitability.

    thanks for your comments, Bruce, I'm glad you like it! :oops:)


  20. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I got another "objective" opinion, as I put this on early this morning and my girlfriend was still sleeping, but heard this as she was waking up and told me how the sound merged into her dream and became a red, black and white building that she explored with hard metallic walls and geometric shapes. Honestly! Quote by Bruce

    If I were an Artist rather than a mechanic, I would consider what Bruce said to be the highest praise that could be given. Nearly all music can make one want to dance,tap your foot or sing along. An artist,however, has that elusive ability to make one want to laugh or cry. We all can do notes and rhythms, but how many of us can do emotion on our instruments?

    I have to agree with some of the other posters. Steves thread is not the place to question his offerings.

    As great as Jaco and Wooten may be, I don't see them taking thier time to personally respond to my queries. Thanks Steve. You are not only a true artist. You are a gentleman as well.

    Just my .02, Pkr2


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