Trouble brewing

A forum devoted to the discussion of playing bass with the blues.

Trouble brewing

Postby notsonhouse » Thu Dec 11, 2003 8:13 pm

OK, for all you guys out there that think the bass player should only play walking bass line, QUIT IT! Give a listen to some Albert Collins now and then.Walking lines are great for some songs, but now and then haven't you ever wanted to kick it up a little?

Why six strings? Why not? It gives us greated tonal range and makes it easier to play a lot of things. Do lead players really need all those stomp boxes cluttering the floor?

Can't hear the low B? Change strings, get a better bass, get a better amp. Tubes are great for lead players that want that sound, but bassists should stick with solid state. Gives a much cleaner tone.

Why the high C? It sure saves on the fret reaching. With it you can play a whole lot more in the 4 fret range as opposed to having to run up and down the neck.

Never want to hear another bass string popped? Hell, I never want to hear another lead player ride a note for 30 seconds, no more wah-wah pedals please!

Bass players playing lead? Why not? Are you that insecure in your playing that you can't share the spotlight with the rest of the band? Or is it just OK for the drummer to do a solo?

Groove challenged fusion players? Someone needs to listen to some fusion I think. That doesn't even deserve a response.

Relies on chord changes? Believe it or not, there are more chords out there that G-C-D, and some fine blues that are more than a I-IV-V progression.

Upright basses? Great love them, got one....and hey! It has a low B on it as well! Yes it's electric.

Tablature for bass? NO WAY!

Yes I am a fusion jazz bassist first and foremost. Learn your craft. If you can't read music, start. Throw in some theory as well. There are hundreds of books out there on the subject. I think there's even one in the "For Dummies" series. Take some classes at your local junior college.
Will learning all that you can about your instrument make you a better player? Does that need an answer?

On a lighter note, all the above should be taken with a smile. I am an admitted "grouchy, old fart". I love music and demand perfection of myself and others when playing.
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby costa » Thu Dec 11, 2003 8:49 pm

hey now slow down there chief...are you saying there are usable notes past the 5th fret?
I'll check when I get home. ;-)

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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby jellyroll baker » Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:05 pm

Are you telling me that I don't have to do all my playing on the 'E' string? There goes everything I learned when jamming over "Wild Thing" when I was 13.
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby ricochet » Thu Dec 11, 2003 10:25 pm

You mean you have to FRET that string?
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby littleboyblue » Thu Dec 11, 2003 11:04 pm

Hey us rythm guitar players get along quite well with you bassists. I do quite well with my jam partner (bassboy blue) when I'm harpin' as well. I've got much respect and appreciation for bass players, though I must say I'll take the classic sound of the upright over a crazy electrified 6 string anyday. Not that I have anything against someone who likes to play electric or 6 string, just isn't my style. Being a rythm guitarist more than a lead guitarist I like the rythm of a nice booming melow upright. I also have no prob with the bass player getting a solo (durring which they can do what they please walking or otherwise). They are just as much a part of the band and deserve just as much spotlight if they want it. I'd rather not have that spotlight, I'm perfectly content playing rythm and not being the center of attention. I'd be more comfortable I suppose to solo with my harp, but even with my harp I prefer to have a good bassline rolling with me and a guitar. I'd rather complemet the lead guitarist than be the show. Guess that's just the mentality needed to enjoy rythm guitar, and I'd think it'd be the same mentality for bass.
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby chick french » Fri Dec 12, 2003 1:56 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-11-03 AT 09:03 PM (EST)]Q. OK, for all you guys out there that think the bass player should only play walking bass line, QUIT IT! Give a listen to some Albert Collins now and then.Walking lines are great for some songs, but now and then haven't you ever wanted to kick it up a little?

A. Folks be talkin blues in here not funk. Music is structured, the bass player and drummer suppose to lay the foundation down, you know something you can stand on.

Q. Why six strings? Why not? It gives us greated tonal range and makes it easier to play a lot of things. Do lead players really need all those stomp boxes cluttering the floor?

A. All the great bass players I know play 4 strings and have no problem with tonal range. All the bad bass players I know play 6 strings which makes it easier for them to play a lot of things. All the lead players I know who play blues don't use stomp boxes. I don't know any of the ones that do use stomp boxes.

Q. Can't hear the low B? Change strings, get a better bass, get a better amp. Tubes are great for lead players that want that sound, but bassists should stick with solid state. Gives a much cleaner tone.

A. I'm all for a clean tone.

Q. Why the high C? It sure saves on the fret reaching. With it you can play a whole lot more in the 4 fret range as opposed to having to run up and down the neck.

A. Fret reaching is "tonal range" pass the 4th fret.

Q. Never want to hear another bass string popped? Hell, I never want to hear another lead player ride a note for 30 seconds, no more wah-wah pedals please!

A. Quit playing fusion then!

Q. Bass players playing lead? Why not? Are you that insecure in your playing that you can't share the spotlight with the rest of the band? Or is it just OK for the drummer to do a solo?

A. Music is structured in so much that the bass and drums are the foundation for the structure. Can't have a shakey foundation, now can we. Solo's for any instrument have their place and time. Bass and drum solo's are usually done without the accompaniment of the band as opposed to other instrument solo's the bass and drums have to play in the hole. If a bass player wants to play lead he should let someone else play the bass and pick up a guitar or horn and do his thing so he dosen't funk up the groove.

Q. Groove challenged fusion players? Someone needs to listen to some fusion I think. That doesn't even deserve a response.

