Proggresive Metal ????

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Dazzare, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Dazzare


    Dec 3, 2011
    Good Morning/Afternoon/5 O'clock somewhere Bass Players/ Musicians / Random Guitar player lurking on this forum wanting to be a bass player.

    Well as the topic suggests I need help. I'm a Funk Rocker/ Jazz player. I was recently scouted, tried out and accepted into a progressive metal band. The only problem is I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO PLAY PROGRESSIVE METAL or any kind of Metal at all, and they don't want me to pound out the root note. It's a really guitar driven sound band with two great Guitarists. I'm just having trouble finding my spot in there. List time!

    1. I'm used to Bass Driven groove like songs, or at least a strong presence.

    2. Uhh metal ... hmmm uhhhh Hmmm!>!>!>>>???!?!? Minor Harmonic scale(thats all I know + modes and chord tones)

    3. I just can't seem to find my spot.

    4. The drummer and I lock in a lot but I find it troublesome to keep locked in with him because when I do lock in, the lead doesn't like my groove QQ.

    So help meh?!? Pls Talk bass? I have Cookies that I'll eat for you?
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    They had a bassist before you, was it a good exit, if so talk to him/her. Beyond that - good luck. Metal to me is roots. Course I do not play metal.
  3. MontzterMash

    MontzterMash Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    Reminds me of this post I read the other day:

    How much metal do you listen to and like? There's 40 odd years of great stuff, and since you joined this band, I've got a guess that even if you don't have much exposure to it, part of you might be looking forward to it, so dive in, listen to everything you can, and find what you like and the rest of the band likes and it'll come.

    Nice thing about progressive metal is that it, well, progresses. You don't need to copy progressive band X or Y if you don't want. I think that if you soak up the "language of metal" from Anacrusis to Zero Hour then what you play won't be awkward, and when you find what you love it'll all groove.

    Who knows what you all will find? Have fun!
  4. ysand


    Mar 26, 2005
    Check out John Myung (dream theater) and Michael Lepond (symphony X) on youtube, to see their approach on bass playing in prog metal.
  5. MontzterMash

    MontzterMash Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    Oh, and of course, this will require some time and patience all around. So best to talk about that up front, if you haven't already.

    If they hear you're learning and improving, and you feel they're giving you time and maybe letting you start simple until things start to form, it'll go better for everyone. You'll have a good band, they'll have a creative and dedicated bassist. If not, things can get stressful and stall out real fast.
  6. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    The first thing I would do is brush up on my progressive metal history to get some ideas on how other bassists in the genre have approached the music. The next thing I would do is put all that aside and listen to what the music the band is making calls for and try to translate that to my fingers as best I can.
  7. bassnj


    Sep 16, 2011
    Prog metal for bass players, IME, is just following whatever the rhythym guitar does. Yes, John Myung is technically a monster on bass, but I find it boring to listen to him. It's like, 'Yeah, yeah, you can play really fast and all. That's great.' I like Mike LePond a lot better, but he's buried in the mix on most Symphony X Albums. It's a shame really, because he throws in some nice little fills here and there. He's really a tasteful player.
  8. bassnj


    Sep 16, 2011
    I should also add that a lot of prog metal is mostly guitar wankery - and I hate, HATE guitar wankery. I'd much rather listen to David Gilmour play three perfect notes than John Petrucci play a zillion notes. BLECHH!!

    But . . . prog metal is cool for learning how to play odd time signatures. I'll give you that. I just loooove playing with drummers who can groove in 7/8.
  9. Lee H

    Lee H

    Nov 30, 2011
    Redding CA
  10. MaxSBM


    Oct 10, 2011
    I suggest listening to TOOL, especially there newer albums like Aenima, Lateralus and 10,000 Days.
  11. blakelock


    Dec 16, 2009
    hey, wait a minute.....

    it is "progressive", right? why don't you try adding what you think fits and makes it better music. instead of mimiccing tool, dream theater, etc. (no offense anyone, those are great bands), maybe throwing in some jazz, or locked-in groove is just what the music needs.

    unless, of course, the lead has something specific in mind, then he/she needs to tell you.
  12. Actium


    Jan 15, 2011
    I don't know how relevant this will be to what you are doing but it will be something decent to check out anyways.

    The bassist for Opeth, Martin Mendez, is pretty good. Listen to Blackwater Park where he was still mostly following rhythm guitar. There is the song The Drapery Falls where he gets to shine. But it's still quite limited. Then listen to Watershed (or better yet, the new album). See what he's been doing in that style of music.
  13. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Ryan Martini / Mudvayne... great prog metal bass

    Mudvayne - Death blooms - YouTube

    If you are doing more recent styles of prog metal you should orient yourself by listening to Meshuggah.

