Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by kevbass5, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. kevbass5


    Jan 18, 2008
    This may not be a question that can be answered


    what is taste, exactly?

    without trying to get to philosophical, although this probably is a philosophical issue, how can something as subjective as taste be defined objectively?

    for me, tasteful bass playing entails serving the music, before serving your ego. but i'm not sure this really covers it all...does tasteful playing also have to be creative, original, elegant even?

    can something tasteful to one set of ears be boring to another? or cheesy, and stale to another?

    how can a musician strive for taste, if taste is not defined?

    if a player is pre-occupied and self-consciously thinking about taste, has he sabatoged any chance of creating a tasteful musical statement?

    is it possible to make an objective judgement? (i.e. 'bassline A is tasteful, bassline B is not')

    my apoligies if this went on too long (or doesn't make any sense) any input or thoughts would be greatly appreciated
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Taste is interesting. I think it lies somewhere in between serving something completely, while also innovating, WHILE ALSO referencing things that are "cool", yet slightly off the radar. Sort of a weird combination of those three elements.

    It usually also means saying a lot with a little; in other words, understated yet intriguing or having character.

    Anyone else?

  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I'll try, although I have to admit his questions made my brain hurt ;)

    Taste to me is playing the best possible thing you can for the situation. It's not a constant and it's never only one precise thing that can work, although sometimes it is.

    Does it have to be original and elegant? Nope, but often it is.

    Can something tasteful to someone be distasteful to someone else? Absolutely!

    How do you strive for taste although it's not defined? Good question, one that I have no answer for, other than developing your skills and standards, striving for excellence at all times, and trusting your judgment and the judgment of others you respect or others who are paying you to be tasteful.

    Do you sabotage yourself by thinking about it too hard? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes you have to think about it, sometimes you just let it fly and sort it out later.

    Is it possible to make an objective judgment? Yes and no. Everyone has different tastes and standards, but it's often pretty obvious when someone "phones it in," so that's pretty objective.

    It ain't an easy thing to put your finger on, that's for sure.

  4. kevbass5


    Jan 18, 2008
    thanks for the responses guys, they make alot of sense

    furthering this discussion:

    how do you feel taste or style in life in general relates to musical taste and style?

    for instance, was miles' legendary musical taste just an extension of his all around supreme badass-ness as a person? was whatever it was that allowed him to be so hip in his dress, speech and general M.O. the same thing that informed his music, which is one of the gold standards of taste and hipness?
  5. Pops McSlappy

    Pops McSlappy

    Jun 11, 2008
    I think something needs to be said about an element of confidence too...confidence to either lay back and let your statement and purpose be minimal, but also the confidence to maybe push the boundry of taste a bit in the name of art. I'm sure countless many didn't see the expression of, say, Serge Gainsbourg or Thelonius Monk or Television or Jimi or much of Miles' music as 'tasteful' at the time....but they maybe re-defined the boundries of taste slightly and are classic standard-bearers now. Bass-wise, I bet the same could be said of McCartney, early Haden, perhaps Chuck Rainey....

    ...and doesn't hurt that they were all natty dressers at the time, I'm sure!
  6. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Inactive

    May 8, 2008
    Taste is sophisticated, elegant, laid-back but well-done. It's like wearing a simple black suit and adding a nice, subtle red tie.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ya, like Rodney Dangerfield ;)