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"You can't play chords on bass"

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bholder, Sep 29, 2017.


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  1. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Just came up with a ditty practicing, plan to use it as a loop track for guitar lead practice, actually. But chords and fingerpicking seem to work just fine for me (if you spread them out a bit). Chords ripped off from Mountains "Nantucket Sleighride", which is about whaling, just to explain the name (and poke at @slobake a bit - I don't actually advocate eating whales). :D

     

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    Farrin D, NigelD, Oddly and 2 others like this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Well that went over real well, huh? Figured it might start some discussion but I guess not. Weird thing: I uploaded it to my Soundcloud page, and the software must have "listened" to it in an AI-ish way, since it suggested the tag #ClassicalGuitar - slightly creepy, imho.
     
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Another (rough) example. Got to be others out there that do this? Just trying to learn to do songs with bass and voice alone (trying to cover the whole thing more than just the original bass line)...
     
  4. Metal_prophet83

    Metal_prophet83

    Sep 13, 2017
    I think chords sound good anytime it is above the lowest octave. there are good chords in it too but can get muddy.
     
    chip134 and bholder like this.
  5. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    "You can't play chords on a bass" JEJgif.gif
     
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I have to admit, chords can sound like crap, especially close voiced down low played through any kind of distortion. But spread them out, and played clean, works out fine!
     
    Ewo and gebass6 like this.
  7. Michael Schreiber

    Michael Schreiber Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2014
    Kassel / Germany
    www.frau-kapitaen.com
    My first impression: The first example in the OP sounds too ...choppy(?) for my taste, meaning that there are too many accents/attacks or even stops between the notes, which I prefer to hear played legato. One accent at the first note of the chord, the rest played without accent, or notable stop or attack between them. Don't know how to express that better, sorry if that sounds confusing.

    In this second example, it sounds much better, more legato; the notes sound more connected, IMHO, there's a nice flow!
    For my taste, a huge step forward, sounds musical to my ears - way to go! \m/
     
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Not confusing at all, I'd prefer much more legato playing, trying to get there, thanks, good to know progress can be made! :D Getting the accent balance properly when fingerpicking bass is, well, "interesting". ;)

    Of course, the second example is a lot easier to play, much less hand movement up and down the neck. The first one, I might've called a "practice study in chord inversions". :)
     
    Zero Cash and Michael Schreiber like this.
  9. Michael Schreiber

    Michael Schreiber Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2014
    Kassel / Germany
    www.frau-kapitaen.com
    Oh yes, I know :D I only can play power chords on the bass, myself, and even then it's sometimes a challenge. Each time I try to practice "Mountains" by ManOwaR, I hear how few I can, and how much there's still to learn. But that's the fun, IMHO, as long as there's improvement. I don't know how long you have learned to play these two examples, but even if the second one might be easier to play, it sounds musical. So, in my opinion, you've made a big achievement. Hope, you'll have much fun, and practice that more. I'm sure you have what it takes to make very musical bass lines and killer intros. Very cool, would be great to hear more from your playing! \m/
     
    bholder likes this.
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Thanks!
     
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  11. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    I've been playing chords on bass for ages. Even the really deep notes in 1st position can work well. The trick is avoiding mud. I prefer a J bridge pickup solo for chords. Also I use very bright zingy rounds and play near the bridge. Maximize the overtones and minimize the fundamental. It can be a lovely and different sound if done well.

    The thing about chords on bass is that it's NOT a bass players role. You are moving into the piano players or guitar player's territory, so if you are doing chords there's no one holding the low end groove unless someone else steps into your normal role. (i.e. synth player) You are going to need a very open minded band to give you the room to do this.
     
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Well sure, I'm mostly interested because I don't have a band at the moment so trying to fill things out on my own. Definitely would need to take a more normal approach in a band setting.
     
  13. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Above the 12th chords sound great. It's one of my favourite things to do on the instrument. In fact it's prob the main reason I'm keeping my 24 fretter.
     
  14. Benko

    Benko Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2014
    Tokyo, Japan
    My favorite "chord" player is Armistead Burwell Smith IV from Pinback, very melodic

    Check him out if you don't know
     
    bholder likes this.
  15. Sub-hoo-fer

    Sub-hoo-fer

    Nov 27, 2015
    Virginia
    I am not sure I have heard Child in Time covered before. Probably because Ian Gillian finds notes no man should be able to hit in the Made in Japan live version.

    I really like your treatment of this song. At first I was like "wow that is low singing" and reminded me of Crash Test Dummies. Then I was like "WOW" when I figured out what you were doing. Mad respect for anyone who can play and sing cause I cannot. Extra credit for playing a cover in a unique and musical manner that does not rely on samples or mashups.

    Keep the faith. You're are heade down a cool path!
     
    bholder likes this.
  16. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, I decided not to try to compete with Ian Gillian on the high end - went the other way entirely. :D I ain't no Superstar! ;) (That boy could sure sing, prolly still can...) The oroginal was in Am, I think, I did this in Em, so at least an octave and a half down from him, two or more when he goes for the those high notes. I've lost my high singing range (used to be able to hit almost "tenor" notes), but made up for it with new low notes on the bottom. ;)
     
    Sub-hoo-fer likes this.
  17. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    I truly believe you are on the right path and here is why.
    When you are playing chords on the “not-so-chordy” instrument , you tend to provide a more or less full harmonic/rhythmic backup/comp for your song/composition, which means , you have a bass line and a guitar/keyboard part. What’s more, those parts are tightly and integrally linked/united.
    It’s like a complete unit that is not clashing inside, just supporting (at your level) a song.
    Now, take that comping apart and you will have a good (and not too busy) bass line and a guitar line (at least, the rhythmic part of it.)
    When you find a guitar player, ask the player to imitate (at least the rhythmic part) of your arrangement.
    Next, try to achieve that feel of your comp that you had felt while you were playing alone.
    From my personal experience, usually it sounds much much better than any “bright” idea/s from a new musician.
    I can go on and elaborate my concept deeper but you should get the basics of it.

    P.S. My comment is not for any kind of argument but should you have any questions, I would try to answer them.
     
    gebass6, Sub-hoo-fer and bholder like this.
  18. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, no problem going back to a more linear simpler bass line after doing chording versions - I think it helps my linear playing, too, because figuring out playable chord positions gives you that many more tools for interesting arpeggios. Great for learning the neck too.
     
    BMGecko and Whousedtoplay like this.
  19. Sub-hoo-fer

    Sub-hoo-fer

    Nov 27, 2015
    Virginia
    Looped bass chords can be a great foundation for filling things out on your own.

    If you have not checked out Janek Gwizdala you may want to. He has a Vlog where he occasionally talks about chord voicings that sound great. His solo live music relies heavily on looping chords and can be a good way to get inspired. He also just published a chords book for bass.

    I will probably get banned for suggesting this but Ed Sheran solo live is another way to get some ideas on looping chords to fill out a sound.

    Hope this helps and I get to come back to the forum tomorrow
     
    Oddly, Whousedtoplay and bholder like this.
  20. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    The only Ed Sheeran I've actually heard was his little "medieval" cameo on Game Of Thrones - more tolerable to my tastes than I expected, may need to check out more, but dang, another high-pitched male singer, I want to hear more like Crash Test Dummies (actual male voices not these near-castrati tweeters hehe).

    Will check Janek's stuff out too, that's like the 4th time this weeks his name has come up in threads I'm interested in, and been looking for new books / influences lately to stretch my playing further.
     
    Sub-hoo-fer likes this.

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