#1
Now that I'm studying inversions I'm starting to pay more attention to the bass line due to the fact that it opens up a lot of possibilities.

My question is, what do you guys believe make up a brilliant bass line?

Is contrary motion between the melody and the bass the only thing I should be paying attention to?

How do you guys suggest I start writing a baseline to an already written melody?
#2
Groove.

And what i mean by that is listening to the song as a whole. The drums, the guitar, the keyboard, and then playing what is necessary of the bass. It can be a two note bassline or a funky 16th note based slap line, but the best bassline is the one that compliments the song as a whole, not the one that compliments the bass player.
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#3
^What he said. Also guitar/bass harmonies can be really cool.
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#4
This may seem utterly obvious, but playing in the pocket. You could play nothing but root notes and it'll sound great as long as you are cleanly in the pocket. It's pretty much the same concept as groove as mentioned above.

That is without a doubt the most important thing. As for more advanced stuff, I love bassists who create counter melodies with the vocals. James Jamerson is the obvious example. Paul McCartney is probably the pop king for this. The bassline in Getting Better makes that song.

Apart from staying in the pocket, what makes a great bassline is entirely subjective.
#5
Yeah, what Sickz said. Look at my signature (and it applies to all instruments).

It really depends on the song. Sometimes just doubling the guitar riff sounds good. Sometimes playing the low E in quarter notes sounds good (Runnin' with the Devil, for example). Sometimes playing a crazy slap bassline sounds awesome. Do what the song needs.
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#7
Quote by dannydawiz
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

So basically it's what the whole song needs and some type of rhythmic groove.

When I say bass though I wasn't just necessarily referring to a bass guitar. I'm talking about any bass instrument in general. Do the same rules apply?


Yes.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#8
You should definitely be paying more attention to the drums than the guitar. You'll play the same notes as the guitar, sure -- but you'll be in sync with the drummer.

Every time the kick drum hits -- you need to be striking one of the lower bass strings. I remember the Smashing Pumpkins first bass player (I forget her name) used to be really good at this. For a lot of songs you would only see her hitting notes that coincided with the kick drum.
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#9
I think a good bass line is primarily melodic. However, within certain genere's, like classic rock and funk, it serves a more rhythmic function then a melodic one. In classical, jazz, tech death metal, melodic death metal, nintendocore etc. and other such genres, it is primarily melodic.