Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

What is SOLO BASS

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by ThePaste, Apr 13, 2001.


  1. Is it playing by yourself? How do you make it sound interesting? I have no idea.
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Yeah, it is about playing bass on its own. I used live looping most of the time - I play a part and use either a JamMan or a Line6 DL4 to record it and loop it to play over the top of, all live. Other guys play just bass on its own with no looping, no overdubs, no nothing.

    as for how to make it interesting - that's a compositional/improvisational question - same as with any music, it's a combination of melody/harmony/rhythm and sound to make something that you and other people might want to listen to.

    The best starting point is to hear some solo bass stuff - on my site there are loads of real audio clips of me playing live, or check out www.michaeldimin.com to hear some of his solo tunes, or pick up Victor Wooten's first CD 'a show of hands' which is nearly all just solo bass, or seek out Michael Manring's albums 'Thonk' and 'Book Of Flame', both of which have some cool solo bass tunes, or some of Jonas Hellborg's solo CDs...

    best of all, check the links page at www.solobassnetwork.org.uk and work your way through all the artists listed there, finding CDs/MP3s/Real Audio of what they do.

    For getting into playing solo, read back through past threads about solo playing - Stephanie has asked some great questions in the past about starting solo playing, and if you follow through the threads you can read about the things that she's been learning.

    i did a gig last night with Mark Beazley from the UK 3 bass band 'Rothko', only this time he was playing solo, with no loops - great stuff!

    come back when you've heard some, and let me know who you like and what you think...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  3. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Steve, How cool. I got turned onto Rothko a few months ago. Was it a duet gig with Beasley?
    I must second your post on solo playing. It is the same as any other music: Rhythm/Melody/Harmony...and of course a healthy dose of creativity.
    I started performing solo bass as a necessity. I needed to explore further what is possible with this fabulous instrument. Seeing Jonas Hellborg back in '88 really opened up the possibilities, for me.
    I don't think playing solo makes it any more difficult to keep the music "interesting". I think the challenge is to keep the audience interesting. Many people have some deep preconceptions of what bass is.....and shattering those concepts can be difficult, challenging, and fun! Even "normal" bass playing, can be either boring or interesting....that is what lies in the heart of the music. It does not need to be technically challenging music to be interesting, not does it need to simple music to be boring. It is the passion and the grace of the player ,and the music he/she is playing, which provides the deeper "interest" level. For myself, playing solo (with or without loops) allows me this sort of forum to explore (publicly) deeper and deeper the beauty of music and the beauty of the bass.
    And....by the way, on that list of recordings to check out: add Steve Lawson's "...and nothing but the bass". I have for the past 5 months found that to be a boundless source of inspiration for me. Funny thing though, Steve....I cannot get through a complete listening. I get thru one track, maybe only half of that track, and I have to dash down the hall to the studio and nick some of your stuff!!!
    Max Valentino
     
  4. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Heehee...thanks Steve for the mention.:)

    Anyway, would you consider it 'solo' as long as the bassist is the dominant instrument? (And I don't mean bands in which the singer just so happens to also be the bass player)...Just like I mentioned my teacher's recital. It was his recital but he did have a back-up band with drums, guitar, and a Fender Rhodes.

    Or take some Jaco songs: like "Continuum". Would that song still be considered 'solo' even though there's a Fender Rhodes in it? But the bass is the dominant instrument.

    It seems like there's levels to what kind of soloing you do. LOL. (Or am I analyzing things too much? LOL :D).

    Course I think 'true' soloing is just you and your bass...PERIOD. (Ok...ok...a looper too. Heehee). That's what I like (well..what I aim for anyway with my own writing).

    Sorry if this post made no sense whatsoever.

    Cheers,

    ~Stephanie
     
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Max - thanks once again for your comments about the CD - it's great when anyone gets into what I'm doing, and to have inspired you as much as you say I have is an honour... I just hope the inspiration doesn't spoil what you were doing already... :oops:)

    Steph - for me, solo means solo - I don't like it any less if it's 'bass player fronting a band', but that's no more solo than anyone one else fronting a band is... It's a band, and to talk of that as 'solo bass' is a little disrespectful to the other musicians, methinks.

    However, the phrase 'solo project', used to differentiate between a 'proper' band thing and something less democratic would makes sense.

    bottom line - who cares? I love playing solo, I love playing with other people, and my favourite music seems to have more to do with music that instruments anyway (though I'm sure you'd find a higher proportion of bass-centric stuff in there, just because of the levels of exposure that I have to that kind of stuff...)

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  6. Ok, because my conception of solo bass was playing all the different parts, just on a bass. Like maybe slapping out the drum pattern, play the guitar part, and bass part (obviously).
     
  7. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    IF you're using loops then it's easier to do the 'bass as everything' kind of playing, where you have bass playing a drum part and then a guitar part and a bass line and then the melody... I do this sometimes, either using a delay patch to create a drum track, or a muted slap line to sound a bit like tabla...

    experimentation is the key - there really are no boundaries.

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It doesn't just have to be bass either - I saw the guitarist John Paricelli doing a lot of looping on Friday at my local Jazz club. So he was playing in a trio with Kenny Wheeler and Stan Sulzmann (Trumpet and Saxes) without a rhythm section and quite often looped some guitar chords and bass parts added with an octidivider and midi, using a "Boomerang" phrase sampler. The audience, who are used to straight ahead Jazz with double bass and drums, were very impressed and accepted this quite readily - some people even commented that it was easier to hear the subtleties of the soloists without drums, in a relatively small club.
     
  9. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    John Parricelli looping with Kenny Wheeler???? What a great line up! I'd love to have seen that - time to check whether they are playing in London.

    There are a lot of great looping musicians out there that anyone interested in loop music should listen to - David Torn, Bill Frisell, Robert Fripp, Rick Walker and loads of others. Check out www.loopersdelight.com - an excellent site with a great e-mail discussion list attached to it...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk