Poll: How do you treat your bass?
Poll Options
View poll results: How do you treat your bass?
Like an instrument of its own kind.
62 89%
Like it's just to keep rhythm/add low end?
8 11%
Voters: 70.
Page 1 of 2
#1
When you play bass, do you treat it like an instrument of its own, or like it's just to add to the bottom end? And I mean you personally. How do YOU do it. Just to keep the rhythm and add low end, or do you play it like it's something meant to be heard?
#3
I play to the song.

But you won't find me playing the song if it's one that exists solely for egotistical guitards to engage in musical masturbation while you trudge away on boring root note quavers.
Last edited by Ziphoblat at Aug 28, 2011,
#4
I don't really like either of the option. I don't think there's any reason you can't keep the rhythm and add low end, and also play it like it's something meant to be heard. In fact, if you're not doing both, you're not doing a very good job as a bass player (Under MOST circumstances)
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#5
I can't stand when bassists only play root notes. So. Freaking. Boring!


Quote by slaptasticdave
I don't really like either of the option. I don't think there's any reason you can't keep the rhythm and add low end, and also play it like it's something meant to be heard. In fact, if you're not doing both, you're not doing a very good job as a bass player (Under MOST circumstances)


Most people focus on just one or the other. And if I added an option for both, a lot of people would be less honest about it and say they do both. So... yep.
Last edited by TextOnTheScreen at Aug 28, 2011,
#6
I agree with the above posts. Players like John Entwistle who opened new worlds for future bassists with mind blowing lead playing still played really simple stuff when the song needed it.

I play in a hard rock band with two guitarists so there isn't much room for me to do fancy stuff.
But I also play bass for a rappers live band where I basically can do anything I want. (I'm not that into hip hop/rap but boy do I like playing for him )
#7
Quote by TextOnTheScreen

Most people focus on just one or the other. And if I added an option for both, a lot of people would be less honest about it and say they do both. So... yep.



I guess my point is if you're playing a song that you think is good and important, you won't feel like you're there just to add low end and rhythm. You'll feel like its an important cog in the wheel of the song, even if it is straight 8th notes of the root of the chords.
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Last edited by slaptasticdave at Aug 28, 2011,
#8
I serve the song not my ego.

I agree with Dave's post above. Neither of the choices really fits the bill for me.
#9
As stated above none of the choices fit me well.
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#10
When I'm playing my music, written by me, a bassist, I usually play it like something all its own, or at least do so at some point in the song. When playing with a group or a band, it more depends in them and the type of music.
#11
Agreed with Dave. There's a time and a place for technical wanking, and there's a time and a place for sitting in the pocket and holding down the groove. As a bassist you do what's best for the song, and if no one can hear you/feel you/it doesn't seem like you're contributing constructively to the song then you're doing it wrong.
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#13
Its all about the groove, IMO. I usually just try and keep a solid rhythm down. Most of the songs I play are very riffy, so its very easy to follow the guitar, but a few well placed fills or runs can add depth and interest to a song. The key is using taste and subtlety, and not going all out, I find, though that has its place in many different styles.

If the guitarist is playing chords, I like to augment the uniqueness of the chord, by adding fills, with that particular note highlighted. Say if the guitarist uses a D6 chord, using a fill that uses B.

Not particularly revolutionary or unique, but thats what I do.
#14
i do a good mix i think some songs are ten times better with a awsome bass while some need low end spine, its a backing instrument and a lead the bass can do both great
#15
I'm also somewhere in between. It really depends on the song. Sometimes a Claypool-esque solo sounds great, other times, repeated eighth notes does. It's all about feel and knowing where you belong in the mix.
#16
I played lead bass in a band once
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#17
Quote by slaptasticdave
I don't really like either of the option. I don't think there's any reason you can't keep the rhythm and add low end, and also play it like it's something meant to be heard. In fact, if you're not doing both, you're not doing a very good job as a bass player (Under MOST circumstances)


This is exactly what I was going to say so I don't have to reiterate it for you all.

I play it to support the band, just as the bass and drums are supposed to, of course, I like to fill and add interest to my basslines like one should, rather than blast out root notes all day long.
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#18
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#19
This question is absurd.

Every instrument in a band is meant to be heard, otherwise why would you add it to the mix? How each instrument IS heard depends on the song structure. In some songs you are not even aware that you are hearing the Bass, but if it wasn't there the song would sound hollow and you would feel that there was something missing.

