Wondering... Having trouble creating original bass material

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tim Sevenfold, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Tim Sevenfold

    Tim Sevenfold Guest

    Nov 28, 2008
    I'm not sure if this in the right section, or if it's even a subject I should bother touching upon. Obviously I'm not gonna ask what the formula or something is for making good bass lines or anything, but...

    My problem is this: When I sit down and tell myself "Lets make something right now that I'll like and sound good" I can do it for the most part, but I find myself returning to the same rhythm or combination of notes that I always do and it's begun to frustrate me that I'm limited to such things. So, I was wondering if this is a block that everyone has, or I'm just musically disinclined to the point where I'm not diverse in sound or creativity. I know that's harsh to say, but I'm concerned that I have like... 3 tricks to play when creating a new song or whatever and that's all that's in the bag. I'm hoping in time (since I'm fairly new, but taking lessons) that I'll adapt and broaden my creative ability, but is there any insight or helpful hints that could be suggested? Anyway, thanks for reading this all and I hope there's someone that can relate/ help me out. Thx!!
  2. mjwhit

    mjwhit Guest

    i find it helps to learn more music. different genres to what you would normally listen to especially. play over this music and try to emulate their expressions rather than their notes. if that makes any sense... just dont think too much

    i also heard investing in a new bass helps :ninja:
  3. Hi there Tim!

    I found myself in the same situation sereval times. It´s always very frustating that happens, but I think creativity is a bit like confidence, when it comes to you just know you have it, when you lose it you just can´t quite do anything about it until it comes back home again (ok, with confidence one could always fake it:smug:).

    Interestingly, I´m playing again after hand injury issues (didn´t played for 2 weeks, not even one single note) and I find that upon returning to the instrument, I´m thinking diferently about it (not so much pattern based thinking) and it has lead me into new musical ideas.

    Oh, another thing, even if you don´t like jazz, try to listen to it on a regular basis. I might be wrong, but I believe doing it expanded my musical vocabulary (the one inside our brains, that magical subliminar melting pot where everything you ever heard is mashed up and reassembled in billions of diferent ways with the power of unsconcious higher self...ok, I may be getting out of hand here!!) by one thousand!

    I hope this helps you something!
  4. simmering_flow

    simmering_flow Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Listening to new music should help quite a bit, even if you're not really into the genre. Ask your friends for some of the music they're into, even hip hop or blues etc because each genre has different rhythm and expressions which you can learn from. You can also ask your tutor for help if you're taking lessons, or try this exercise for rhythm creativity: pick four notes which are close together on the fretboard, and try to improvise just by using those four notes only. You can also try playing out of your comfort zone for fun!
  5. Tim Sevenfold

    Tim Sevenfold Guest

    Nov 28, 2008
    Thanks guys for all your suggestions. I listen to a fair range of different music but I'll look into some genres that I usually avoid. I also noticed the losing it/ gaining it thing mentioned, it just sort of came to me yesterday when I picked up by bass and I made some pretty cool stuff. So I guess you're right about there being a certain time that you need to calm down or something... anyway thanks guys. I guess it was more of a self confidence issue about my playing or something.
  6. lonestarwings

    lonestarwings Guest

    Dec 30, 2007
    Austin, TX, USA
    Transpose music from your favorite songs....or even if you don't like a song that much but hear a cool bass line, try to learn to play that line, just to figure out what they're doing.

    This program really helps me in transposing by slowing the music down: http://www.ronimusic.com/amsldowin.htm

    Also, in an "on the fly" setting, I find I start out just playing straight roots in whatever rhythm meshes with the drums, and from there I add chord arpeggiations, scale and/or chromatic approaches, along with octaves, fiths, and occasionaly thirds for movement. I'm just a novice but this seems to work out ok.
  7. Chunky_Lover

    Chunky_Lover Guest

    Nov 30, 2008
    somewhere in Nebraska
    I have the same problem...everything is almost the same beat or the same fingering motions it frustrating :mad:
  8. Shaun_Bass0

    Shaun_Bass0 Guest

    Aug 11, 2008
    Berkshire, UK
    Bit long but I think this is totally worth it:-

    If you play fingerstyle, try using a pick, or vice versa. I've really been working on my fingerstyle recently, and i've found that the different thought processes that result from using your right hand differently also affects how you use your left hand. I.E. rather then thinking in terms of "upstroke/downstroke" on any given note, a lot more thought goes into what finger your picking the string(s) with in relation to what note your fretting.
    For instance, if you were to fret F-F#-G-G# this could translate into either a 1-2-1-2, 1-2-3-2, 1-2-3-4 fingering on the right hand. This in turn gets your hands as well as your brain working in different ways, and opens up different ways of doing things, which means your more capable of writing cooler stuff as it puts you outside your comfort zone so you have to adapt and do new things.

    Another thing to try is mix up techniques, for example you could start out running with your fingers, slap a fill then throw in some tapping. Just don't think TOO hard, thats when it all start to go to pieces!

    Hope that helps dude...
  9. Tim Sevenfold

    Tim Sevenfold Guest

    Nov 28, 2008
    I only play finger style anyway :oops:
  10. Shaun_Bass0

    Shaun_Bass0 Guest

    Aug 11, 2008
    Berkshire, UK
    So try a pick, like me going to fingerstyle it'll open doors if your in a rut
  11. chroma601


    Feb 16, 2007
    Sylva, NC
    I agree about opening up to all sorts of music. When I was in a progressive band back in the old days, I had a side project bluegrass band. The cross fertilization was wonderful.

    Just keep plugging away - things always open up. I find with music, the more you learn, the more you realize there is more to learn!
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Learn bass lines by players you like. Study them, pick them apart, see how your heroes navigate the chords. Get a bass book that covers a wide range of styles and practice playing a new style.

    the more you learn how others did it, the easier making good basslines will get for you.
  13. mattblissett

    mattblissett Guest

    Jul 18, 2006
    Its important to work with other musicians, and learn to listen to what they are doing, also it helps to accept what you are playing and not concern yourself with what you should be playing. Sometimes I just lock in with the kick and snare, other times I embellish and throw in fills, but it depends on how I feel and how the musicians feel, plus the structure of the song.
  14. Not just listen to different styles but study different styles. Learn what you can about what makes that style work, what defines it (for exmaple, as a general rule funk always has a dominant root accented on the 1 of the bar - listen to some James Brown (Super Bad, Sex Machine and I Got You for examples) and you'll hear what I mean). You'll find something you like in ANY musical genre if you look into it long enough, and those things should give you more ideas you can use, blend and adapt to make your own.
  15. Kaneesel

    Kaneesel Guest

    Aug 18, 2008
    Detroit, Michigan
    I feel this happens to everyone. The fact that you are taking lessons helps a lot, because you are being forced to learn new stuff.

    I've platoued (sp) a number of times, and each time it was a different thing that got me creating again.

    My first block was about 10 years ago. I was playing (and listening to) only old punk. What got me out of that was listening to more diverse music, and trying to play that.

    Another thing that might help is find someone to play with. If you learn how to jam with someone else, you can jam on your own.

    I also like to learn a new scale and then rip it apart. I recommend buying "The Bass Grimoire". Take the scales in there and run with them. You should check out the excercise thread too.