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Original vs. Well, Not Original

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JediMonk2, Aug 23, 2000.

  1. JediMonk2


    Aug 22, 2000
    I've been playing bass for a little over two years now, mostly for the school's jazz band, and in a special lesson group/jazz combo thing, and in my church's worship band. I played in a couple of other bands, which fell apart after *ahem* creative differences. My problem is that while I can play someone else's music if it's in front of me (not tablature, actual music), I can hardly memorize much but basic riffs and chord progressions. Usually, I just make up my own stuff. I'm used to doing it, because normally I'm only following chord progressions as it is. I feel bad when doing someone else's stuff, almost guilty, because I'm changing it almost completely to my own style. My point? Is this wrong? Should I concentrate on playing the song the way it was originally intended to be played, or should I keep using my way? Also, should I keep the song more consistent from performance to performance, instead of playing whatever I feel I should play?


    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    Well Jedimonkdude, That is a very debatable concept.
    I say, just play it they way you feel like playing it, unless people tell you that it sounds like $hit. Then, its time to wip out some sheet music I guess. ;)
  3. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    Not sure if this is for you or against you, but here's what I did:

    I always tried to learn a song the way it was written, then after playing it over and over for weeks would start to tweak it and add little touches of my style to it until I basically had rewritten the bassline to it. I always liked my rewritten bassline better (well, not always, but for the most part) because it sounded more like how I wanted it to sound (duh, I rewrote it!). So, here's my advice: just as the all-knowing and wise :) JHMVARO said, play it however you want to.
  4. JediMonk2


    Aug 22, 2000
    I think I'll just go about playing the way I usually do. It makes the song more personal. Also, I haven't gotten any complaints, but then again, my school's small, and there aren't any real bass experts around to critique me.
  5. It sounds like you've got the musical skill to take many different approaches so it makes sense to do what makes you the most happy. You could look at it another way - say there's a song that is technically difficult and someone simplified it to match the talents of the band that were going to play it. I don't think that makes it any less the song it was before. It's still recognizable. As long as you don't claim it as your own, go for it! You can bet that every cover song you've heard played either live or on the radio is different from the original.
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    when i was in my most prolific cover band, about 12 years ago, i embellished lots of the basslines, and we played fairly complicated songs to begin with (lots of rush, iron maiden, and that kind of thing). i did it mainly because i would get bored with songs after playing them a bunch of times. it helped me to develop as a player.

    then again, i haven't played anyone else's music but my own for something like 10 years.

  7. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    What ED said

    You can get away with that in most jazz gigs, but try it just once in a musical pit orchestra or recording studio commercial session and you'll be tossed out quicker than you can say "butthat'showjacowouldadoneit!"

  8. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    Picking up covers note for note is good experience. You can embellish or rewrite parts later if you want, but don't loose sight of the tune (unless that's the intention). If you're covering "Heard It Through the Grapevine" and ain't doin the opening riff, you ain't 'covering' the tune.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    What Ed said X 2; that's what I'm usually attempting to babble about around here. IMO, one should be able to play any tune in a swing, shuffle, funk, straight 1/8 Rock, Latin, reggae, ska, etc IF called to do so in a jam environment.
    Same goes for the odd meter stuff, too. If you happen to sit in with a guy like Don Ellis, you better have those odd times happenin'(which I don't).

    I would hope a "Jazz" band would state the theme to "Grapevine"(at least once) :D
    Again, the theme could be interpretted in an odd time(good practice), different feel, or even modally.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I saw a Quartet last Friday, led by Geoff Gascoyne, who is an english upright Jazz player - he was actually in the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley" - as a bass player, of course!

    But anyway, he had arranged one of the Bee Gees tunes ( a famous one, although the name escapes me for the moment) but it was in such a different time and harmony, that you wouldn't have known, when they were playing the head; except for odd snatches of the tune that sounded hauntingly familiar.
  11. JediMonk2


    Aug 22, 2000
    Thanks for all the advice everyone. As I'm not currently playing with any band, not doing someone's song properly isn't a big problem. Also, the fellow I'm talking to about starting a band is pretty keen on doing original stuff, so I'll doubt I'll have much problem. Thanks again!

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