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questions for bassplayers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by No Name Here, May 7, 2002.


  1. I am a high school student who plays bass, and for my final year english project I chose to do electric bass, however, the teacher says that one of the resources needed for this paper is an interveiw. The bass player I was originally going to interveiw had some sort of "family crisis" so I couldn't get an interveiw with him. My friend said to try the internet to get an interveiw, so I was wondering if any of you bassists would like answer these questions, there are pretty repetive, and not very good, but I'd be very happy if these were answered, because this paper is due in a very short time. Thank You.

    1. What is the most important part when it comes to establishing a groove of some kind with the rhythm section as a electric bassist?
    2. Which do you think is the most important part of bass line, a good melody, or a good rhythm?
    3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to playing an electric bass compared to playing a standup bass?
    4. How do you feel about virtuoso bass players, who use the bass as more of a solo instrument then anything else? Do you think they’re breaking some kind of unwritten rule of being a rhythm men as a bass player?
    5. Who do you think was a bass player that really showed what the electric bass was capable of? Why?
    6. With all the various techniques that have been discovered on all the many types of electric basses (tapping, chords, slapping, etc.) Do you think there is still room to innovate, or have all of the technical tricks of electric bass been tapped out? Why?
    7. What part of a groove do you think a bass player and a drummer should lock onto?
    8. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the best thing you could do?
    9. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the worst thing you could do?
    10. Any advice to aspiring bass players?
     
  2. Dude, im happy to help.

    PM me, ill see what I can do for ya.
     
  3. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    ill be more than willing to help ya out too if need be, just pm me or email me if ya want.
     
  4. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I will be gald to help you out. I am a professional bassist sessions/studio/ solo.

    I have answered your questions already....e-mail me and I will send them on to you
    ekstasis1@hotmail,com

    Max
     
  5. I'm doing a research project on bass guitar, and for one of the resources of this, I need to have some interviews. I was giving advice to send these questions to the pro bass guitarists. I would be very happy if I could get some answers from some of you guys (Not just the pros.) Thanks


    1. What is the most important part when it comes to establishing a groove of some kind with the rhythm section as a electric bassist?
    2. Which do you think is the most important part of bass line, a good melody, or a good rhythm?
    3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to playing an electric bass compared to playing a standup bass?
    4. How do you feel about virtuoso bass players, who use the bass as more of a solo instrument then anything else? Do you think they’re breaking some kind of unwritten rule of being a rhythm men as a bass player?
    5. Who do you think was a bass player that really showed what the electric bass was capable of? Why?
    6. With all the various techniques that have been discovered on all the many types of electric basses (tapping, chords, slapping, etc.) Do you think there is still room to innovate, or have all of the technical tricks of electric bass been tapped out? Why?
    7. What part of a groove do you think a bass player and a drummer should lock onto?
    8. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the best thing you could do?
    9. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the worst thing you could do?
    10. Any advice to aspiring bass players?
     
  6. I'm not exactly sure how luthier specific this thread is so i am going to move it. I'm trying Misc for that.
     
  7. JP Bassman

    JP Bassman

    Jun 18, 2001
    Jersey/DC
    well hell, im not a pro, so here we go - hey that rhymes! :)


     
  8. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    JP Bassman, that's my favorite responce!! Totally right on that.

    JP Bassman wrote: "9. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the worst thing you could do? let the guitarist win"
     
  9. JP Bassman

    JP Bassman

    Jun 18, 2001
    Jersey/DC
    hehe, thanks

    its the truth though :)

    -jayp
     
  10. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I think I'm going to start a "Why do you hate the guitar player?" thread.
    God I hate any lead players! Not bass players playing lead. I'm talking about the Violin, Trumpet, Sax, Guitar players that have always had the lead in a tune and that leads them to believe they are more important. I understand that you must have some sort of lead to have a tune.(most tunes anyway) But everyone does an equal job preforming their part. The additude is not warranted.
     
