technical prog...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Musicman1901, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Musicman1901

    Musicman1901 Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Hey guys. I have always been in rock, funk, or jazz/fusion style bands. I have recently been getting into some more complex heavy stuff like Animals as leaders, intronaut, mastodon, and the faceless. I really don't know how to approach this style playing wise as I have never done anything like it. Any tips on how to break into that style of playing from some people who are experienced in that genre? Thanks guys!
  2. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    I personally don't play it, but there are some amazing players in the genre. Here's an interview with Joe Lester from Intronaut that's kinda fluff, but whatever:

    Jeroen Paul Thesseling did some nice work on fretless for Obscura. A lot of his playing is melodic. Steve DiGiorgio's contributions to Death and Randy Coven's work with Ark are in a similar vein.
  3. I've been playing (or attempting to play) that kind of music pretty much since I started playing.

    One thing is to know your keys and time signatures very well, if you don't already from your jazz backgrounds.

    The other thing interesting to note about progressive music is that it's rarely as complicated as it sounds. It does still tend to have its roots in rock and metal. There are, of course, a few exceptions (obscura, as listed above, would be one) but for the most part they have their roots in metal, jazz, and early stoner rock (Sabbath).

    Some of it you have to count and some of it you have to feel. Tesseract is a band where I would be 100% lost if I had to count it, so I had to learn to feel.

    Get your playing chops up to speed for sure. Most progressive bands go from finger picking to slapping to tapping. I still only do the first one well, I don't have a particular need to play the other two styles but I dabble a little in them.

    Also, learn your scales. So much of it will make more sense if you know your scales, particularly your diminished, minor, harmonic minor, and your basic modal scales.

    Learn the song really well in your head so that you're able to feel and hear the beats. That will help immensely with playing music from other people. For writing your own, I would get into some jazz and some classical in addition to some good old metal.

    Hope that helped.
  4. Musicman1901

    Musicman1901 Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I am quite confident in fingerstyle,slapping, and picking. Never really got into tapping although i'm sure it would help. Maybe I will start with learning those scales you listed and maybe a few covers from bassists in that style to get a feel for it,
  5. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    I wish that there was some more input here. I'm a fan of Mastodon. I'll be going to see them next month. :hyper:

    I'd be interested to hear about some different approaches people might have. Even though I know it can be completely different from song to song.
  6. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    What exactly would you like to know? I've mainly played in hard rock/metal bands with prog leanings for years now and would be happy to help with whatever I can, but I don't really know where to start if the question is just "how do you play this style?"

    Many of the players from the bands mentioned in this thread play extremely differently -- and Animals As Leaders doesn't have a bass player, but rather two guitarists playing very low-tuned guitars.
  7. the_hook


    Apr 9, 2008
    You know I thought if I played enough Prog Metal and Rock on bass, that at some point all of that technical sheet music knowledge would seep into my brain and I'd understand complex time signatures, scales, modes and chords.

    Over the past few years I've played with some serious, experienced guys (guitar/drums). We've covered stuff from Rush, Mastodon, Porcupine Tree, Yes, Dream Theater and the like. I even play keys/pedals and program sequences and play bass over them.

    I learned all my parts from either tab, sheet music, or both (usually Guitar Pro). I've found mistakes and can even fix them. Yet I still have no clue what Key I'm in on any song, the time signatures, scales/modes or chords. And it hasn't helped me come up with my own stuff or learn theory any better.

    So now I've gotten together with an 8-string guitar player and his drummer. Guitar player has a number of his own songs he wants to work on and I'm just going to learn everything I can and contribute any bass and keys parts where I can. I've got the physical, technical proficiency down, so I'm ready to tread the path in this direction with the right guidance.

    My advice would be to do the same; first learn songs from these bands and play them with others, then find guitar/bass/keyboard players with that advanced knowledge and work with them on original material and work out your bass parts with them together.