Wake Up Bass Players

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

Wake Up Bass Players

Postby BobHolland » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:17 pm

Are any of you Bass Players still out there?
It sure is quiet & cold in here & dark.
Somebody scream & wake things up.
Kind of lonely too.
:wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha: :wha:
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby JakeyVimto » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:35 pm

Its a tricky one, because I play bass in a rock band, but I dont really know how to do the blues bass thing that I like hearing. Im not even sure what to ask, but if the forum needs a question then ok, How do I start learning that walking bass that gets played so often in blues bands? resources, tips, exercises, anything? Give me enough to get started and ill do my best to join in and keep the bass forum lively, i promise..

j
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby MakaInOz » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:22 am

Good blues and bad blues in the bass department at Villa Maka. I'm just the financial backer/roadie/occassional harp player for the two bass playing kids.

Eldest is happy with his 'new' Trace Elliot amp with his J bass, but his doghouse is sad. Went to play it at the rehearsal for a gig the other day and the strings were too far from the pickup. Looks like the neck is loose, so we backed off the string tension and have it booked in for an expert assessment of damage and repair costs. It really needs new strings and could do with a new bridge, so we're looking at getting it all A1 or alternately getting it repaired just enough (neck fixed) to sell as a learner bass. Repairing to A1 standard could cost more than its worth, so a new doghouse might be in the equation. That's serious $$$$, and there's very few full size double basses around. They're nearly all 3/4 size, but at 6'3" he needs a full size.

Youngest has her first gig (at the school concert) tomorrow night - a duo with her guitarist friend, both singing. They're only doing two songs, but its a big step up to her first performance in front of a crowd. Could be an upgrade for her bass in her Christmas stocking. She's playing a hand-me-down from her big brother that he got for nothing and fixed up so most of it works most of the time, but its hardly gig-worthy.

So the bass players are out there Bob - they're just to busy playing to get on the 'puter!
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby RayTheRat » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:22 pm

I just found this forum. So I joined.

I'm a blues bassist and organist wannabe. I didn't pick up any instrument until the age of 57. I'm 61 now, going on 19...or thereabouts.

I only play for my own enjoyment. I have no desire to be a performer. But I love the blues and love the bass. \

If only I could play like Larry Taylor...maybe then I'd consider gigging.

My basses are cheap. Both Ibanez, one GSR200 one fretless SDGR. I also own a 1961 Hammond M-101 organ, a Casio digital keyboard and a few other odds and ends.

I'm also an automotive photographer wannabe and hotrodder...although my health has caused me to cut way back on the hot rodding.
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A collage I put together when I was in a strange mood...which is most of the time.
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby tobiepsg » Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:06 am

RayTheRat wrote:I didn't pick up any instrument until the age of 57. My basses are cheap. Both Ibanez, one GSR200 one fretless SDGR.

Welcome Ray! I beat you by a few years - picked up my first instrument (if you can call a harmonica that - got 24 of them now) at age 45. Bought an Ibanez SR900 about 2 weeks ago. What a nice, new adventure! Enjoy!
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby bigdaddy » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:56 pm

I am a professional bassist. I am 52. That walking blues line is simple. Get yourself a Luther Allison, or Walter Trout, or Muddy Waters cd, Muddy Waters first. Sit down with your guitar and music box (I run my music box thru a small 300 watt pa system) and start figuring them out. Find the root note of the Key and fiddle around playing the I IV and V. Go on the internet and find diagrams of the minor pentatonic scale and the major pentatonic scale. I can't recall the site but it has to do with guitar chords of course you'll cut off the 1st and 2nd string of the guitar scale and wa-la, you will be playing blues bass in minutes. I also go to UTIMATE GUITAR TABS and see what other guitar and bass players are doing, I have found some good ideas in there before. When you get with a live band and I suggest you do, play in these two different scales, minor and major and even mix the two together a bit. When you are given a song you have heard or not heard but have never played just fall back on these scales and don't stay on one note to long and you can pull it off. I am asked by the boss to play songs on stage that I have never played and sometimes I have never heard. I listen to the boss's rythym for a second, start in on one of them scales and before I know I have played the song. The next day I go buy the cd and learn how off I was and I learn the song correctly. I never mimic a cover song note for note. I learn it then play it the way I feel it. The key is to relax and let them bass notes flow from with in you. It's easy and very satisfying plus you can get a barroom of perfect strangers up off their butts dancing and shaking, that's the best part. Remember, it ain't hard so don't make it so.
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby JakeyVimto » Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:17 pm