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    meshing tightly with the drums. not just the down beat, or any particular accent, but with every aspect of the drum part - the drummer and bassist should write their parts together. in my band, whenever i am writing a bass part, i am always contemplating what the drums would do with it, and how to make it tight.

    the bass and the drums should almost sound like one instrument. that doesn't meant that the bass should be burried - listen to the mp3 in my sig, and the bass is anything but burried ;), it just means that they should mesh. this is especially important with more intricate, busier lines.

    they go hand in hand. the bass players that were recognized as the best were the ones who realized this and applied it to the songs they were working on.

    electric bass is substantially easier to fret notes, as well as to get a usable tone. double bass's biggest advantage technique-wise is the availability of arco and pizz playing, as well as the ability to not be able to fit your instrument in your car ;).

    dude, i play 7 and 8 string bassists. the rules haven't applied to me for a long time ;) :D. as for the soloists, hey, that's great, whatever floats your boat, that's what i always say.

    in spite of my instrument choices, my favorite bass players all played 4 strings for most of their careers, and were band players, although someone aggressive ones. :D

    remember, composers were writing complex, "non-support only" parts for bass range instruments since bach. the "support only" role of the bass is a relatively new development in music, driven by folk music and early pre-jazz, both of which usually had relatively simple bass parts.

    on one hand, i'd go with the whole "jaco" thing just because of when he did his thing, he opened lots of doors for people.

    on the other hand, i don't think we've seen yet what the electric bass is capable of. with all the advancements in technology available today, there's definitely new bass range sounds to be had.

    not hardly - see previous post.

    new stuff being done every day - just gotta have some imagination and skills to come up with it.

    i don't understand your question. all of the groove.


    mesh with your band and serve your personal artistic vision simultaneously.

    here's a few...

    not server your own artistic vision, or to not have one. to be a musician, one has to have a vision of what one wishes to say, musically. the role (bassist, guitarist, etc) should be secondary.

    not listening to what's going on - it's great to be a fast player, but the Prime Directive is to mesh with the drums and sound like a band, not a bunch of guys playing independantly in a vacuum.

    learn how to read, practice your stuff every day, don't compete with anybody but yourself take it seriously, but not too seriously, have lots of fun and don't let anyone, regardless of their experience, tell you that what you do or what you want is "bad", without showing you something better.
     
  12. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    1. What is the most important part when it comes to establishing a groove of some kind with the rhythm section as an electric bassist?
    The “Groove” is one of the most difficult to define aspects of music. It has many facets. For some it might be a very tight, locked and mechanical uniformity in the rhythm. To others it is a looser and more syncopated interplay between the component players. To some it is defined as an ever-changing dialogue between the rhythm sections players. In truth, the groove is something which is felt and not easily described. In all situations it features an almost telepathic communication between the players; an ability to hear and feel beyond what is actually being played, and having instincts to navigate the tune, and groove, in tandem with the other rhythm sections members.
    An often taled of aspect of the grove is the “pocket”. This too is a phenomenom which escapes accurate definition. In some music, the pocket is formed by the bass and bass drum locking together with absolute precision. It might also be considered as an ever-expanding and contracting web of rhythm in which the bassist and drummer are continually switching roles, leading each other in an ebb and flow of lock-step togetherness and funky syncopations.
    For a bassist, the ability to “hear” the rhythm, and thus the groove, react to it and engage in some sort of rhythmic dialogue is paramount. To develop this skill is to go beyond metric acuity and into the realm of “deeper” music; music which seems to have a life of it’s own.

    2. Which do you think is the most important part of bass line, a good melody, or a good rhythm?
    Music is composed of melody, harmony and rhythm. Each part plays an important and significant role. At different times, in varied genres, one aspect may take a leading role, but this does not imply any hierarchy. All three elements are equally important, for the absence of any one leaves an absence of music. A good bass line, while commonly thought of as a rhythmic component, is also the primary harmonic signifier, defining each chord, as well as providing a melodic voice, even though this voice is sometimes quite minimal. A good bassist should have skills and understanding of all three components of music. Having said that, I might point out that one of the greatest basslines of all-time, “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone (with Larry Graham on bass) consist of no more than two notes in the entire song. It is very rhythmically insistent, harmonically sustinct, and melodic in a most minimalist fashion.

    3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to playing an electric bass compared to playing a standup bass?
    Practicality for one. The upright bass is a cumbersome instrument to travel with, tricky to amplify, and physically challenging to play. But to be fair, besides sharing the name “bass” and the same standard tuning, the two instruments have very little in common. The techniques used by each are very different, as are the resulting tones. To compare the two is really like comparing apples and oranges.

