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playing with 'heart'

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Dazey, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Dazey


    Dec 20, 2011
    St. Louis
    Okay so my friend has been playing guitar and bass for 6-7 years. he's very good. I've been playing bass for a few months. I'm okay I guess. He gives me lessons. I can play some songs. Black Magic Woman by Santana. What It Is and What Should Never Be, The Ocean, Rock n Roll, Dazed and Confused, by Zeppelin. Me and My Friends, Mellowship Slinky, Naked in The Rain, Can't Stop, Suck My Kiss, My Lovely Man, The Righteous and The Wicked by RHCP.

    A few others but not much else. But the thing is a lot of the times when he's giving me a lesson he'll say stuff like "put some bounce in it man" or "play it with a little heart!" I really don't know what he means. I just don't understand how to put bounce in it. I don't really know what i'm asking but i'm hoping someone here can help me. :confused:
  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    These are terms used by people who have trouble talking about music. The information you need is more specific than can be given here. But... try playing some notes shorter than you have been, or longer, or louder or softer. Understand that in a musical phrase some notes are more important than others, just like a sentence that is spoken. We can change the meaning of a collection of words just by making one louder, or putting a little silence before a word. Same thing with musical notes. Generally this idea comes under the heading of 'phrasing', but could be what your friend is talking about.

    Also, some people respond to musicians physical movements while playing. A little 'body English' doesn't hurt sometimes to let others know you are into the musical moment.
  3. Actium


    Jan 15, 2011
    I think what he may be getting at is play with some swagger and emotion. Worry less about nailing the right notes and playing it 100%. Focus more on the vibe of the song and play along to the vibe.

    The singer in my band says things like that any time our songs seem tame, timid or dull. He just says put some balls into your playing and own the song.
  4. Skitch it!

    Skitch it!

    Sep 6, 2010
    Sounds like he wants more emotive playing, there is a difference, I know plenty of guys who can play the right notes, but lack real fluidity or dynamic awareness or emotive connection.

    I listen to lyrics and expression a lot for the cues outside of usual dynamics, bring your own experiences to it and translate them.
  5. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
  6. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    This. Sometimes we over-think a bass part till it becomes a bit mechanical. We may have the part nailed, but may lack a certian feel or vibe like Actium says. Loosen up and have fun with it.
  7. I think the discussion earlier about this sort of comment was correct, in that it is often said by someone who hasn't got a great vocabulary, as far as describing music and feel goes. On the other hand, you might sound stiff, which is often the case when you're focusing on notes rather than feel. once you've really learned a song you'll be concentrating less on what notes you're playing and more on how you're playing them.

    As an exercise, record yourself playing, particularly songs or pieces you've been criticised over. Listen back. Do they sound stiff? Do you need to move more, or create space? Are you rushing some phrases? Are you on the pulse? I really believe listening back to yourself is a great learning tool.
  8. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    +many! I use a fairly simple Line 6 BackTrack between the pedals and the mixer. I just switch it on during practice. This enables me to listen critically to what I did afterwards. Often I play back in the car driving to or from my work. This really helps improving my playing style.

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