A. Wrong Forum.

Q. Relies on chord changes? Believe it or not, there are more chords out there that G-C-D, and some fine blues that are more than a I-IV-V progression.

A. I agree, there's E-A-B. More than I-IV-V, you bet there is. You should play with R.L. Burnside, he does 13 bar blues, changes when he feels it. Now that'll keep you on your toes.

Q. Upright basses? Great love them, got one....and hey! It has a low B on it as well! Yes it's electric.

A. Then it's not really a upright. Does it have 6 strings?

Q. Tablature for bass? NO WAY!

A. That's the Willie Dixon way. A chromatic what?

Comment. Yes I am a fusion jazz bassist first and foremost. Learn your craft. If you can't read music, start. Throw in some theory as well. There are hundreds of books out there on the subject. I think there's even one in the "For Dummies" series. Take some classes at your local junior college.
Will learning all that you can about your instrument make you a better player? Does that need an answer?

Comment. Yes I am a blues lover, thats why I come here first and foremost. I will tell you there ain't no books or no theory or no music you can read that will ever prepare you for playing blues. Blues comes from living it and from the heart and they don't teach you that in no book. The structure is un-negotiable. What resulted in changing the form of this music is called Rock & Roll. There are no insecurities in a players ability to allow another instrument to solo or share the spotlight. It simply for the most part negates the desired feel.

P.S. I'm kinda new here so my views do not reflect those of the Management or Charter Members. You let yo chain hang down so I jes kinda yanked it a little. I'm really not that bad jes contank-er-rus in my old age.

cf
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby allanlummox » Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:06 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-12-03 AT 01:14 AM (EST)] Best bassists I've worked with were generally from a Jazz or a Fusion background, and I think they ALL played SWR heads. Basses have varied from custom 6 strings to - well, to a Hagstrom Beatle Bass.


And they ALL bitched and whined about following change-when-I-feel like it, why is this simple ass music so hard to get right playin' me. So I agree with Mr. French in theory, if not in fact.

In fact, the bassists who backed me up BEST, complained the MOST afterwards. Meant they were on their toes. Also meant I had to pay them to play with me.
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby allanlummox » Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:07 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-12-03 AT 03:02 AM (EST)]Oh, and I LIKE popping. Just not too much of it.

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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby srvlives » Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:15 am

Man, two cantankerous old farts in the same thread... sure be the correct topic title....

'I'd be glad to beat you if given the opportunity' Bluedawg
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby houndog » Fri Dec 12, 2003 7:54 am

Aha,
I play slap thumb bass in my live set on Louis Jordan's "Early in the morning".
Bass players...a luxury I can't afford...that is what the big thumb is for as per Big Bill ;) ;) ;)

Here is the thing though my bro makes a good living from playing bass...but we have never played together for ages...same music different beats maybe ?

adios,
Lovat
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby jellyroll baker » Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:44 am

>Groove challenged fusion players? Someone needs to listen to
>some fusion I think. That doesn't even deserve a response.
>

Good fusion (Hello Bitches Brew) is the grooviest thing in the world outside of the Mississippi Hill Country. Bad fusion on the other hand is another thing entirely (can anyone say "1980's Miles Davis"??).
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby costa » Fri Dec 12, 2003 12:06 pm

I think that a blues bass player can get by with two strings and 5 'frets' on almost every blues song and still sound good (often times sound best!).
When you begin to feel the urge to pay chords, tap, slap and pop, great - more power to you, but you are no longer playing blues bass.

At least not in any blues band I want to hear. }>

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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby ideot » Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:44 pm

I was filling in on bass at a ho-down (wedding reception for those not native to mississippi) and this old man was giving me pointers and such. when the band wasn't playing (i.e. getting drunk) he played some of the funkiest motown stuff I've ever heard. Me, being the ideot 17 year old I am said "yeah that's really great, but you can't fit in with any bands around here with that". When the band kicked up again, he played the exact same runs with their country, blues, classic rock, and it sounded perfect. That's kind of off topic, but only a little.
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby notsonhouse » Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:04 pm

Not as bad as I thought it would be there. Sorry it took so long to get back here. Busy time of year around here.
Sounds to me that there are some people here who would have condemned Muddy Waters for going electric. Don't get me wrong, I am all for traditional blues. I still play solo gigs as a blues performer, toting my trusty Nationals along. I also play bass for two blues bands off and on in the area. No complaints from them on my playing, so I must not be too offensive.

Now I am not saying that you have to own a six string bass, in fact I wouldn't want a lot of bass players to own one. They are a beast all to themselves and require a lot of work to master, and most bassists seem to lazy to take that time. Two strings and five frets is sure enough, if not too much for some bass players out there.
I'm just glad that the great bluesmen out there don't share the same stuck in a rut and don't want out thing that some here seem to have. I love the blues, listen to it a lot, but there are others sounds out there that can be enjoyed out there as well, and incorporated into the blues. Someone mentioned RL Burnside, now if he isn't listening to other sounds, then where do those Hip Hop sounds in his music come from? BB King...always listening to new sounds. Buddy Guy?
If we don't keep the music new and fresh, it will die.
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RE: Trouble brewing

Postby ricochet » Sat Dec 20, 2003 6:08 pm

R.L. didn't do any of that hip-hop stuff. It was studio remix work incorporating samples from some of his songs played in his traditional manner. He didn't like it when he heard it, but came to appreciate it when the money started rolling in.
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