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Which do you think is the predominant role of a Bassist or Bass player?

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#224682 by Starfish Scott
Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:53 pm
I had a discussion with this guy I jammed with. It was really kind of disquieting. I wanted to slap him after talking with him at length. lol


He states very calmly that he thinks the role of the bass player is to support what's being played and be as sedate as possible.. So a support role, he's saying.."stay completely in the pocket, no improvisation, no derivation from the music, very stoic phrasing 99% of the time".



I think that the bass is merely a 4 stringed version of the guitar, so it is in circumstances yet another guitar, albeit deeper by nature.

I think that the traditional method is the worst way to think about a bass part, it's counter-productive. Talk about boring someone to death. Next that type of guy will tell you he wants you to play with a 100% clean signal..
lol By the time you take "requests", you'll be near suicidal/inflamed.

#224684 by Planetguy
Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:11 pm
scott...thanks for a music thread.

anyone here who's seen any of the vids i've posted w me on bass or checked the tunes i've had up on my page knows where i stand on that.

i do get where that guy is coming from. but i disagree w the extent he takes it to.

i do see the bass as largely a "support instrument" and i do greatly enjoy that aspect of being a den mother and a groove shepherd watching over the flock (the groove).

...... but HOW you support the groove is a personal choice and it comes down not only to one's ability to groove, but also their imagination, creativity, and taste.

too many bass players don't take pride in their accompanying skills. (not just bassists either)

jaco is a great example. most people miss the boat and never get past his chops and soloing (which of course were ridiculous) but they miss the bigger pic....he was also a KILLER groove player and usually did it in very creative ways.

we've all played w bass players who overplay and play a bunch of busy ass fills that have nothing to do w the person actually soloing or the singing that's supposed to be the focus. aaaaaaaaaargh.

i also have this bit where i prefer playing w bassists who solo. soloing is a great outlook for "getting your's". even if it's music where the bass might not be soloing a lot or at all.....the bassist who CAN solo knows when it's time to go for theirs. and when to just lay back and chill.

the bassist who doesn't solo...often goes for theirs by playing a bunch of fills and grooveless walkups to the next chord. and in the process pulls the rug out from under the groove.

#224685 by J-HALEY
Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:14 pm
I disagree. A bass player in a band is just as important as any other instrument in the band! I started playing violin all throughout school. Good music to me is somewhat symphonic and IMO 99% of the time should have a part that is completely different from what the other instruments are doing. The bass part shouldn't clash with the other parts but interweave with them only creating tension when the composer wants it too and tastefully!

#224687 by Planetguy
Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:27 pm
the other thing i believe is that it's real important to keep the music moving forward. so even if you're playing a three note vamp (three pitches) on a tune like Shotgun.....you have to break it up a little bit to keep it moving forward. you don't even have to introduce new pitches...you can just make a subtle adjustment to your phrasing or where ya put the emPHAsis.

scott, if you run into that guy again you might suggest he listen to some james jamerson or bob babbit. on those great old motown tunes most of the movement, fills, melody, and interest comes form the bass playing!

he can start w Midnight Train To GA, Reach Out, What's Goin On, and Bernadette (carol kaye takes credit for the bass on that one...but the jury has always been out on that!)

#224689 by Jahva
Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:43 pm
To me each instrument in a song is part of a conversation of harmony. The bass adds where the guitars sonically can't. Yeah sometimes they just fill spaces and sometimes they are the voice that carries the music.
In the right hands it's as important and at times more important than anything else going on in a song.
It's a know when to say when kind of thing to me.

#224696 by VinnyViolin
Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:53 pm
I think this will all depend a great deal on what genre and production style of the music we are discussing.

Traditional country western, blues, latin, styles tend to have very conservative bass.

Jazz can be much more accommodating to a player with greater virtuosity.

Rock music it depends again what style of rock.

The role of the bass, over the last hundred years or so, was originally defined by the upright bass fiddle.

In the 50's & 60's bass players began to switch over to bass guitars for portability and sometimes increased volume.

