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Root note vs. Soloist...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by EEbass04, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. EEbass04


    Dec 28, 2001
    Lee's Summit:MO
    Well I was thinking tonight as I was trying to play Victor Wooten and I'm starting to realize that I'm not a solo bassist and thats not what I want to be. I know some of you don't like it. But I think it takes a real man and talent to sit back and play root notes and slight fills. I think thats what a bass was intended to do. I think Victor sounds awesome and all. But I like what I do and I think I'll stick to it. Have any of you ever felt this way or the opposite before? Please share your opinions, I would like to hear what you think.
  2. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I feel the same way, EEbass04. Some of the things guys like Victor do with a bass is nothing short of amazing, but I am happy just playing "meat-and-potatoes bass," with the occasional lil' run thrown in to let everyone know I have a little creativity in me! ;) I'm a simple man, why shouldn't my lines be simple as well?
  3. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I'm not a root-note bassist or solo bassist.

    Root note bashing is the dumbest boringest thing on the planet and I'd shoot myself if I did it.

    However, I believe soloing is considering as playing a solo through the song.

    I just play a line with lots of extra notes and good sounding fills, pretty much like the bassist of Anti-Flag. I don't consider that soloing, because I'm playing the root-note, but with lots of fills, not bashing.

    It sounds the best to me and I enjoy playing it so there ya go.
  4. EEbass04


    Dec 28, 2001
    Lee's Summit:MO
    I agree with you Lefty. I want to write some short solos for my band. But I just have trouble sometimes getting my rhythm guitarist to understand why I don't write hard rhythms to go with our songs. But my lead guitarist is smart enough to realize that were a rock band and I'm here to fill out the bottom end and add some touch in occasionally. I'll get my chance for a solo someday. I'll mix slow and rhythmic with fast stuff(IE Kirk Hammett on bass :D ). I may even put pinch harmonics in my solo!!! ON bass :cool: !!! Were working on recording some of our songs soon. Maybe I can post them on hear for you guys to listen too. I don't think you'd wanna hear our practices though. Hehe, thanks for the quick responses!
  5. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Yeah, that's why I hate playing rock. I like playing stuff like Ska or Punk or stuff with a lot of bass work.

    I could never understand how a bassist could live playing with a band like metalica or something.
  6. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I think that I would call what play groove-oriented. I don't just hit the root all the time but at the same time I try not to noodle all over the fret board. I think the trick is to find where the bass "fits" in song.
  7. istaticl


    Nov 29, 2000
    Prescott, AZ
    I think a lot of people would agree that Metalica's bass work is much better than most of the punk out there.
  8. Right now I´m into the Helloween style bass. Playing along with the guitar for the verse, go to the bridge and play something more difficult (not along with the guitar) and go back to root notes i the chorus. And then something harder in the solo part of the song to. The song I had in mind was Eagle fly free (from keepers of the seven keys part II). I want to be a bassist that combines root playing and solo.
  9. ill play a lot of the 'meat and potatoes' bass, but with a twist. quite a few of my lines arent root notes, but harmonies. my lines then stand out more, instead of just bieng low end filler (which i really have no problem with, isnt that really the bassist's job?) and usually i'll add "mini-walks", just one or two notes in between the main notes of the line. every once in a while i'll bust out a nice ska line, or some octave work. but its still great to just sit back and just totally rock out those root notes.
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    The bass is intended to make music. It's an instrument intended to help someone's creative voice be heard. There are certain roles it can fill, but it can not be pigeon-holed into one particular function.

    I take no offense to your statement, I am what I call a "rhythm-section" bassist myself. I play for the rhythm section, not as a lead instrumentalist. Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorious were/are amazing bassists who can supply a bass line that is a "rhythm-section" bass line, or they can play a solo or lead piece. Some do both, some do just one.

    I just don't think that one particular thing or another is what the bass was "intended to do."
  11. I agree with everything here except the misspelling of Jaco's last name. :p :D Another A+ post by the Jazzbo.
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I can't understand why people make a distinction between "groove oriented" playing and "solo playing guys". Who says if I can lay down a great solo that I'm incapable of grooving by butt off?

    Like Marcus says, you should be able to lay down the fattest groove and blow the baddest solo.
  13. Very true, but I'd be happy to be able to groove well. :) One step at a time for me! I do certainly agree that a distinction really doesn't need to be made. Music is music. If it sounds good, then that's good enough for me.
  14. I admire the guys that can rip out a good solo, but I can't play like that, so I don't. I approach my playing like Jazzbo said, and rhythm-section player. Lock in with the drummer, and keep the song tight, so the guitar player can find his way back in when he gets lost.
  15. EEbass04


    Dec 28, 2001
    Lee's Summit:MO
    Since we all know they need that so often :D
  16. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Sometimes you have to ride the root note. There's just no way around it, if the song got too busy, it would sound terrible. You know what I mean? There's a few songs that are all root notes that I enjoy playing. I don't know why, maybe it's because I like to listen to the song also.

    On that note, as much as I love metal, I would never want to play it full time. (unless it was prog metal like DT, or metal with intricate bass work like Athiest) I wouldn't mind being in a band that did the occasional Judas Priest or Ozzy cover, but I couldn't play that all night.

    As far as soloing vs. groove playing. First I believe as a bassist, you should be able to groove well. Then if you feel like you want to solo, solo like Billy Sheehan like it was international solo day, with an automatic soloing machine. ;)
  17. I find it interesting that most of the posts in this thread are about playing along with the guitar (or not.) I find the really good bass lines I play are really syncopated with the drummer. It doesn't matter (to me) if a bass player is "grooving" "rooting" or "soloing", but if s/he cant keep it in time with the drummer, its sh*te.

  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    No! That's over-playing or just noodling!

    As PacMan says - you should be able to both play solos when required and groove or lay back when necessary - all the bassists I like, can; but they also know when to play simple lines and when to embellish or take a featured spot.

    That's good musicianship and what we should all be aspriring to - if you want to be an under-achiever and limit yourself - fine; but don't justify it by saying that it's somehow the bassist's job!
  19. Josh Ryan

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

    Mar 24, 2001
    I have no problem with this post except for the line "I think thats what the bass was intended to do." Who gives a #$%# what anybody except the person currently holding the bass intends it to do. I really hate it when people try and tell me that as a bassist I have a role to fill, probably as much as you hate people bashing you for playing root notes etc. Play whatever the #$#$ you want and do not tell others what to do.
  20. NioeZero


    Sep 2, 2001
    It's all about what you want to do, how your instrument meshes with the rest of the instruments in the band, and what can be done in the context of the song.

    Personally, I take a solo whenever I feel the song calls for it. I play a straight eighth note line when the song calls for it. I scrape the strings with my thumbnail through distortion and flange when the song calls for it. I use a slide, an E-bow, my whammy bar, pluck behind the nut, etc, etc, etc.

    I think music has progressed to the point that anything is an acceptable expression on your instrument. Whether you happen to be a root noter (Michael Anthony), a percussionist (Fieldy), an amazing soloist, (Stanley Clarke) a total whack job, (Les Claypool) multi-part bass composer (Michael Manring) its all valid expression.

    The bass guitar has a lot of ground yet to be broken. I don't think any of us can deny that.

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