Other bassists styles vs. Your own style

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassAche, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. BassAche


    May 1, 2003
    Well fellow TB'ers, what is you view on this? Will learning cover songs extend your style or just limit it?

    What are your suggestions for applying others techniques and tricks into your own writing, while retaining your own style?

    Sorry if some of this doesn't make any sense...I'm kind of in a hurry and will clarify when I have the time, if need be.

    G'bye earthlings!
  2. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I recommend learning other players' styles just for learning and applying to your own style.
    Following another's path doesn't mean that you will experience their journey.

    As for tricks, take a written piece of music and transcribe it backwards, note-for-note, even the rests. Then learn to play it. It could work just like that, or spark a new idea.

    Another idea: imagine that the strings have been reversed for a lefty-bass. Learn how something would be played that way, but do it on your usual set-up.

    Here's an example:

    G -------------------------1-2-1-----
    D ---------1-2-1-------1-4-------4-1-
    A -----1-4-------4-1-2---------------
    E ---2-------------------------------


    G ---2-------------------------------
    D -----1-4-------4-1-2---------------
    A ---------1-2-1-------1-4-------4-1-
    E -------------------------1-2-1-----

    That example has become part of a song I've written.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    If you're trying to purposefully maintain any sort of 'personal style' that you may have, then chances are you're not getting it. There's nothing but good things to gain when you learn other people's music. Steal any idea you think is good; everyone's an individual and chances are you will always sound like yourself no matter what.
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I've found, when you learn a bunch of covers, licks, songs, riffs...etc.

    You start to mix them all, and then you come out with something new.

    Like, if you know all of Jaco's licks, and you learn all of rocco's grooves, and Duck's phrasings and flea's flair and vic's chops and then you find yourself playing stuff that sounds nothing like any of those cats, sure to the avid listener(bassist) they might pick out a little piece of jaco here, a little bit of flea there, some myung over there, jamerson there, but essentially what you've done is woven them all together and done something fresh.

    I think though, that what you DON'T want to do, is obsess over one players style, and only learn his songs, and licks and grooves. Or even biasing one player over another, and learning more Duck licks than rocco grooves, or whatever, I think you gotta try and balance it all out, learn it all, don't discern to any bassist or musician, just learn it all, why not?

    and that is cool.:cool:
  5. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    IMO, learning other players lines is an integral part of developing your own style. You hear other players lines and you like what they do, so you learn to play like they play. It's an essential part of developing - learning to make your instrument sound a certain way, by ear.

    As WR said above, I think unless you obsessively copy another players style, you'll never end up being a replica. Also, we should remember that replica is only like the original, because it isnt the original. What makes an original player great is their feel for the music - what they choose to play. I could copy a players style until people couldnt tell the differencem bnut when I wrote something it would come from a different place.

    As a bassist I developed listening mostly to Flea as a main influence. Now, that definitley shows in my playing, but at the same time I will never play like him because I blatantly dont approach a song in the same way. I cant.

    I think no matter what level you're at, you approach writing a bassline in a personal way - and that, in general, isn't dictated by technique.

    My choice of notes, i.e. the notes I hear in my head aren't the result of learning someone's technique.

    Does that make sense?!

    Hmm, I have to disagree. I think if a listener hears a bit of Jaco and abit of Jamerson then you've failed to develop your own style, you've just replicated others in certain scenarios.

    I'm not saying that a persons playing shouldnt remind you of any other players, or we'd all be fkd sinbe Jaco&Jamerson right? :D
    I guess what I'm saying is that I think "weaving them together" is a poor analogy. I think a better analogy is to "mix them all together in a huge pot" (and heat for 20 years on gas mark 9 ;) like paint... you'd mix all the colours together and see what happens, not paint one bit red, one green, one blue... there should be no recognisable sections of 'Jaco' Jamerson' know what I mean?
  6. BassAche


    May 1, 2003
    Thanks for the insight. You've all answered the question well...lets try the newfound wisdom...
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Miles Davis used to quote Salvador Dali:

    Steal from the best and then do your own thing. [Paraphrased from memory - I think it's in Miles' autobiography]

    another quote:

    Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.

    Salvador Dali
  8. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Two seperate threads where Dali is mentioned today. Glad to see I'm not the only cat around here who digs his work.
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Cheers JMX, that's a really good quote, I'll remember that!

    It's also really really true. What makes ALL of us learn to play an instrument? A desire to replicate or imitate some thing that sounds cool.


    Good stuff :)
  10. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    "A bad writer borrows, a good writer steals outright!"
    Mark Twain

    "We have heard it all before, but we rejoice in the retelling."

    Both quotes are applicable in this situation.
  11. Hello,
    I dont usually hang on this side of TalkBass but this is an interesting topic. When I started playing Bass I was big into Heavy Metal "wouldn`t beleave it to look at me now", but as I progressed I got a HUGE piece of advice from a more experienced musician. He told me that if all I listened to was Hard Rock I totally limited myself to learning just that. He encouraged me to listen to other forms...country, Jazz, Classical,anything I could and gleam what I could from it. It helped me big, not just Bass Players. I would Listen to Horn Players and got tons of ideas for solos. The late great Charlie Parker got alot of his Sax Solos ideas from reading Classical notation.
    I think that growing as a Bass Player...yes..study the Bass Masters as I still do, but to grow as a "Musician" one should open their eyes and ears to a World of possibilites. All Well my 2 cents....