#1
so ive been playing bass for almost 4 years, and now im getting into more melodic lines, rather than structured bass lines following the root notes. ive noticed im kinda stuck playing the same rhythms, and have really now melody, it just kind of sounds like a weird bassline. lately ive been looping a chord progression and been trying to play lead on top of it, but i cant think melodically. anyone have any advice on how to play more of a lead than a bassline? ive always been more of a right brained (i think) person and been a math and science guy, not with a huge creative side to me. so that might be why im leaning toward a structured line.
Gear:
Musicman Stingray 4 string HH
Tech 21 Sansamp Para Driver
Ampeg V-4B
Ampeg SVT-212AV 2x12

Gibson SG Standard
Vox AC15
Keeley compressor
Keeley Dark Side
Boss RC-2 Loop
Korg Pandora
Crybaby Wah
#2
I'm a science guy, yet melodic lines are second nature to me, so the entire "right/left side" thing doesn't really count for much there.

The trick is making melodic bassines whilst fitting with the drums. Be the link between drums and vocals. Listen to vocalists. Brush up on your theory.
#3
too bad i don't have a vocalist at the moment . usually its just me and a drummer and we just jam and try out different styles wherever our jam goes. ive been using the CAGED system of mode patterns, arpeggios to shape the chord, and maybe some pentatonics when its just a simple minor chord. my bass teacher and i just went over the "Hotel California" with the stacking 5ths. its a really interesting progression, but usually i come up with a good little lick, and i keep repeating that same rhythm unintentionally with different notes because i think it sounds good.
Gear:
Musicman Stingray 4 string HH
Tech 21 Sansamp Para Driver
Ampeg V-4B
Ampeg SVT-212AV 2x12

Gibson SG Standard
Vox AC15
Keeley compressor
Keeley Dark Side
Boss RC-2 Loop
Korg Pandora
Crybaby Wah
#4
Hey hey man,

Having a solid basis in theory will definitely help with creating melodic lines. I find that adding leading tones (C# to D) for example can really spice up a line. One of my personal favs is utilizing the major submediant (major 6th) because, in my opinion, it is a beautiful sounding degree when mixed with the tonic. Listen to Bjork's "Unravel" for a simple, beautiful example use of 6ths.

Also check out the Bebop scale (in C: C D E F F# G A B C, or 1 2 3 4 #4 5 6 7 8). This is a fantatsic scale for improv, as it uses chromatic passing tones which don't usually show up in standard improv (using pentatonic, for example).

As for standard bass lines which have a nice melodic quality, one of the first I learned was the slow section of "Orion" by Metallica, particularly the part where it speeds up a bit and Cliff plays the line that begins F# A C#.

Arpeggio usage, whether major or minor, will always have a melodic quality, especially when used in the key and mode of the song.

If you have any questions, let me know!

PS: You are left brained
Last edited by Mr. Jiggy Fly at Jul 29, 2009,
#5
ok thanks man that really helped. ill check out "Unravel" and look into major 6th.

i use arpegios a lot, but its still more a bassline when i do it, even with double arpegios. probably because i keep the same rhythm throughout. i think i just need to spice up the rhythms in my playing.

and yeah, about a year ago i was stuck in the same situation, so i started using passing tones a lot more and it really makes it a lot smoother and sounds good.

my problem is that i usually create a central lick/rhythm, and i revlolve around it, adding little twists and spins to it. what i want to do, is to not have a central idea that i create more things off of. if i want to make a bassline for a song, then yes i do want to do that. but if i'm just jamming and want to have fun, i need to learn how to let go of that idea of playing and just solo.
Gear:
Musicman Stingray 4 string HH
Tech 21 Sansamp Para Driver
Ampeg V-4B
Ampeg SVT-212AV 2x12

Gibson SG Standard
Vox AC15
Keeley compressor
Keeley Dark Side
Boss RC-2 Loop
Korg Pandora
Crybaby Wah
#6
Quote by fenderbassist12
ok thanks man that really helped. ill check out "Unravel" and look into major 6th.

i use arpegios a lot, but its still more a bassline when i do it, even with double arpegios. probably because i keep the same rhythm throughout. i think i just need to spice up the rhythms in my playing.

and yeah, about a year ago i was stuck in the same situation, so i started using passing tones a lot more and it really makes it a lot smoother and sounds good.

my problem is that i usually create a central lick/rhythm, and i revlolve around it, adding little twists and spins to it. what i want to do, is to not have a central idea that i create more things off of. if i want to make a bassline for a song, then yes i do want to do that. but if i'm just jamming and want to have fun, i need to learn how to let go of that idea of playing and just solo.


I think it was Stanley Clarke who said (paraphrasing) "One of the most important parts of playing is learning as much theory as you can, and then forgetting it."

It takes time. You'll definitely get it soon, especially with the amount of time you've been playing. It's just a matter of trial and error as well as experimentation.

A few tips for soloing:
Start off a minor third above the key. That adds a harmonious effect to the sound. Mess around with playing a minor third above and playing in the tonic key.

Try adding some diminished embellishments to your playing. A little dissonance can really have a strong effect. Likewise, trying playing a bar or two one half-tone (flat 2) above the tonic key. Jazz musicians do this a lot.

Bend notes! I cannot tell you how much I do this, and it really can add life to a solo.

Take a tip from Richard Bona and sing what you are playing. Understanding what you are going to play is one of the most important aspects of soloing. Likewise, if you find yourself out of breath while soling and singing it, calm down a little bit. Solos, like humans, need to breathe. Let people know how talented you are by the tastefulness of your playing, not how many notes you can play in a measure.

Cheers!
Last edited by Mr. Jiggy Fly at Jul 29, 2009,