#1
Hey guys, I'm gonna jam with some friends in the near future, and am going to be playing the bass. (They all know I'm a guitarist, so they know I'm not used to the bass).

What I'm trying to ask is, is there a different way to playing the bass than the guitar, mentally. I can do the rock bass lines, you know, playing the root note. How do I improv on a bass though?

Any tips or hints? This may seem like a stupid question, but I would like some opinions/answers.
#2
depending on what's being played, 7ths and 9ths may come in handy while doing improv. know your key, and just do what you want within it, but pentatonic scales may help.
#3
genre?


if your fingerpicking that'll be th hardest thing to do


also the extra foot of scale length could throw you off a bit
#4
I have been in this situation in the past year: I had to switch to the bass as we happened to be 3 guitarists without a bassist in the same band.

After several searches, I found this excellent site:
http://www.studybass.com/

There are a lot of information/analysis on what a bass player should do in a rock or blues band, compared to what guitarists tend to improvise or play. Some lessons are basic stuff, but others are very helpful.

On fingerpicking and scale length: it took me about two weeks to get comfortable and to gain enough speed to play most standard blues and rock covers and begin to improvise.
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#5
Quote by rickyj
genre?


A lot. From Blink 182 kind of riffs to funky chili pepper jams, to metal. Nothing really specific.
#6
Im was in the same position, i agree with nojeremy, but would also say that if your gunna be making up some riffs, just follow the inlays, 1,3,5,7,9,12 can make good and simple riffs. If you want to get better at it then do some improv and play often, take some songs you can play on guitar and learn the bass parts to them, build your way up from there
oh and in my experience, the rhythms are different to guitar as you'll be 'laying down the foundations' so get familiar with different rhythms, speeds etc get a good feel for what your playing hope that helps
#7
There's a difference in the head between a good bass player and a guitarist as you alluded to in your question. Guitarists want to sound good, bassists want the band to sound good.

A bass player needs to hold the whole ban together, to join the rhythm to the harmonic structure. You need to stop thinking of improvisation and start thinking about keeping it tight. The guitarists will add all the improvisation and colour but that only works when they know the rhythm is solid and you are sticking to the chord sequence. Sure there is space to add subtle variation and there are genre's of music and bands where there are complex bass lines but for most of us 80% of what we play is the root.

What you actually play will depend upon the drummer. Some keep great time and a steady rhythm without too much variation and this gives you more freedom but some will need you to be the disciplined member of the rhythm section. Locking into the drums is vital for the band to sound good and your relationship with the drummer is your most important musically.

You'll also need to listen to the guitarists, they **** up a lot usually and when they do you have to bring them back to time and/or key, this often means banging away a heavy four or eight beat on the root or emphasizing the chord changes until they find their way back in.

If you are a brilliant bassist no-one knows you are there, but they'll fall apart without you and all those feet will be dancing to your rhythm.
#8
^ I get what you mean and there's some good advice there, but I don't see the need for the superiority complex.
Bass players are not instantly superior to guitar players.
I know bass players get bashed around quite a bit verbally (I get that all the ****ing time), but why join on in the ignorance?
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#9
follow the drummer. every time the bass drum hits you have to too. try and play chord tones lean on the root. for blink 182 the root is you god. for funkier stuff root octave 7th fifth. metal dpendson the metal but the root is kinda your god there too.
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#10
Yep, It would help if know what kind of music yer goin to play. Get a few lick on internet as a weapon... done :d

But usually Play the Root, Octave root, and the Chord Triad. Arpeggio sometimes to add color. And very stick with the kick drum....

Oh ya... don't play like a guitarist
#11
Quote by MetallicSka
Hey guys, I'm gonna jam with some friends in the near future, and am going to be playing the bass. (They all know I'm a guitarist, so they know I'm not used to the bass).

What I'm trying to ask is, is there a different way to playing the bass than the guitar, mentally. I can do the rock bass lines, you know, playing the root note. How do I improv on a bass though?

Any tips or hints? This may seem like a stupid question, but I would like some opinions/answers.


Its not much different, play the lines 1 note at a time, follow the drummer and keep the rhythm of the song. Thats your role as a bassist to maintain the grove.

A guitarist usually wants to show off or getting wild. you shouldnt do this with a bass.

