• Creating interesting bass lines?
  • Started by Bill from November Sound
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Creating interesting bass lines?
on: June 29, 2020, 03:12:47
I'm noticing tthat modern popular songs are very driven by strong bass line hooks.
Dua Lipa "Don't Start Now" , Charlie Puth "Attention" "How Long Has This Been Going On?" ..... lots of others.
It's almost as if the bass line is the real hook on some of these.
As one who plays left hand bass and writes songs .... I have really started to think more about bass lines as a melody.

What do you think?

Have you been trying different things with your bass lines?

Do you ever write the bass line first?
Bill
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 20:32:42
@Pleudoniem  just had a cool post about this in his most recent song.  :ok:   :)

Quote
the track was based on the bass :) I made the guitars communicate with the bass, instead of the other way round, which is what mostly happens.


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #2 on: July 10, 2020, 21:22:11
@Bill from November Sound I usually start with the drums, because I want to have a pacing. Then I usually start with a bass line, but sometimes the guitar. It depends on whether I have just thought of a line on any of them that I'd like to use and develop.

Sometimes it is a technique that I'd like to try out in a song, such as playing with different bass picking styles. The one that most people use is that they put their thumb on the coil or low E, and then use their index and fuckyou-finger alternatively to play, but you can also use your ring-finger as an addition, or your thumb as an extra picking tool, or double tap with the picking fingers. Or use octaves. Or slaps, taps and plucks.

Listen to Victor Wooten to get an idea.
Pleudoniem: composer; bass guitarist; guitarist; singer; drummer; tap-guitarist - o, and yes... erm- a bit of keys. Open for collabs.
SoundCloud Page: https://soundcloud.com/pleudoniem


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #3 on: July 10, 2020, 21:26:20
I generally let the bass come in late in the song and I would not say that I ever "write" the bass line. Instead I let the song develop its basic rhythm feel and then use the bass to glue things together and provide that last bit of energy.

I play on a 1969 Gibson bass and it is my favorite instrument. I just put a set of Thomastik-Infeld flatwound jazz strings on it and it sounds SO good now. My problem is that I generally get a good bass line in one or two takes and back in the case it goes.  8)
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

Lenny's Tunes: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=540680

https://soundcloud.com/vincentgleason


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Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 05:08:31
You are right @Bill from November Sound . Some songs are very much bass driven.
Usually my songs are sloppy, but my bass driven songs are even worse.
But I like it a lot if I can capture the energy.

Like this one (and I apologize for pasting one of my songs in your thread) where I clearly started off with the bass line:

https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/songs-for-review/2/the-calories-you-burned/4799/msg51461#msg51461

Like your question though, the bass is very important in music, starting 1961 or thereabouts.
Kind regards, Gus


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #5 on: July 11, 2020, 19:28:19
Interesting how you came up with a year (1961?) where bass lines begin to increase in importance. @LePlongeur
In a way that kind of makes sense.
@1roomstudio was talking about a bass line I was playing in a video in the live performances section. ..... which wasn't a line but rather improvised over the changes. A song from the 30's ... but also jazz. Meanwhile take the more "pop" type big band swing of Glen Miller say "In the Mood" and there would be a very repetitive bass line as opposed to an improvised over the changes thing.


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Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 20:14:49
1961?
Pure guess work @Bill from November Sound .
It’s the year, you can hold upside down and it still reads 1961. I tried to figure out at the time when that would happen again.
Plus  the rise of Cameo Parkway. The twist, all the hilly gully, mashed potatoes bullshit.
Just an hour ago I nicked a part of the bass line of we gotta get out of his place by The animals.
The brill building music had a prominent role for the bass.
Rondo, emerlist Davjack.
The 1966 beginning of the pre Psychedelics.
And successively development of instrumental music. Swingin’ safari by Bert Kaempfert, where the bass had a effective low cut and a load of ‘room’.

After that, the hippies’ bass heavy music.
Exactly when is open for debate. But 1961 in my memory is a transition from light music to heavy music.

