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Thread: Second Shot At Pitchy Bass

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    Second Shot At Pitchy Bass

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    Just so everyone knows, USUALLY 99.99% of the time, my bass parts are not part of my out of tune/key/pitch problem. This is pretty much a first.

    I redid the bass line. I made sure (to the best of my extremely limited knowledge) to be playing notes in the key of the chord I'm playing.

    Are the pitch/wrong note/normal changes/out of key problems still there?



    If they are, then I guess I really want it to sound like that. Because I think I'm "on" this time.

    For those who just think I'm nuts. About a half hour ago I got an email from a friend who said "I think it sounds great!"
    When I responded with all the other folks critiques he replied with -
    "It's not a "conventional" love song or pop song. There is what I'd call "complexity", tension, but nothing I'd consider out of tune. I think it's a great song, and a great listen, and there's a strong emotional content, with the music reinforcing the lyric. "

    So, I'm pretty much damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

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    Not sure why you made a second thread for this instead of putting it in the current thread... any Mods able to do that? Again, I don't hear "pitchyness" just that the main rhythm guitars and the bass seem to be doing different things... maybe the bass guitar part is what you're trying to do, and the rhythm guitars aren't following the root of the song? To me it just seems like instruments are going in different directions instead of pulling things together in a more cohesive fashion. I can't find the correct word... but it's more "floaty" and less focused... which is fine if you're going for that. However it might not be what most listeners would be expecting or even wanting. Just my $0.02.

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    That makes sense. I am going for light and floaty. The rhythm guitars are accenting the acoustics, and the solo notes are accenting the melody in the chorus. The bass is "kind of" following the melody.

    Maybe it's just me. But, I actually find what I did unremarkably basic and common. I guess somewhere I took a wrong turn.

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    I think you may be being too hard on yourself with the "wrong turn" stuff. If this is what you were going for, and intended to feel "floaty" and more melodic, instead of a typical bassline which would consist mostly of roots & 5ths with some 6ths/b7ths thrown in for good measure... even if what you're playing is mostly 5ths/6ths/b7ths, the basis (pun/not pun intended?) of almost every bassline is the root, so when you're playing something other than the root, it usually should be "for a good reason", and if your good reason is to feel light and floaty... go for it.

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    if you like it then why worry about what other's think. getting a good grasp on melody and harmony by learning music theory will really help when it comes to writing out parts in a song.

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    Ujn: Now that I know it's style and not key, I am going for it. I guess this will be a song that only a few enjoy (maybe).

    Toastedgoat: When I sent it to my ears (the people that tell me what's pitchy or wrong), they both mentioned the bass line being pitchy. If you go into the first thread on this dang bass line, it's not about "do you like it", it's about where's the pitch problem. It's not a pitch problem, it's an "in-key" note choice.

    I have no ears, so I ask for help A LOT. It was easier when I was in a studio and they'd stop me mid song "George start again in key". It's amazing I've been able to record a few length cassettes and CDs. Yes, I said CASSETTES.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman999 View Post
    Ujn: Now that I know it's style and not key, I am going for it. I guess this will be a song that only a few enjoy (maybe).

    Toastedgoat: When I sent it to my ears (the people that tell me what's pitchy or wrong), they both mentioned the bass line being pitchy. If you go into the first thread on this dang bass line, it's not about "do you like it", it's about where's the pitch problem. It's not a pitch problem, it's an "in-key" note choice.

    I have no ears, so I ask for help A LOT. It was easier when I was in a studio and they'd stop me mid song "George start again in key". It's amazing I've been able to record a few length cassettes and CDs. Yes, I said CASSETTES.
    I read that post, you asked for links or somewhere you could learn, I posted to one that I like. It's not to expensive, and covers a lot of ground. You get worksheets, and links, to some cool stuff. Learn at your own pace. You made a mention in that post that you didn't understand exactly what you were doing. If you would like to improve your writing ability a bunch. Learning music, and music theory fundamentals would be a big help. It's easy to learn off this course. Learn at your own pace. Go back again and again if needed to refresh.

