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Yeah. I was talking in a general sense. And I've been known to comp percussion with other guitar players (Acoustic) when they tend to lose the beat. SO following the idea of the thread, do you have any suggestions on technics for Bass as far as percussion. I'll assume Slap Bass is a good example of that, which is a technique I know nothing about. I'm also interested in hearing about any non standard chord tones to play on Bass given a specific guitar chord. Say for example an A note on the G chord for the 9th sound. I remember something about that type of deal with Cliff Williams somewhere. I like to think that Bass has more in common musically with guitar and other strings but rhythmically more in common with drums. But opinions vary.
Cliff Williams is more adding the third. You can basically play any note in a chord and aren’t limited to playing the root, but I suspect you’ve already figured this out. A lot of bass lines are root/fifth or root/fifth/third unless you’re playing walking bass lines, which will typically walk up and down the neck outlining the chords

As a tip, most guitarists play ascending licks. Bassists on the other hand will often (but not always) do descending lines and resolve on the root.

As for techniques, it’s not so much about slap as it is about plucking, muting and note duration. With fingerstyle, most guitarists go for sustain and pluck the top of the string. With bass, pull through the string so that the pad of your finger mutes it momentarily between notes, like the beater hitting a drum. It’ll give more a more percussive thump instead of a drone with a better separation between notes and (potentially) a deeper groove. Standard wisdom is to strike on the kick and mute on the snare, but once you get a feel for that you can experiment with pushing and pulling the beat.

If you have any experience playing drums or a good ear for it you can start to play fill patterns. When you and the drummer are locked in and playing the same fills the fills gain more power.

As for guitar, I don’t generally try to lock in with the guitar players and most of the time I don’t even know what they’re doing. I spend most of my time locked with the drummer laying the foundation and driving the song using passing tones to connect the chord changes together. I play most of my counterpoint off the vocal. Sometimes I’ll play off or double the lead guitar. It’s pretty rare that I actually double the rhythm guitar, and that’s usually only for a few bars to emphasis what he’s doing before switching back to the drums.

That said, that’s how I play. Plenty of other people have their own (equally valid) way of playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Thanks for the great reply. I do play fingerstyle and Classical to a degree not worth writing home about, but passable to the average listener. All the technique I learned in Classical is coming home to roost on the Bass. I had a heavy Bass hand when I played Piano so it's starting to awaken at this point. I was just playing guitar focusing on the triad inversions on the EADG strings. I started to see the very well known to me scale patterns emerging in a different light. I can get out there sometimes. ;)
 

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When I first started on bass I played scales because that’s what I knew, but I didn’t understand why some notes worked and some notes didn’t. I don’t have a strong grasp of music theory, so things like major/minor 3rds and flat 5ths and 7ths in the chord progression were throwing me for a loop. I wrote my bass lines using trial and error until things sounded right.

It wasn’t until I learned to arpeggiate the chords that things clicked together and improv became much easier. I play the major shape over a major chord, the minor shape over a minor chord, a diminished shape... blah, blah blah... you seem to have a stronger grasp of chord theory than I do, so hopefully this clicks faster for you than it did for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
When I first started on bass I played scales because that’s what I knew, but I didn’t understand why some notes worked and some notes didn’t. I don’t have a strong grasp of music theory, so things like major/minor 3rds and flat 5ths and 7ths in the chord progression were throwing me for a loop. I wrote my bass lines using trial and error until things sounded right.

It wasn’t until I learned to arpeggiate the chords that things clicked together and improv became much easier. I play the major shape over a major chord, the minor shape over a minor chord, a diminished shape... blah, blah blah... you seem to have a stronger grasp of chord theory than I do, so hopefully this clicks faster for you than it did for me.
Fortunately for myself my goal at an early age was to go to a Post Secondary music program for guitar. This was all preceded by a number of years on Piano. But all that aside, my intention for Bass is to get a good feel for what all of the different levels of Bassists here do for their sound, technique, and note choices to get certain sounds, etc. A good example of that is when Keto mentioned the Strings being so much more of a difference on Bass than guitar. I find both string and pick differences make a HUGE difference in guitar sound, so I was surprised that Bass is even more so? I still have the approach of a guitar player on Bass though, so this is a main factor in me picking your brains. Devil's in the details as they say.

I watched a video after your post earlier which put it more into context with what I think you were saying to me and it was a great help in reinforcing what you said about the role of a Bass player. I've been checking this guy out for a little while on and off. More so now that I'm into it more than before.


Be interesting to hear what yours and other Bassists thoughts are on this.
 

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I watch him too. Really helpful pointers.

Here's a site you should check out.
Talkbass
 
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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks Larry. Been to TalkBass a number of times to reference my current gear and get other info. Great site.
 

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Fortunately for myself my goal at an early age was to go to a Post Secondary music program for guitar. This was all preceded by a number of years on Piano. But all that aside, my intention for Bass is to get a good feel for what all of the different levels of Bassists here do for their sound, technique, and note choices to get certain sounds, etc. A good example of that is when Keto mentioned the Strings being so much more of a difference on Bass than guitar. I find both string and pick differences make a HUGE difference in guitar sound, so I was surprised that Bass is even more so? I still have the approach of a guitar player on Bass though, so this is a main factor in me picking your brains. Devil's in the details as they say.
To put this into context, most guitarists use nickel plated steel strings, and many of them will argue there’s little difference between Ernie Ball, D’Addario, GHS, etc. Many of them are using a lot of drive/distortion, which compresses the sound and exaggerates the harmonic content.

With bass, the tone is usually cleaner and the sound of the string is more audible and the texture of the string is more prominent in the mix.

