#1
I don't play bass but I understand that if I record my guitar and then drop it down an octave I can basically make a bass track.

Question is what would I play in order to make a good-sounding but not terribly difficult or complex bass track?

Let's say I have a song that uses G, Cadd9, Am, and C in the verses. Should I just pluck G, C, A notes where those chords begin to make a bass track? Maybe add a little bit of a pattern?

I'm sure its more complicated to make something really great, but for a beginner what should I do to get a basic bass track?

(also when I did the octave drop thing the recording sounded terrible - any tips/tricks for changing guitar to bass track also would be great! Should I avoid the low E string? Not drop full octave? Reduce volume? Add distortion?)
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#2
i would probly not use the root notes. sounds to bland sometimes. you could start off usinf the roots then figure out what notes are common in the all the notes and use them. or id you make up somithing thing in Am, figure out what scale it is (harmonic minor or one of the 5 pentatonic positions) then figure what notes help add the bass to the chord progression. dont know is this helps, but i thing using theory is good on bass.
#3
if you play guitar, you can play basic bass

borrow someone's bass for the bass parts, it'll sound much better
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#4
yea, if your a beginner just play those root notes for now, and maybe add some movement in there later on. as for the sound quality, theres not much you can do, maybe reduce the treble substanitaly so that all you get is the presence, besides bass should be felt and not heard
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#5
reducing treble sounds like that might help actually.

I know pentatonics but unfortunately im a noob who doesn't know what key his songs are in... I just sit around and strum chords and different rhythms until I find something that sounds good and then try to bring some lyrics in based on that progression.

The only tip I ever got about recognizing keys is that in rock the first note of a song is often the key its in, and that a lot of rock uses a I IV V progression. In practice though this hasn't been too helpful since songs change keys throughout and could be doing all kinds of whacky ****.

G is the 5th of C... so a song based around a G - Cadd9 prog. Might be in the key of C? But it's got Am and Em in it... the chorus starts on an Em and actually ends on a Bm ><

I guess you just try different pent riffs and see what sounds good? Since I can't tell what key anything is in even when I know the chords ><
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#6
You can always outline the chords with the bass line and make it "walking". Basically, you should include 1st, 5th and possible 3rd but using the root note is fine, if you're a beginner. Even with one note you can still add rhythmic variation.
#7
Even if you do stick to the root. Pick un-unusual patterns on the one note and perhaps add rests to make it intresting.
#8
Should I stay on the low E string or move around EADG strings? (guessing don't bother with b and high e since they don't exist on a bass?)
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#9
Quote by MikeD91
i would probly not use the root notes. sounds to bland sometimes. you could start off usinf the roots then figure out what notes are common in the all the notes and use them. or id you make up somithing thing in Am, figure out what scale it is (harmonic minor or one of the 5 pentatonic positions) then figure what notes help add the bass to the chord progression. dont know is this helps, but i thing using theory is good on bass.

1. All the pentatonic positions are the same five notes.
2. Music theory applies to everything. There is never a reason not to use it. Music theory will help you play what you want to play. It does not make your music less "true".
3. That chord progression will probably resolve to G major, not A minor. And it's definitely not A harmonic minor, since you just played a G chord, and A harmonic minor has a G# instead of G.
4. Don't just "make up something". Use the other chord tones as well as the root notes. For example, for the measure you play the G chord on, you could play G, B, or D on the bass. When you're going to change chords on guitar, you can try to add passing tones. Basically this means that if you just played a G chord and you're going to play a C chord, you can just move up the scale.... you could play a G, an A, and a B, then when the C chord comes, you could follow along by playing a C.
5. Also, you can play a slightly different rhythm on the bass than you did on guitar. Play around with that.



EDIT: I initially said it would resolve to C major. I just played it, and it resolves to G major.
Also, on the last eighth note of the measure with the C chord, definitely play a B. For the rest of it, play whatever passing tones you want, but play that B... I can't imagine that chord progression without it. :P
Last edited by iimjpii at Aug 29, 2008,
#10
Quote by Aitrus
Question is what would I play in order to make a good-sounding but not terribly difficult or complex bass track?


Now that's an open-ended question if there ever was one. A couple of things "dictate" how you play any given bassline:

1) Genre - since you're playing nice open chords I'm assuming this isn't metal (although it could be a ballad or an intro) but those chords could be used for pretty much and style of music. Most bassists would play differently over (under) those chords depending on genre: EMO might be more straight eights with some melodic movements, roots country would stick mostly to roots and fifths, pop would probably add a fairly staccato part with connecting notes, and so on.

2) Part of the song - Intro? Low-key verse? Big, anthemic chorus? All those suggest different basslines.

3) Other instrumentation - With just an acoustic guitar, drums and voice you can stretch out a bit and play some nice melodic lines that will strengthen the song. If it's a piano ballad it's usually best to stay out of the way as much as possible because of the range of the piano. A heavily orchestrated piece with plenty of moving parts would sound better with a simple root-based bass part.

And it goes on an on like that. In the end you should always listen to songs you like and see what the bass does, that's how you learn.

For a simple bass part using those chords I would stick to the roots for the better part of the song and add some small passing notes that will add interest. Going from G-Cadd9 you could play a D going into the C. You can go from Cadd9 to Am using E-G, just G, or descending via the B. From C to G you can go via the D again (the fifth of G) or walk up via E-F. Here are two examples:





And aceofspades10 is right: if you play guitar then bass isn't too hard, you just have to think a little differently. And use a bass. Detuning a guitar digitally like you're doing will always sound bad.