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Bilbo

Why Bother? :)

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29 minutes ago, Count Bassy said:

+1. Except that wher you "used to be embarrassed" I still am, which is why I've never been to a bass gathering.

tbh I probably spend more time just chatting to folks or listening to someone's presentation than any actual playing myself so there's always something to go along for, as long as your travelling time isnt silly I'd say pop along to one just for the social aspect.

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4 hours ago, Bilbo said:

. . . . . . . . I can (or, at least, could) slap and tap, I don't, for no other reason than I find that I don't like any music that uses those techniques. My pick playing, for instance, is very good although I never use it live but the other two have been consciously left to wither.  Lots of great music out there to play, why bother playing stuff you don't like. Consequently, I don't need these techniques.

I wish I could play all the techniques you mention. Sadly I'm a one-trick finger style pony! Old dogs and new tricks springs to mind, but I don't see why any technique shouldn't be utilised where it would sound interesting.

Initially, electric instruments met with significant resistance in the Jazz world and electric basses are still generally shunned in Rock and Roll, even though most of the original artists were using electric bass by 1957. The excuse that the original was played on a 4 string bass is regularly trotted out as a reason why someone won't play a 5 string bass! So many musicians love their blinkers!

Why pigeon-hole a technique or style of playing or restrict its use to specific genres? If you are good at a technique why not break down barriers and add it (in a tasteful and appropriate way) to your playing. If you are good enough it won't sound out of place.

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Regarding funk, I like long sections that stay on one vamp, but the art is in keeping the music developing at the same time. It's the same as the montuno section in Latin music. If the band don't know how to change things during the section then it does indeed become boring.

It's funny, I've often tried to figure out why I like jazz and funk, but never really got on with prog. I think it's the opposite problem. To me, prog tends to change feel/tempo too often and doesn't stay on one groove long enough. 

Maybe there's a gene that controls one's groove Vs boredom tolerance... :)

 

 

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I've tried to slap. I was nearly getting there a few years back. My band said I was good at it and insisted we do a song with lots of slap, I think it sounds awful because of my under developed technique. I'd love to know how to do double thumb etc but I just can't see myself ever playing in a musical setting where it would be welcome. When I win the lottery I will play instrumental stuff and learn all these things properly, but these days I have enough of a job remembering my parts in riff based rock! 

It's funny, what I admire is people who can pick up a bass and play something cool but musically relevant. By that I mean something that stands alone. I struggle with that on my own, yet with the band I can play really melodically at times under the guitars and 99% of the time it fits and works unless I'm consciously trying to do something too wacky. 

I enjoy a bit of Level 42 etc. but slap is one of those things where you need to be really on top of it to make it effective and musical. I can slap and pop an octave pretty quickly but making tasteful note choices and timing your accents etc is a real skill I think. Probably why I'll stick to fingers mostly, pick occasionally! 

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Interesting subject, it's just over a year since I gritted my teeth and determined to learn to play bass, I finger pick everything though I do have a go at other techniques like tapping and popping  just to get an idea what's involved so that if I want to use it at some point. I just want to be the best bassist I can be, which to me means trying different genres and techniques but I also find myself leaning towards certain kinds of bass-lines and techniques. So at this stage of my progress nothing is ruled out even if I give it go and decide nah I'll give that a miss. I'm also learning uke (got my first one just under a year ag), which throws in a whole load of chords, strumming and picking techniques and other stuff also a whole load of music I've never heard before, which is speeding up my ability to learn stuff as you turn to the lyric/chord sheet ,from a selection of 279, then you're straight into it and some of the chords are pretty obscure.

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Playing since 79 ,always loved listening to good songs with good bass and trying to copy .Then started writing songs and gigging ,then doing covers again .All that floats my boat ..Witnessed all the fads and had a little jaw drop to them all then cracked on .I Admire and respect the talented bass people out there with all their tricks and techniques but its card tricks to me ,like a little magic show .You can't hum a single one of the tunes they knock out . B

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Learned to play using a pick, and that was pretty much it for the first few years, and certainly for my first few bands. 

 Never paid much attention to bass players or techniques if they weren't needed for what I was playing.  Beyond buying a couple of Stu Hamm albums after seeing him in Joe Satriani's band...which got played a couple of times and then ignored because, well, I just don't enjoy listening to that sort of stuff - I'd rather sing along to a chorus than admire the musician's technique. Which isn't to say that I don't admire great musical skill, more that I want to admire it in service of the song

But over time I've got better at playing the bass, and have picked up other techniques.  For me they are tools, and it's better to have the right tools if ever I need them, even if I don't need them right now.

YMMV - there isn't a right or wrong

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4 hours ago, ambient said:

You're right about non-musicians not being bothered what instrument is doing what. It’s particularly strange the way musicians are obsessed with what other musicians are doing, especially if it’s not in the traditional way.

I think it depends on how prominent a particular instrument is. I was reading recently how in experiments non-musicians and singers were asked to sing a song. They were incredibly accurate with regard to both the tempo, and the key and pitch of the notes. Even though they couldn’t actually sing the pitches, they knew mentally where the pitch was. They were remarkably accurate with the tempo.