Cheers bigdaddy, I grabbed a bunch of walking bass tabs and will put the time in with muddy and sonny boy williamson over the next few weeks. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby bigdaddy » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:22 pm

Jakeyvimto, it's all relative. Your rock bass experience should make blues bassing easy. I did a 4th of July show once and the band that followed us was a country band and they were good. Their bassist watched me for about a half hour. When I got of the stage he told me that other than accenting the notes a bit different he and I played the same stuff. I thought that was funny but it is also true. I love blues. I dig it when the drummer and I are hammering down a solid rythym while Skinny is making that strat scream all over the top end. It just feels good when the band is pumping on all cylinders and were just a 3 cylinder band so there ain't much room for any one of us to let their end drop. I dig the three piece because I have so much freedom on the bottom end. When we have a piano player or harmonica player on board I tend to simply the bottom end. 98 percent of the time it's just us three and watch out, I'm gonna do some bottom end melody. We started playing "Your Momma Can't Dance" a few weeks ago, it was one of them nights it was thrown at me and I'd never played it before. I got the Loggins and Messina disc and learned it but what Skinny wanted was the Poison version. I got that version last weekend and I will have to dumby down the bass if I stick with that version. I'm developing kinda of a happy medium between the two. Dec 12 and 13 we have a gig in Salt Lake City, I'm sure we'll do that song again and I think Skinny will be pleased with what I got. Last weekend I was trying to play the whole melody with the bass and I was playing to many notes to fast, I didn't like it and I don't think Skinny was to pleased either. It's one of those "don't make it harder than it is" type of things.
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby RayTheRat » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:41 am

Hey, bigdaddy...where's your gig in SLC? Can ya pm me with some info about the location and your group? I'd like to check things out.

Btw, your suggestions on how to pick up on blues bass was right on. When I said I was a wannabe that's true, but I've been playin for about 4 years. Both my sons have master's degrees in music and this summer my oldest and I jammed together once a week, with my youngest sitting in some times. He taught me a whole lot about music theory (which I think might be starting to sink in a bit) and I think (I sure hope) that I got him away from the "conservatory style" of music study and performance...which (as far as I've been able to discern) involves killing off any creative spirit and relegating the musician to playing only what's on the sheet music in front of him. No improv, no deviation, just play it as written and all will be well. Sure. By the end of the summer, he got to the point where he'd close his eyes and play and afterward, he'd say, "I just played what I thought would sound good." Man! That was some of his best stuff and I think he's starting to recover from his education.

As far as the I-IV-V pattern, I've got that down pretty good, until I run into inversions. Then it takes me a bit to figure what's going on. But I've come a long way since the beginning of this year when I was ready to sell all my instruments off. Over the course of the year, I dug into a bit of theory and my son taught me more and now I'm better at playing lines over the chords. It seems that I end up playing a 1-3-5-3 pattern way too often, although I've tried to temper it with chromatic passing tones and inverted patterns where the 5th is an octave lower (1st inversion of the bass line, not the chord) and a few other things. Switching between major and minor chords or using augmented or diminished 3rds...or like Taylor, sometimes I play a different pattern over each chord or each verse.

One thing I like to do is either queue up a buncha songs in WinAmp on my computer...which plays through my component stereo system and then just playing with whatever comes up. Same thing with the Bluesville channel on XM (which I get with my satellite tv subscription.) I've found that if the piece is straight forward, I can have the key figured out well before the end of the first verse...if I can get the root or the dominant (5th), I can fill in from there.

An interesting thing has happened with the organ. Yeah, my organ...but the musical kind. It's a 1961 Hammond M-101 which is the same model that Matthew Fisher used when recording "Whiter Shade of Pale" in 1967. It just sorta fell from the sky. Not literally, but after messing around with a Casio digital keyboard for a while as I was working on the theory stuff I was finding on the web, I found that I really liked the "Jazz Organ" voice. Then I realized that was a sampling of a Hammond B3. I started looking around and restored B3s are selling for an arm and a leg (many of them going to Japan) so when I found the M series, I kinda jumped on it. Turns out I was the only person who responded to the seller's add. I got it for $50. It didn't work at first, but I tinkered and lubricated and so on and after a coupla weeks it began to sing like a bird. The real surprising thing is that the bass patterns I'd learned transferred almost automatically to my left hand. The right hand is a different story, but I've gotten to the place where I can play the bass line with the left and a few chords with the right. I'm tryin to work on the pedals, but my feet play organ about as well as they dance, which is to say not hardly at all. But I can play a heck of a lot more than I could at the beginning of the year.

Sometimes I'll hang the bass around the neck and play that a bit, then switch my hands over to the organ...especially if I'm getting lost in a new piece. It's easier for me to find the key on the organ than on the bass some times.