    4. How do you feel about virtuoso bass players, who use the bass as more of a solo instrument then anything else? Do you think they’re breaking some kind of unwritten rule of being a rhythm men as a bass player?
    Well, I am one of those players! My position on this is why is there an unwritten rule of the bass being a ponderous, thumping “pitched-drum”? When I first started playing bass, I felt there were enormous possibilities for expression on this instrument. As I began to explore those possibilities, the more resistence I met from other players who seemed to enjoy the fact that the “role” of the bass could be dictated by people who did not play bass. Why is that so? The role of any instrument is dictated only by the music being played, and in truth, any music CAN be played on any instrument. The traditional role of the bass is a good role, an important role, and one I embrace as a studio and session player. But I also feel compelled to explore the other possibilities. Why can’t bass play a beautiful melodic line, or be the lead voice of an ensemble. Why can’t you play chordal passages on the bass? To say you cannot is, to me, much like telling a pianist he can only play with his right hand. The bass guitar is really only about 50 years old, and so is very young as far as instruments go. We have only begun to explore the musical possibilities of this instrument, and I personally feel a responsibility to explore those. In exploring these possibilities, I have made a career for myself as a solo bassist. But I also play the traditional role of the bass, and enjoy that very much also. When you regulate what an instrument “can” or “should” do, you limit it’s potential for artistic expression, and you limit the art itself. Music, like all art, requires new innovation, discovery and re-birth to remain dynamic and vital.

    5. Who do you think was a bass player that really showed what the electric bass was capable of? Why?
    I really don’t think there is just one player. There have certainly been innovators and vanguards, but each of them “borrowed” something from their influences, and sometimes those influences were not bassists. Stanley Clarke was enormously influenced by the music of John Coltrane and his techniques on saxophone Stanley adapted to the electric bass. Jaco was influenced by Sinatra. Michael Manring by Charles Mingus…the list goes on. Musicians, like all artists, influence each other, and with each influence a mutation happens. Those mutations appear as innovations. As far as showing what the instrument is capable of I think we have only just scratched the surface.

    6. With all the various techniques that have been discovered on all the many types of electric basses (tapping, chords, slapping, etc.) Do you think there is still room to innovate, or have all of the technical tricks of electric bass been tapped out? Why?
    Yes, of course. I am always looking for new techniques for expression. The trick there is not to get buried by technique or allow technique to overshadow musicality. I play fingerstyle, slap, tap, chording, looping etc. I also have borrowed techniques from 20th century classical composers like John Cage for “preparing” a bass with found objects. I use an Ebow. I have adapted several flamenco guitar techniques for my bass playing. I think it is very important to explore, discover, play around, think outside the box so to speak. The possibilities are nearly limitless, and if we give up exploring and trying them out, well, to quote a wise-man: “he who is not busy being born is busy dying.”.

    7. What part of a groove do you think a bass player and a drummer should lock onto?
    This goes back to the first question. This is totally dependent on what the music calls for. In some instances it is required for the bass to lock with the kick drum. In others, the bass might be required to accent off the kick drum, or dance around it, as is the case often in reggae music. If you take into consideration Ornette Coleman’s Harmelodic Theory, the bass and drums need not “lock” at all, but rather should engage, along with the other instruments, in a musical dialogue.

    8. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the best thing you could do?
    Listen, react and play with conviction.

    9. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the worst thing you could do?
    Not listen, play without responsibility, and ignore the value of silence.

    10. Any advice to aspiring bass players?
    To play well takes a deep commitment, one that cannot be taken lightly. Learn how to listen. Strive to find your own voice on the instrument, for your voice is unique in the world. Honor efficiency, as well as necessity and sufficiency. Strive to make music, not just sound. Relax. And remember, in music the only mistake we make is failing to learn from the mistakes we make.
     
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Originally posted by No Name Here

    1. What is the most important part when it comes to establishing a groove of some kind with the rhythm section as a electric bassist?

    >Locking in with everybody else enough so that you can do your own thing, yet not loose sight of the intent of the song.
    --------------------------------------------------
    2. Which do you think is the most important part of bass line, a good melody, or a good rhythm?

    >Both. Possibly a good solo or interesting noise as well.
    --------------------------------------------------
    3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to playing an electric bass compared to playing a standup bass?