I think most people who know Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean for instance, would be able to sing; however badly, the opening riff. The same probably with Lou Reed’s walk on the wild side. A non-musician probably wouldn’t know what’s going on in the bass line, but they’d probably have a good go at singing the ascending/descending tenth figure.

It’s possibly the same with My Girl by the Temptations, Walking on the moon by the Police maybe too?

I take your points  🙂 What is interesting tho, is the songs you quote with memorable bass parts that people could possibly sing, are simple and repetitive! the very thing the OP doesn't like!
As the OP asked "Why Bother" I wanted to answer that.
My question to the OP would be.. Would it be better if we all just sat at home listening to how Coltrane crosses the bar!?
I mean, why dismiss anything! Some folk just wanna go out and dance with joy in their heart to Chic etc. Good times is probably one of the most feel good tunes, that millions of people at any age dance to at weddings etc. to make lifetime memories. I'm interested what any bass player would play in that tune to make it 'better', or would they prefer to just not have these tunes in existance, cos we'd all be better off at home with Mingus and Coltrane!? Don't get me wrong, I love all music, genre doesn't matter to me. I play every style, Jazz included. but the elitist and purist muso's that pretend to know better, not only bore me stupid. they make me wanna ask.. Why Bother?. 🤔😉

Edited by Bilbo
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3 hours ago, fleabag said:

Thing is,  if had more talent,  i'd be in a Brand X outfit, because Percy Jones  bass playing really floats my kayak and has been till  Brand X fell off the planet.  I think i have around 4  CD's of that band and have had them since the 80's.

Brand X are still on the planet, admittedly in a different form, but Percy's still with them. The band are based in the States now, but they're playing a gig at Trading Boundaries in Uckfield, E. Sussex on the 2nd of May. You going?

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30 minutes ago, Tobe said:


I mean, why dismiss anything!

I think things are dismissed because they are of limited use to the individual not because they are of no value. I completely agree with you that people are entitled to use music for whatever purpose they choose and good luck to them. I am perfectly well aware that I am so far up my own derrière that I am sure I can see daylight. My point is entirely moot.

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48 minutes ago, Bilbo said:

I think things are dismissed because they are of limited use to the individual not because they are of no value. I completely agree with you that people are entitled to use music for whatever purpose they choose and good luck to them. I am perfectly well aware that I am so far up my own derrière that I am sure I can see daylight. My point is entirely moot.

Fair play :-) 

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1 hour ago, lowregisterhead said:

Brand X are still on the planet, admittedly in a different form, but Percy's still with them. The band are based in the States now, but they're playing a gig at Trading Boundaries in Uckfield, E. Sussex on the 2nd of May. You going?

Nah, wont be going.  With Collins, Pert and Lumley all missing, its not the same band for me. I know Collins wasnt the orignal drummer and Pert wasnt at the start either, for me the perfect lineup was Jones, Goodshall, Collins , Lumley and Pert.

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There was a time when I wanted to learn everything and be as good as anybody at everything. Then I grew up.😉

Seriously, I didn’t often need to slap, and although I was not bad at it was never going to be Mark King (which would be pointless anyway unless you were in Level 42), so that pretty much fell by the wayside. My fingerstyle (and the slap to be honest), suffered badly when I started having problems with my right arm, although I was always more of an Entwistle than a 16th/32nd note groove machine. I was never interested in tapping, or certainly tapping whole tunes, which on bass I always thought sounded a bit pointless, so never bothered much with that. Thankfully my pick playing was always very good.

I did wrestle for long periods with trying to play other people’s styles, but eventually grew to realise that many of them didn’t feel natural and/or I wasn’t great at them. I play best when I’m being me, and the more I accepted that, the happier I became. I remember Dave Gilmour saying something similar.

One pivotal moment for me was playing before Martin Turner at a festival. I played the gig and sat and watched his set. I loved what he was doing in the context he was doing it, the band was great and his sound was great, and I suddenly realised that I actually approach things in a not dissimilar way with a not dissimilar sound. I then realised that if I’d been watching me, I’d have liked what I was doing, which for someone who has always been very self critical was something of an eye opener. 
 

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6 hours ago, lowregisterhead said:

Brand X are still on the planet, admittedly in a different form, but Percy's still with them. The band are based in the States now, but they're playing a gig at Trading Boundaries in Uckfield, E. Sussex on the 2nd of May. You going?

 

5 hours ago, fleabag said:

Nah, wont be going.  With Collins, Pert and Lumley all missing, its not the same band for me. I know Collins wasnt the orignal drummer and Pert wasnt at the start either, for me the perfect lineup was Jones, Goodshall, Collins , Lumley and Pert.

I know what you mean - that line-up can never be recreated, so there's a good argument against further tinkering. I'm under no illusions that I may be deeply disappointed, but I thought I'd go and see Percy play some bonkers bass before we both expire!

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Yeah i agree it may be worth going just to see Jones and Goodsall, but its a long way for me

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Funk is repetitive!??

 

 

 

Funk is repetitive ... ??

 

 

 

Repetitive?

