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Thread: Guitar and Bass collaboration

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    Guitar and Bass collaboration

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    Hey! I'm new to this whole forum thing but you guys have helped me in the past so I figured I'd rely on you again XD

    I play in a 4 piece band that has only one bassist and one guitarist and (as arrogant as it seems) we don't want to get a second guitarist as we feel it would ruin the perfect band dynamic we currently have. So, in order to try and cover for what would be a second guitarist, we need the bass to play a more prominent part of the composition.

    I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on writing bass lines that would fill in for the guitar playing a lead part?
    Or if anyone has any ideas on how to achieve a bass tone to the extent that it's audible and plays a nearly equal amount of importance to the guitars within the song?

    The guitar tone (to aid guidance) is a The Smiths/The Stone Roses type jangly chorus-filled 'Fender' sound.

    I trimmed down some songs to attach but it won't let me 'cos I haven't posted enough sorry.

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    Not sure why you think you need another guitarist or why you think the bass player isn't playing equally important parts... I'd say having two or more guitarists in a band would be more the exception than the rule, no? Both of those bands you mention only have one guitar player...

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    I can only speak as a bass player. A bass plays the foundation notes of songs. If the bass player plays high on the neck, and starts doing the twiddly bits then they are no longer playing bass, and you lose the foundation that supports the music. Guitars play chords, or melody, or if the player can do it, both - like the classical players who can play chords and the tune at the same time, but only in certain keys and certain styles. What does your bass player think? If my band asked me to do this, I'd not react very well at all. I play bass - the low notes. Twiddly bits up high are not bass. Any three piece has this problem. If you need more fill, you need a player, tracks, or some kind of electronic assistance. Personally, I don't think this is the bass players department.

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    My playing has sometimes been described as "lead bass".

    You can bring the bass forward more by increasing it's volume in the mid range. This can often be accomplished pretty well with distortion.

    In order to make the playing more prominent, I recommend trying to play more melodic lines. Don't ride the tonic, but play some catchy licks.
    Interplay with another instrument is a good technique too. Play moving lines either in sync with or opposite from the vocals or guitar.

    Keep an eye out for when less is more. Don't overplay. Usually your best licks will be a few well-placed notes rather than "shredding"

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    I think your setup should work fine, but you will have to figure out how to get the bass player to fill in when the guitar player goes off to wank That is how it seems to be done on many bands like the Who, ZZ Top, Queen, they all pulled it off.

    Guitar and bass just need to know how to complment each other. Get some thump from the kick.
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    I recommend listening to Presidents of the United States of America for inspiration. A bass part with most of the high end rolled off just playing the root can be coupled with a bridge pickup upper neck part that uses the 3rd 5th and 7th of the root chord to add color(minor,major, natural, harmonic, etc as required). Adding a sus2 or sus4 every now and again is nice also. Basically , staying in the same scale as the root gives you plenty of options, but the triads are the easiest
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    OK, maybe I missed something here. I'm half blind and it wouldn't be the first time.

    You said you have a 4 piece, yet you didn't mention who the fourth piece was. Keyboards? If so, wouldn't this be more the role of the keyboard player?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    A bass plays the foundation notes of songs. If the bass player plays high on the neck, and starts doing the twiddly bits then they are no longer playing bass, and you lose the foundation that supports the music. Personally, I don't think this is the bass players department
    The only reason I disagree with this is because there is a large range of notes on a bass guitar, especially since the advent of the 5 {and 6} string.
    I always remember a guy called Anthony Jackson emphasizing once that a bass guitar was a bass guitar. In other words it was a guitar first, but in the bass region. I agree that some bassists overdo it and don't enhance the song by their widdling. That was a sometime thing in jazz fusion in particular {and some prog and psychedelia}, but by the same token there have been loads of bass players that get the balance just right. The bass guitar is a very versatile instrument and in many ways, is the real controller of many, many songs across many genres. It's a skill in getting that balance between foundation and direction setting and leading ~ a bit ~ while also decortaing and providing rhythmic as well as melodic impulse.

    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    In order to make the playing more prominent, I recommend trying to play more melodic lines.
    Keep an eye out for when less is more. Don't overplay. Usually your best licks will be a few well-placed notes rather than "shredding"
    There can be the odd place to shred in the odd song, but only if the song has the space for it, supports it or calls for it. Though it was a long time ago, Stanley Clarke's 2nd album from 1974 {"Stanley Clarke" ~ the one with the cover where he wears the brown scarf} is a good example of how the bass can be liberated and free, yet not take away from the songs it underpins. And though people may laugh, Paul McCartney's bass parts for the Beatles from 1966 on are an interesting study in melody allied to foundational rhythmic underpinning as is Carol Kaye's bass in some of those songs like "I was made to love her." The bass playing on the Jackson 5ive's early songs aren't even noticed, so strong are the songs. Until you realize that without the bass playing, those songs collapse. And they are so melodic and move about so much, some of them are songs in themselves !
    Bass playing has, in my opinion, been so much more flexible and covered so much more ground since its inception than guitar playing. Some players know how to "hide" and not take over while all the while are actually running the show !

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    Paul McCartney and Carol Kaye I rather like. Carol Kaye, in particular, being an equally good guitarist rarely played clever stuff up high. Clearly she could, but rarely did. The bass guitar for me means a stringed instrument that plays the lower parts. Of course they can play in the high register, but there are usually others who can do this more appropriately on their instrument. When the bass does it, it cannot do it's primary function - to play down the bottom. When I was teaching music in college, quite a few bass players would play high and even play chords. They could even play better than me - and a number are pro players, who sometimes use me as a dip, which I find quite funny - but I stick with the bottom end. In the band, I have one song where I'm up high on the neck for three bits on the G string on my 5 string. I HATE it up there, but at this point in the song I'm the only one who can take the line. I'm always glad when I go back down and do what I consider to be my function - playing bass notes. The guitarist can do all the fancy twiddly bits - not my job. As soon as my notes creep up to the treble clef, I feel like I'm sacrificing what I'm there for!

    Clearly loads of people love playing high - that's fine and not remotely 'wrong'. Just not for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by notCardio View Post
    You said you have a 4 piece, yet you didn't mention who the fourth piece was. Keyboards? If so, wouldn't this be more the role of the keyboard player?
    Yes, I was just going to say this.


    Rob is absolutely correct. It is like the bass player is cheating himself coming out of the pocket. Keep bass cool low and deep. Now with proliferation of subwoofer,s in cosumer audio systems I even add in a subsonic isolated bass. To try and get it to thump.
    Last edited by LazerBeakShiek; 01-20-2020 at 08:19.

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