Hints on making your own bass lines

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joppo
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Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by joppo » Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:54 pm

OK, time for a new thread from one of the thick kids who lurk at the back and don't post much. For all you people who work on originals - have you any hints or tips which you find helpful in working up new basslines? To give some context, a friend who I play with has given me a recording (guitar and vocals) of a song of his for me to have a play with and I am having no end of trouble to get anything to sound right with it. Now in my defense, it has lots of chord changes, he uses a 1-6-5 pattern (C-A-G) for most of the verse which I haven't really come across before, and his pattern of strumming is a bit irregular. I've come up a reasonable number of ideas which I think are going to work, but when I try them they just suck :cry: I haven't been able to find anything that sounds similar enough that I can copy to get started.

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john
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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by john » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:35 pm

have you tried listening to the tape and making up something in your head.maybe humming something. then working it out on the bass.
its hard to make up stuff some times eh and everyone has a different method.
this will be an interesting thread.

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Dan
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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by Dan » Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:19 am

Generally something should come into your head, and the first thing will normally be the right thing!

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by beagle » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:17 am

Yeah great topic idea...

I always find it difficult writing something while listening to a recording as I always tend to make it too complex.
I think the best stuff I've done has been in a live situation and spontaneous.

If practical... You could try jamming over it live with the other musicians and recording the whole session. Then going back home and listen to the recording and you might find some gems in there that you can build on.

If in dought ,keep it simple and tight. Don't spend too much time on it. If you keep going over and over something then you can lose perspective. Record some ideas and then leave it and go mow the lawns, then have a listen to what you did.
john wrote:have you tried listening to the tape and making up something in your head.maybe humming something.
I can relate to this... I find I'm more creative if I vocalise what I'm playing as I'm doing it.
Dan wrote:Generally something should come into your head, and the first thing will normally be the right thing!
Ditto!
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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by foal30 » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:53 am

well

C-A-G
sort of implies Cmaj7 / Am7 / G7 /

so using strong chord tones you can carry the B (3 of G) into the C (7 of Cmaj)
if you have a 5'er you may "pedal the open B".

sometimes I care not a whit about the notes pitch but solely try to nail a counter rhythm. I tend to believe that after playing for a while notes are easy but feel is always working. So maybe a conscious effort on the groove might liberate the other half of the puzzle. cos playing Bass if it feels right the rest of the band might forgive the blue notes?!

Writing is like anything other skill or attribute, we continue to practice and work at it to improve. You can't let shyness get in the way, or modesty. It is imperative to create to allow "Your Musicianship" to arrive, develop. "It's not as good as so and so" and it never will be unless you bite the bullet and take incremental steps to develop.

developing your own series of "fills and licks" across 12 keys is good homework. If you just stick to maj, 7, and minor you'll cover probably 95% of the stuff out there anyway...

Effects, Change Amp/Bass, try Piano.
sometimes it's just a different texture or even an obnoxious sound/tone that is the deal breaker.

Sing it, Say it, Play it.
Jerry Jemmott believes this is the way to go. and after listening to B.B.King's "Completely Well" only a fool would argue with that. Singing also takes Bass Players out of their comfort zone. Plus if the vocal line sux, cop that rhythm for your bass line.

Best thing is too write your bands music! Then the Bass Riff is always Right!

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by ryanmaiden » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:32 am

Ditto with the "what ever you did first is probably the best option" notion, I used to get all over-complicated in my songwriting and over-think things too much. The best riffs I have ever come up with are ones that just happened when I wasn't trying to come up with anything.

If I was to get carried away with the chords you have to work with, assuming they are all Major chords, I would try to incorpoate the chromatic shifts between the chords, C-C# for the C to A change, C#-D for the A to G change and B-C for the G to C change. It would probably sound like pus after trying it, and I'd resort to just thumping out the root notes, hee hee.
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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by definite » Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:33 pm

definitely 'sing' stuff over (under) the tune then play the ideas that sound good.

don't be afraid to keep it simple as if thats what sounds good!

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by joppo » Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:59 pm

Dan wrote:Generally something should come into your head, and the first thing will normally be the right thing!
Ha! You have no idea how little actually goes on inside my head! :lol:

Thanks for all the responses. Some excellent ideas to try which I'm going to work on. With a little reflection, I think a large part of my problem is that I'm not gettting the rhythm or a counter rhythm to work with the song (the strumming pattern is quite irregular). If I could get the groove nailed, I think the notes would start top fall into place. I guess I am quite technical in that I can usually get the song sorted if I have the music, but this starting with an empty page and being creative is very different! Good fun though!

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by beagle » Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:08 pm

Yeah you have to create the groove if there is no drums huh.... simple is probibly best then
maybe it would help if you think of your bass as percussion?
Try vocalising a suitable drum part for the piece...
Then play the root note as if it was a kick drum, and the snare drum as the root note 1 octave up...
then see where that takes you 8)
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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by ryla » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:55 pm

if your playing an ascending line to something, next time it comes 'round try a descending line - counterpoint, - sparingly.

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by Randomplay » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:16 pm

I personally do it by starting off by just playing the root notes to the chords to a rhythm , and play around just doing that for a while trying different things till i got a rhythm i like and its stuck in my head, than i start replacing the appropriate notes with what sounds right outta the appropriate scale. I personally like stuff thats got out of it timing, gypsy rythms and like have some wierd timings, but good fun to play. I find the best thing to do with stuff like that is not think about it! Just play along til it comes :D

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by Modo74 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:16 pm

Randomplay wrote:I personally do it by starting off by just playing the root notes to the chords to a rhythm , and play around just doing that for a while trying different things till i got a rhythm i like and its stuck in my head, than i start replacing the appropriate notes with what sounds right outta the appropriate scale.
+1

Start with a skeleton, once thats together then add the meat. :)

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Re: Hints on making your own bass lines

Post by makozawa » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:04 pm

play the root notes of the chords that are being played .... u can put some passing notes between them... just make sure to emphasize the real notes not the passing notes...... you should also know how the rhythm guitar is being played and of course same with the drums...u can play chords but sometimes it gets pretty akward.

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