    Meshuggah - In Death - Is Death - YouTube

    A few other thoughts-

    Jazz tone won't work well in metal. To cut through you'll need a harsh sound (which will mellow out in the mix).

    I am not sure where you are coming from in terms of "groove" but in metal, generally, the groove you'll want is more mechanical and harder in nature. With your RH use punchy attacks and harder mutes than you'd use in less violent styles.

    I wouldnt worry so much about scales, I'd focus on rhythm first.

    If you are feeling lost in a time sense, maybe you need to learn more about time signatures (I'm assuming you guys play with that stuff, but you might not since many starting out prog bands aren't really in the deep waters of technical-ness). It's really odd at first and will throw what you know about groove out the window. 7/8 or 5/4 will make most traditional cats squirm or give up.
  14. Dazzare


    Dec 3, 2011
    Thanks for the Suggestions of Dream Theater guys My playing kinda sounds like his when I jam with the Progressive Band Im playing with =DDDDDD
  15. dozicusmaximus


    Mar 18, 2009
    Austin, TX
  16. dvelcich


    Aug 27, 2012
    I've played in that type of band for the past ten years. How did I find my place? Well, for years, without thinking about it, I rarely utilized the low end on my bass. My sound comes from playing all over the neck and rarely hitting my lowest string unless to accent a line or to follow the guitar player on a really heavy riff.

    After thinking about it, I can come up with two reasons for this:

    1- Our tuning is so low (drop D, down 1 1/2 steps [B, F#, B, E]) that it's hard for me or an audience member to really differentiate between the low notes, so I enjoy playing the higher strings more.

    2- The guitar players in that type of music tend to exist in the area that I should be playing, by which I mean their frequency is really low, and they tend to play what would make great bass lines. This causes me to have to take more of a lead role.

    It's a lot of responsibility, not only to do our most important job of tying in the harmony and rhythm sections, but to also know when to take the reins and really add the flowers to the garden (sorry, something an old musician used to tell me).
  17. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    John Myung is a great technician but unfortunately is stuck playing the song while John and Jorden go off on a tangent. Listen to the intro to "Scarred" off of the Awake album to hear some of Myungs more interesting bits. I'm sitting here hearing a few other basslines but after so many albums I'm having trouble remembering which tunes they came from. The Jordan albums tend to be more "notey" while the earlier albums with Keven gave more room for John Myung to stretch. "Take the Time" from Images and Words has a cool groove to it even if it is on the poppy side of things.

    Martin Mendez from Opeth is another one as Opeth changes constantly and goes from growly vocal metal to truly beautiful mellow bits at the drop of a hat.

    Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, although maybe more of the grandpa of prog metal, was my original bass hero and a good example of his creativity is during the slow part of the solo in "Powerslave". It is essentially a guitar solo and a bass solo at the same time, yet it's very tasteful and it's pretty darn cool.

    Queensryche, although not truly progressive was a rare 80's-90's act in that Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield (for real) the drummer worked a good groove in a scene not known for having "rhythm sections" per se. "Della Brown" from Empire is probably their funkiest but it relies heavily on good vocals to.

    I think it all depends on just how progressive or how metal the band wants to be, and how flexible guitar guy is willing to be. If you show up with a Michael Manring style part and guitar hero or keys guy can'g expand on it, I guess they are more metal than progressive. Good luck and let your jazz background show and expand their view while their metal side expands yours.
  18. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    This is the first time Ive heard of Mudvayne being called prog metal.

    John Myung is not "stuck" playing the song...listen to the newest DT album or the earlier stuff up until Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

    John Petrucci is also not some wanker either. Listen to his solos on Lines In The Sand, Repentance, Scarred, Beyond This Life, etc. John Petrucci's ability to shred, improvise, and ability to play convincingly in various settings makes him one of the most complete guitarists I have seen. He is a student of the instrument.

    Dream Theater is also not just some band you can take one song from and judge them solely on that one taste. While they do pride themselves in creating seemingly chaotic pieces, they also have plenty of compositions that are the opposite of what you would think. I will admit that their music had become much more riff-driven in recent years, up until Mike Portnoy's departure from the band.
  19. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    I know that his thread has gotten cold to a point, so I don't know if posting anything is even worth my time.

    I've always figured that especially in progressive music, non-metal genre influences seem to add to the progressive-ness to the band. That's what makes progressive metal awesome in my opinion. What other genres could you just 'decide' to throw in some funky, bluesgrassy, punky, or even western/country,or whatever style you could think of and then come right back to what you were doing and have people appreciate it.

    If your a jazz dude and play prog metal, that should only make things stand out. That is if the existing members are willing to completely accept your style and work wioth you to get your sound out.
  20. glorth2


    Jan 26, 2006
    Bumping. Love prog. Listen to Geddy and Steve Harris, go from there.