    >Apples to Oranges, IMHO. I don't play upright though, so theres your grain of salt.
    --------------------------------------------------
    4. How do you feel about virtuoso bass players, who use the bass as more of a solo instrument then anything else? Do you think they’re breaking some kind of unwritten rule of being a rhythm men as a bass player?

    >Art is art, for good or ill. Questions like that are entirely subjective. I do see some resentment from four string root-five players on occasion, talking about the role of the bass, who needs seven strings, etc. Who needs any strings? Why play music? Choice is good. I happen to like all the interesting stuff going on with bass these days.
    --------------------------------------------------
    5. Who do you think was a bass player that really showed what the electric bass was capable of? Why?

    >Jaco, showed us the grace inherent in the instrument, though there are a lot of people really. Some modern ones include people like Les Claypool, who does weird things with bass, Jonas Hellborg, and folks like our own Steve Lawson, Max Valentino, and Mike Dimin, who take looping and solo bass to the masses.
    --------------------------------------------------
    6. With all the various techniques that have been discovered on all the many types of electric basses (tapping, chords, slapping, etc.) Do you think there is still room to innovate, or have all of the technical tricks of electric bass been tapped out? Why?

    >There will never be an end to what people can do to a string and a pickup. Look at the ebow, Tony Levins finger stick things, etc.
    --------------------------------------------------
    7. What part of a groove do you think a bass player and a drummer should lock onto?

    >I also need clarification on this one. I'm going to go ahead and guess the hamstring though.:D
    --------------------------------------------------
    8. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the best thing you could do?

    >JT's answer is perfect.
    --------------------------------------------------
    9. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the worst thing you could do?

    >Play by yourself. I've seen far to many bassists (and everything else as well) doing nothing but showing off technical skills. This reveals a weakness as a musician. -Timing, compostion, other things are also very important You must be one with the group.
    -------------------------------------------------

    10. Any advice to aspiring bass players?

    >Practice, get a teacher, never let anyone tell you what the bass is "supposed" to do or what it's "role" is. -As a musician, you need to define that for yourself.
    --------------------------------------------------
     
  14. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
     
  15.  
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Thanks for starting this thread. There's a lot to think about here, and I love to learn new things. I'm not going to be able to answer any better than what the others have said, so I'm going to skate.
     
  17. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000

    1. What is the most important part when it comes to establishing a groove of some kind with the rhythm section as a electric bassist?


    As has been mentioned before, timing is a key issue. Timing is basically everything, no matter what instrument you play. Locking in with a drummer is very important. It's something that I don't believe theory can really explain, it's just something you have, or you don't. The drummer is the foundation by which the band should follow. Though I know in my band, me and my drummer have gotten to the point that I can take the lead in certain parts, and he will follow me. Establishing a musical relationship with your drummer is one of the most important aspects of being a bassist.


    2. Which do you think is the most important part of bass line, a good melody, or a good rhythm?


    Well, I think it really depends on the song you are playing and what you are going for. It also depends on the direction of the rest of the music. A melodic part, underneath some beautiful major 7th chords would be great, but probaly wouldn't really be practical underneath some heavy thrash metal riffing. If you are playing in a cover band, I think that, ultimatley, a good rhythm is the most important, cause chances are, people are coming to see you for the purpose of dancing.


    3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to playing an electric bass compared to playing a standup bass?


    I've never played a DB, so I can't comment.

    4. How do you feel about virtuoso bass players, who use the bass as more of a solo instrument then anything else? Do you think they’re breaking some kind of unwritten rule of being a rhythm men as a bass player?

    The primary function (IMO) of the bass is to be a rythm instrument with a certain sense and control of melody. If a bassist can first, perform this role well, then I believe the best and most natrual progression is into the more advanced technique and soloing. There's really no rules written for an instrument. I'm tired of hearing the fuddy duddies putting down extended range basses. The argument they always use is "If you want more strings, buy a guitar". I always ask them "Then if a Tenor Saxophonist is going to buy a Soprano Sax, should he just go and buy a flute instead" It's all about the individual, if musician's stayed within the "Mainstream" boundaries of their instruments and art, then music wouldn't have progressed very much.


    5. Who do you think was a bass player that really showed what the electric bass was capable of? Why?


    A lot of people would say that Jimi Hendrix opened a lot of doors for guitar, which he did, but so did Eddie Van Halen, Tom Moreleo, Django Rheinhardt, Tim Burton, Chet Atkins, Steve Vai, Wes Montgomery, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, ect.

