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What makes a good bassline?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by CanadianBassGuy, May 26, 2001.


  1. Don't know where I should have put this topic in, and I don't know how many times this has been asked, but I'm just wondering what everyone thinks makes up a good bassline.
     
  2. Skwad

    Skwad

    May 26, 2001
    the bassline should fit with the guitar's part. it doesn't have to be the same rhythm or anything, just make sense with the rest of the song
     
  3. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    I was trying to think of a really poetic way of putting this, but it's late and I'm tired. The fact is, if a bassline sounds good, it's good. If it sounds bad, it's not good. That might sound like a very simple statement, but it's the truth. Of course, knowing how to make a bassline not sound bad isn't quite as simple...
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    My criteria for a good bassline:

    1) Needs to be in the pocket;

    2) Should display some variation, but not so much that it destroys the groove;

    3) Must be audible!
     
  5. A good bassline should add to the song and not draw attention unto itself.I 'm not talking about solos i.e. the Who's "My Generation" but as far as song writing is concerned. I have nothing against soloing.That's all.
     
  6. Cornbread

    Cornbread

    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    I disagree. There is no "rule" that says that a bassline can't draw attention. The bass doesn't always have to follow the guitar, pounding out roots.
     
  7. as far as i'm concerned, a great bassline anchors the rhythm AND has a nice countermelody at the same time. something you wouldn't expect just from listening to the vocals or guitar. listen to mccartney, now THOSE are basslines. :)
     
  8. dawgawd

    dawgawd

    Mar 23, 2000
    Maine
    you can't really judge the bassline outside of the song. I think "waiting for my ruca" by sublime has a good bassline, and it's just one note. now you couldn't exactly plug that into another type of music with the same effect. I think that it depends heavily on the type of song you are listening to. For example, if you try to make your bass too show-off-ish in a fast punk song it might sound a bit out of place, but if you make a really simple root note bassline for a ska song it might not be the best idea either. Basicly what i think is that it needs to compliment the song. If your guitar is weak you may need the bass to pick up where it fails, but if your song is heavy on guitar, there may not be much room for the bass to be the center of attention. I agree with whoever said that if it sounds good, than it's a good bassline.
     
  9. BigJH

    BigJH

    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A good bassline consists of 1.) Being audible. B.) It should go along with the song and add something that is unique unto itself.
     
  10. Whoa, more responses than I thought. Don't get me wrong, I can write a bassline, I was just wondering what everyones opinions were.
     
  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    a good bassline is any bassline that sounds good with whatever else is audible on the track. the bass can be the featured instrument, the backbone, or playing a melody while something else holds the rhythm.
     
  12. What constitutes a good bass line?
    I'm sure if I knew more theory I'd be able to answer this question in slightly more specific terms, but to me if it sounds good, keep it. If it sucks, keep it anyway. It might be good for another song, or I can refine it to make it sound good. ;):)
     
  13. Like every one else said, you should be able to hear it, it should fit the song, but the two I want to add is it should get the toe tapping and the lips humming.
     
  14. Mike

    Mike

    Sep 7, 2000
    Cali
    A good bass line is really all a matter of opinion, isn't it?
     
  15. (I'm not flaming the cat who wrote this, it's not a flame but...)

    I nominate the above phrase and most other phrases about being in the pocket as the #1 silliest comment possible in music, as the only way to not be in the proverbial pocket is to either: a. Suck, or b. Be playing music that has no discernable time, eg. Ascension, other free-jazz of that ilk, some of what bassrespanse does, etc.

    The #2 silliest comment is: Needs to play in the right key.
     
  16. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    One of my band's doesn't have a guitar. What should I do?
     
  17. Get a distortion pedal. Or an amp with overdrive or something of the sort to fill the void. But thats just my opinion. And play a lot of simple chords or something. For example

    G|-9-----9---11
    D|-7----10---9
    A|------------
    E| ------------

    Stuff like that sounds pretty cool in my mind.
     
  18. And only in your mind. Some cats say heroin fills the void too.
     
  19. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    My post was sarcasm. :cool:
     
  20. Those cats are freakin' brilliant then. But I've found simple chords sound pretty good when not playing with a guitarist. I've written a few really good songs using chords like that, cuz I was bored and didn't have my band around. And now I feel like an idiot (more so than I already am), but I dont mind using them once in a while. If your gonna be sarcastic, at least make it obvious for me, I am a teenager who not very bright.