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Stupid Tendancies

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Barnacle Joe, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. hmm wonder if thats how you spell "tendancies" Anyway sometimes when I play the bass i tend to act as if it were a guitar and end up overdoing stuff, it gets annoying, every once in a while something will come off cool sounding but yeah it's usually just too much. The other day in church I agreed to practice with the people who do the sunday morning music, a lot slower and calmer than our youth band stuff, and I decided to just chill and play the basic roots of the chords and it came off...good, but boring to play. better than it would have if i did the other weird stuff, but then again the music is a lot different. Anyway when you play general "rock" (how more general can you get?) is the general consensus to stick with root notes or would you say it's ok to jam out a little, and what do you suggest doing differently to keep from getting bored, or is it just something you catch on to eventually? What a weird, ambiguous, and just plain difficult to reply to post!
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I find with slower stuff where you're playing roots mostly, I like to fiddle with the rythm of it. Find where the rests fit, and feel the beat more than the melody. Or you can throw in a 5th or so in there for good measure. In most of the slower church music, simple is good, and you can add a splash of color, but not a lot. No excessive fills, riffs, or any such thing. If you concentrate on the rythm of the song, it will keep you plenty busy.
  3. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Really lock in tight. If you are playing mostly roots and slow concentrate on keeping the timing. Just b/c you are playing roots doesn't mean that it is boring. Also, you can add color, just not too much. Yeah throw in a chord tone here or there. DO a suttle build up on 3 and 4 leading back into the one.

    At times like these I like to to keep in simple and concentrate more on how the group/band sounds as a unit than just my individual line.

    Just remember to play what fits the music...if that is roots then it is roots.

    screw with the rhythm of the tune...just make sure the drummer is ready for it.

  4. Thanks a lot, occasional fifths can jazz things up a little bit, and playing with the rhythm will definantly make things more enjoyable.
  5. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Music should breathe.Oftentimes less is more.Everyone goes through the stage of trying to play everything they know in every tune,that's not how it works.Listen to the people you are playing with and try to compliment what they are playing.Good music has alot of question and answer type lines in it where you play a phrase ,then play something that completes it.Play off another persons idea,pretty soon you'll start reading each others minds.Always have fun ,even if it's simple stuff.Approach every tune with enthusiasm, like it's the first time you've ever played it,especially when it's not.
  6. Ok try to take my advice with a grain of salt because I play mainly metal and although we do play softer stuff all the things I will write here might not translate well to your church music.

    First of all I must say that Trevorus advice was exellent, most of the times just playing roots and carefully placing som rests in nice places will work great and give the song a great vibe. As for those things being boring the only thing that I can say is: Dont be so occupied with what you are playing. Try to really feel the music and listen to the others. It is very likely that you simple but tightly played rythm will give the song more emotion than any fancy fretwork can.

    One other advice that I can give you is from my own playing. I dont play fretless( cant afford one yet) but sometimes when Im writing softer stuff I try to use more fretless related tecniques, just playing really smooth. As for noteselection I imagine myself to be a singer hitting the bassroots on every new chord and connection the roots with a smooth melody, like if you were a singer spilling your heart out over whatever emotions you have.

    Sorry for soundig a fruitcake at the end but I couldnt explain it in a better way right now. Hope that helps
  7. My music teacher always said to me when u play a note make sure you mean it!
    At first I wondered what? Then when I came to play ballads that meaning came to mind ie. note duration from all my experience ballads or in your case slow church music roots are the best option as a few clour tones here n there as mentioned
    Try different note durations eg. holding the note for its maximum length or staccato or playing legato etc .
    Listen to mariah carey's ballads or any ballad that play basic roots but more importantly listen to how there notes hold or are displaced
    I find to me personally ballads are challenging for me then say funk b/c when you hit a bum note it certainly stands out whereas funk you can still recover
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    You can find spots where you can do nice smooooth tenths-sliiiiiiides; if you know your keys and scales (like you should) then you could play a whole tune using chord-root on the E and (maj or min) tenth on the G - You don't have to pluck two simulteanious notes with the same force, you know; you can experiment with how much tenth just colors, and at what point it starts to sound like a harmony. You can work at playing a root and it's octave real clean and precise and simulteaniously. Of course you can find tasteful places to go unison with the melody for two or three notes. You can play nice, tasteful, bell-like harmonic pings after a nice, solid, sustaining root-hit. Are there any maj or min 7th chords? - there was a thread posted just in the last couple days that has some great instruction on what you can do with those.

    I don't know what kind of church music this is, but isn't there like a piano score for at least some of the tunes? You're saying that the bottom line on the piano bass clef is just chord roots? At my Presbeterian Church, if someone told me "We'd like you to play the bass lines out of this here hymn book" I'd be far from bored - I'd be scramblin' (and SCARED)!

    I mean I guess I don't get this 'Bored' thing. Something's wrong - are you're bored because the music is dragging (playing with poor musicians; no groove)? If that's not the case then I'd think that a bored bass player alone WILL make the songs sound draggy and out-of-groove. You'd best figure out the problem if you're not sure what it is, because you could be wronging your church brothers there if you have a wrong attitude about your calling as a bass player - making music rightly is a pretty spiritual (or at least metaphysical) kind of thing, I hope you know. I mean like even in the case of a junior-high football team; if a player is just a little 'bored' with playing (ESPECIALLY if he SAYS SO), then a good coach (one who wants to win games anyway) shouldn't even put him onto the field!

    Jace said it best: "When you play a note, make sure you MEAN it!"

    Think about this stuff, Man. I mean to help you love the bass. Bass is rather a 'High Calling', if you ask me.

  9. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    Excellent point! You either know what you play - and play it well in some time, or not. Dont play like a fool/machine/dumbass, play with passion, and your notes'/rests' durations will be alright, and you'll play exactly what is supposed to be played.
  10. Thanks for the advice Joe P. I play weekly with the youth group, the music there is sort of a mix between our simple made up stuff and other simple made up songs, and its a lot of fun, the drummer and guitarist also happen to be the drummer and guitarist of our other band, so I'm used to how they play. The music there is a bit more I dunno upbeat than the sunday music, but not to say the sunday music is downbeat, its just more churchy sounding, there's piano two guitars and drums, the lead guitarist isn't the best but he does alright as long as he can stay in the right box, but it just seems to require the bass to be more of a rhythm instrument (which i guess is normal now that i think about it) than a little bit of rhythm + lead. The "only play a note if you mean it thing" really set in, lately I've got more used to playing bass than guitar and have chilled out a lot, now I don't really have a problem with playing just what I'm supposed to play and no longer see it as boring. Actually because of my work schedule I probably won't be doing any of the sunday morning stuff anymore, not very often anyway but it was a good experience to play with different people and more people than usual. Oh yeah the music, we just have a paper there with the guitar chords (the guitarist and I share the same sheet) and I just play the roots of each chord. There might be a piano score but I can't sight read bass clef at this point (working on it).
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Joe said:
    "...not to say the sunday music is downbeat, its just more churchy sounding"

    Hi Joe -

    I know what you mean; I can think of one from ol' Covanant Reformed -
    It goes:
    Hark, ten thousand harps and voices
    Sound the note of praise above!..

    Very churchy, yet very upbeat! (...even when I'm sitting there on two hours sleep after a Saturday night gig)