#1
Hello fellow dwellers of the bass forum. Today, I come to you with a dilemma.
I've recently joined a band. We play Djenty/deathcore/groovy music but, we're all just kids in high school. As we all know, most bass players in these types of bands are there to just hold down the low end, and make everything seem a little heavier. The thing is, i'm not that kind of player. I want to hear an interesting bass line, that grooves hard, and can draw you in. But sadly, I'm at a loss. I have NO idea on what to play, besides just following the guitars.

This is going to seem like shameless self promotion, but i'm legitimately looking for help, so if you could listen to the demo, located here: http://www.reverbnation.com/marrowarkansas And give me some bassy insight, I would VASTLY appreciate your help.

TL;DR: I need some help writing interesting bass lines in my band.
THALL
#2
Well, as for djent and deathcore, I can give little to no advice as I don't know those genres. But what I do for when I'm writing basslines, I tend to follow the snare and bass drums instead of doing the rhythm the guitarist is doing. I understand that with djent and deathcore you're doing a lot of fast double-bass drumming though, and a lot of the time the guitar goes with that, so Iunno...xD Just try noodling around with the timing, triplets and that sort of thing. And don't let the guitarists drown you out, that's the most important part! xD
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#3
Thank you sir. Typically in djent, everyone is focusing on the same rhythm, the bass drumming will be kicking out a pattern, and everyone will kinda chug on that, with variations of course. But the kick is pretty much the back bone. At least for how we write it. I am determined NOT to be drowned out! Heck no! Haha Luckily, the main writer, is a fan of pronounced bass
THALL
#4
well, one thing you can do is use the bass to create chords, since there is no third (or much of anything else) in a power chord you can play thirds (or other types of harmony) against the guitar part, and as long as you stay low it will stick out, and you could theoretically create chords to pull the ear along all from the bass which could sound really cool, its not crazy cool, but it would be more interesting than just doubling the octave
#5
Use bass runs etc. say the riff is just straight 8th notes bar of 8 then bar of 10 then 0 then 3 in a drop tuning... add a run/lick at the end of the 10. Exactly the same kind of idea as a drum fill that changes up parts or each 2nd rotation of it change it up.

Im playing in a progressive hardcore band and we go between say hardcore to even some black metal huge trem parts then some metalcore and I even put in some jazz runs and playing. As long as it fits then it fits, Yes alot of the bass emphasises things to make it heavy which is cool and all but hey ... theres still alot of room to move with excellent playing. Just listen to bands that your bands getting influenced and either the bass player will bore you, Think of what YOU could be playing or if the bass is good well... take advice/ideas and incorperate them into your own playing/style.

No genre of music has boring bass.... Just bands within those genre's have boring bass players.
#6
I would play some following guitars and some changing things up. just add some flavor and you should be good
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#7
I already do subtle things, maybe a little fill right before we go into a different part, or maybe a slide when the bass and drums come in. For example, if the guitars are going 0-2-1-0-2-1 I will go 0-14-13-14-13 To give some variety, but it just doesn't seem like enough, I would incorporate some slap, but I just can't find a way to do it.
THALL
#8
ahhh, In my djent/deathcore band, i tend to follow the kick drum more often than the guitars, especially during the more rythmic parts, try adding some slap bass and walking bass lines as well, if you're having trouble fitting slap in, try to wait until there are more simple guitar and/or drum parts, rather than cluttering up an already busy section, the less there is going on, the more room you'll have to express yourself on bass, also try playing your part doubletime or half time to add some contrast to the music.
that's what works for me anyways. ;P
THALL
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#9
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I already do subtle things, maybe a little fill right before we go into a different part, or maybe a slide when the bass and drums come in. For example, if the guitars are going 0-2-1-0-2-1 I will go 0-14-13-14-13 To give some variety, but it just doesn't seem like enough, I would incorporate some slap, but I just can't find a way to do it.


Your tactic is playing the more of the same as the guitarist?
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#10
^ Yeah thats what I thought, you shouldn't play too often in the higher octaves because then you're playing the guitar part and not the bass part.

