Playing with others

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by 46and2, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. 46and2


    Nov 12, 2017
    If this is the wrong forum, I apologize.

    So I have enjoyed the last few weeks learning to play bass. I'm coming from the guitar, so I'm not starting completely from scratch. I know some major scale patterns, finding octaves, thirds, and fifths, basic stuff like that. One of my major goals is play with others at least in a jam if not a gig, so I have been trying to learn some songs on the bass. I know a drum instructor who said he would play with me. He said I could pretty much just tell him any songs and he would learn them or already know them. We are mostly into the same kinds of music. Problem is, 90% of what I know on bass so far are all Nirvana songs, and I don't want to go to him and say "Let's play Nevermind straight through". So with some of my favorite bands listed below, where else would be a good start for some easier bass songs to learn? I'm open to suggestions for bands with sounds similar to these. I also like metal, but I don't feel like I will be able to tackle Lamb of God or Pantera any time soon.

    A Perfect Circle
    Alice in Chains
    Black Sabbath
    Electric Wizard
    Pearl Jam
    Rage Against the Machine
    Smashing Pumpkins
    Stone Temple Pilots
    System of a Down
  2. How about this; instead of specific songs, have him lay down a groove (it's his groove listen and fall into it) and you follow with a generic I-IV-V progression using the 12 bar blues format. If you want to get a little jazz sound going use a ii-V-I format.

    You pick the key, his drums do not care which one you chose...
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  3. 46and2


    Nov 12, 2017
    I can do that too. I'm just crap when comes to writing or improvising bass lines. I've been working some I-IV-V and a couple of I-IV-V-vi that my instructor gave me. I know the root-third-fifth, I just struggle right now to make it have a good groove.
  4. Start grooving with just the root. Yes you can groove roots. I think this all starts with the bass on our laps; listen to the music and clap the beat. Helps if you know the time signature of the song. We take for granted 4/4, however 3/4 and 5/8 have a different beat pattern. Clap the beat to some music you like, then pick up your bass and play just tonic roots to the beat. C-2-3-4|C-2-3-4| C-2-3-4|...

    When that flows, start changing chords and playing just roots. When that flows bring in the R-5. Root on the first beat and the 5 on the 3rd beat; C-2-G-4|C-2-G-4| C-2-G-4|.... In the music I play - Country, Praise and a little Rock - roots, fives and eights do what I need. The jazz guys can add the 3's and 7's, roots, fives and eights will play a lot of bass. R-5-8-5 is an easy 4/4 pattern. Give it a try. Praise is 99.9% roots to the beat.

    Helps if you can look over at the drummer's kick pedal and let that help you with the beat and bpm. Rhythm is more important than the notes you use.

    Do that about a zillion times and it should become easy.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
    928cat and 46and2 like this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    it's a struggle for everyone now and then!

    but your drummer's offer is a cool one and MalcolmAmos 's advice is sound, and: you would no doubt get something from that exercise which would benefit your playing overall. "jamming" is cool sometimes: just to 'go off' and play things that are neither right nor wrong. sometimes the thrill of it informs your journey as a musician!

    i'm sorry that i cannot direct you (re: your references). some of the hipper cats who actually play your genre(s) will be along with some suggestions. good luck to you! :thumbsup:
    46and2 likes this.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Obviously, from the bands you've listed, you are not a blues fan. However, IMO there is no better genre for getting the feel of how the bass "fits into" the music. You could do a lot worse than to start incorporating a few blues songs into your practice routine.

    Here's one to get you started. Check out the track at the 35. 43 mark in this clip.

    FunkHead likes this.
  7. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011

    How about jamming and starting to write your own songs?
  8. 46and2


    Nov 12, 2017
    I want to do that eventually too. Problem is, my bass vocabulary is fairly limited right now. I do know 5 major scale forms, and the locations of the notes on the fretboard. I need to learn minors and pentatonics next, I think. When I do make up stuff, I like to play more stoner/doom sounding, slower tunes.
  9. Scales are for melody. Notes of the active chord are for bass lines. Spend some time with chord tones and listening for the groove - to fall into. It's a feel thing. When you head starts bobbing you are feeling the groove - let it take you...

    I also take for granted the guys are not asking you for solo lead breaks where you would use your scales , so concentrate on chord tones and listening for the drummer's groove.

    You can groove roots. It's the rhythm more than the notes.

    Good luck.
    46and2 likes this.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Great suggestion! JM is a true great.
    fearceol likes this.
  11. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Listen to Malcom!
    The weakest area for most guitarists switching to bass is rhythm.
    It's like switching from being carried to actually doing the carrying.
    They don't groove because they don't count, don't know where the one is, don't listen to what the drummer is doing, and don't know the rhythmic expectations of the style.
    If you put more effort into expanding rhythmic vocabulary versus scale vocabulary.

    If he is truly well versed, he should be a bountiful resource of rhythmic knowledge.
    Good drummers typically know what the bass is expected to do in a given style.
    I'd have him take me on a tour of rhythmic styles - the blues suggestion is appropriate.