#1
i was thinking of playing bass in a band, but i was wondering what is considered a good bass player in rock band, please give examples, skills, etc.
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#2
it depends on what style you want to play. A bassist that locks in with the drummer and creates a solid foundation is nice to play with, but a bassist who can fill some empty space with runs and fills is good, too. If you can manage to do both of those things at the right times, you'll be fine.
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#3
In most rock bands, drums, guitar, and vocals make a cup of sound. When you hear them without bass, it sounds empty. A bassist's role in a band is to fill that gap. That cup of music needs to be filled.

However, here is were the challenging part comes in: If you play to much, the cup will overflow, and if you play too little, the cup will be empty. If the cup overflows, the overall sound of the band will be very muddy, and musically it sounds messy. If you don't play enough, then the sound will be empty, and it will sound like the band is missing something.

Also, playing in time and locking in with the drummer helps steady the cup. Playing out of time and not right on time will make the cup tip over and shake. You need to play in time to keep the cup perfectly full.

If you follow this and think this way, you will be a VERY effective bassplayer. The metaphor may be a little weird, but this is what I think every bassists should know.


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#4
Quote by Incubus_SCIENCE
In most rock bands, drums, guitar, and vocals make a cup of sound. When you hear them without bass, it sounds empty. A bassist's role in a band is to fill that gap. That cup of music needs to be filled.

However, here is were the challenging part comes in: If you play to much, the cup will overflow, and if you play too little, the cup will be empty. If the cup overflows, the overall sound of the band will be very muddy, and musically it sounds messy. If you don't play enough, then the sound will be empty, and it will sound like the band is missing something.

Also, playing in time and locking in with the drummer helps steady the cup. Playing out of time and not right on time will make the cup tip over and shake. You need to play in time to keep the cup perfectly full.

If you follow this and think this way, you will be a VERY effective bassplayer. The metaphor may be a little weird, but this is what I think every bassists should know.


Dang. That was the best metaphor for a bassists role I've ever heard.
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#5
I agree with G-Rock, what Incubus_SCIENCE said is dead on.
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#6
do whats right for the song. dont be afraid to keep it simple, but dont be afraid to throw in that extra fill, whatever it calls for.
#7
Besides playing your simple bassline, look for areas where there is an oppurtunity to fill in. One effect I like that really brings a lot of energy to a song is before a chorus or something, when a bassists slides up to say, fret 14 on A and plays a lot of times. Assuming it sounds good in your song, it's a great effect and like I said, I feel that it sends a lot more energy to the song when that technique is used.
#9
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#10
Quote by MX4Life
Besides playing your simple bassline, look for areas where there is an oppurtunity to fill in. One effect I like that really brings a lot of energy to a song is before a chorus or something, when a bassists slides up to say, fret 14 on A and plays a lot of times. Assuming it sounds good in your song, it's a great effect and like I said, I feel that it sends a lot more energy to the song when that technique is used.

just so he can apply it more flexibly, its just sliding an octave up.
#11
I think that the bassist needs to lay back and just tune into the drummer's beat and create a groove. He needs to do his own thing seperate from the guitar to create a polyphony, but most often let the guitar carry the melody.
#12
Basically, a bass player in a straight-up rock band just needs to support the bottom end and reinforce what ever the lead instrument is doing.
#13
A good thing is to hit the bass notes on the same beat as the kick drum. Try and convince the drummer to hit some off-beatswith the kick. it sounds very effective. Bass sounds so much thicker and punchier if you hit notes with the kick. That is my best advice. Another good thing for a rock band is to know your basic major and minor scales so you can do simple runs between chord changes. Kick arse example is Led Zeppelin- Celebration Day (in the chorus).

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#14
I think the most important skills for a bass guitarists (as for ALL musicians), is for you to listen.

Both to what they are saying and playing. When a band who has good communication in these aspect, it really shows when they play live. That really impresses me.
#15
Something I've noticed. The younger bassists of today tend to be more skilled, but less experienced. Thus in a band situation they tend to overplay. While a bassist of yesterday stuck to roots, a bassist of today will be all over the place, adding all kinds of fills that show off his/her dexterity and speed.

To an extent, this is fantastic. The problem, however, is that the bass gradually strays away from it's role in the band. We all know that the bass is capable of being a melodic lead instrument, as shown by so many great players. But we all too easily forget that in most bands, especially straight up rock bands, that just isn't what it's there to do. It's there to provide groove and rhythm. By all means put your complex fills and melodic runs in, but always know when to take a step back.

