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writing bass parts for existing songs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by frankosaurus, May 8, 2004.


  1. frankosaurus

    frankosaurus

    Feb 27, 2002
    San Jose
    hi, I've been playing bass for like 8 years and I just got a cool new opportunity. A band who heard me play asked me to write and record bass tracks for their album... which is due for release in 4 months!

    The deal is, they've recorded all the guitars, drums, vocals, and keys. Actually, their old bassist recorded parts, but I haven't heard those tracks-- they want me to come up with new parts independent of what the last bassist did. I'm hearing the music for the first time now, and I'm trying to find ideas.

    I've started by transcribing the songs and jamming along with the recordings. I guess I'm trying to find lines that are not too complicated but at the same time interesting. Also, I realize that a strong bass part can really change the entire feel of a song, so I'm a little nervous about drifting too far from their original concept.

    I guess this is an open-ended question, but I wonder if anyone has advice for my situation. thanks
    --Frank
     
  2. oof... i don't know why, but i hate that situation. i either want parts written before i get there, or writing the song with the band at the beginning of the creative process.

    lots of communication with the other folks, make sure you understand what kind of feel they want. make sure you don't step on anyones toes. sometimes guitar & keyboard players can be really proud of a part and they want it to shine.
     
  3. The thing I've found most useful for these situations is to hum the song in my head, one part at a time. I'll break it down -- start with the verse, and just run it through my head over and over, humming little melodies or groups of notes until I hit on something cool. Then the bridge, then the chorus, transitions between them, etc. Only then will I actually pick up the bass and try them out. I find that if I have the instrument in my hands, I tend to fall into the same old patterns and shapes on the fretboard. When I form ideas in my head and then play them, they usually turn out to be much physically different from things I'd normally play. It's a great way to break out of a rut.
     
  4. Try to get as much of an idea of the mood as possible from listening to the song and talking to the other band members. Remember that the bass is going to set the tone in a strong way, so be sure that what you have in mind doesn't conflict.
     
  5. Corwin81

    Corwin81

    Mar 18, 2003
    Ames, IA
    a few of my band's songs were written by the guitarist before the band joined. two of them had basslines that he recorded, but I played my own thing anyways and never looked back. Mine were more melodic while his was just to have the bass there.