Bass is the bridge between rhythm and melody. If there are other instruments carrying most of the melody in a song then the Bassists responsibility is to connect the rhythm of the drums to that melody by "trudging away on boring root note quavers", or put another way, holding down a groove. A good rhythm section is the foundation for a great melody.

Other times when there are few instruments, or just one, carrying the melody, the Bassist still needs to connect the drums to that melody with a groove, but can now add a little more to it than just holding the root with eighth note variations.

You might as well ask a Pianist whether he plays his left hand parts simply to add low end to the song or plays to have those notes to be heard. I'm sure he will say that how he plays depends on the song.
#20
Quote by teh-funnay
Bass is the bridge between rhythm and melody. If there are other instruments carrying most of the melody in a song then the Bassists responsibility is to connect the rhythm of the drums to that melody by "trudging away on boring root note quavers", or put another way, holding down a groove. A good rhythm section is the foundation for a great melody.


Not a single song out there with an unimaginative bass part exists that couldn't have had slightly more tasteful playing included. There's always room for the occasional fill, or slight rhythmic/harmonic variation, no matter what the song, without losing the groove or being detrimental to the song.
#21
This keeps getting further and further away from the original question. It's not "Do you think bass is important to music," it's "How do you treat it?" Obviously bass is important and has its place in music. Duh. The question was about your mentality while playing.
#22
serving the song sometimes requires a simple root to hold the lows. serving the song sometimes requires a funky pattern. I think nobody does number 2, it sounds like a chore, and even if they did they'd be doing number 1.
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#23
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I think nobody does number 2, it sounds like a chore, and even if they did they'd be doing number 1.


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#24
the child inside me is amused and delighted by your response.
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#25
However, even the child in me realizes that your poll was badly phrased.

The thing is we're not egotistical guitarists or singers. Its not our roll. Once you realize your roll in the band and that frankly for every 15 guitarists thinking their the next Jimi Hendrix there are one of us, the need to argue about how important we are to the band becomes a moot point.

A good bassist will never lack for work. Period.
#26
Quote by Ziphoblat
Not a single song out there with an unimaginative bass part exists that couldn't have had slightly more tasteful playing included. There's always room for the occasional fill, or slight rhythmic/harmonic variation, no matter what the song, without losing the groove or being detrimental to the song.



Lol...that's a little conceited. Just because you may think "trudging away on boring root note quavers" is "unimaginative"; it might be just the thing the musician(s), creating the song, wanted there.

Usually, artists / musicians want to make music that appeal to a wide variety of people in order to be able to sell recorded versions of their music, and they embrace the time honored tradition of "less is more"; however, if one wants to just make music for oneself, they can certainly clutter it with as many notes as they please.

My band once got into a "discussion" with our recording engineer over some "imaginative" rhythm section licks, my drummer and I came up with. He said it sounded like crap, and that it was stomping on the melody by weakening the vocal "hook" of the song. Our drummer put up a fight and said, "It's called musical integrity!", to which our engineer said, "Well, you can have as much "integrity" you want in your basement."

While it may have been a hard pill to swallow; after we listened to the difference....we agreed that "less WAS more", and the right thing to do for the song.
#27
I play pretty typical lines focusing on the groove and move of the song. I don't like the wording in the poll though: It is absolutely meant to be heard and be its own instrument. I don't "add to the low end" I make the part of the song that people move to that has to be distinct and it has to be heard as much as anything else for the music to work.
#28
Quote by teh-funnay
Lol...that's a little conceited. Just because you may think "trudging away on boring root note quavers" is "unimaginative"; it might be just the thing the musician(s), creating the song, wanted there.

Usually, artists / musicians want to make music that appeal to a wide variety of people in order to be able to sell recorded versions of their music, and they embrace the time honored tradition of "less is more"; however, if one wants to just make music for oneself, they can certainly clutter it with as many notes as they please.

My band once got into a "discussion" with our recording engineer over some "imaginative" rhythm section licks, my drummer and I came up with. He said it sounded like crap, and that it was stomping on the melody by weakening the vocal "hook" of the song. Our drummer put up a fight and said, "It's called musical integrity!", to which our engineer said, "Well, you can have as much "integrity" you want in your basement."

While it may have been a hard pill to swallow; after we listened to the difference....we agreed that "less WAS more", and the right thing to do for the song.


Which returns me to my first point; you won't find me playing something solely to make room for the melody instruments in a band. Frankly, if they're already occupying so much space in the music that the bass or drums can't occasionally do something mildly interesting, then the issue is not me, but them.

