#1
Hey all,

So I've been playing guitar for a whileish, and just recently have started trying to pick up the bass a little more seriously.

So I'm finally starting to get comfortable with the instrument (can play multiple songs without my fingers falling off) but I need some tips on how to play the bass like a bassist instead of a guitarist.

For example, when I'm jamming along with a song, my "bass lines" seem to be a lot more melodic than the actual bassist in the song. I feel like it sounds good, but in an actual band it may get in the way?

Any tips would be helpful! Thanks!
"When that day comes I shall Futterwacken ... vigorously."
~ The Mad Hatter



#2
A bass isn't just a lower range guitar with 2 less strings. While being a bit more melodic may be nice for certain fills, your job as a bassist is to fill the space between the guitar and drums. Providing a nice steady groove is going to help you so much more than having a loose improvisation over the song. Otherwise you'll be accused of being a guitarist with a bass, rather than being complimented for your talent.
#3
Ya I totally get that I don't want to be just soloing over what everyone else is doing, I try to avoid that playing guitar aswell haha

I guess a better question would be what do I need to do to make the bass groove sound different than I lead guitar riff? I mean I can hear the difference and get the general idea, but playing it differently is the tricky part...
"When that day comes I shall Futterwacken ... vigorously."
~ The Mad Hatter



#4
Thanks for posting this. I am in the same exact position. It's really tough to not play the bass like it's an electric guitar haha!
#5
Well; John Entwistle made a career out of playing the bass like a guitar, so there is definitely a place for such playing. A number of bassists make a point of playing melodic or just complicated bass lines that serve the song without disappearing in the mix.

The traditional quarter notes or eighth notes on the root works well enough - particularly for fast or really heavy music - but it can be boring and leave the song a bit lifeless if it leaves too much room in the overall sound. You might want to look at practicing walking bass lines, in which the bassist plays around the rhythm melody; never playing the same line twice. It will definitely open up your bass playing.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#6
Your best bet is probably to just learn the basslines to the songs you're listening to. That should help you figure out the 'role' of the bassist in whatever music you listen to. If you need recommended listening on groove and such, most Motown records should do. Funk is also brilliant. I'd recommend almost anything by James Brown or Parliament.
#7
Quote by FatalGear41
Well; John Entwistle made a career out of playing the bass like a guitar, so there is definitely a place for such playing. A number of bassists make a point of playing melodic or just complicated bass lines that serve the song without disappearing in the mix.

The traditional quarter notes or eighth notes on the root works well enough - particularly for fast or really heavy music - but it can be boring and leave the song a bit lifeless if it leaves too much room in the overall sound. You might want to look at practicing walking bass lines, in which the bassist plays around the rhythm melody; never playing the same line twice. It will definitely open up your bass playing.

Yeah, but playing like that requires a certain kind of a band. A band with only guitar, bass and drums has more space for more free playing.

Also, when people play the bass like a guitar, I don't think of bassists like John Entwistle or Geezer Butler. I think of people who solo over everything and don't have any groove.

Quote by beer bear
Your best bet is probably to just learn the basslines to the songs you're listening to. That should help you figure out the 'role' of the bassist in whatever music you listen to. If you need recommended listening on groove and such, most Motown records should do. Funk is also brilliant. I'd recommend almost anything by James Brown or Parliament.

This. Just listen to what other bassists do. Remember that in a band you need to give some space to the other musicians. Bass is definitely not the most standout instrument in a song (most of the time). It rarely plays the main melody. So less is more (of course don't take it too literally). You can't really ruin a song with a simple bassline.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#8
For me, it kinda depends on the style of music. For the majority of metal, I'm happy playing the root notes and just being a good foundation and the same goes for rock and pop. For Jazz, you tend to play a lot of walking bass lines and there's a lot of opportunity for soloing.
My favourite genre to play though is ska punk and skate punk since it has, in my opinion, incredibly fun bass parts to play.

http://youtu.be/nuW160u54gs?t=8m
Skip to 8:00 for my favourite part to play
#9
Quote by nbur4556
Ya I totally get that I don't want to be just soloing over what everyone else is doing, I try to avoid that playing guitar aswell haha

I guess a better question would be what do I need to do to make the bass groove sound different than I lead guitar riff? I mean I can hear the difference and get the general idea, but playing it differently is the tricky part...


When all else fails, follow the kick drum. You can spice up your groove by throwing in notes other than the root (in key obviously), walks, etc. But it's best to get the foundation built first. Once it's solid, then you can experiment with adding stuff and what not.
#10
Look for intervals of the scale you are playing in the song, then from there, play the root, and then some other sort of combination.
Such as 1/3/5
1/5/8/
1/3/1
Stay in groove with the drummer and make sure that unless you are taking a solo you keep the groove going.