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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Jun 10, 2001.

  1. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    What is the best way to go about writing ska lines?

    I know major, blues pentatonic and dorian mode scales. are there any others I should learn or will they do?
  2. dude........we r like the only people that like ska i think but hey!!!! most ska pieces r diatonic, kinda hard to explain, best thing is to ask a very good teacher or jazz player to help u with them, coz they r really hard to explain. they r the main ones. also, u gotta think about using octaves on ur bass, ur hand will easilyfit into the octave position, and basically all the notes around the octave. also, u gotta think about harmonic intervals, like fifths and fourths. basically, the fifth is the same fret but a string up, and the fourth is the whole tone below that, quite simple!!!! best advice i could give u would be to go to someone that plays bass for a good band, and ask them for advice. they can then write out lines and scales to use and/or adapt, if u see what i mean!!!! also, u wanna learn to play fast, coz some of the lines r very difficult if u can't play fast!!!!
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    IMO, Ska(like Reggae & Funk & Swing & on & on) is a feel.
    I would sit down & listen to some 'old school' Ska + some recent Ska...now, ask yourself this: WHAT IS 'IT' that makes this tune Ska? Is it the notes? Is it a certain scale? Is it the overall vibe?
    As far as 'feel' goes, there's seems to be a certain bounce to the bass...you can play your Dorian mode, your Blues scale, your Major scale, etc. What's impotent to me is HOW those notes are played; you can play some lines with a swingish feel, you can play some notes legato or full value, you can play some notes staccato, or some combination of staccato & full value. Also, don't forget about SPACE; a musical rest is like a breath, a caesura(ever see Eddie & The Cruisers? ;) Depending on how you 'breathe'(that is, how/where YOU insert these timely pauses/rests)will seperate YOU from everybody else...I'm sure you've heard this: "What you don't choose to play is as important as what you do choose to play".

    I've written one Ska-ish tune-
    (I programmed a very basic/stock drum part)
    Kick on 1 & 3
    Snare on 2 & 4
    Hi-Hat playing all 1/16th notes

    I assigned a pretty quick tempo & began playing around tryin' to find "something". Anyway, the bass part I came up with was played 1/2 as "quick" as the drum pattern...kinda like a drummer doubletiming to what the bass is doin'.
    For guitar, I only played the chords on the backbeats(2 & 4)...
    If interested, here's the chords I used for the verse-

    See what kinda line/part you can come with...lemme know! ;)
  4. Zjarrett


    Sep 17, 2000
    triads...lots and lots of triads. Chromatic runs are also an option ala matt freeman. Check out Catch 22, in particular Keasby Nights off the Keasby Nights CD, not a bad tune and its pretty simple
  5. Moonraker


    Mar 7, 2001
    I like to try and work out some ska style bass lines
    , it is best to just fiddle around and find a kind of pattern. Walking basslines are a good start as well.
  6. liran


    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Ska is great,
    Ska is great music and try and turn more people onto it. but when writing ska basslines, u gotta use diatonic and kinda write jazz basslines with swing in it. know ur chords and play them in progression.(walking basslines) knowing the chords of all of the key's is a great asset to your playing. it might take a little while, but it is worth it.
  7. liran


    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    LONG LIVE SKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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