A happy balance is the way forwards. I'm not here to make music purely to sell it, I'm here to make music that I enjoy making. With my band we have bass fills, variations in the bass parts, drum fills, variation in the drum parts, guitar solos, bass solos, drum solos, middle sections that focus mainly on the vocals, none of which ever detracts from the song, the reason being that we're not all trying to do it at once. I recognise when the right moment is to just play root notes, and don't get me wrong; there are moments. But I might occasionally throw in a third or an octave or something on every fourth bar, just for a bit of flavour. And then there'll be a part of the song where there's enough room for something a little more interesting.

To me, a song is extremely boring if the rhythm section consists of an eight-rock drum beat and a bassist playing a steady rhythm of nothing but root notes. There are more than enough artists out there that have proved that a rhythm section can be tasteful but still groove, and not detract from the rest of the song, rather make the thing more interesting to listen to. I don't desire a bass part with variation to serve my ego, most of the non-musically inclined average joe's in the audience aren't consciously aware of the bass anyway. It's simply something I think makes a song better to listen to, certainly in a studio setting, and a hell of a lot less boring to play.

To each his own. I'm not trying to challenge bass players that do that, I'm simply stating that it's not my way. I'm lucky enough to play with musicians that don't consider me secondary to everybody else, and who will occasionally make room for me to do something, just as I will for them, and guess what? The audiences seem to love our music, not once has anybody decided that the instrumentals detract from the performance, and it's definitely still commercially viable.
Last edited by Ziphoblat at Aug 29, 2011,
#29
Whatever the song calls for.
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#30
I treat it like an instrument of its own kind, although I have respect for The rhythm section. A happy medium in a way. I think bassists who try to make ordinary songs 3 1/2 minute bass solos with the band still playing need to get a grip on themselves, and learn what bass's typical 'role' in general music is. At the same time I think bassists who ONLY play the root note, or just in general 'behind' the song have no personality, and basically say (to me anyway) 'hi, I play bass, but really only picked it up cuz I wanted to be a rock star. Yeah I just sit behind Teh guitar(s) playing two notes damn I look good in The band don't i? It's the only purpose I really serve, and I tell myself they'd be nothing without me but deep down I know how much I suck' to answer the question imbelishments are great a few times a song. Otherwise its boring or just gets old. It's kinda the same with guitar. A lead player to me anyway isn't that awesome if he/she can ONLY solo. And a rhythm player isn't that good to me if he/she can only riff. But then again I don't play guitar, so that can be totally off... sorry to rant, but that's my stand
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#31
i'm there to set the harmonic and rhythmic foundation. how busy i play depends on the genre and the tune and what other instruments are in the band.
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#32
In my original songs rockduo i play mostly pumping roots with a few passing notes added in on changes, most are songs have pretty "busy" Powerchord-riffing so i decied to keep it simple...
we do have one slow song that goes trough the same 2-3 chord/lick over and over then to make thinks more intressting with more walking improv based bassline to not make the song to static..
other band/project i am in is more "Dansbands" country influenced group i tend lean more toward roots and fifth with couple of some diatonic walk arounds on changes, try to look in with the drummer

overall i try to play for the big picture so to speak.
#33
you'll hate me for saying it,but I make the riffs in my band,and my guitarist follows what I play,and as the jam gets going we feed off of each other,working to create our grungy heavy sound.I am like a leading man,but I still act as the bands glue like I'm supposed to,and in some styles of music,"chugging along on root notes" is required (punk etc.)
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#34
Personally, I like to be heard when I play bass. I play in a scene where all that bass players do is follow the guitar. I like to stand out. Of course, I do follow the guitar in a lot of parts, but adding a simple variation or harmony where the guitars aren't doing it gives something that makes it different. And that, in my experience, makes people notice the bass more and they find it interesting, because they're used to bass players just following the guitar. I like to have fun with what I do, and I don't have fun when I'm just playing roots all the time.

It makes me feel great when I get the compliments instead of the guitarists!
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#35
I just play what i feel...
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#36
Quote by slaptasticdave
I don't really like either of the option. I don't think there's any reason you can't keep the rhythm and add low end, and also play it like it's something meant to be heard. In fact, if you're not doing both, you're not doing a very good job as a bass player (Under MOST circumstances)


I agree.
#37
If I'm not overplaying, I'm not playing.
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#38
I mostly keep the rhythm while adding some fills every now and then. It's obviously an instrument of it's own.
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#39
I likes my metal bass playing with fun technical sturf going on in it.

And as such, my Music Improvisation class is pissing me off. I'm only allowed to play roots.
#40
I have a guitar for weedly weedly wanky noodling.

I have a bass for making dat ass shake with the rhythm.
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