    Same goes with the bass guitar, Jaco and Vic Wooten opened a ton of doors and defined what the bass guitar could do, but so did Geddy Lee, Cliff Burton, Duck Dunn, James Jamerson, Bootsy Collins, Flea, Stanley Clarke, ect.


    6. With all the various techniques that have been discovered on all the many types of electric basses (tapping, chords, slapping, etc.) Do you think there is still room to innovate, or have all of the technical tricks of electric bass been tapped out? Why?


    I think there will always be someone doing something new and fresh, but I think it's a lot harder to be orginal nowadays. The bass is 50 years old, and it's grown up really fast. I think the mindset is not to intentionally set out to be different, and just go to where your playing takes you. As was already mentioned, technology has an important part of progression. This is very obvious with guitar players, Eric Clapton wasn't really doing anything different than what BB King did, he just played it through a fuzz face.


    7. What part of a groove do you think a bass player and a drummer should lock onto?

    It depends I guess. Sometimes you want to be right in the pocket, somtimes not. It's something that you should be able to feel. Another one of those things that theory can't really explain. I'm currently playing with this one drummer, for a recording project I'm going. Now don't get me wrong, he's an awesome drummer, but his kick is very mechnical. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just the way his style of playing is) His kick kind of reminds me of Shane Evans from Collective Soul. It's both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good cause it's really easy to lock in on the beat, but the bad thing is, is you really can't play in front of beat or behind the beat and sound good at the same time. Again, it goes back the to drummer/bassist relationship. If you play with one band, then go to another, the first difference you are going to notice is the drummer.


    8. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the best thing you could do?


    Music is art, art is communication. Not only are you communicating music to the audience, you are communicating with your bandmates up on stage. It's very important for you to listen to how the music is going. You would soon feel if the music needs some major bass embemlishment, in which you could pull out a fancy run or lick, or if you need to back off and just ride the root, or play a more simple part. One thing a lot of bassist don't pay attention to, that they should, when choosing, notes/runs to play, is the melody line. The melody line has a major effect on what should be played underneath.

    In turn though, the band should listen to what you are doing. When a guitar or a piano takes a solo, you usually don't chance your volume or attack. You play the passage as if it had a vocal line above it. It's the frequency and just plain nature of the bass that makes it different when soloing. It's not going to cut through as easily as a guitar or trumpet, so it's up to your band to back off if you plan on taking a solo. The guitarist usually backs his/her attack off, and the drummer should lay back and maybe just do a hi-hat/rimshot type thing. Listen to about any jazz record to see what I mean about band dynamics when it comes to bass solos.


    9. When playing in a group as a electric bass player, what do you believe is the worst thing you could do?

    Some people are worried about "not putting enough in" but some fail to realize that there's a such thing as "putting to much in". It goes back to feeling what the song needs. I know it's quite cliche to say, but sometimes, "Less is more". I think a good example is "Freshmen" by the Verve Pipe. Their bassist doesn't do anything fancy, but his bass line fits the song perfectly. It's what is known as "being tasty". Sometimes the same goes for jazz even, I've heard bassist play root/5th in jazz numbers because a full fledged walking line would mud the song up. When you play music, the song should be the star first, then you the star second. If you are a musician just to satisfy your ego, you better find a new hobby cause you're going to be really frustrated.


    10. Any advice to aspiring bass players?

    Try to learn as much as you can. Be open minded and always respect other musicians and other, (even if they aren't that great) and other musical styles, cause it takes balls to get on stage or walk into a studio and open up yourself like that to the world. Be prepared to face some crappy times, cause being a musician, things aren't always going to go your way, espcially if you start gigging professionally. Still, if something about your playing situation is bothering you longterm, find a way to change it, cause staying it that position could make you bitter about music for the rest of your life. When joining/starting bands, pick players based on their musical abilities, but also pick players based on their personalities. You are going to be with these people alot, if you aren't compadible with the others, it's going to be a bumpy journey. Be willing to except constructive critism because you will receive it a lot. Don't listen to malicious critism, cause chanes are, the people dishing it out are just jealous of you. When you become a muisican, you are going to have to make some comprismises, there's no two ways about that, but still try to keep your intergrity, cause when a crappy time hits, you can at least say you still have your intergrity and your talent. :)