#1
When listening to some Interpol songs, I noticed the bassist sometimes does his own thing. He isn't playing straight roots, but instead, plays a melodic bassline. I've noticed Flea does this on some occasions as well. I believe it's called counterpoint playing, right? I want to understand how they come up with such lines. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
#2
Dengler from Interpol often uses staccato.Flea's style of playing is either his signature slap or something more melodic.There isn't any way "to do" this..if you want to do it,just USE your instrument.I will assume you are a bassist.In bands,most bassists play fairly simple ground notes.It depends on how they can support the song better..take as an example Green Day's 21 Century Brakedown and compare it to Dookie,bass-wise.Did Dirn't became a worse player?I doubt that..Flea has simpler basslines in several RHCP songs.Take Under The Bridge or Blood Sugar Sex Magix as an example of that.If you want your bass to occupie a bigger part of the sound practice it.Get a guitar loop or something and play melody over it,practice until it sounds good.And don't listen to any asshole guitarist telling you you're not supposed to do your thing.
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#3
Of course there's a way "to do it", although it's nothing so complex as counterpoint even, it's just something you can do if you have a basic understanding of harmony.

Learn about intervals, learn how to construct the major scale and learn how chords are formed by harmonising the major scale. If you know the chords you're playing over then you can choose notes that will fit with those chords allowing you to play more than just root notes.
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#4
It's also rarely improvised; think about the fact that the RHCP sit down and write out their music before hand (at some point in the process) so that they can figure out when a busier bassline is appropriate and when it isn't.
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#5
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When listening to some Interpol songs, I noticed the bassist sometimes does his own thing. He isn't playing straight roots, but instead, plays a melodic bassline. I've noticed Flea does this on some occasions as well. I believe it's called counterpoint playing, right? I want to understand how they come up with such lines. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

pretty much the same way a guitarist solos. if you know the key to the song, its easy to come up with some melodic lines (if you know the scales and chords as well).
the problem is a lot of bass players dont go past roots, 5ths, and sometimes 3rds. the easiest thing to do is to add some major or minor pentatonic stuff over a chord.
#6
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
pretty much the same way a guitarist solos. if you know the key to the song, its easy to come up with some melodic lines (if you know the scales and chords as well).
the problem is a lot of bass players dont go past roots, 5ths, and sometimes 3rds. the easiest thing to do is to add some major or minor pentatonic stuff over a chord.


I agree with this. Identify key, identify scale, use scale to create line. That's how I write my basslines.
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#7
Depending on the style and what the other instruments are doing you can free yourself up more. But don't forget you are playing bass and still have to hold the harmonic base.

The real difficulty of the bass is not the technical ability, but the choices and sacrifices you have to make in a song to be as melodic or as rhythmic as you could be without losing the harmony. The best bassists know exactly how far they can take it in every situations without ruining or tampering with the song and the other instruments.
#8
Just play some notes in the key of the song. Look at Modest Mouse's Trailer Trash ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc6l5w1mhqg ) at about 3:33 when it goes into the guitar solo the bass starts to stand out a bit and just does its own thing. Just make sure you're playing in some sort of rhythm and in key. Modest Mouse's Edit The Sad Parts is also another great example. I'm pretty sure their bassist is doing his own thing throughout the whole 7 minutes. Heres the link to that song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0cKykFcWOM its probably a better example than Trailer Trash tbh
Last edited by Joshua1207 at Sep 9, 2010,
#9
Bassist usually base (no pun intended) their parts on movement between the chords the guitar or other instruments are playing.

For example when going from a C to an Am, between playing roots he could add a B on the last beat of the bar to promote movement to the A. ( C - B - A, decrease movement in the scale).

That's a simple example, but it highlights the point of finding some sort of commonality, or way to connect one chord to the next. Bassist can strengthen the music by using these methods to make a progression sound better as a whole. In that example, it would be very easy to use a C or E because it is in either chord.

You can choose to stay within the realm of the chord, or you can add extensions provideding a bit of flavour. A rule of thumb (which can still be broken), would be to only remain on the root, the third and fifth for a period of time - unless it specifically highlighted in the chord - and use other non-chord notes as movement between them.
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#11
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It's also rarely improvised; think about the fact that the RHCP sit down and write out their music before hand (at some point in the process) so that they can figure out when a busier bassline is appropriate and when it isn't.

I'm pretty sure that I've read a quote from an RHCP bandmember saying most of their music stems from jam sessions which they then refine.

Here we go, it was Chad Smith, from an article published July 31st, 2009:

Smith expects bassist Flea and guitarist John Frusciante may come in with some musical ideas, but the group will mostly likely "do a lot of improvising and jamming and songs will come out of that, too. That's what we usually do. I don't know why it would be different."
#12
Quote by RU Experienced?
I'm pretty sure that I've read a quote from an RHCP bandmember saying most of their music stems from jam sessions which they then refine.

Here we go, it was Chad Smith, from an article published July 31st, 2009:

Smith expects bassist Flea and guitarist John Frusciante may come in with some musical ideas, but the group will mostly likely "do a lot of improvising and jamming and songs will come out of that, too. That's what we usually do. I don't know why it would be different."


That means they dont get their ideas from writing but from jamming. Fills and little things might be improvised in the recordings but believe me, pretty much all of it has been perfectly arranged. The days of bringing in Duane Allman to do a one take slide work on your song or having a whole band one take a song they've never played like in motown are long gone.