Further, string selection changes how you sit in the mix. A metal player may prefer stainless steel strings for the extra high end to slice through heavy guitars. An R&B player may prefer flatwound strings for their thumpier, more old school tone. A pop/rock player may prefer nickel plated steel roundwounds for a punchy sound with some bite.... or, because a P Bass with rounds sounds more like a guitar and produces that extra thick sound that makes everyone think your rhythm player has killer tone.

Add in string brand on top of that... I find GHS are thick and wooly while Ernie Ball are clear and balanced (some might call them thin), with Fender kind of splitting the difference.

I watched a video after your post earlier which put it more into context with what I think you were saying to me and it was a great help in reinforcing what you said about the role of a Bass player. I've been checking this guy out for a little while on and off. More so now that I'm into it more than before.


Be interesting to hear what yours and other Bassists thoughts are on this.
The more you move toward jazz and R&B the more complex/interesting the bass lines. Most pop and rock is fairly simplified, but it’s on a sliding scale in terms of how complex the harmony is (how blues is your rock?)

What Scott teaches is right on the money, but it’s difficult to apply in a rock context if that’s your goal. It’s like teaching a guitar player jazz chords when he’s playing Sex Pistols through a Metal Zone.... the additional harmonics beyond the 5th cause dissonance.

I played in an R&B/Neo-Soul band for a bit and it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to learn how to play bass better. This song for me was a master-class is bassline composition and is a practical application of everything Scott mentions in that video;

 

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I like walking along the fretboard like that.

 
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Omg talkbass is a hive of bitches. Last bass Outpost is much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
@_Azrael , yeah I get that. The 2 years I spent in Post secondary music was a "contemporary" school of music...aka all Jazz. You get to the point where even if it isn't your style there are always great lines to fuse into the basic rock structure. People like Stu Hamm and DAve LaRue are great for that type of deal, amongst many others like JPJ mentioned above. .
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Omg talkbass is a hive of bitches. Last bass Outpost is much better.
I'll check them out too. Haven't found too many issues at Talk Bass. But I don't spend enough time there to really tell.

EDIT: Just checked. Every link there is "unacceptable" when I try to click. Guess it's a nogo.
 

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EDIT: Just checked. Every link there is "unacceptable" when I try to click. Guess it's a nogo.
add the www. into the address bar.
 

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I'll check them out too. Haven't found too many issues at Talk Bass. But I don't spend enough time there to really tell.

EDIT: Just checked. Every link there is "unacceptable" when I try to click. Guess it's a nogo.
Maybe it got better but there used to be regular flame wars. There continues to be a lot of misinformation and pointless argument about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
So I have a question for the finger pickers, but people that use the pick are welcome to put in any insight with how you do this as well. For the last week I've been hacking away at Heaven and Hell with the Cheese Cutter special. Extra thick slices for all. I looked up Geezer Butlers rig to get a sense of the basics he's using for his sound. I wound up dialing in the Hartke setting until I found something reasonably close to my inexperienced Bass ears.

As I'm listening to him play, and realizing of course it's a studio recording, I found I could get a bit closer to what I'm hearing by changing the angle of my picking hand tighter to the Bass body so the angle was quite narrow. So in essence lowering my right hand wrist angle so my fingers don't quite "pluck" as much. Pluck isn't the best word for how I was doing it as it but it's the best I can come up with right now.

It would be nice to hear about some techniques used by some of you to achieve a sound, specific or not, either by using the tools you were born with or a pick. On guitar I'm contantly changing the pick angle and thickness for certain sounds so I'd like to get a sense of your approach to this probably often overlooked method.

Thanks.
 

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changing the angle of my picking hand tighter to the Bass body so the angle was quite narrow. So in essence lowering my right hand wrist angle so my fingers don't quite "pluck" as much
By 'pluck', do you mean perpendicular or 90° to the strings?
I lessen that angle, 45° ish, which, when striking the string, it sorta 'slaps' and gives a hint of Geezer spank.
I don't cut my finger nails too short either. I leave just a bit so that it scrapes past on the stroke, getting a Geddy ish spank.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
By 'pluck', do you mean perpendicular or 90° to the strings?
I lessen that angle, 45° ish, which, when striking the string, it sorta 'slaps' and gives a hint of Geezer spank.
I don't cut my finger nails too short either. I leave just a bit so that it scrapes past on the stroke, getting a Geddy ish spank.
I'm "plucking" at about a 45° at the moment, but found the tone closer when it was closer to 25° or 30°. It's a little tougher to play at speed that way at the moment but I'm working through it. pluck is probably a poor term to use because I find I'm kinda more "sliding" across the string. It's really F...ing hard to put into words properly. Later today I'll take either pics or video to show you what I mean. You probably already have a good idea now though. I wonder if there's a specific term for it.
 

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Rock/metal fingerstyle players will sometimes push the strings down so they bounce off the fret and clank. It’s useful if you want the attack of a pick, but don’t want to use a pick.

Alternatively, you can use a somewhat low action and just play aggressively. In this case you’re not pushing the strings into the fret, just hitting them hard enough they bounce off anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Rock/metal fingerstyle players will sometimes push the strings down so they bounce off the fret and clank. It’s useful if you want the attack of a pick, but don’t want to use a pick.

Alternatively, you can use a somewhat low action and just play aggressively. In this case you’re not pushing the strings into the fret, just hitting them hard enough they bounce off anyway.
Thanks. I'm fairly aggressive already, but for this specific tune it requires a bit less aggression and a slightly flatter angle of attack. It's actually pretty cool for me since I'm starting to listen more like a Bass player at this point than before really digging in like this. Which was a big part of the reason for me to make a thread or 2 here in the Bass section. Weren't you a guitarist at one point in a Maiden cover band? I'll apologise now if I have you mixed up with the person who gave me the heads up on a band a while ago.
 
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