I don't hear of two basses in a band very often, not even metal. So naturally, in a metal/hardcore style, I would like input on these two ideas for putting two basses in one song (note: I'm no expert, and I'm teaching myself, so please don't flame me about "common knowledge"):

Thought one: While one bassist plays a note sequence with a good tempo on quarter notes the other bassist moves up and down playing the individual notes to a respective chord (is there a name for that?). So if bassist "A" plays |G-G-G-G|A-A-A-A| then bassist "B" would use the same rhythm to play 4 notes to a G chord going up and then 4 notes to an A going back down. Would that sound good? Lame?

Thought two: One bassist plays a note pattern and the other plays the same pattern, but one string and two steps up (essentially forming a power chord between the two of them). How would that sound? And would it work if both of them started doing power chords? or would that just turn into random noise?
lame, from the moment you mentioned metalcore, it was lame... in a jazz band it would be cool though
you don't hear the bass very much in metal anyway, having two would be kinda stupid in my opinion. The guitar is usually the forefront in metal, which is why there are two guitarists a lot of the time. (sometimes 3)

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I did a song a while ago where bass 1 sat on a droning G and bass 2 played the main riff with the guitars. The drone added a lot of depth, I like the effect a lot.
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yeah, the bass is always mixed out of the final product anyway, so no one would ever hear it. i am a bass player and i have come to terms with my place in the band
Dude really great idea, although play power chords on one bass dosen't sound good
sorry to post twice but those guys who say its stupid because bass is usually mixed out, or because guitar is the main instrument in metal are stupid.

music is all about doing new things, go for it dude!
Quote by NCHEoin
sorry to post twice but those guys who say its stupid because bass is usually mixed out, or because guitar is the main instrument in metal are stupid.

music is all about doing new things, go for it dude!

haha i was kidding. i think dudes idea would sound pretty cool. ive wanted to try similar things but couldnt find another bass player
Might sound good, might not, but it is worth trying. Also maybe keep one bass clean other one with distortion/overdrive?
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I don't mean to be a killjoy, but here's what I think:

If you're playing with a full metal band, then I can't see the point. There's already enough space taken up frequency wise with 1 (maybe 2) guitarist, drummer and bassist. Add the harmonizing in (what you're thinking of doing) it will just sound like one big wall of sound, with no definition. Harmonizing at those sorta frequencies wont sound good anyway. Take your first thought for example. What you're saying is to play a perfect 5th (power chord) between two basses. This could be done on one bass anyway, so go grab your bass and play an A power chord on the E and A strings. It sounds really muddy, right? Well imagine that with a full band. You'd get no definition on, and wouldn't be able to hear it at all. Like said above, I think it would be a good idea to have a rhythm and a lead bassist in something other than a metal band (SMV anyone?) or a band that doesn't have so many textures in it.

Again, this is just what I think, but by all means, go experiment with the idea, you may be able to make it work.
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I had this sort of idea a while ago, except it would be 2 basses, vocals, and drums, no guitar, with 1 bass playing distorted lead guitar type thing and the other doing rhythm. The power chord thing your talking about TS is called harmonizing, specifically a 5th harmony. This will not work on bass unless the bass playing 1 string and a whole step up (ie, the 5th of what the other is doing, FYI) is actually playing an octave up from your original idea. In other words, if one bass is playing an open E (4th string), then it will sound bad if the other bass is playing a low B (2 fret on the 3rd string). Instead, that bass should be playing an octave up (14th fret on the A string or 4 fret on the G string).

Now if you want to do power chords, you can, but you have to play only down to the low A. Anything below that sounds muddy and bad
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Once I had the idea of having a bassist playing the guitar parts of a song and having a guitarist add lead parts here and there.
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On some of the songs I have with my band, I'll record a bass solo, and then keep the bass line going, but my bass sounds a bit like a guitar when I do solos. I'm not too sure how good your idea would be though.

Quote by NCHEoin
Dude really great idea, although play power chords on one bass dosen't sound good

It sounds good for me. Just as long as you don't have a really bassy sound at least.
Jasons bass has way more definition than Robs in that performance
BassInvaders is a Heavy Metal project led by the bass player of Helloween and its heavy metal music played only on bass vocals and drums

Also I write music using lead bass and rhytmic bass
I'm thinking it could work if you did something like bass player A plays a passage & bass player B plays the same passage either one or two octaves higher up, & if you only have one guitarist, but my thinking is along a more progressive & experimental line to most modern metal.
I've done the double bassist thing with another bassist friend, my guitarist and drummer in an experimental, avant-garde kind of thing we did for a little while. We had separate parts, his with extremely heavy metal distortion, mine with phaser and wah and synth effects. It sounded ok, but I couldn't see dual basses outside that experimental genre.
I wasn't expecting so many replies, many with experience no less!

Ok, so from what I'm hearing, it can be done but rarely well? Sounds like a challenge!

Though I'd like to thank all of you for your prompt response, outstanding details that I'm really taking to heart are:
  • The theory would be bad for metal. Yea, I agree with that, to be honest I don't know why I put metal on there, I see how it would be impossible to make the basses out with everything else going so hard/fast... but perhaps for an intro? I'll work with it if I get the chance.
  • They shouldn't be too bassy (it's a word! honest!) and should avoid heavy distortion.
  • Odds are, it will sound muddy, blended, or pointless... yea, I can see that. I still want to try it though, seeing as no one could fully shoot it down.

Thanks again!
I would think using an almost Cliff Burton like tone would work well mixed with a clean (maybe some slight effects) but I'm not sure. Personally I dislike the almost guitar-sounding bass tone he had but it could work in this situation. But I would think it may end up being a mudfest especially in a gig situation.

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