Sometime thereafter arises the phenomena of the guitarist who thinks he is a bass player because the bass is shaped like a guitar.

#224697 by J-HALEY
Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:21 pm
VinnyViolin wrote:I think this will all depend a great deal on what genre and production style of the music we are discussing.

Traditional country western, blues, latin, styles tend to have very conservative bass.

Jazz can be much more accommodating to a player with greater virtuosity.

Rock music it depends again what style of rock.

The role of the bass, over the last hundred years or so, was originally defined by the upright bass fiddle.

In the 50's & 60's bass players began to switch over to bass guitars for portability and sometimes increased volume.

Sometime thereafter arises the phenomena of the guitarist who thinks he is a bass player because the bass is shaped like a guitar.

Good one Vinney but you forgot the frustrated guitar player that switched to bass!

#224700 by MikeTalbot
Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:15 pm
Mr. Haley

I quite agree with your comments. Most of the time when I played bass in bands it was three piece. The people I looked up to were Entwistle and Jack Bruce.

Yeah, sometimes it's really the best thing to just hammer a note or play a pulse but all of it comes down to the song - what you can do to make it sound 'right.'

I'm somewhat spoiled though - about 60% of my involvement with bands has been original music where I either wrote the whole song or at least put the bass part together.

One can't be quite as free playing cover songs. But even then - try playing Smoke on the Water without a Hammond organ. The bass man better wake up!

"in the pocket?" Sometimes...and I love a good solid drummer; but guys that want the bass man to be a human metronome are not likely to want me around. :wink:

And I'm the opposite of most bass players. I now play a lot of lead guitar but started on bass.

Talbot

#224702 by BestGuitarist
Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:19 pm
I think it is Dee Murray playing bass on Elton John's version of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" but whomever it is displays in my opinion proper role for a bass player, nice sustaining tone/notes on the slides, cool reggae style bass playing on the bridge .. and great phrasing on the outro.. if I were to study a bass player I would listen to Dee Murray to try and cop catchy phrases

#224703 by zar535135
Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:28 pm
Being a bass player myself I feel that the foundation of a song is maintained by the bass. BUT, I also believe it can be determined on the talents and ability of said bass player. If someone has the talents of say Geddy Lee,John Entwistle and such players, you dont want them to be the "One note riders" such as Cliff Williams/Michael Anthony, What Geddy and The OX play can be songs all on their own. I myself have a style that ads "Funk" to the songs I play.

#224704 by sanshouheil
Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:45 pm
The foundation, and to actively participate in the creation of music as an intrinsic equal part of a functional band.

#224709 by BestGuitarist
Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:17 pm
but if you prefer "slap and pop" ..Captain Fingers seems to find the top tier bassists

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmsmtF9wMjc

#224712 by Litost
Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:26 am
I completely agree with Vinnie on this one...

This isn't a question that can be answered without going into each genre.
The strongest knowledge I have is of rock/metal... but even that can be divided into so many different groups.

Take Tool for example... Tool's sound is defined by Bass. They own a sound almost all to themselves... mostly because of the way the bass takes the lead and the GUITAR is the one doing the expressing.

Mudvayne was another band making waves in the early 2000's... they were using a mixture od plucking and slapping which gave the bass a heck of a lot more life than the average metal band... but it worked!

I think what it comes down to is the classic, "What is best for this song?" line... I know it's cliché and cheesy... but if someone is seriously talented on bass (or any instrument), they should be able to showcase it in a manner that improves the quality of each song.

#224787 by fisherman bob
Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:09 pm
the best advice somebody can give me about playing bass is to keep their mouth shut and listen. Period.

#224811 by jw123
Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:02 am
When I first started playing music eons ago the role of our bassist was to haul the gear, cause he was the only one to have a truck.

I personally like a bassist who just locks in with the drummer, like they are one and the same, Ive been blessed to play with a guy like that for a long time now, but he can do the pop slap thing and funk it up with the best when the situation calls for it.

Now when I played bass, I was the frustrated guitarist who thought I was better than the guitarist, so in that situation I felt it was my place to kick the guitarist into over drive and push push push the song along.

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