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Steve Bailey-Anything New With Him?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I haven't seen a thread about him in quite a long time. The new issue of Bass Player has some pics of him playing a Warwick ( :confused: I've only seen him playing Heartfields and his Arias) fretless at their anniversary shindig. Other than that I haven't heard anything about him in a while.

    I've always had a love/hate relationship with his music. I really like his playing a lot of the time, but I also am not a fan of his particular fretless tone and sometimes some of his techniques (octave displacent and false harmonics) get a little overused. What do you guys think of him?
  2. I think he's quite impressive; I have not really heard any of his music, but being one of the instructors at WootCamp, I got to see his stuff up close.

    Tremendous intonation.

    He plays thumb position on an electric...looks kinda weird at first but you stop laughing when you hear a bit of it.

    He is a funny guy too...another member of the 'short bass players club'...which includes Adam Nitti and Victa too. :)
  3. ive never heard anything ive liked out of him. bad intonation,solos,tone etc. maybe im missing something.
  4. I wish I was related to him.

  5. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I don't know if it's just me but I can't stand his intonation at all. It sounds way off to me all the time. Does he do that on purpose or is my ear just bad? :confused:
  6. I can't say I've ever sat down and listened to him but I've heard enough people question his intonation to know I probably wouldn't like it.

    I don't really understand the thumb position thing either. Most people can reach, with extensions, just as far with all four fingers as they can using traditional thumb position technique.
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    He uses it for upper-register work. It allows him to easily fret high up on the B and E strings with his thumb and fret the higher strings with his fingers. He gets a really good reach with it-also it's pretty difficult to fret high up on the lower strings while playing higher strings with standard hand position.
  8. Steve's a friend of mine and will be releasing another solo album in the coming months.

    I'll chime in and add that I'm not a huge fan of his tone, but it works for what he does.

    as to his intonation... wow! I've never heard anyone say he's got bad intonation! I studied with him for a solid year and the only time I heard him mis-fret a note was when he was trying to prove a point.

    the best thing to so is to hit his site and contact him directly. he's a busy cat but he's pretty good about responding to email.

    as Pete pointed out, he's also a really funny guy and a great teacher.

    from the lows,

  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I think his tone and manner of vibrato might give the illusion of bad intonation. I've got a couple albums with him and one of his videos, and his intonation is pretty great if you really listen, particularly to the notes with no vibrato.
  10. theres no illusion, hes got bad intonation. apparently im not the only one that thinks so. swooping and sliding around on fretless and not landing on notes solid is in bad taste anyway. listen to bailey and gary willis back to back and tell me if you still think steve plays in tune.
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I actually did that today before you even posted this :D Willis is better, but I also believe Willis has the best intonation out there (my favorite fretless player-he's like a machine). They also have drastically different styles of play. Willis doesn't make those giant position shifts nearly as often as Bailey, so he's not going to hit sour notes nearly as often. I still believe that his tone and manner of playing results in it sounding like off-intonation. My main reason behind this thought is that I've heard him play fretted six as well, and it sounds almost the same.
  12. well youre either in tune or youre not ;) i dont know about sounding like off intonation but really being in tune. theres some pretty out sounding intonation on the bass extremes disc with wooten even when he's not making any big postition shifts.

    we can agree on willis though :D i just got some tribal tech soundboard boots in last week from 2000 and he kills. theres a smokin' version of actual proof they play.
  13. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    It's good to hear he has a sense of humor, he always looks grouchy in his pictures :eyebrow:
  14. I just searched out this thread as I just watched Bailey's instructional video this weekend - and I have to say it didn't do a lot to change my opinion of his playing - which is that I don't like it. It's not his intonation or his picking technique or anything like that - he has these things down at a very high level - perhaps too high. What I dislike is his music, it all sounds the same - I've never heard him play a phrase that just makes you go "Oooo, that was nice" - it's all showy 'fretless' sounding playing (way too many slides for starters).