A lot of people might not like this point of view, but I've lost gigs because I've just been too busy in the low end to properly support the song. I've grown out of it now, but it's not an easy habit to break.
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#16
caustic i think ur right- new bassplayers can overdo it. Sometimes bass playing tends to be root-note stuff i mean look at so many bullet for my val. tabs- a lot of root note stuff but its effective!
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#17
I agree with caustic, youve gotta know when to step it up and when to back down, but i think that is what makes a good guitarist, drummer, singer, saxist, etc.
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#18
ive found that it all comes naturally with the people your playing with. if you have a group of people you love to play with, and you can sense what they are doing, you can play off of that or play to help them get that idea across. thats why i love jam bands so much, there is so much communication just by what you are feeling.
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#19
If you find the right people to play with and the style to suit you, whether you're an awesome bassist doesn't really matter.
Generally, as said earlier, the bass is teh key to making to song listenable to keep it short, however, there are other roles within a band.
For example, if you can sing and the band has a singer or you aren't too confident with your voice, sing backing vocals. This takes stage presence and it's a useful quality to have, especially since bassists often get slated as being boring just standing by the drummer doing nothing.

You need to know how to improvise. In my old band, the guitarists would come up with something and I'd know nothing more than the key it was in and when teh chord changes were. I had to make stuff up on the spot and it's always fun to be able to do that in a jam situation too.

Building on the stage presence, a sense of humour really helps. If you can crack a joke between songs while someone's detuning or changing guitars (if that's what they do, they could be taking a drink of water, whatever) it's always fun.

Be adaptable and accepting. I find that I'm always stopping arguments between our rhythm guitarist and his younger brother, the drummer. It's a bit tiresome to always be the mediator but it strengthens us as a band too. Adaptability is useful. While playing in one style is fun, sometimes you'll want to veer away from it slightly. My band's been writing (well, I've been writing, I do most of teh songwriting) alot of Powerpop with a Punk Rock twist. It's great fun to play in that style but we've been mixing in elements from Metal, Ska and one of teh current songs we're working on has a Rock'n'Roll groove thansk to my bassline. Whatever you do or play it's always good to be able to play outside the genre box.

Finally, what about if you can sing and have been asked/want to sing lead. Go for it, I did. In my band I sing lead. Now, doing this slightly restricts the difficulty of your basslines while you're actually singing, however, if you can hold down a solid groove while doing so then it's fine. For that role, you need extreme stage presense (however, I find luck helps me too) lots of water and lots of improvisational ability unless you don't actually write vocal lines. Since I write most of the songs in my band I don't have that problem but sometimes it's really fun to change a vocal line mid-song a la Muse.

Hope that helped.

EDIT: Forgot one last point.

Know how to play to yoru ability and to the style of music you're playing in. Because I sing and also because it fits the style better, I underplay so much. However, when I'm not singing (eg Breakdowns, Intros etc.) I'll play much harder stuff. Knowing when to play a little and when to play alot is key to being a good bassist in a band. Experiemnt with 'sonic space' (not playing) too, can work well in a song
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Last edited by Felkara at Jul 3, 2006,
#20
keeping to the beat, being creative, staying in time and having fun. if you can play bass and do that, then you don't need anything else
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#21
A good bassists need to fully accept and even embrace the fact that no none gives a damn about him, and that his primary purpose is to provide a solid bottom end, at least in rock.
#22
Groove and Rhythm.

Some simple fills with moderate technicality is nice.

Not always playing the same thing as the guitar.

Not showing off too much.
#23
"humility" comes to mind. some guitarists i know should probably take a piece of that too.
#24
What makes a good bass player:

1. Listen to the drums and guitarist.
2. Nothing to excess, unless appropriate--learn when it is appropriate.
3. Keep your instrument in tune!
4. Grooving and finding the pocket in every song.
5. Bridging the gap between the drums and guitars.
6. being bold enough to play a countermelody that works with the song, that does not interfere or take away from whatever else is going on in the piece.
7. Playing at the right levels and playing with the right timbre/tone for the piece.
8. Supporting the song, not the ego.
9. Confidence to play the right notes, but humility to appreciate silence between notes.
10. Playing from your heart.
#25
Quote by jaco de lucia
What makes a good bass player:
2. Nothing to excess, unless appropriate--learn when it is appropriate.
6. being bold enough to play a countermelody that works with the song, that does not interfere or take away from whatever else is going on in the piece.
7. Playing at the right levels and playing with the right timbre/tone for the piece.
8. Supporting the song, not the ego.
9. Confidence to play the right notes, but humility to appreciate silence between notes.


Aren't those all pretty much the same thing?


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#26
Well, you must be a person that doesnt get depressed easily, cos working in a band is hard, and most bassist's dont get recognition for all there effort, so keep strong and know what ur doin is gd and not a waste of time, this way u feel betta about ur playing and should play alot better!

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