1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Tips for playing Melodic Bass anyone?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by StrudelBass, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    Does anyone have good informtion on playing Melodic Bass? I'm interested in learning this style.
  2. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hope this isn't a silly question (forgive me, my mind is foggy tonite :D), but by your question do you mean how to play more melodic basslines (rather than lines such as walking bass, rhythmic lines, basic rock lines, etc...)?

    That said, I love playing melodic lines. The key to it is (just like everything else) practice. Try your hand at some classical pieces (such as Bach). My teacher brings in sheet music from his upright bass books. Herein are many melodic bass exercises (great for technique).

    I'm not exactly sure what you are asking. :confused:
  3. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    Yeah, sorry, I knew I didn't prove enough information.

    Really my question is "How to play more melodic basslines".:)
  4. Think in scales, for starters.

    And learn to progress from one scale to another, and from different keys.

    And improvise many variations.

    Also rhytmic versatility: not just all eight notes or fouth notes. Use different timings, different note lenghts after each others.

    Don't know if I can help you anymore. It's just a feeling you need to devellop.
    I'm really addicted to complex melodies.

    Try listening to progressive music, european folk or as Stephanie said classical. I really like Bedrich Smetana.
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Transcribe solos played by non bassists.

    By "transcribing", I don't mean notation, but learning the solo or the vocal melody. Try to reproduce the same inflections on your instrument. John Patitucci says he transcribed a lot of John Coltrane to become a better soloist.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The thing I have read as a tip for melodies is to get the line to flow. So - most catchy melodies don't necessarily jump about all over the place - each note follows naturally from the last.

    As Doryan says - you need to practice scales, but linking them logicaly together to form tunes. Play scales so they sound like music and then try to put parts of scales together in "musical" ways - so it sounds like music rather than just bits of scales.

    The thing that helps you to achieve this is thinking ahead to where you are going and achieving a smooth line that makes sense, both in terms of the linear flow and the appropriate scales for the harmony/chords.
  7. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    I would recommend that you practice arpeggios, that is chord tones, more than scales. Scales do not sound musical.
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Play more melodies.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Did you read my post? It depends on how you play them and you can always take notes from different scales to form melodies.

    As has just been pointed out the most obvious way is to play more melodies ;) - but if you're actualy going to create your own melodic lines then you will have to have a thorough knowledge of chords and scales - but just playing arpeggiated chords is not necessarily melodic in any way!
  10. QTraXQ

    QTraXQ Guest

    Aug 16, 2002
    San Antonio, TX
    Check out some Led Zeppelin. There are some Melodic Lines in many of their songs. Check out Stairway to Heaven. Do the Keyboard parts that are in the song also. another song is "Good Times Bad Times", also "What Is And What should Never Be". Maybe even, "Hey Hey What Can I Do".

    They basically show you good places for Melodies. They are not Very Complicated Melodic Basslines.

    Try them out..
  11. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I was serious! What can teach you more about playing melodically than playing melodies? Nothing I can think of.
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I just thought of something else that can teach you more about playing melodically:

    Play More Melodies! :D
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I believe you should forget the scales, forget the arpeggios, forget everything you've ever read in a book about music, close your eyes, fill your heart with love, and let that love flow through your chest, down your arms, into your fingertips and out into the vibrations of the stings on the bass. Let your fingers and your whole body sing, forget there's such a thing as a note or notes. Take your time, if you feel like letting a note ring for 4 measures do it, feel it in your whole body, experiment, be free, and create..... and do it a lot. Ahhhh...............

    I think it's also good to play nursery rhymes a lot, christmas carols, and the melody instead of the basslines to songs that you like (I think that's what they're talking about above).
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm also gonna put it a vote for "play more melodies."

    I would also like to add to the "listen to:" list, jazz. While the rhythmic part of jazz bassplaying is king, the melodic element is never given it's worth. No other music genre I can think of has a bassplayer that pays as much attention to the harmony, interacting with the melody of the tune. A natural lineage from there would be James Jamerson.
    Imaginary Pony likes this.
  16. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Melodies are what I tell my students to do. Try to "sing" the melody of the tune through your instrument. Make each note flow into the other. A good bassline should flow just like the melody of the tune. I make the analogy of playing connect the dots. The notes are the dots and the phrasing is the lines between the dots. A lot of bass players can play the dots, being able to play the "lines" that connect the dots is where you get solid flowing (legato) basslines.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  17. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    For one thing, listen to a lot of Paul McCartney's bass work on The Beatles albums.

    2nd, if you are working on original material in a group, don't try to fit a bass line along with the guitar or treble clef player. If you do, you'll probably end up just playing the root.
    Instead, just listen to the vocal track and imagine a bassline in harmony with the vocals.
  18. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    IMO playing melodically really requires good ears and the ability to play what you hear.

    If you're thinking about playing your own melodies, I'd agree with learning some non-bass solos (especially brass) as being the easiest way to develop the necessary skills. Also, if you're humming a tune in your head, try to bang it out on your bass. Many, many melodies were first "composed" in hum format.

    As usual, SLED FROGMAN is dead on - playing melodically is not much different from any other aspect of playing bass - just a combination of hearing, technique and musical knowledge.
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    That's all well and good, but if you haven't internalized all of those things that you talk about "forgetting" through lots and lots of practice, nothing will ever come out of your instrument but what you already know how to play. You are what you eat. Eat nothing, and you'll become exactly that eventually.
    SBassman and Art Araya like this.
  20. Transcribe the kinds of melodies you want to play from recordings.

Share This Page