Finally, finger picking is not easy. lol your about to shit yourself lol
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Last edited by reggaebassman at Apr 28, 2011,
#12
Quote by reggaebassman


Finally, finger picking is not easy. lol your about to shit yourself lol


I can the play the classical guitar, I think I will be fine with fingerpicking. I hope anyways
#13
Quote by Phil Starr
....
Nice bit of pretentious ego there. Also I would argue that all that is simply not true. Just because someone plays a particular instrument does not mean they do/don't care about the band's overall sound. I've met just as many stuck up bass players and drummers who think they're the star of the show as I have lead guitarists who insist on putting 4 minute solos in every song or singers who demand a tight-focus spotlight.

Also I don't think a bass player should operate incognito. If you're not being heard then there's something wrong, especially in any pop/rock/metal music. If anything what you're describing is an unimaginative rhythm guitar player.
#14
Groove!!!

Since your first starting I wouldnt get to crazy with the improv I would focus on locking in with the drummer and setting a solid and consistant groove... you may have experiance as a guitarist but on bass you are a noob. A few things such as left hand technique may transer over, but it's best if you start with a clean slate and think of it as a completly diffrent insturment.

If it were me I would use the jam time to practice creating a pocket. Groove as hard as you can right before the lead guitarist solos, as he starts to solo bring your dynamics down "play softer" and instead of playing the groove you were before try peddling one or two note(s) softly. This will created "the pocket" an empty space for the guitarist to fill. Then when his solo is almost over bring the volume back up and walk your way back to the original groove! Most guitarists and listeners will never relize what you did, but they will know it felt and sounded damn good!!!

Lol, as for fingerpicking... he's right your in for a treat. It's pretty tough getting use to playing straight 1/8th or 1/16th notes consistantly for an extended period of time. Your probably going to cramp, get tired, and loose the rhythm when you first start. I would probably carry a pick with you just to be safe
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Well played, sir, well played.
#15
Quote by TheMooseKnuckle
I would probably carry a pick with you just to be safe


I think I will. How thick though? I like relatively thin picks on the guitar (0.73 for all purpose, 0.88 for t3h br00t4lz). Should I bring like a 1.00? That's the biggest pick I own, I could always borrow some off the guitarist though.
#16
Quote by MetallicSka
I think I will. How thick though? I like relatively thin picks on the guitar (0.73 for all purpose, 0.88 for t3h br00t4lz). Should I bring like a 1.00? That's the biggest pick I own, I could always borrow some off the guitarist though.


Go with whatevers most comfortable.

1mm should be fine... If you like the feel of the pick, and you get the tone you like... go with it, there isnt really a right or wrong answer. It's the same as choosing a pick for guitar some people like paper thin picks, some like picks that feel like your playing with a damn silver dollar
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
#17
Quote by TheMooseKnuckle
Go with whatevers most comfortable.

1mm should be fine... If you like the feel of the pick, and you get the tone you like... go with it, there isnt really a right or wrong answer. It's the same as choosing a pick for guitar some people like paper thin picks, some like picks that feel like your playing with a damn silver dollar


Alright, I thought because the strings are bigger you might need a larger pick to get the attack you would on a smaller string.
#18
Quote by MetallicSka
Alright, I thought because the strings are bigger you might need a larger pick to get the attack you would on a smaller string.


Like on guitar you do get more attack with the thicker pick... it's up to you to determin the tone you want.

If you ask 10 people on here what pick and thickness to use. Chances are you're going to get 10 diffrent answers. Like pretty much anything in music, it all comes down to personal prefrence.
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
Last edited by TheMooseKnuckle at Apr 28, 2011,
#19
Quote by MetallicSka
I think I will. How thick though? I like relatively thin picks on the guitar (0.73 for all purpose, 0.88 for t3h br00t4lz). Should I bring like a 1.00? That's the biggest pick I own, I could always borrow some off the guitarist though.

i use 0.96 whether i'm playing guitar or bass, works fine and comfortably for both but it's really all up to what's comfortable for you
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#20
Quote by MetallicSka
A lot. From Blink 182 kind of riffs to funky chili pepper jams, to metal. Nothing really specific.

For the blink stuff you want to use a pick. Strum WITH A HEAVY PICK towards the bridge. Play the root notes, stay on beat. The rest, I dont know.
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