Too "busy" on the bass?!?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RiZzBot, Sep 7, 2016.


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  1. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    So my band is in the process of recording a low budget demo. I'm laying down tracks on bass and the guitarist tells me that the bass sounds too busy. What the he**?!? I told him to define "too busy", and of course he couldn't. Not the first time I have heard this. My question to you guys is, what's the definition of "too busy" as it applies to the bass? Why is it too much sometimes and not other times? We're an original band that plays a little rock/reggae/blues. I think I do a decent job of locking in with the drummer. I play what I hear and feel in my soul. It's not like this is some huge production by some huge record label, paying all kinds of cash. We're in my shed recording off a $500 Sonus studio. I hate the term "too busy", and It makes me feel oppressed as a bass player in general. So the next couple track I purposely go way too busy, just to piss him off. My response to him; deal with it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    It's just what guitar players say when they're insecure about getting all of the audience's attention. I think your response was appropriate. Also might try telling him "too busy" after his big solo.
     
  3. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    if we're talking basic R&R or Blues, then too busy = playing too many notes between the kicks.
    Many bass players are guilty of it because apparently, it's just too hard to keep it simple
     
  4. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Post a clip ... let us hear what he hears. Just because he's a guitarist, and you are happy with your bass part, doesn't automatically make HIM wrong. I've heard many bass players who play too much. And don't tell the guitarist he's too busy after his solo ... that's what his solo is all about! Wanna show off? Ask for a bass solo. In my band your "deal with it" response would likely result in the BL dealing with it, and you looking for a new gig tomorrow.
     
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  5. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    Right on :laugh:
     
  6. JLY

    JLY Supporting Member Supporting Member

    We have to pick our spots

    Sometimes there is room to move
    Other times we should just keep the groove
     
  7. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    I don't know that it's necessarily an attention grab on the guitarist's part. He may find your parts distracting or not conveying the vibe that he wants to hear underneath his playing.
     
  8. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    It's a good thing we arent a real band. Just a couple of 8 to 5ers looking to get our wiggles out on the weekend.
     
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  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    If it's the band leader (and employer) saying it, then you do what they say or leave. If it's just a bunch of people playing together, then do what you will and let the chips fall where they may.
     
    HolmeBass, bebi, Dean N and 4 others like this.
  10. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    Please bare in mind that I am a novice at best. Keep the harsh criticism to a minimum. jkjk I'm pretty thick skinned, let me have it. :D

    Carolyn | the Skunk Brothers
    i smoke | the Skunk Brothers
     
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  11. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    This has been my approach thus far. Probably why I cant find a steady gig.
     
  12. Wolfenstein666

    Wolfenstein666

    Dec 19, 2014
    Discretion is the better part of being a bass player. I love busy basslines and I work really hard on some of mine, but there is a time and a place ESPECIALLY when you're playing with more than one guitarist or rhythm player.

    I'd say a line is too 'busy' when it sonically starts to stomp on everyone else's bits or just muddles the whole thing down in general.
     
  13. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    Canada
    if it's not the first time you've heard then maybe it's you.
     
  14. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    Not too busy, IMO. That's nice playing that suits and propels the tunes. But hearing the guitarist, I don't think he comes from as much of a reggae background as your playing comes from. He may expect more of a root-5th thing going on.
     
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  15. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    Thanks buddy. I guess I need to look more into this. The line between just right and too much is so blurred to me that I end up all over the place sometimes.
     
    Twocan and Wolfenstein666 like this.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I didn't listen to the clip because in my opinion, whatever we think about your playing is irrelevant. A band has to function like a team -- especially an originals band -- and everyone should be open to hearing their bandmates' opinions. You're playing it the way you hear and feel it, but evidently that's inconsistent with the way he hears and feels it. You both need to be more open-minded, discuss it like adults, and try to find a way to play it that everyone is satisfied with.
     
  17. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    That's exactly what he tells me. "dude stick to root and fifths". Thanks again buddy.
     
    LowNloud1 likes this.
  18. Wolfenstein666

    Wolfenstein666

    Dec 19, 2014
    Ugh. Musical death (IMO)
     
  19. Atshen

    Atshen Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    I can't remember who said that, but some famous bassist said "It's much harder to play only the right notes than to play all the notes" or something like that.
     
  20. RiZzBot

    RiZzBot Drunk + bass + broken strap locks = :'( Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2014
    210, Texas
    We've discussed this till we're both blue in the face. In the end, it always boils down to me reminding him that we dont get paid for this, and him him calling me an a****** and storming out. He always comes back though, so we must be doing something right.
     
    DannyNFLD and ThePresident777 like this.
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