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Old 01-10-2013, 03:41 PM   #21
Phil Starr
Tab Contributor
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Somerset,UK
There's no rules in rock'n'roll and no-one can say you must have a bassist. A lot of bands unique sound is the result of having a slightly odd collection of instruments. The Doors were a great example of necessity dictating their sound.

I'm a bassist by the way.

Think about the functions of the bass, then think about how providing this with other instruments will affect the rest of you. You can be creative then or decide that one of you has to play bass in at least some songs.

So, as a bass player I reckon I carry out three or four functions.

1. I define the rhythm, yeah I know I share this with the drummer but if I hold down the rhythm it frees the drummer to concentrate on dynamics and play a more complex style. In practice we work together so sometimes I do the fancy bit and sometimes he does.

2. I make the deep sounds, but keys can do this just as well

3. I define the chord changes. The first note i play in any bar is usually the root and straight on the timing but a the end of a bar at a I'm often walking up to a chord change or palying a passing note to cue everyone in.

4. In most bands the bass is holding everything together, linking the melody, harmony and rhythm but mainly holding the different instruments together.

Now none of this has to be done by a bassist and a decent rhythm guitarist can hold things together pretty well and free up the others to play but an absent bassist is going to restrict what the rest of the band can do and remain tight. It's not necessarily a difficult thing but you'll need to be a little more creative and that could be a good thing.
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