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too much technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by sometypeofplay, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Just wanted to get some opinions on this topic. After a recent show, I was talking with some of the other bands on the bill and it was a general concensus that bass guitar in the 90's suffered from the same problems that electric guitar suffered from in the 80's. Too many players with incredible ability, and too little to say. There was much more emphasis on how many strings you had, and how fast you could play. Do other bassists agree or disagree, and is this still a problem?
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I'd argue that that was the 80s rather than the 90s. Who did you have in mind specifically?
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    really? I'd say the 90s and the 00s is more about the bass wankery than the 80s. I mean, sure there was some stuff going down in the 80s, but, particularly the pop scene, was littered with synth bass everywhere!
    (of course I'm only speaking from reference to the recordings of the era, not actual experience, I was a pup in the 80s)

    but like, in the 90s, we got all these cats trying to be victor wooten x 10, you got flea and Les claypool wrangling in a whole generation of slappers trying their hardest to be fast and flashy just like their heros.

    But then again, if you saw it in the 80s, perhaps it's the type of thing that happens every decade or so.
  4. fallon


    Jul 6, 2003
    I still get confused with opinions like that.Why,Why,Why and Why again do so many of you guys demean slap bass???????? This is a style and and an art form and also,a skill.If you are so upset by the style and are allowed to continually frown on it,eventually we all will become club bassists,content with simple backing bass-lines ala ' Country Roads' or Beatle-esk simpledom.Accept the bloody style or admit that it is not for you,but stop this continual slagging.That said,stay cool.Scotland's slap bassist.Fallon.www.7dd.co.uk/~fallon Have a listen to 'Temper'...a big hit in Scotland,or Scatland as you say in America;-)
  5. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    It's not the style to don't approve of. Its the people who butcher the style in an attempt to be "cool". You can wank in any style you want and its still wanking.
  6. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    I would say the 80's for bass was by far the lamest! 60's, 70's awesome 90's, 00's decent.. late 60's and 70's my fav by far. But I am hearing a lot better bass playing now than I have heard in a long time. These guys now are actually trying different new stuff. But most 80's cover songs I do have a tired bass line. It seems the low end in the 80's was taboo. It was all about falsetto vocals and crazy ripping guitars. Even the mix back then we call it the "80's sound" high ear bleeding treble, less mids, non existant lows......Bad.
  7. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
  8. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Wouldn't call all of McCartneys work simple.

    listen to Maxwell's Silver Hammer a few times. It's better than any mainstream bassline out right now.

    I have no problem with slapping. I have a problem with slap lines that consist of simple octaves hidden behind half a million dead notes. The dead note should always be used as seasoning to a cool line not be the majority of the line.

    Difficult technique is good when used in moderation.
  9. LASLO


    Feb 1, 2004
    slap is a technique, so while your at it, why dont you guys who down slapping take a look at pick playing, or fingerstyle, or whatever technique you use. i could understand criticizing slapping that isnt...well...good. you know. strictly octaves, accidentals, dead notes, and hoping nobody will notice the pure trash your playing....if you get technical you can sound quite good, and maybe you'll learn to give other styles a chance and stop listening to korn. all rambling aside, stop downing a technique unless your ready to do the same to your own.

    as for the 80's and 90's, music quality and actual inspiration has suffered. it all went downhill after jaco pastorius. but now theres victor wooten, so...cant say much
  10. Hey, ummm, I mainly play thumb down slap in my band, like 90% or something is slap, but not just octaves and ****, I use octaves but thats not what Im all about, i like multiple string slaps and pops, heaps of mutes etc. Im not a funk bassist, its like Primus meets Joy Division meets Static X. Im also less refined as most other slap bassists, I kinda go for an earlier messy punk sound, but with more bass and rythm. It hard to explain but no doubt you guys will get the wrong impression and tell me to stick to refined techniques and deliver a bunch of theory to prove im an ass.

    My question is this, would you say that im a show off and a prick if you saw a gig of mine? Do you look down on me cause I play this way? Havent had a paying gig yet cause I havent found a guitarist thats willing try anything other than metalica and incubus so im not sure how it will be received. Hopefully people wont diss it too much, but I want heaps of people to at first tell me I suck then get into it and say, it aint pretty, but its rockin!
  11. Moderation is a technique too.
  12. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    +1 about the moderation

    Seriously even Claypool doesn't go crazy all the time. I'll even go as far to say that he plays pretty simply compared to other bassists of his caliber.

    In answer to your question, You will know if it is quality content or not.
  13. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Slap is overdone sometimes by people, though it seems that the stuff that actually gets on the radio has one of two kinds of bass:

    A. Rumble. Sometimes mud, sometimes pretty cool. Three Days Grace has some pretty cool basslines. Not hard, but cool nonetheless, and they're audible on most of the album.

    B. Growl. Think Tool. Tool is way big (at least around western NE), and a lot of people really like that trebly yet growly bass tone, bassists included.

    So the slappers aren't getting the radio play like old RHCP and Primus. The jazzers sometimes slap, but usually they can do so many different things that slap is just another thing for a lot of them.

    Are other guys on the board hearing lots of people slap? Around here, I'm the only guy that even dabbles in it!
  14. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    the one newer rock station in town will play Higher Ground once every blue moon. Thats it.

    Thing is here, guitar stores abound with wannabe Fleapool Pastoriwooten's and slap is the prefered annoyance method by these types, especially at extremely high volumes. A lot of these people skip the basic finger and pick playing styles and dive into advanced techniques to soon and it really shows in their playing. Slap is fun and a good technique to learn to give more types of sounds but shouldn't be the only style one can play.

    If I am considering buying a bass, slap is always the last technique I will try.
  15. Goldsac


    Mar 15, 2004
    The 'Hill
    Whoa..lots of anti-slapitism goin on here. I can understand the fact that it seems kinda trendy and it gets abused. However, I don't see why that can be considered a good reason to dismiss it from your very own playing approach. I can understand utter dislike of the sound of the style though. It's such a confined style to me...I have trouble adapting it to different styles outside of funk/blues.

    As far as the topic goes...To me there is no such thing as too much technique, as long as it is in balance with taste. Too many players I hear focus lop-sidedly toward technique, and their playing turns out sounding like tasteless fingering exercises. If you ask me, some of the best players are technically brilliant, but their technique corresponds to the song so well that it goes unnoticed.
  16. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    interesting how nobody bothers to notice all those bassists who suck on 4 string.

    as far as emphasis on how many strings there were on the instrument, seems like the folks making that emphasis generally, ime, have been the ones who _don't_ play extended range instruments.

    i've yet to see -anybody- say "check me out with my "x"-string bass, i rock". i have, however, had many folks insult me without having heard me play because of the instrument i choose to play.

    the biggest problem in the 90's, imo, is that there were finally many valid options available to bassists to expand their horizons and express their art, and instead of embracing them and using them to their advantage, too many bassists engaged in ego protection/internecine warfare with their fellow players in an effort to discredit someone else's muse/motivations. i can only imagine the reason for this was some kind of insecurity, which still baffles me, over 10 years since i first encountered it about my instrument choices.

    i've never gotten the kind of insults and derision from any other instrumentalist as i have from other bassists, folks who've never even heard me play.

    i'm just using my experiences as an example here. :)
  17. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    There was bass guitar in the 90's? :)
  18. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    True, but there's less emphasis on technique as an ultimate end in the playing of Wooten, Flea and Claypool. They have skills, but none of them are cocky or serious about their technique.

    Compare them to guys like Hamm, Sheehan, Alderete, who were bass versions of Satch, Vai, and Gilbert and role models for a lot of people in the 80s.

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