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PLEASE HELP: Building basslines for Advanced

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by justinellison3, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. justinellison3


    Nov 9, 2012
    So I'm in a band with a couple of dudes and I'll admit, We are VERY talented all together and jamming alone. BUT, our acoustic guitarist seems to right a lot of Andy McKee meets Opeth and a lot of those really crazy acoustic solo players you see on YouTube mixed with a little classical.... everyone can seem to find something to fit these songs execpt... you guessed it... me.

    I need tips on ways to build bass lines over this kind of stuff. I wanna play in the pocket but he plays weird chords and chord changes and it makes it really hard on me :(

    Basically I'm tired of being the one in the band who looks like the sucky player just because he doesn't give me headroom to lay down some bass. I have been playing for a long time so I don't suck.... I just can't fit my style with his.

    Any tips on building bass lines for this style? Keep in mind All the acoustic solo artists don't have bass players so I can't listen to or learn the bass parts :confused:

    Thanks guys!!
  2. G3Mitch


    Feb 8, 2011
    New Zealand
    that's kind of a sucky situation man. i'm not totally familiar with that style, but i have heard them enough. my advice i would suggest is organizing a jam where its just you and him... and maybe the other guitarist, but definitely no drummer or vocalist. where you can sit down and hash out what could work.

    totally understand though, i couldn't handle just standing there 'holding down the bottom end'.
  3. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    If everything else is super busy, it might not be a bad idea to lay back. However, it sounds like you know generally what's going on, and no doubt you've considered that option, so let's look at what we can do to jazz things up a bit. My first thought is that you should complement his lines by filling in the gaps: if he's playing something syncopated, compose figures that keep the beat, and if he's playing something really downbeaty, then get the syncopations. Those little spaces in the music are where your musical slime mold can propagate. If it worked for Stravinsky, it can work for you.

    Next, there's this harmonic thing. Note choice can be tough. You can always do chord tones and try to navigate through the changes with the best voice leading you can manage. If you've never studied counterpoint, it's a fantastic way to get ideas on how to compose lines with good contour. You probably won't study counterpoint for this band, though, so let's go a little simpler. I'd say that the most important aspect of any line is its rhythm. Rather than bogging yourself down thinking what notes you're going to play, you might find it easier to make a concept for the rhythm. Listen to what your guitarist is doing, then try to imagine a very vague bassline. Try it with a fast rhythm, a slow rhythm, and then a medium rhythm, and also ask yourself if you should be syncopating (if the guitarist is playing a lot of downbeats) or if you should be holding down the rhythm (if the guitarist is syncopating a lot). After you get some good rhythmic guidelines, you might even be able to get away with jamming one note the entire time, although you'll probably want to develop that line so you're playing cool notes at some point.

    A good example of interlocking rhythms used between two voices in a composition (J.S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions, No.6): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLJi3G4QPaU

    Another option, if he's doing a lot of arpeggiation, is to find a voice in his chords that you can follow. For example, if he has chords that have a low note and then a few high notes, you could probably double up on the low note, which would effectively make you an extension of the guitar and also have the added bonus of a greater sense of harmonic support (since you both would be hitting that note). Something along those lines goes on in this tune (Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Dance of Maya): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1qIQjUy5B0
  4. justinellison3


    Nov 9, 2012
    Thanks a lot!!!! I appreciate your help :)

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