#1
What are the main differences when writing a guitar riff vs. a bass line?

I played bass in the studio when my band recorded some tracks, only because we didn't have a bass player. After finding out about it another local band invited me to join them as a bassist. I really enjoy playing bass and I want do it, but I feel like I should learn the major differences between writing on the two instruments. When I recorded bass for my band, I just played the lines our old bassist played so I'm still pretty new to writing my own lines. Obviously I could always just follow the guitar note for note but that's lame.
#2
It tends to depend on your genre. If you play, say, blues or jazz, then your bass parts are not going to follow the guitar, but instead follow a certain pattern. If you play, say, thrash metal, then the bass usually tends to follow the guitar.

Me personally, I write the music for both the guitar and bass, and I just make the bass follow the guitar. It works for the thrash metal I play.

Of course for you or anybody, if you come up with a good bass line that sounds good with the guitar, then use it. When you listen to Black Sabbath, Geezer Butler never follows Tony Iommi, but it all still sounds good. My best advice: if it sounds good, use it.
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#4
What I've noticed is that bass tends to go with the drums, and that tends to work pretty well. I also second that if it sounds good, you should use it.
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#5
When I played bass in a band I tried to bridge the gap between what the guitar players were doing and what the drummer was doing... Everything in between the guitar and drums i tried to fill in with the bass parts if that makes sense. One important thing I have to say is the bass and the drums have to work with each other to create the foundation for the rest of the band to jam over. Of course it depends on the music you play, the role of the bass player might not be as important, but in my experience the drums + bass were the glue/backbone of the rhythm in our band

Quote by Domguy99
What I've noticed is that bass tends to go with the drums, and that tends to work pretty well. I also second that if it sounds good, you should use it.


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#6
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Listen to the bands the band is influenced by and see what their bassists do.

+1

Quote by SexyBeast810
It tends to depend on your genre. If you play, say, blues or jazz, then your bass parts are not going to follow the guitar, but instead follow a certain pattern. If you play, say, thrash metal, then the bass usually tends to follow the guitar.

Me personally, I write the music for both the guitar and bass, and I just make the bass follow the guitar. It works for the thrash metal I play.

Of course for you or anybody, if you come up with a good bass line that sounds good with the guitar, then use it. When you listen to Black Sabbath, Geezer Butler never follows Tony Iommi, but it all still sounds good. My best advice: if it sounds good, use it.

+ 1 But I would say Geezer does follow Tony Iommi - he doesn't play the same notes but he definitely follows Tony's playing (I mean, he listens to Tony and reacts to what he plays).

Yeah, bass is kind of in between drums and guitar. It does play melody but it also plays rhythm at the same time. It depends on the genre what you should play. Listen to your favorite bands and listen to what the bassist does. Sometimes doubling the guitar riff sounds great. Sometimes playing a walking bassline sounds great. Or sometimes something as simple as playing a steady 8th (or quarter) note bassline with just one note sounds great. For example listen to Van Halen - Running with the Devil. The bassline is so simple and so powerful. It just makes the song sound awesome.

IMO bass doesn't need to be the most noticeable instrument in the band. It is great if the bass just plays a solid groove in the background that makes the song sound awesome. Of course there are some great bass riffs too. But many times it's good to give some space for guitar and vocals and other more melody-oriented instruments.

Some people say if you don't hear the bass, the bassist is doing the right thing. And I can kind of agree with this (and I say this as a bassist). If the average listener doesn't notice the bassline or doesn't pay attention to it, it may just be a good thing (because average listeners rarely pay attention to the bass). If bass isn't the main insturment in the song and people pay a lot of attention to the bassline, it kind of means you are overplaying or playing something wrong. Just play a cool groove that just makes the song sound awesome.

Also, when it comes to basslines, there is no right or wrong. Play what sounds good and fits the song. In some bands the bassist plays exactly the same thing as the guitarists. In other bands the bassist does his own thing.
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#7
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Listen to the bands the band is influenced by and see what their bassists do.


This. Go listen to five songs where you love the bass playing, and figure out what the bassist is doing, preferably by ear.

Repeat as necessary.
#8
Quote by HotspurJr
This. Go listen to five songs where you love the bass playing, and figure out what the bassist is doing, preferably by ear.

Repeat as necessary.

^ +1

Thats the trick. Now the trick is to actually put in the work and do it.
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