AWACS
I want all of the things
Join date: Sep 2009
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#1
In my band/group of guys I play with, we don't really have a bassist. We have a drummer, keyboardist, lead and rhythm guitarist (me).

Our keyboardist likes to play more of a lead style, and I really like my guitar rig (lots of money invested) and the guitar itself.

So without taking up bass myself, or getting a bass player (hard to do in a small town) are there any ways to fill a bassist's role on guitar?


I know its in EG, but I'm not sure where to put this.
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will42
UG's bassoon-master
Join date: Aug 2010
1,093 IQ
#2
Look at the doors. Manzarek would play a bassline on his rhodes keyboard withes his left and and would play all the chords and leadlines with his right. Krieger was then free to use his guitar to act as a sort of horn section, playing hooks and riffs. So you could just have the keyboardist use his left hand as a bass.

Alternatively, you could think about the inversions you are using, and consider your EQ. Really think about all of the different ways to play a chord, and find the one that best fills in the sound in context. Pete Townshend would use multiple different inversions of the same chord in a single song.

If you still find it to be lacking, you could consider getting a bass amp and an A/B/Y box and biamping.

Edit: Didn't notice that you said it was a two guitar band. That just puts extra focus on my second suggestion, thinking about your EQ and your inversions. Less emphasis on the first one.
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Last edited by will42 at Jan 3, 2013,
SteveHOC
Used Register
Join date: Jul 2012
1,051 IQ
#3
Honestly, without sacrificing your tone by dialing in heavy bass and turning down the mids, there isn't an easy way. Baritone guitars can help fill out the low end, but you said you dig your guitar. I'd suggest a backing track to lay down bass lines live. It's a tad stale, but it keeps things tight and gives you the freedom to keep your lineup the same.
MrFlibble
Puts a bangin' donk on it
Join date: Apr 2008
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#4
You can't just magic that low-end out of nowhere without giving other things up. You could try using a polyphonic octave pedal to generate a tone lower than whatever you play, but it will be there for everything that you play, and polyphonic octaves have to use a synth monotone and won't sound anything like an actual bass guitar.

As said, the keyboardist is in the best position to fill this role, really. He may not like it, but a keyboard can fill space in any range better than a guitar can.

An extended scale guitar may be another option. A while back I saw Lacuna Coil—who use 27" scale 7-strings—play without their basiiest, who was injured, and the difference was barely noticable because those sorts of guitars sound so powerful anyway. Of course, depending on your style of music, this may be completely inappropriate.

What you should really be doing is placing an ad for a bass player.
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food1010
Bassist
Join date: Jun 2007
1,660 IQ
#5
Yeah keyboard is built so that the player can play two (or more) separate parts, especially the bass and some harmony.

If your pianist can't or isn't willing to lay off a bit to hold down a bassline as well as his other parts, you should probably rethink his role.
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dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#6
One of the guitarists could get a baritone 8 string and downtune it...

One guitarist could do the Charlie Hunter thing...

Or you an do what he other posters said- change your keyboardist's duties or find a bass player.
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alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
ccannon1
Band Geek
Join date: Sep 2010
1,331 IQ
#8
You can do what Jack White did while in the White Stripes and use a digitech whammy along with a muff to put out more low end
AlanHB
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Join date: Aug 2008
1,703 IQ
#9
Quote by AWACS

So without taking up bass myself, or getting a bass player (hard to do in a small town) are there any ways to fill a bassist's role on guitar?.


How small a town are you talking about? Wiki says that there's 1.2 million in your area.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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AWACS
I want all of the things
Join date: Sep 2009
6,888 IQ
#10
About 5,000 in my town. I could probably count all the competent guitarists/bassists/drummers my age we have on my fingers and toes.
Caution:
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AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
Join date: Aug 2008
1,703 IQ
#11
Well that should be enough, I made do with less than that. You only need one. Otherwise look outside your town, I'm going to guess you're close to other areas (Canada/USA definition of a "town" is different from Australian definition of a "town").
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
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#12
Well, if you really can't find a bass player who is up to snuff, your keyboardist doesn't want to play the bass lines, and you love playing guitar so much that you don't want to give it up in favor of the bass, all I got for you is this:

Try learning an alternative tuning.

