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Pianist Q re: playing bass lines

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by sweetpea, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. sweetpea

    sweetpea Guest

    Jun 6, 2002
    S'port, LoUiSiAna
    Hello Talkbass people! I have a question to ask. Hopefully, I won't get brutle responses. :D

    When a Pianist plays a bass line... Does it bug you? Should I keep it in the treble clef and let the bassist handle the rest? Any stories?:confused:
  2. bassgeek

    bassgeek Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Ditto what Ed said.
    Keep the bass lines for the solo piano gigs or organ trio stuff.

    The same goes for stride piano-like left hand parts. They're annoying and usually out of context. Unless the pianist cues the bassist to stop playing and/or it's part of an on-the-fly arrangement, bass lines and stride parts by the pianist falls under the category of "look what I can do!".
  3. sweetpea

    sweetpea Guest

    Jun 6, 2002
    S'port, LoUiSiAna
    Well, I guess #1 is right on... I've played mainly solo gigs... I accompany myself as I sing... I'm still learning the "play together" concept... Playing in a band... is an art on its own...
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Amen, brother Ed. Absolutely one of my pet peeves.

    I'll add one more(provided the pianist is listening)-
    The bassist isn't playing something the pianist wants to hear or is expecting to hear...the pianist plays a "bassline" as an aid to help him keep his place(maybe that's the "too many solo gigs syndrome"). ;)
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    That is the question.

    When you have someone already playing the bassline, you have an opportunity to enhance the music by using your left hand creatively. You can play inversions and be less concerned about filling out the sound with your left hand. You can also play different voicings and not pound out every chord.

    I think that a lot of pianists play basslines as a crutch.
  6. sweetpea

    sweetpea Guest

    Jun 6, 2002
    S'port, LoUiSiAna
    JimK, sorry but you confused me:confused: Okay I get the concept of not "doubling" the bassline. That seems to be the popular vote, but then you said to play it so that the bassist doesn't get lost... which one?:)
  7. no, he was just saying that most of the time when pianists play basslines, it's to control what the bassist is doing. he didn't advocate it.
  8. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Preach. Get down, Ed!

    Keyboard basslines always sound like keyboard bass too... by that I mean note choice and movement of the line is usually very different than an actual bass player would do. Stevie Wonder is one exception to this that I can think of.
  9. I really dont like it when the keyboard player plays my bassline because i'm not going through the PA system but they are so they cover it up. im going to threaten to chop someone's hand off next week.
    Last week we were grooving and stuff and i start doing a walking line and here comes the keyboard player pounding out the root and giving me an evil glare..... i just grined and whent about my merry walking line!

    If a keyboard player is in a band with a real for life bassplayer, let the keyboard player keep his/her hands out of the bass ranges.
  10. stroggnoy

    stroggnoy Guest

    Jul 11, 2002
    I don't see a problem with a keyboardist playing in the bass range if it's to thicken up his sound or add to what he's doing and not trying to do the bassist's part for him.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    If he's in the same range...that's the problem!
    Thick may be "OK"...FME, it's usually turns to mud.
    Too, his bass note choice will probably conflict with mine...The result? MY options become limited big time.
    Equally as bad is the guitarist who plays everything in ROOT position(& loudly on top of that).
    In this kind of discussion, I always mention bring up Steve Khan & his approach...he generally voices his chords with the D-G-B-E strings.
    His bassist, Anthony Jackson, has almost total freedom.

    ...then again, maybe I'll get lucky & fall into a band like Bruce Lindfield's latest. ;)
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Couple others-
    Gregg Phillaganes
    David Frank of The System
    Mike Boddicker
    Michael Omartian
    Robbie Buchanan
    "Hawk" Wolinski

    ...I know a couple of local keyboard guys who are scary "bassists".
    And one of them is an even scarier "guitarist"! ;)

    Damn synths.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It's not really a band yet - just some Jazzers getting together to have fun - without a pianist!

    I think in Jazz it's particularly sensitive as basslines often have a lot of chromatic passing tones - and that can be above or below the note you're trying to reach! So two basslines together just will not work!

    The good piano players in Jazz (from my point of view!) will outline the 3rd and 7th of the chord, plus extensions in higher octaves - usually this is enough to keep them occupied, especially if the chords are changing twice a bar! ;)
  14. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Spoken like a man who plays piano, but by his own admission, doesn't play bass. :rolleyes:

    I play with a pianist 90% of the time. 95% of the time, I want to kill them. :)

    The most frustrating pianist I ever played with faked her left hand instead of reading the part, so EVERYTHING was in root position (like Jim's guitarist), and she hammered it. If she wasn't young, cute and stacked, I wudda ripped her left pinky off. :)

    I think the most frustrating part about playing with a piano is that compared to other instruments, they will almost always sound "right," even if they're blowing a part down their leg. If they bang a Bb chord over a B, guess what? It's a Bb chord now - meanwhile you're playing an F#, and you're the goat. :mad:

    On the other hand, I've learned more about bass lines playing with a piano than I ever have playing with guitars. And the fun part is when they start copping YOUR lines. That's a good feeling. Or maybe they're just being polite...
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    God Almighty!
    I live for these lump-isms!
  16. sweetpea

    sweetpea Guest

    Jun 6, 2002
    S'port, LoUiSiAna
    I guess it's a good thing that I'm "cute..." as you say... hmm... thanks for the honesty guys...:p
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    DOH! I missed this was back when...
    Since you're "cute", I choose to respond- ;)

    What I meant to say-
    If a bassist is not playing it "stock" enough, SOME keyboardists will play the "stock" line. I only assume this keeps the keyboardist from losing their place. ;)
  18. That would be "brutal".... ;) :)

    Yes. :D

    Generally, yes, unless the bassist is glassy-eyed and obviously lost. Then bail the poor bastid out.

    I once worked with an excellent player (we won't discuss how he was as a person ;) ), he knew all the RIGHT bass lines to a pile of Motown tunes. I learned a great deal from him, he took the time to "feed" me the lines until I caught on, then he got the hell out of the way. That's the best thing a keyboardist can do when playing with a bassist: Stay the hell out of the way.
  19. sweetpea

    sweetpea Guest

    Jun 6, 2002
    S'port, LoUiSiAna
    Thanks:) I do appreciate the advice. I used to have this gig at college (before I joined the Air Force) and no one ever said anything about it... Now I know to "work with" the bassist.

    I don't have my piano in my dorm room, so I bought a guitar a little while ago, and boy are my fingers sore!!! My left index finger had white splotches yesterday but they went away last night.
  20. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Um, for me, that's that other 5%. :eek:

    None of this applies if you're playing with Mark though, sweetpea. Go ahead and move both hands well south of middle C.

    ;) :D

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