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writing songs... easier for guitarists???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by panazza, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    When I try to write a chorus for one of our songs it all seems stupid to me... then my guitarists plays something pretty ordinary with distortion and power chords and it seems cooler than my basslines.... should I let him do the writing job and concentrate on basslines or is there a way for a bassist to create his own songs on bass?what do you think???? Is it simplier for guitarists to write songs?

    PS I am talking about rock songs... you know verse/chorus/verse.... nothing extraordinary just good heavy rock songs
  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I always found it easier to have parts written and then I come in a fill in the bass line. I'm not sure there is a preferred way but the nature of the instrument I don't think you would write a song off a drum beat first and I think the same may apply for bass.
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I think composition is generally easier on chordal instruments.

    While you can play chords on a bass, being limited to 4 strings and the rhetoric "just play one note(preferably the root)" CAN be a hinderance(or at least an inconvenience in comparison to an instrument that is expected to play chords)

    A lot of players, bass or otherwise, often use a piano to compose and write tunes, and who can blame them, it's a great instrument for chords AND melody lines.
  4. I compose songs for fun! Used an acoustic guitar for strumming out the chords. Its cheaper than buying a piano to compose songs! :D

    Yeah, I too felt that power chords always looked/sounded better over the bass, moreoever, two notes are played instead of one! And most of the time, they cover the same notes/order as the bass! :rolleyes:
  5. I find I write better with a guitar, or just about any other instrument other than bass. I think it's more just a different way to let the creativity flow, more feeling your way around based on the sound without thinking about structures like I would on bass.

    Writing riff rock is closer to being the same on either guitar or bass, but as soon as you start doing chord progressions guitar just sounds better in general I find.

    Also, it's much easier to come up with a cool bassline under a guitar part than it is to come up with a cool guitar part over a great bassline IMO, which makes writing from bass more difficult too.
  6. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    you are right on bass I noticed some.. structures that doesn't let my creativity flow... when I pick up a guitar I often come out with good melodies for our songs

    RicPlaya you said it is better to have parts already written and fill in with bass lines... even if it is very difficult to play a nice bassline I think that it is a bit...sad letting guitar players do all the songwriting job!
    I also think that writing songs out of a drum riff is possible and maybe easier than on bass
  7. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    even without chord progressions I find it easier for a guitar... consider for eample... a typical nirvana song... (ps I don't want to write songs like Nirvana!!! I am listening to Tool right now) I could do the same notes the guitar player does but if he came out with that riff with power chords and dist it would sound cool... If I did that on bass with my root notes it would be something pretty stupid
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Here's an extract from an interview with Sheryl Crow, about her last album :

    "For the songs themselves, Sheryl concentrated on the essentials - rhythm, melody, straight talking lyrics, "I wrote mostly on bass," she says. "I'm a keyboard player, and, as such, when I'm writing I don't want to get wrapped up in beautiful chords. That's not what makes great songs. They're about the directness of the lyrics and the arc of the melody. Writing on bass forces me to concentrate on melody. I also wrote a lot in the studio. You close the door on your frenetic life, let go of the reins, and everything you want to do creatively surfaces. I never limit myself, and there's a great freedom in that."


    (my highlighting)
  9. You can learn cords on a bass. usually one must strum them below your 12th fret.
    If you want.... make a bass riff and then make your guitarist adapt his "schpiel" over yours.
    But havin a band is not about a power struggle.
  10. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Tell that to Donald Fagen.

    (I happen to disagree with Miss Crow there).
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Err...yeah right, keep taking the medication!! [mumble-non-sequitors - mumble] :confused: :rolleyes:
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    That's above the 12th fret...

    There's more than one way to skin a cat(Crow vs. Fagen). ;)

    My way of writing on the bass(sometimes with "no bass"...just paper)-
    -Come up with a groove
    -Decide what sorta feel I want(Funk, Shuffle, Latin, Rock, etc)
    -Hear/program a basic drum beat
    -Decide on a key(or "no key")
    -Know where the bass' changes & barlines fall...this will help me decide where to put the chords

    I'm thinking a tune like "Walking On The Moon" as an example of what I described above. To me, that sounds as though the bass figure was written first.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes, that's what I was saying - so it might be easier to write using a chordal instrument - but it might not be what you want.

    Jazz Sax players will often write tunes with no chordal instruments to allow greater vertical freedom and development of long lines.

    I think if you write on bass it allows freedom to change the harmonies at any point in the development of the tune/song. If you write out chords to start with, then they tend to become "set in stone" and you might ignore alternatives that work better with the way the melody develops and change the melody to fit, rather than change the chord structure.

    Well - that's an advantage anyway - writing on piano has lots as well! :)
  14. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    I find that when im writing on bass I focus more on every note sounding together to create a good arpeggio which I transfer over to guitar later to complete a song. I can focus more on the melody with bass and thicken it with chords that work with it later.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Exactly. That whole Miles' modal thing was based more on vertical/linear movement vs. horizontal movement(harmony/chords).