Most often anyways the bassist follows the guitarists and supports with the drums. Unless you guys make a song that accents the bass, this is what you'll be most often doing. To change it up start noodling around at the end of measures to generate interest. You could play simple ideas from theory such as octaves, flat 7ths, 6ths, 5ths, really anything to change it up. Flea from RHCP does this alot and thats where I started to learn to use fills.
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#11
1 word: Basspeggios.
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#12
Try using counterpoint, like when the guitar goes lower in pitch you go higher for example?
#13
I just jam a riff and follow the guitar, and as you get comfortable with it, and start working in changes listening for the drums to fit and make sure it sounds right. The guitarist I usually play with is very lead oriented, so we usually play a riff till I can make a line, then he leads around, while me and the drummer keep it all going til he falls back in, Or I get tired of his wanking and stop and see if he notices
#14
First - Is that song's bridge supposed to sound exactly like the 28 Days/Weeks Later theme song?

Second - Just play everything slower - Say they're playing 16th notes, play 8th notes instead and add in some little "fills" at parts.
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#15
That does sound a fair bit like "In the House, In A Heart Beat".
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#16
Quote by MatrixClaw
First - Is that song's bridge supposed to sound exactly like the 28 Days/Weeks Later theme song?


Wow, holy crap! It does! I dont think it was supposed to mimic that, but it does sound pretty cool!
THALL
#17
Starting at 2:05 and going to 2:54 f is your moment to shine. From the intro up until that you are pretty limited in what you can do. I would suggest keeping a 16th note groove. The bass drum is pounding out straight 16ths with crashes coming down on 8ths, and the snare is hitting on 2, the "E" of 3, and the "& uh" of 4. An 8th note line would be too out of place and just not sound as good their in my opinion. Groove with the guitars and maybe a small run from the snare hit on 2 going to 3 periodically. Maybe you could accent the "& uh" of 4 with stinger notes. You could also try an ascending chromatic run at the end of some phrases to push into the next section of the song.

And an honest critique of the recording... I know it's a demo but it could be mixed better. I wasn't even aware there was a bass playing until it got to 2:05.

But anyways, when 2:05 comes you have to do a lot more to keep it interesting. As an honest opinion from a listener's standpoint, the cut going to into 2:05 was a little awkward. The energy of the song was just sucked away. You need to pick up that energy and not let it die out since you're the only one really supporting the song there. Maybe play something a little solo-ish. Play something that just keeps it moving. And also maybe give a nice climatic build to when the drums start driving again the guitars go heavier again.

Just an honest opinion that you can take it for what it's worth.
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#18
To be honest, Im not even 100% sure there is even bass on that recording at all. I wasn't in when they did it. I'm their first bass player. During practice, when we went in to that part for th efirst rime, I was suprised, when I saw one of the guitar players, playing that little line. Also, thank for the advice.
THALL
#19
to be honest i don't think you can really be too creative on your bass parts in songs like that.
you want to be creative learn some jazz,funk or something idk what to tell you really.
#20
I'm naturally kind of a funky player. Yeah, I figured there wasnt too much I could do, I just wanted some outside opinion.
THALL
#21
Listen to more TesseracT, that should give you an idea.
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#23
I'd recommend listening to genres outside of metal that feature prominent bass. Stuff like very busy jazz music, for example, will feature really pronounced bass that carries the melody and progression of the song without copying or interfering with any other instrument. Maybe check out some of Miles Davis' more electric albums, like Bitches Brew, or maybe even some funk music like Funkadelic's Maggot Brain album. I think this kind of music will help you understand the role and importance of bass overall, rather than just in one particular genre, and the fact that both jazz and funk are pretty busy instrumentation wise will help you figure out how basslines can cut through large mixes.

