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The Bass Groove is Spiritual

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by GlassNotes, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. GlassNotes


    Jul 6, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I have a grand daughter that asked me recently why I played bass. There was a sequence of events that eventually made the bass guitar a good fit. Piano theory and lessons through childhood, drums and percussion through middle school and high school in tandem with bass on the side. It made logical sense that I stay with bass ‘cause I didn’t have to carry as much equipment after dealing with keyboards and drum sets.

    The bass is a spiritual instrument that shakes the soul. It moves the listener in ways no other musical instrument can. It’s the ingredient that unifies a group. I play with passion and desire as if each track recorded or live performance would be my last. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to fill the roll of bass player in various venues. A bass note is like a cool autumn breeze, with teeth!

    I wanted to bring up an article in “Bass Player – Get Into The Groove - May, 2004 by Ed Friedland”. His description of what the bass represents has been captured within:

    “No single idea sums up the essence of bass playing better than the groove. Those who have it live by it, and those in need of it seek it out like the Holy Grail. But what exactly is the groove? The work “groove” is often used to describe a rhythmic style, as in a “shuffle groove” or a “funk groove.” Another definition is a bit more ethereal: Groove is the energetic force created by an individual or group of musicians through the act of playing. This energy is what makes people bob their heads, tap their toes, and shake their booty to music. Although this definition implies the presence of a steady pulse (as in dance-oriented music), groove can also be present in other forms – such as classical music, where the tempo may vary at the direction of a conductor. If we accept that groove is energy, then it is essentially the life force behind music. It is not bound to strict tempo, but it is most often linked to it. Time and groove are not necessarily the same thing: it is possible to keep strict, metronomic time and still not groove, and it is also possible to rush or drag a bit within a tune and groove hard. From the bassist’s perspective, it’s ideal when time and groove are both present. Most of what we bassists do involves working within the framework of a song’s tempo, so it is our primary task to create “groove energy” in real time. Developing your ability to groove is an important part of being a successful bass player, as other musicians depend on you to do your part in creating this essential element.

    The groove is an organic thing, like a flower: It starts with a good seed and needs an environment fertile with nourishment so that it may flourish. When it’s fully grown, it becomes a thing of beauty. The groove is also somewhat of an enigma: You can’t touch it, but you can feel it: you can’t see it, but you can watch its effects. It can be powerful enough to move thousands of people, but you can kill it in an instant with a simple thought. When people play together and groove, the energy passes among the players and opens up a group link to its source. Everyone feels it, and the experience forms deep personal bonds. This energetic exchange creates a euphoric state that all musicians have experienced, either as listeners or players. When that chill runs up your spine, it’s the groove – the reason we play. The groove is serious business: It is something to honor, serve, and protect. If you mess with it, you’re in deep trouble.”

    Bass players are fraternity that all too often wears no crowns in this life but we are the very foundation where life and energy evolve musically. Thanks for reading.
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I have that issue of BP, and that's my favourite article I've ever read in it (or any) mag. It was actually the first thing that came to mind when I saw this topic!

    Huge +1 from me on this one.
  3. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I think i'm going to print that off and get it laminated to put on my desk/wall at college as a reminder of what i'm there for beyond the whole social elements of it-i'm there to further my ability to groove.

    Definately a great quote/phrase.

    That's all

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