All in all, I'm having a great time with what I'm doing.

I may have some questions about different patterns played over a chord. As I mentioned, I usually end up with a variant of the 1-3-5-3 pattern and could use some hints on other patterns and when they're used...if that's even a valid question.

I'm glad I stumbled onto this place.

Thanks,

RtR
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby bigdaddy » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:29 pm

Ray, I didn't understand most of that theory stuff, you're way over my head. Skinny has a degree in music and english, he talks to me like that some times but it doesn't go anywhere.
On December 12th and 13th we are at The Ore House in Copperton. Copperton is directly west of Salt Lake City. It's the last building on the Old Bingham highway just before you enter Kennecott Copper Mine property. I don't think it's called Kennecott today. I always take 21 South and go west to 8400 West and then turn south and travel across 8400 quite a ways. There is a stop light at the Old Bingham Highway and a sign that says Copperton. I turn west on that road and it goes a couple of miles thru Copperton, down a hill and then you're there, can't miss it. It's an old saloon from the late 1800's and I think they charge $5.00 to get in. If you can make one of the dates please come. I'd appreciate your opinion of the band. We may have a harmonica player with us on Saturday, he sits in for a few songs now and again. New Years Eve we are in Layton, Utah. Do you live around here, the Utah area? I'd like to meet ya.
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby bigdaddy » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:36 pm

Ray, I did that pm thing but I ain't sure if I did it right. If you know how then pm me with your email address and or phone number and I'll get back with you.
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby RayTheRat » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:08 pm

Hey Bigdaddy.

Well, ya posted it back to the board, but that's ok. Not a problem. I'll send you a PM with some info.

I'm in Taylorsville and I know exactly where Copperton is. I also know about Kennecott. Been around longern' I have.

I was born in SLC but lived elsewhere for a number of years, then ended up back here in 71 when Uncle Sam let me outta them funny-lookin green clothes. Almost moved to southern Nevada last year but things didn't work out, so I'm still here and I guess that's where I'm sposeta be.

The big question for ya concerning your appearance at the Ore House (I always thought there shoulda been a "wh" at the front of that) is "what kinda music do ya play?" I'm curious. Far as New Year's Eve (or "Amateur night") I usually stay in and let the amateur drunks have the roads.

Sorry if I spouted off a buncha music theory...I guess I been listening to my sons too much. I have a heck of a time tryin to read music and play almost entirely by ear, although I think the theory studies gave me a much better understanding of what I was doing and could do. For example, when I said I played a 1-3-5-3 pattern over the chord, if I was playing over the A chord, for example, I'd play A, then C#, then E then C# again. I actually play by geometry...or shapes, if you will. I find that the I-IV-V pattern for almost every major key is an inverted "L" shape, (think A, D, E) and the third interval is only one fret above the 4th (generally) although there are exceptions that I'm beginning to find and my rookie geometric concepts don't work in all cases, although it's a good starting point.

Ok...nuffa that. I had a real short night's sleep last night. Dunno why, just did. I'll send ya the PM now.

RtR
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby ricochet » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:00 pm

Ray, I've got a Hammond H-182 (1967 big console with all sorts of jimcrackery), and The Organ Fairy just brought me an M-3 that was out of commission but now is working with only a "stuck" percussion waiting to be sorted out. They're great fun!
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby Bournio » Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:51 pm

ricochet wrote:Ray, I've got a Hammond H-182 (1967 big console with all sorts of jimcrackery), and The Organ Fairy just brought me an M-3 that was out of commission but now is working with only a "stuck" percussion waiting to be sorted out. They're great fun!


I'm not allowed one.... I found a really cheap M-3, but I listen to too much ELP and the walking wallets decided that i'd probably just stab knives in it and blow it up and stuff... I just do it to my crate with spring reverb...
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Re: Wake Up Bass Players

Postby RayTheRat » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:49 pm

ricochet wrote:Ray, I've got a Hammond H-182 (1967 big console with all sorts of jimcrackery), and The Organ Fairy just brought me an M-3 that was out of commission but now is working with only a "stuck" percussion waiting to be sorted out. They're great fun!


Hammonds is good. If ya get a chance to chat with that Organ Fairy, tell him/her that I really want an A-100 with Leslie, k?

On the other hand, a friend just offered me a spinet piano free fer nuttin, so maybe I'll pitch my unrepairable 70s era Wurlitzer over the side and put the piano where the Wurli wuz.

How come The Bass Fairy never offers me a P-Bass? Cheap ol fart, he is.
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