Within your genre, I'll try offer some advice! I used to play in a thrash metal band, which is pretty different I guess, but I think you can cross them over. The most important thing is to look for moments where something is missing from the guitar parts. If the guitar riff in the verse says everything the verse riff needs to, follow it. To embellish that would be just showing off and would probably be a detriment to the song. If the chorus riff is big and spacious however, like big power chords or high note licks/pull-offs/whatever, there's plenty of room there for you to do some scale runs or embellish the chord progression a little. As someone else said in the thread, playing counterpoint is really vital in this situation. If the guitars are playing low, spacious chords, perhaps just one or two chords per bar, there's plenty of room in the mix for you to go higher and add some high licks into that. If the guitars are suddenly playing very high, such as in harmonising sections or pull off based riffs, then there's a lot of room in that mix for you to keep the song grounded with some steady but embellished low octave riffs. Clean guitar sections are also always good sections for a metal bassist to shine, as the low end on a clean guitar tone in metal is normally rolled off in comparison to the thick distortion tones which are very popular now.

A final piece of advice would be to maybe ask your guitarists to adjust their tone. Modern metal is full of huge, thick guitar sounds which occupy the same frequency space as the bass does. This can mean the bass might either sound muddy or inaudible. If your guitarists rolled off on the bass, increased their treble a little, you could probably find a happy compromise between old school angular guitar sounds and modern thick sounds. This'll give you a lot more frequency space, which will hopefully mean you'll be heard even when you're just following the guitar riff.
Last edited by RJayZ at Jul 26, 2011,
#24
Also, I'm going to be using a 6 string bass, because they use 7 strings tuned to G#, or some nonsense. My 4 string AINT about to handle that.
THALL
#25
there's definitely ways to make interesting lines in your genre. my band plays pop punk music, but our bassist uses a 6 string. not to just screw with the low string all day, he actually scales/riffs or matches some of my lead riffs on bass. also, during one of our songs, in the verses, he came up with a sick 3 string tapping line while us 2 guitarists do a simple rhythm.

it's not impossible, but it is tricky if you don't know what you're doing.
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#26
i dont know if this has been said before but you should listen to primus and take some influence from les claypool
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#27
I like to jam with my buddy who is a guitarist, and when he is playing something on guitar, I tend to search for notes that make his chords glow a bit. We also play djenty stuff sometimes, and I find it helps. My bass line will be way different, but it brings different sounds out of his progressions. I might use a high note on a low chord to give it a lighter feel, or a low note on a high chord to make it heavier. It always depends on what sounds good to my ears. Sometime I will even go low-mid-high when he goes high-mid-low. It adds a whole lot of dynamics to the over all sound.
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#28
I think the genre is pretty much defined by unison chugs... for breakdowns and stuff I would personally want to play pretty much exactly what the guitars do. For more melodic parts, however, make it more interesting and play about with arpeggios and stuff like that. But for beatdowns etc I would definitely keep it simple - you want the chugs to sound as tight and tied-in to the kick drum as possible. For slap bass v chug and tech listen to some Arusha Accord
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#29
Quote by Jake the Peg
I think the genre is pretty much defined by unison chugs... for breakdowns and stuff I would personally want to play pretty much exactly what the guitars do. For more melodic parts, however, make it more interesting and play about with arpeggios and stuff like that. But for beatdowns etc I would definitely keep it simple - you want the chugs to sound as tight and tied-in to the kick drum as possible. For slap bass v chug and tech listen to some Arusha Accord


+1 listen to The Arusha Accord!
#30
I don't need music to listen to, I've heard everything you guys suggest. I have an Idea, everybody listen to the sog, and tell me what YOU would do, during certain parts. Lie what goes through your head, as you hear a certain riff/section?
THALL
#31
I think if you want to be really separate from the guitars, you're going to have to play a different genre. Yes, you don't always have to do exactly what the guitars are doing, but for djenty stuff a lot of bass creativeness would change the sound dramatically and it wouldn't sound djenty anymore.

So, yeah, be creative and don't be boring but also don't mess up the feel and sound of the song just to make it more fun to play.
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#32
What is Djent? I keep thinking of those African Djembe drums hipsters buy so they can get high and play in crappy drum circles.
#33
Meshuggah and all the mostly crappy rip-off bands that copied them.
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#34
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Meshuggah and all the mostly crappy rip-off bands that copied them.


I checked them out, musics alright, but I have a real problem with most metal vocals. And I see what you mean, you're not going to stray far from the guitars in that music, and I'd think unless you got a loud amp and reallllly good EQ it'll be hard to be heard clearly for anything really original and intricate