But it’s no arithmetic!
Kind regards, Gus


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #7 on: July 12, 2020, 00:11:17
Good subject @Bill from November Sound

My approach is like @Leonard Scaper ... I use the bass (and percussion) to glue together and fill out a song that already stands alone as guitar and voice.

I think I have only one song that started as a bass line.

This never occurred to me (thank you again Bill!) but when I improvise on piano I almost always start with a bass line. When I right a song on piano 🎹 I approach it like I do on guitar 🎸  hmmm 🤔 need to think about that. I’ve trying to reconcile songwriting on those two instruments for many years.

Lots of Jazz starts with the bass. “So What?” By Miles Davis is notable.

1961? ( @LePlongeur  How about 1881 etc. for inversion?)There’s something to that in the context of this forum. When bands went electric it was possible for that instrument to step to the front. The bass solo in Jazz has been around longer... but that’s not “starting with bass” (why did “Ina Garda Da Vida” just pop into my head?  ::) ]

I’ve seen at least two Jazz bands where the front man was a stand up bass player. He would start a ground  and sometimes develop it into some form with the band improvising over it...  very effective.

Then there is the Baroque period when the Ground Bass form was very popular. A whole new (old?) world 🌎 🌍 to explore there...

The “Pachelbel Canon” is not just a Canon.



Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #8 on: July 12, 2020, 02:14:59
The bass solo in Jazz has been around longer... but that’s not “starting with bass” (why did “Ina Garda Da Vida” just pop into my head?  ::) ]

I have always had an acoustic guitar in my hands...since I was 12 years old. But I have never been very good at it. Instead I played on a Silvertone bass in my teen band in 1967 and the song that still jumps out as a bass driven song from then is "Trouble Comin' Every Day" by The Mothers of Invention.

The band made me sing the lead on that one. It didn't quite fit in the set list with "Gloria" and Louie Louie". I just turned up my Silvertone bass amp with those six 10" speakers until those garage doors shook.  8)


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #9 on: July 12, 2020, 03:16:19
seems like 1960's it is .....  ;)  ::e-guitar::

.... I was, of course, thinking about more modern tunes when starting this thread  ... oh well..   :blackgrin:   



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Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #10 on: July 12, 2020, 06:26:05
Totally off topic. I knew 1881, but in 1961 there was no internet.
 So it took me an awful lot of time to figure out:

Question: The year 1961 is readable forward, backward, and upside down. What is the next year when this will occur?

Answer: Will we be around to see this numerical inversion when it happens again in 6009?

I coined the question: when it would happen again, not when it last happened @1roomstudio

I was 11 years old in 1961, so it took all of my thinking power.
Kind regards,  Gus


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #11 on: July 12, 2020, 20:25:24
Doh  :bonk:

Subtle point that escaped me.

And I was thinking that there were lots of answers that had somehow eluded you. My bad 🤗


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Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #12 on: July 13, 2020, 07:12:16
Don’t worry @1roomstudio , I wasn’t hurt or anything.
There’s no way to measure if the music industry was more static before 1961 or that it’s just a sort of turning point in my puberty.
Maybe the story is too long altogether.!
But whatever the year, around that time (my perception) the music shifted gears with a different look at the use of bass. The first time that happened again was John Entwistle (The Who) who redefined the bass guitar. From purely serving to an outspoken prominent presence in the band.

But, as I said, it’s debatable and just my opinion.
Kind regards. Gus


Re: Creating interesting bass lines?
Reply #13 on: July 21, 2020, 23:31:57
Quote
The first time that happened again was John Entwistle (The Who) who redefined the bass guitar. From purely serving to an outspoken prominent presence in the band.

Ah yes @LePlongeur John Entwistle.... that also brings to mind Jack Bruce from Cream and the rise of the Power Bands. Starting (I believe) with Hendrix in 1961... With the electric amplifier, many bands moved toward the guitar vocals bass and drums all being equal partners in the mix.  What an amazing decade or so of musical innovation. 😎



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