    I am a huge Willis fan as well and many other people who play fretless amazingly well, (Jaco too) and Manring is also incredible on fretless - he is particularly good and at playing a note or phrase that is so full of emotion, another thing completely lacking in Bailey's playing. Manring (and Willis) can also write really great 'tunes' that don't sound like techno burn-outs for 'muscle-man' fretless players - I am in awe of Bailey's consistency over an un-lined fretless six string - that takes a lot of work to master in the way he has - it's therefore an even bigger shame that all his achievments on the instrument seem to be technical - plus I think he wins my award for the least funky bass player ever, all those super-fast fingerstyle funk lines lack even an ounce of synchopation; he seems like a lovely guy, fundamentally a great musician, and a great teacher - I just feel he's lacking a lot of heart and soul in his music - IMO. :meh:
  15. hey urb,

    all's cool. I think since Steve was predominently a sideman and a session cat that his playing reflects that. you should also realize that the tunes he played on the instructional video were placed there for the sake of illustrating technique. remember too that the video was shot in the late 80s and that was all the rage.

    Steve can and does play simply and emotionally, but funk isn't his strongest suit. he can groove quite well when he wants to. there's a tune on a T. Lavitz album that Steve provides bass for called "Young Circle" or "Youth Circle". it's basically a revamp (no pun intended) of Jaco's version of "The Chicken" and Mr. BAiley keeps it happening!

    you might also want to check out SB's upright playing to catch a whole different facet of his playing.

    I think that some of what he does with Victor Wooten in Bass Extremes is pretty hip. have you checked out his line in "Rainey Daze". simple and tasty! it percolates like coffee!

    from the lows,


    ps - I'm not trying to change your opinion or sway you, but showing you that there may be some stuff you haven't heard yet.
  16. Hi Stew,

    I have the bass extremes CDs and I like quite a lot of the music - even though it's bass player's music, so not that accessible to some - and I think Wooten helps bring out a different side to Steve's playing, but I strongly feel that he's a classic case of incredible technique over emtion, it's his phrases that seem to lack any kind of feeling, maybe it's just how he plays things that I don't get on with - I hate to say it but I don't like his tone either. I think he has done a load of good in terms of teaching good stuff about bass - the exercises for intonation, fingerings, picking etc are all sound and well founded on good musical principles - it's actually his solo stuff - the power trio stuff - that just sounds nasty, in a bad way - to my ears. Some people (including myself) say the same of Bill Dickens when it comes to playing slap super fast, again with little emotion - or if there is any emotion the notes are going by so fast it's hard to appreciate it - but then people will testify to Bill's great musicianship and sensitivity as a person - which again I don't doubt for a second. The point is that guys like these teach some good stuff then sort of explode with a lot of very excessive technique and not a very substantial musical statement to back it up - IMO.

    Having said all of that I have heard Steve on double bass and he sounds great, loads of tone great phrasing and more of a pocket - so there you go.

    This isn't a personal dig at Bailey or Dickens - they whip my butt in the bass stakes anyday, and if I met them I would be honoured - but just a musical POV on some of the stuff they set up as an example of how to play 'well'.


  17. hey M,

    I'm not taking what you said as a dig, I just wanted to make sure you had a complete picture before you made the statements, something one sees a bit on TB. personally, I have no problem with anyone expressing his or her opinions as long as they're informed. you obviously are.

    in point of fact, I'm really a fan of Steve as a person and as a teacher. he's been a good friend when I was a young, unsure player and he sold me my first 6-string (back in the 80's). I prefer his work as an accompanist than his compositions for the most part (have you checked out his work on harpist Roberto Pererra's first album?). I have never been a fan of his tone, particularly in the higher registers, but you'll never mistake him for anyone else!


    keep to your guns, man: TB needs cats who can express themselves!

    from the lows,

  18. Thanks Stew - I hope my opinions are well informed. I've checked out Steve's stuff for over ten years now so I am very familiar with his style - I guess I just wanted to through in my $0.02 on his thang - that's all.

    I'm just listening to 'Pocket Full Of Funk' on the BOG website and I'm digging your lows man...great stuff - I have a kick-ass funk band too, called Jasco - it's good stuff - should have the website up soon.

    Best wishes

  19. hey Mike,

    thanks for the kind words about the BOG. it's a really fun group to play with. I certainly stretch more in other situations, but there's a very specific discipline to playing in this band.

    I believe I saw part of a Jasco live performance video. female vocalist? wicked groove? if this is the same band, I dug it, man! good stuff!

    from the lows,

  20. The very same (Jasco that is) - thanks for the big up - love your take on Birdland too - let me know if you ever get your butts to London - you'd go down a storm here.

    Cheers dude