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Solo Licking

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by darth, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. darth


    Mar 18, 2003
    I have been playing for a little over a year now, self taught, i know my scales and modes from the net.
    I think i can make decent bass lines so far, but whenever i attempt to solo in a jam i end up playing somethin very rythmic like just another bassline.
    a bass player once told me there are lick books for bassists to practice just as lead guitarists do.
    but where i live there are virtually no music books whatsoever.
    long story short, i was wondering if any of you great bassists outthere could point out some licks and moves for me to practice with.
    thank you for your time...
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    One of the problems of taking a bass solo in the middle of a jam is that the whole feel of the song will change without the bass to drive it along. That's not necessarily a bad thing - variety is good - but you've got to listen to what else is going on and make sure you're fitting with that.

    One way to approach it is to play the bassline but spice it up a bit. For example, if you're playing a repeated riff every bar, trying playing it once every two bars instead, creating a gap.

    Now, drop a couple of notes into the empty bars. Don't try to do too much but just add a bit of colour to contrast with the riff. That way, you keep the groove going but still get to pop a few notes over the top.

    Another approach would be to work with one of the other people you're jamming with - if they can pull some good solos out of the bag, why not ask them to:

    a) hold down the bassline to keep the groove going

    b) teach you to play some of the things they've play if you were playing the bassline (d'ya follow?)

    My third suggestion (probably enough for now) is to listen to lots of recordings of others doing solos. That includes all instruments, not just bass. Find some that sound simple and see if you can work them out. They may not fit exactly, but you'll find that you develop a vocabulary and ear to build your own solos on demand.

  3. darth


    Mar 18, 2003
    thanks a lot man,
    actually most of that is what i attempt every time.
    you see for example there is an intrumental we play every time that i came up with, everyone plays a solo in it except me, whenever i want to attempt one, out guitarist plays the same rythum for me, and i end up making a new riff or a bridge, ... granted spiced up but still bassline,sometimes i even find myself running up and down scales............. i just wanted to know what are the fundamental tools of starting to call it a solo? some stock licks i should know?
    as far as theory i know and practice all scales with different intervalic aproaches , and i listen to all kinds of music with bass solos but i dont know what to fit in my own song to quialify as a solo!
    may be i should just give up soloing:bawl:
  4. Watch those thread titles. Please. :D
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK

    The number one thing to bear in mind is that it takes time. If you don't 'get it' even after this thread has been filled with sage advice, that doesn't mean you should give up... just keep pressing on.

    Anyway, assuming you've got that, here's a few more ideas:

    1. It's widely agreed that a good solo isn't just pointless noodling over the top of the rest of the musicians. Playing scales is a starting point but you want it to sound like an expression, not an exercise.

    2. Don't take too long a solo - 128 bars is a long time to fill with something interesting ;) On the other hand, something like 8 bars is relatively easy to give structure to.

    3. Can you get a recording of the backing you'll be playing over? Take it home and just sing over the top of it until you come up with something you like and then try to figure out how to play what you were singing. There are a lot more technical barriers between the imagination and making a sound on the bass than there are between the imagination and your voice (allowing for the fact that your singing is in private and doesn't have to sound tuneful or pleasant to anyone else!)

    If you want a short 8 bar solo idea, how about using a form like ABAC

    A - one bar of the underlying riff and then a couple of notes that give some contrast
    B - one bar of the underlying riff and then a few different notes... if you went up last time, come down this time
    A - exactly the same as the previous A... this is helping your 'solo' have structure
    C - some kind of variant that contrasts with all of the above.

    You could also post the riff you are working on here - either a link to a sound file or some tab to give the general idea.

  6. darth


    Mar 18, 2003
    thank you so much for your help Wulf .
    I am working on it, and hopefully within (near) future jams, i come up with something decent and send it to u
  7. chris griffiths

    chris griffiths

    Aug 20, 2002
    nashville tn
    Endorsing artist: Gallien Krueger
    hmmm maybe listening to some soloists who really know what they are doing. if you get the new Oteil and the peacemakers CD not only does he have some decent solo space on that cd but it comes with a DVD with a bass instruction where he talks about soloing. also 3 note sequences can help build chops. so if your playing the major scale, play it over 2 octaves 123,234,345,456 and so on and so on till you get back to the original phrase then move up a half step and do it backwards. this will build your chops and give you some phrasing ideas

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