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Trouble coming up with a bassline !

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by 137h4lone, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. What do you do when you're having trouble coming up with a bass line that you're satisfied with ?
  2. Listen to inspiring stuff?
  3. Bread Knife

    Bread Knife

    Oct 8, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    If it's meant to match a song that is already mostly written, I will put the bass down and hum along. It's easier to come up with your line without having to figure out how to play it at the same time.
  4. I think that depends on the type of music you play. I notice from your profile you are into Reggae that is not a style I know a lot about so take what I'm going to say with that in mind.

    The kicker in your question is; "..... that you're satisfied with" I really have no idea what would satisfy you. Now all that said. I'm Country and with Country, and I assume Reggae, there are certain fundamental "rules" that are accepted as being the way a bass line should be. For example:

    As I understand it our job is the maintain the beat and call attention to the cord changes.
    The basic R-5-R-5 is the fundamental bass line used in Country.
    Nailing the chord change with chromatic runs to the next chord are expected.
    That pretty much takes care of the fundamentals.

    From there I let my bass lines contain just enough chord tones so moving into a groove is not a problem, i.e. depending on the song - less is more - usually works best in my World. Again depending on the song sometime you need your bass line to be a little more melodic - full chord tones with secondary dominant or chromatic movement to the next chord is about all I would explore. There are Country licks that can be added when appropriate and those can be thrown in as needed. The key factor here is as needed. Playing quarters, eights or even full notes come into the picture again depending on the song. Roots, fives, eights and the correct 3 and 7 is about as detailed as my bass lines ever get. I do think scales are for the solo and chord tones are for the accompaniment.

    What are you doing now? What would you like to be doing. Be a little more specific and I'm sure the guys will chime in.
  5. Yeah I play reggae, what do you recommend ? :)
  6. Go back and read my OP. We are both on the Internet at the same time - I'm still editing my post - saving my work as I go.
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    When my lines don't satisfy I usually revert to simple root notes, trying to find the essence of the rhythmic groove of the song. Once I find a simple, solid, root note only groove, I "turn off" the bass line- inventing part of me (easier said than done) and just listen to the rest of the band...for along, long time. Eventually the appropriate spaces and opportunities for something more complex -if needed - become apparent.
  8. Thanks for the advice man really appreciate it !
  9. Thanks for your input , I'll try to apply your technique to mine :)
  10. No Malarky

    No Malarky

    May 27, 2010
    Pass the dutchie on the left hand side.........works for me
  11. Aboy


    Dec 3, 2010
    I usually just mess around with the scales until I find something that works

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