    You'd learn about chromatic scales, diatonic scales, their keys and chords for that key, how it all can fit together, then how to add to it with accidentals, and chromatics / key changes/ rhythm changes. How to put melodies together and cool stuff like counterpoint melodies, and a lot of other cool things.

    It's a beautiful thing. Learning music.

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    Listened to the whole thing and the 'wrong' notes have gone. You're left with musically unusual notes - but they work fine, they're just not common choices and because they work, they're OK. The 6th in the chord becomes a feature. The thing holds together. The slightly awkward parts now move into the guitarists realm where they too had the similar problem - but because they are higher, they don't cause grief.

    What's left to improve now? Timing really is about it. A few notes change after the beat, which might be intentional, but sound like the bass player forgot and suddenly corrected a note. Intentional or not, it sounds a bit odd.

    Now you've tweaked it, if you wrote out the part and handed a player the music, they could play it and think the song a bit non-conformist, but they would not think it was transcription mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    What's left to improve now? Timing really is about it. A few notes change after the beat, which might be intentional, but sound like the bass player forgot and suddenly corrected a note. Intentional or not, it sounds a bit odd.
    I do punch in A LOT. I start on the measure, when I should theoretically start at measure 35:4:800, I'll punch in at 36:0:000. Which seems to be accounting for the problems in both takes. In the first it was note choice, and in the second it's slight timing issues. With the way I play, it's just the way it is. A few times I have gone back and fixed really minor things when I can outwardly hear them. But, I record demos for fun. My main thing is to be in key.

    Years ago I wrote a song for my wife as a Christmas present. I used my band and singer. I knew she was a little pitchy, but I liked her voice. AFTER we recorded the song and were getting ready to mix, the engineer said "The music is so beautiful why did you let her sing so out-of-key?" I seriously had no idea she was. Now, all I can hear is her out of key singing on that song. It is a shame, because the music is great.

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    Out of key to me means singing a note in tune, that is outside of the notes normally in the chosen key - so in E, a Bb instead of A is out of key, even if the Bb is in tune. Hitting nearly an A is out of tune. Small distinction in wording, but absolutely vital in meaning. Out of tune is pitchy. This is NOT in any sense the same thing as a Jazzer deliberately and loudly playing a note that isn't normally in the key of the song. That's a musical choice, good or bad.

    Remember it by thinking autotune set with chromatic tuning selected. It will correct the out of tune notes to the nearest note, even if that note isn't normally in the key the song is performed in. When key and pitch are swapped around - the meaning gets really mangled. Is the main thing to be in the key, or in tune?

    On the subject of punch in. I don't think I've really done traditional drop ins for years now. I just go back three or far bars, hit record and join in, and find the groove. Then I'll find a perfect point in the two takes to make the join - a note or two ahead, or behind - just where there's a musically appropriate point. Rarely I've noted, on a beat, just in the gaps. I do this for practically every sound source now. Just so easy.

    EDIT

    On the subject of learning - music theory can be learned as a totally non-musical task. A Deaf person can learn music theory. It's maths, and rules. Following these will stop technical errors. All those modes and rules like parallel fifths mean you have templates for what is acceptable and what is not. Somebody who is truly tone-deaf can learn these and when they then play, their brain stops their fingers landing on the illegal notes on the fingerboard. Learning these produces accurate, and sometimes boring predictability. If you want to move outside the prescription, then aural acuity needs to be worked on. For somebody who cannot detect being out of tune, or even playing the problem notes by ear, you have a hand tied behind your back. I think back to when I was teaching and most successes with tone-deaf (for want of a better word) students were one to one, like music lesson sessions. You need a fixed pitch source - a piano, electric or real is critical plus a variable pitch instrument - a fretless like a bass, or even a cello, double bass, violin , trombone etc. People who play these MUST learn accurate pitching. When I first played double bass I found it tough, but practice and practice improves it. Play a low G on the piano and then match it on the double bass. Can you hear the beating of the two low notes, that reduces in speed as pitch starts to match. I cannot see how any on-line one way system can work here. The answer is in the room.

    Interesting topic, this!
    Last edited by rob aylestone; 04-24-2019 at 00:47.

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