Tips on making up basslines, any,??????

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Obsolex, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. Obsolex

    Obsolex Guest

    Nov 17, 2002
    Anyone have ANY tips on making up basslines for songs? I'm starting to play with this band, and they have about 4 songs done already, and I really need to make up some grooooooovish lines for them.
  2. Learn scales, and listen to the kick drum.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Learn a few songs by other bands in a similar style and try to understand how the bass fits into the song. Then, without copying note for note, try to use that knowledge to build lines for your songs.

  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Detune one or more strings one or more halfsteps.
    play your usual lines/fingerings or experiment.
    When you find some cool line, relearn it in standard tuning.
    Also, shift the rhythm. Start the line some 8ths or 16ths earlier, or play it as an offbeat. Use syncopation.

    These tricks can help you play stuff you normally wouldn't think of.
  5. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    play with a metronome or drum track or loop ALOT!

    set yourself a tempo and work out a rhythm pattern on the root, interacting with the beat. Add some embelishment from there.

    I'm assuming by your website this is a 'funky metal' band. Listen to the guitar, drums and voice... find the part that fits.

    I find a bass line that is made to fit the song works out much better then one that is wrote to be a 'killer' bass line.
  6. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    Get a few CDs by jazz bassist Ron Carter.

    He's really way above better than most other bassists - including the much beloved Jaco on this site!

    Ron Carter is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo versitile. He has backed more fine musicians, than just about most other bassists.

    For electric rock style bass, go for Jack Bruce.
  7. learn the guitar line's and base what ur playing off of that,
  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    No shortage of opinions ;)

    So, Obsolex, whaddya goin' to do?

  9. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    A simple and quick trick here - play the 3rd and 5th with different timings, 3 steps above the roots, and play the minor 7th scale .

    Very jazzy.

    Always practice with a metronome, or drum loops.

    An expressive and melodic bassline will lingers on. While a fancy, fast solo will usually be forgotten shortly after the show. Especially for the non bassists audiences.

    Unless you're Ron Carter, Ray Brown, Jaco, Stanley Clarke, or Wooten. Forget about solos. Most can't bass solo. Most bass solos are just clinking noise, especially with slappings.
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Where Ob. is coming from (judging by the profile) I think the number one step is learning a few lines by other bassists. There's no better way to build a vocabulary, and it it would be better to sound a bit like Les Claypool, Victor Wooten, RATM, Flea/RHCP, Primus, Ryan Martinie, Mudvayne, Tool, etc (probably - I've not heard all the groups / players mentioned ;) ) than like somebody just playing scales over the song (the danger of starting from the theoretical approach without also 'paying your dues' to those who've gone before....)

  11. Obsolex

    Obsolex Guest

    Nov 17, 2002
    All sound good. I really like JMX and Wulfs suggestions the most...
    But I will learn scales, and get a metronome soon, and download Ron Carter.
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ron Carter is a DBer, one of the best Jazz DBers at that. I don't know if you'd find much if you just searched under the name Ron Carter, but he did some very good work with Herbie Hancock (e.g. Maiden Voyage), and Miles Davis' ground breaking quintet of the 60s, with Herbie, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams.

    Not at all, I suspect, the style you're looking to play here, but you might like it. Are you into acoustic Jazz at all?
  13. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    There's been alot of good tips here. But, I'll add my 2 cents anyway.

    Synching with the kick drum is good, and it works for certain styles but not all. Personally, I don't listen the the bass drum as much as I listen to the hi-hat and snare. The hi-hat is where the time is at. Whenever you hear the drummer going off on something whether it's jazz or rock or funk, the hi hat is usually the steady. That's what the drummer uses to keep their time. You should too.

    The bass and snare generate the feel of the groove. Pay attention to those. As far as I'm concerned, kick, snare and hi-hat are the main drums for the groove (ride cymbal every now and then). The other drums are embellishment.

    If you're going for funky, remeber to play the one (first beat of a measure) with authority. You can fill in the rest with whatever. Lose the one, you lose the funk. Nuff said.

    Learn the chord progressions for the songs. If it's more riff-oriented, then learn the riffs (I'm sure guitar player would have no problem showing them to you). If it's more chordal, then know the intervals of the chords they are using and figure something along those lines. You don't have to play the notes of the chord, just use it as a basis. For example, if the chord is an Am, use the A,C,E,and G in some combination to convey a minor feel.