 

 

 

I don't think it's repetitive.

 

 

 

OK, maybe it's 'fabulously repetitive'! 😀

Edited by Ricky 4000
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I've been playing bass for something like 45 years now, and have never slapped at all. Never been asked to, it simply doesn't come u in the sort of music I play. I see no need to be 'versatile', I'm not a pro who needs to be able to take any gig that's offered. For the first 40 years I played finger style, never even thought about playing any other way, then I knackered my right hand in an accident and lost the use of my middle finger, since when I have played with a pick exclusively. I've got over feeling that 'I'm not a proper bass player anymore' now :)

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with a chap who wanted to give me a Jazz bass in exchange for one of my Ibanez six string basses, he tried mine first and was playing finger style and then some slap. He sounded good, knew how to play alright. Then I tried the Jazz bass, pick in hand and he was impressed by my pick playing! Goes to show we are mostly impressed by the things we can't do ourselves.

 

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1 hour ago, FinnDave said:

I! Goes to show we are mostly impressed by the things we can't do ourselves.

 

this is so true, we're also impressed by other Bass player's sound and gear we haven't got 

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Just now, PaulWarning said:

this is so true, we're also impressed by other Bass player's sound and gear we haven't got 

You might have put your finger on the key to GAS!

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Play the music you want to play using the technique you want to employ.  You don't need our approval or any kind of justification.  Just go with it.

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For me its about playing what I like and what gives me pleasure. The whole point of picking up any instrument is in that statement. I have never lumbered myself with stuff or so called technique that I dont need and would never use, why waste that time when it can be spent on some aspect I enjoy and will utilise? I spend enough time doing things that are a chore, like work etc so why turn my enjoyment or hobby into a chore simply because its a current trend? If I was, or wanted to be, a session player learning all the techniques out there would be a must, but I couldnt think of anything worse, so I dont need to.

I also play drums, and an article in a drum mag made me think hard about this subject. A top drummer suggested getting rid of stuff you dont need or never use, not just equipment but technique. He reasoned why continue to practice stuff you either dont like or never use? Be great at some things rather than being average at everything. I bought into that in Bass playing and drumming.

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1 hour ago, mikel said:

For me its about playing what I like and what gives me pleasure. The whole point of picking up any instrument is in that statement. I have never lumbered myself with stuff or so called technique that I dont need and would never use, why waste that time when it can be spent on some aspect I enjoy and will utilise? I spend enough time doing things that are a chore, like work etc so why turn my enjoyment or hobby into a chore simply because its a current trend? If I was, or wanted to be, a session player learning all the techniques out there would be a must, but I couldnt think of anything worse, so I dont need to.

I also play drums, and an article in a drum mag made me think hard about this subject. A top drummer suggested getting rid of stuff you dont need or never use, not just equipment but technique. He reasoned why continue to practice stuff you either dont like or never use? Be great at some things rather than being average at everything. I bought into that in Bass playing and drumming.

Yeah I can buy into that. My collection has built up of instruments I use regularly for specific reasons or bought for a reason which no longer applies. I have a guitar that I'll move on, an acoustic bass that I'll probably trade for a fretlss electro,  an electric bass that's being waiting to go to a luthier to be de-fretted and I'll have a custom built version of my Frankenuke built later in the year (an idea that worked better than I expected) Frankenuke will be handed on to my son or one of the grandkids.

The only strung instruments I don't use much that won't be going are an aria guitar erindors has banned me from getting rid, and a Bouzouki I love the sound and will get round to it again once I've got my Bass and Uke playing more advanced, so maybe towards the end of the year. so currently 4 baritone ukes,  4 basses, 2 guitars, 1 bouzouki and a box of tin whistles.

Most used scales/modes - Major, Blues, major and minor Pentatonic, Phrygian. I find running through scales to warm up gets my brain and fingers speaking to each other. Most used left hand techniques - Slide, bend, hammer and on pull off, I know what the others are I just don't use/practice them. Uke is mostly chord progressions/transitions at high speed and the seemingly endless of ways of playing them.

Edited by dave moffat
and breathe

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On 24/01/2020 at 10:16, Bilbo said:

slap and tap, I don't, for no other reason than I find that I don't like any music that uses those techniques.

Just out of curiousity, How do you feel about slap and tap on stuff like John Scofields 'Blue matter' album track 'So you say' with Gary Grainger on bass?  or the Brandon Fields album 'Everybody's business' with John Peña on bass, tracks like 'B-sting' or 'Slop dippin'

https://youtu.be/SuCxlckPXdE
https://youtu.be/JJOF_oM3_MI
https://youtu.be/In-vJ5uUQsc

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I saw that band with Gary Grainger in a pub in Cardiff. I learned several of Sco tunes including 'So You Say' those tunes around that time but realised that, whilst I admire the techniques and enjoy the spectacle, the music is less satisfying that a lot of other stuff. It also works better if you have Dennis Chambers with you.

 

Seriously, though, that is another part of the problem. We can all bust are asses getting more and more chops but hwo many if us can find a Joe Zawinul or a Michel Camilo, a Michael Brecker or a John Scofiled to bounce off?

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