I hinted at this when I first posted- an alternative tuned guitar could supply some of that low-end you want, and depending on the tuning you choose, may be a blessing for you. I play in two tunings, Standard and Robert Fripp's NST- CGDAEG. That tuning lets you get some of the low without sacrificing the highs.

If you invest in getting a 7 or 8 string, and or a baritone on which to play that alternative tuning, you may get even more low-tone support.

It won't sound quite like a bass, but it may give you enough of that low end.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
191 IQ
#13
Ultimately being in a band is about compromise. You all have to sacrifice some of what you like as individuals in order to make the whole more than the sum of its parts.

You have two guitarists and a keyboard player. I find it implausible that you and the other guitarist couldn't take a few songs on the bass each, while the keyboard player does basslines on some other songs. If you guys can't make some compromises like that, well, I question how much you really care about the band as an entity to itself, rather than just as a vehicle for you to show off as individuals.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
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#15
Necessity is the mother of invention.

They don't need a bassist, they need bass lines: they'll figure something out.

Who knows, it may be surprising.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Jacobrivers8
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2010
892 IQ
#16
Well as other people have said already you could basically a) Adjust your EQ and possibly get a bass amp, b) play with alternate tunings, or c) have the keyboardist play bass lines. Personally I think that if you really can't find a bassist you should do all three (obviously not on the same song, but switching off for different songs). Do whatever you want though, I'm only giving an opinion, if you work hard enough at it you'll figure something out.
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
Join date: Oct 2009
3,411 IQ
#17
You play in a band to make music, not all of the parts can be the most interesting to play (because then everybody would play like Malmsteen and wank the scales up and down at light speed). I play bass in my band, I would like to play the guitar but really it doesn't matter.

You have keyboards and two guitars. That's a lot. That's almost the same as three guitars. Maybe one of you should play the bass. You could be the bassist in one song and the other guitarist could play the bass in another song.

In Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones played keyboards and bass. When the song needed keyboards, he played bass with keyboards (he had Hammond organ with bass pedals). Same with The Doors. The keyboardist had this small Fender Rhodes bass synth that he played with his left hand and with his right hand he played organ.

But my point is, playing in the band is fun if you sound good. Don't make interesting parts to play, make interesting parts to listen to. And to make them you need a bassline. Take turns as a bassist or make your keyboardist play bass like in Led Zeppelin or The Doors.

I could play open E string throughout the whole song if the song needed it, I wouldn't complain (for example "Running with the Devil" sounds so awesome because of the simple bassline with only E in the chorus and A in the Verse). Do what the song needs you to do.
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#18
My main project is just me with my guitar, and I have a drummer for live performances. I've been in a similar situation, as I still had to sound good with no bass. To get a full sound, I have 3 outputs:
-An overdriven amp (in my case, an Orange AD30)
-An amp with delay and either fuzz or natural overdrive (in my case, most of the time, a Marshall 6200). The delay adds some notes and almost makes it sound like the guitar is doubled.
-A Sansamp Bass Driver DI. I use this to boost the lower end of the guitar and send that directly in the mixboard. Of course, it doesn't have the lower end notes, but the bass EQ is there and it sounds great as it comes from another source.

For the longest time, I tried to emulate a bass, until I realized that if I'm going to emulate a bass, I might as well get one. As I didn't want to, I decided to assume the fact I didn't and to work with what I had to make it sound good and natural.
CarsonStevens
Rocksmith
Join date: Sep 2010
688 IQ
#19
Quote by AWACS
About 5,000 in my town. I could probably count all the competent guitarists/bassists/drummers my age we have on my fingers and toes.


Another option is to take one of those "incompetent" bassists and bring 'em on with the understanding that they'll work to get better.

Unless your idea of incompetent is "can't play like Flea", in which case you need to lower your expectations a bit.
axemanchris
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Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#20
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Necessity is the mother of invention.

They don't need a bassist, they need bass lines: they'll figure something out.

Who knows, it may be surprising.


Yes, it just may be.

But statistically, it will be surprising in the bad sort of way. Like, "WTF are they doing? There's no bottom end. Oh, look. They have no bassist."

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Phil Starr
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Join date: Oct 2007
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#21
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.