    Here's another cool way to come up with stuff. Play along with a drummer, drum machine, loop or whatever. Groove on one note. Doesn't matter the style, rock it in straight 8ths like Steve Harris or heavy on the one like Bootsy. Then add another note. Use those two notes to groove, then add three. Groove on three notes for a few minutes, and the next thing you know you are playing Hip Hop. Anyway, whatever style of music you're into, beginning with simple grooves is a great way to get the feel for a style of music. If it don't groove, it don't work.

    Another thing is to sing or hear the bassline in your head first. Usually when you are starting out, it's easier to hear the bassline in your head first before it actually sprouts out of your hands. Listen to the tune, and think about what would sound cool there. Once you have the idea, figure it out on your bass. It's kind of like figuring out a tune, except it's one of your own.

    Good luck
  14. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    True. Ron Carter is a jazz DBer. But it really doesn't matter. Since he's still bass playing. All the finer points still apply.

    It's just like whether you drink black coffee, or with creme or sugar.

    All the fundamentals are similar.

    BTW. Get Ron Carter's solo releases "Spanish Blue", "Blues Farm", and "Bass and I" if you can.

    For example:
    My only formal music trainning was about 10 years of classical piano, before I picked up the guitars, then, the electric bass (Fender fretless P.) :)

    I've found that my piano trainning, and; understanding of musical theory, have helped me tremendously. It was a piece of cake, when I picked up the guitars and bass. I am able to incorporate different styles, the different techniques together with my playing, because of my piano trainning. And make my music sounding more multi-dimensional and more interesting.

    Since "All roads lead to Rome." So, why not start early?;-)

    But it took a lot of time before I could do that.

    I no longer need riffs and chops. Now, less is more.

    I also agree with Wulf about 'paying the dues.'
  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Far be it from me to disuade anyone from listening to Ron Carter - I've got a couple of his albums from that I really enjoy.

    However, I'd take a broader, more liquid view of bass playing styles. If jazz is coffee, then other styles might be represented by tea, fruit juice, water, etc.

    Where my metaphor breaks down is that you can mix across genres without creating something disgusting ( ;) ) ... but if your band is the style of, say, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'd suggest putting Flea's bass lines at the centre of your 'curriculum' and keeping Mr Carter's for 'extra credit'.

    On the other hand, once you've heard people like Ron Carter, Ray Brown, etc, you may want to play in a different sort of band :D

  16. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003

    Fair enough. That's why there're different kinds of music.

    I never mean to copy exactly note by note, line by line. Just take out the appropriate elements, and utilise them according to your own playing. Groove and harmonising. Didn't Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker used a lot of jazz elements when they were playing with Creme? Also Noel Redding with The Jimi Hendrix Experience? To name a couple. :;):

    I am very against the dead-end street - 'genre' thingy. Why everything must be labeled? And why so many think that once you have played in a certain style, then, you're casted for that style only?

    I'm not trying to put down anybody here. But why you cannot improvise, even when you're doing covers?

    For example: Donovan's "Seasons of the Witch." I know of 2 excellent improvised covers by others. One was by Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger's Trinity; the other was by Mike Bloomfielf, Al Kooper and Steve Stills from "Super Session.". All three versions are beautiful, but all are different than the original by Donovan.

    Agree. Also, try Charlie Haden, Eberhard Weber.And Miroslav Vitous (especially if you're bass solo/slap happy.) :)
  17. Have you considered listening to other bass players? :meh:
  18. sexyphatty


    Jul 11, 2003
    start by outling (arpagiating) the cords you are playing over. then listen very closely to the kick, and the melody. after that you will find something very cool right in the middle.
  19. It doesn't, but if you play like Ron Carter on your Ramones cover band's version of "Molly's Lips", you get problems with issues of suitability and taste. In fact I would go so far as to say Mr Carter's playing, though exceptionally fine, is totally irrelevant to the fine art of playing "Molly's Lips" properly.

    You make a cake with egg, flour and water. You make garlic roast chicken with garlic and chicken. Put a few ingredients in the wrong place and you don't have a new recipe - you've got a bin job. It's not that you can't cook a whole bunch of new things when you try different combinations, it's that there's no ingredient in the world that goes well with every dish.

    I'm trying to say, take whatever you need from wherever you find it. As opposed to taking Ron Carter and trying to fit him into a garlic chicken recipe.
  20. Scales....i started learning them about 2 weeks ago (I know, late starter) but I thought "Who needs scales?" I had a closed mind, and scales, although they may look complicated and daunting are actually easier than you think once you get into them.