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What are your favourite solo bass pieces?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Ivan R, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Ivan R

    Ivan R

    Jun 8, 2012
    What are the bass solo tunes that you think every accomplished bassist needs to know? Donna Lee, Continuum, Portrait of Tracy and other solo Jaco pieces are a given... But what else?


  2. I don't really think there's a standard list. Even "Portrait Of Tracy" is so idiomatically, typically Jaco that it might not be a useful piece if you work pretty far from Jaco's stylistic world.

    "Linus And Lucy" is a good parlor trick. I've never really learned a proper arrangement, but I can play a fairly easy fake of it (down at the nut: low G pedal, melody on the G string) and it seems to amuse people.

    But I kind of think you either have a solo bass "voice" or you don't. Michael Manring could play "Mary Had A Little Lamb" for solo bass and it would be stunning, but it's not because of the choice of material.


  3. I so agree with this statement. I was listening to one guy, who's name I can't remmber who has won awards and contests, etc for his solo work and there is so much bass wankery, parlor tricks going on I just couldn't stand it. All frosting, no cake.

    Conversley, I was at a Gerald Vesley clinic a couple of years ago and Manring was there. He did a piece that was so amazing, that you could practically see him levatating off the floor as he played... And when it was over, everyone in the room had their mouths hanging open...

    But it was Manring, so he could have played any group of notes, called it a song, and it would have had a similar effect.

    But to answer the question, I think Vic Wooten's version of "Amazing Grace" is gonna be a new solo bass standard.

    Edit: Just remembered a John Patticucci song called "Backwoods" from his "Sketchbook" CD that's an interesting solo bass tune. I've thought about working it up. Probably not as mind or finger bending as Portrait of Tracy...
  4. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    Spinal Tap - Big Bottom.
  5. Hulktopus


    Aug 22, 2012
    Mansfield, TX
    +1. I LOVE this version. Also, I love his rendition of Isn't She Lovely for solo bass.
  6. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654 Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Anything by Stanley Clarke!
  7. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Truth of the matter is that to be an accomplished "bassist", solo pieces are not really a requirement. 99.9% of the gigs need bass for support. Having said that, being a master on any instrument requires knowing the instrument well enough to allow the ideas and music in your head to flow freely though your hands. It also requires that you know music. i.e. melody, harmony, rhythm, voice leading, dynamics, timbres, etc..etc.. When taking this approach any piece of music can be a solo for bass, or piano, or guitar, or accordion etc..etc..

  8. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    After re-reading my post I realize it sounds snarky but that is not the intent. I just feel like we set the bar too low, or too restrictive?, when we only aspire to copy other bass players with respect to standalone solo material. We as bass players put a lot of effort into becoming great support players and we gather inspiration and guidance from other bass players to this end. But when it comes to solo work or playing melodies I think the amount of stuff available from other instruments is a far richer source of inspiration. Listen to the guitarists (i.e. Django, Joe Pass, Hendrix) or pianists (i.e. Monk, Bud Powell) or Horn players (Parker, Miles). Jaco knew this. Donna Lee was originally recorded by Parker. He got a lot of notoriety for playing that cause he was the first to do it and set a bar for the instrument and showed us all that as electric bass players the physical restrictions of the instrument are not the same as an upright. It's just a big electric guitar. :)