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BrunoBass

Song or bassline?

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I listen primarily to the song. If I like the bass line it's a bonus. Do you do the same or do you listen for the bass line above anything else?

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I ask because a friend of mine hates Japan (the band, not the country!) but listens to them a lot because he likes Mick Karn's bass playing. That doesn't really make sense to me.

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Primarily, it's the song that attracts me but being a bass player, I get drawn towards the bass line, just can't help it. :)

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Song for me. I usually don't listen dreadfully hard for the Bass line, unless I have to learn the song for a gig. There have been a few posts of songs on here, extolling the Bass or the Performer, and when I've started to listen, I've only lasted a couple of minutes, because it's been a brilliant Bass in a completely dross song. :rolleyes:

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I like to hear what is happening... where the spark and essense is.
That can be the drum groove, piano, vocal etc

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100% the song. That's fundamentally what it's all about isn't it. I can't listen to a lot of the bass players that get mentioned on these hallowed pages as I just can't stand the genres/songs they feature on.

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If there's a great bass line it always sticks out for me though it doesn't necessarily for non players I know. But as I also play drums and guitars I'm equally attuned to a tasty lick or groove. But it's the overall song really and how all the sounds fit together and build up and break down. I've tried listening to stuff I don't normally bother with, just for the bass - like prog, metal and jazz fusion - but if the song sucks then that's enough to make me dive for the off switch.

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I listen to the whole thing, that's what the composer or band or whatever had in mind when they recorded it.

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It's the musicians curse. Once you learn an instrument you will be forever listening to what it is doing during a piece of music.

The best producers and musicians are those that can rise above this point and go back to listening to music in the same way as a non musician does.

It's no surprise to me that there are a lot of very good ex-bass player producers.

I don't think you'd get this discussion on another forum. Bass players need to be able to understand melody, counter melody, harmony and bass to be good players. You don't get that by only listening to the bass.

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Song every time. Unless the bass part is prominent in the mix I rarely pay it any more particular attention than I would any other part of the song. TBH if I notice it, then it's normally because I think there is something wrong with the part.

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There's no such thing as a great song without a great bassline

Even if the bass does nothing , it's still has to be right for the song to do nothing , and therefore it's a great line

Edited by lojo

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I listen to everything, I also often will do multiple listens, that way I can learn/pick out what the song comprises. I like to analyse things, maybe too much at times, but I find it makes me better as a player!

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1478004908' post='3165882']
It's the musicians curse. Once you learn an instrument you will be forever listening to what it is doing during a piece of music.

The best producers and musicians are those that can rise above this point and go back to listening to music in the same way as a non musician does.


[/quote]

Interesting point. I quite often find myself analysing a song rather than listening to it for enjoyment and I have to make a deliberate decision to change back to listening just to enjoy the song.

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[quote name='PaulGibsonBass' timestamp='1477992346' post='3165716']
I ask because a friend of mine hates Japan (the band, not the country!) but listens to them a lot because he likes Mick Karn's bass playing. That doesn't really make sense to me.
[/quote]
Makes total sense to me! I have a fairly comprehensive CD/album collection, some of which are by artists that don't really do it for me, but analysis of the works of Charlie Parker, Mingus etc has been extremely enlightening and useful.

[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1478015572' post='3166030']
There's no such thing as a great song without a great bassline

Even if the bass does nothing , it's still has to be right for the song to do nothing , and therefore it's a great line
[/quote]?? :/

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1478015572' post='3166030']
There's no such thing as a great song without a great bassline

Even if the bass does nothing , it's still has to be right for the song to do nothing , and therefore it's a great line
[/quote]

What about 'When Doves Cry'?

There are tons of songs with great bass lines that aren't played by a bass guitar too and I'm probably more interested in listening for those than a bass guitar part.

A lot of time is spent dissecting songs for analysis if you do a music degree, it does take some of the fun out of it when doing it for academic purposes. I'll only really focus on and listen for a bass line if it's a song I need to learn for a gig.

Edited by [email protected]

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The songs that I keep going back to, that really hit deep, that I can't listen too very often, usually have strong lyrics that speak to me, good overall musicianship and clear balanced production. At the next level down, songs I enjoy listening to with less intensity, I'm drawn to those where the bass comes through well in the mix. It doesn't have to be a flashy bassline though - it has to play its backbone-of-the-band role well.

The more I learn to play, the more I understand what I'm listening to and appreciate it. Agree as above though that after a while focusing on any one instrument it can be hard to hear the whole. I sometimes make a conscious effort to back off the bassline and listen to the band. Probably even more true watching a good live band - I try to make sure I have a good view of the bass player, and sometimes hardly notice anyone else on stage. I did pay attention to Joe Bonamassa when I saw him with Carmine Rojas, but that was exceptional.

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The song for sure. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I can be drawn to listening to a song because of the bassline but primarily the song comes first. The bassline HAS to fit and be musically appropriate. To be honest I spend a lot of time listening to the drums and the keys in music. I figure that a good bassline is something that is subtly interesting (groove, fills, note choice, tone etc) but you could almost not pay attention to it because it fits so well with the music. Obviously you'd notice straight away if it wasn't there and the song would sound flat and dead but a good bassline is what carries the song no matter if it's a pub band who've only been playing for a few years or it's Hadrien Feraud.

One of the reasons why Snarky Puppy are pretty much my favorite band is the fact that the band is led by Michael League but he doesn't really play super complex lines (even though he's more than capable after seeing him on a clinic in London). It's not a "bass player's band". Simple reason is that it's ALL about the arrangement of the music rather than 13 musicians showing off how good they are.

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