#1
hello guys,

i've been playing bass for almost 5 years. i have a musicman stingray HH, i've been taking lessons for almost 5 years from a man that is one of my main inspirations not just in bass playing, but life in general. anyways, i've learned pentatonics, arpeggios, chord composition, and the CAGED system of the modes, as well as variations from the typical greek modes. i'd say i'm pretty well trained in theory. my fingerstyle is great, my thump/slap style is not too shabby either.

anyway. its not playing songs that is my problem. i can cover many different songs and i am satisfied with it. i am currently in a band that has a lot of talent and i think we have a lot of potential. my problem comes in at the creativity level. i seem to have a preset number of rhythms in my head that i use in different jams. these are great, but i seem to be using the same ones over and over. all my jams that sound good independently seem to sound very similar when grouped together. i have fixed that somewhat by switching up my rhythms, which 16th note playing really gives you a ton of options for. that is not my main problem however. my bass teacher is trying to get me to come up with melodies . so the drill is we jam a little bit, and then he gives the spotlight over to me and i am supposed to solo/make a lead part. this is where i fall apart. although i know what notes are right to play, my preset number of rhythms in my head starts taking over. my rhythm in my lead part is extremely similar to the jam. i cannot come up with melodies that sound nice at all. so my solo ends up being a kind of rhythmic groove on the high end of the bass, which is not what im looking for. i want to be able to sing with my bass and create those melodies that make you feel good inside .

i am sorry for this wall of text, but what can i do to get past this plateau?
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've run into a similar problem in my guitar playing. I don't know how AC/DC has not felt inadequate with their handful of chords, but I think you need a change of perspective. For example, I used to be able to just play major chords and pentatonic scales. Then I studied some of John Mayer and Mastodon. My repertoire has increased considerably because I got a change in approach...
#3
What I do as a guitarist is I learn licks in a song that I think sound cool and I try to make my own spin on it. I also find certain intervals that I think sound good together and try to find a way to incorporate them into a melody. There are also times during the day when I sort of "compose" something in my head that sounds cool and then I learn to play it on guitar.

Good luck. I hope I helped.
#4
Sounds like you could use a change of pace. Try listening/getting into some music that's outside what you would normally play/listen to. Inspiration can come from odd places.
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#5
or if your woried about your melodic phrasing, and don't hate me bass forum, pick up a guitar. just like bass helps guitar, guitar helps bass.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#6
Quote by the_perdestrian
or if your woried about your melodic phrasing, and don't hate me bass forum, pick up a guitar. just like bass helps guitar, guitar helps bass.


I agree. This is a simple approach, but it really helps me when it seems I've hit a plateau. Also listening to genres you normally wouldn't listen to or play might help.
#7
I think you should try to listen to more music, specially different genres that you are not used to listening to whether it's classical, jazz or metal, so on. This will widen your range of ideas. While listening try not to concentrate on the bass in particular because you would want to dig ideas out of every other instrument and not only the bass.

Quote by DrWillumz
What I do as a guitarist is I learn licks in a song that I think sound cool and I try to make my own spin on it. I also find certain intervals that I think sound good together and try to find a way to incorporate them into a melody. There are also times during the day when I sort of "compose" something in my head that sounds cool and then I learn to play it on guitar.


That too, expanding your repertoire of licks is a great ideas, and the more licks you know, the easier it will be to come up with some, and the less you'll feel repetitive.

Also, always end your practice with a small improvisation, preferably over different rhythm patterns.

That's what I personally do. Good luck!
#8
There are several things you could do. Listen to different music, something which is less rhythmically based, or maybe listen to a band that has a more melodic instrument in the spotlight.

Take up guitar. This one's already been mentioned.

Or, you could stop playing altogether, for a couple of days. I find this is one of the most effective ways, As you come back after your break from the instrument with a fresh frame of mind and new ideas. Maybe even try all three at the same time? That's sure to work!
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Damn you and your ninja-like modding
#9
Maybe transpose melody lines and solos to your bass (on the higher frets of course). And as others have said, take a listen to other styles of music. Maybe take a listen to some jazz as improvisation and solos are a big part of the music. Transpose some solos from that. Also pretending that the bass is speaking like a human (pauses for breath, saying certain things louder and quieter, etc) can help
#10
thanks for all the suggestions.

any recommendations for melody based jazz musicians/albums or even classical artists?
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
#11
Do you listen to the mighty Jaco Pastorius? His debut solo album has some great playing and i, in no way,shape or form listen to jazz but Jaco's playing is awesome, he's inspired me on a number of occasions when i've been stuck
#13
Quote by the_perdestrian
or if your woried about your melodic phrasing, and don't hate me bass forum, pick up a guitar. just like bass helps guitar, guitar helps bass.

Pick up the guitar and become a Jimmy Page-esque rock god.

But yeah, playing both instruments has helped me a lot.
I pride myself on my humility.
#15
Learn the horn/keyboard lines that go over like ska or reggae songs or stuff like that if you're looking for melody, maybe try playing the vocal melody and see how it works within the chords and rhythm of everything.
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