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Covers band players. Nail it or close enough?

Covers band- nail the original part or close enough  

125 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you try and copy the original bass part in your covers band or is it ‘close enough is good enough’?

    • I like to nail it
      40
    • Close enough
      30
    • I like to embellish and expand upon the original
      11
    • I dumb it down nobody will notice
      4
    • I like to adapt the original bass part to suit our bands style
      40


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Following on from a response on another thread...

While all the basic essentials of playing in a band are considered and taken for granted (knowing where the 1 is, timing, feel, groove etc.) for those of us in covers bands do you try and nail the part as close to the recording as possible or is it a case of close enough is good enough?

Some explanations of you choices would be really good insight into your decision. 

Edited by krispn

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I'd have ticked the box 'All of the above', if there had been one. It depends entirely on the song, so, for different songs, I (in the case of the drum part...) or the bass player (Our Youngest son...) will do any, and have done all, of the choices shown. When I was playing bass, I'd do the same. 'Nail it' if I'm able to, 'Close enough' if I'm not, 'Embellish' if it works better that way, 'Dumb it down' for the same reason, and adapt to the group's style when there's an obvious mis-match.

Nice try, though. ;)

Edited by Dad3353
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I’m doing a dep gig and listening to the band on you tube they look seem to do pretty straight covers. It makes learning the set easier! 

In my own band we keep it pretty close to the original versions too but we do put our own spin on some stuff especially when the songs were synth bass heavy (80’s pop stuff) and we tend to have a more folk twist due to our instrumentation. 

Edited by krispn

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Nail wherever possible and stay true.
For example uptown funk without the chromatic scale and throw a little bit of slap, or even heavy pluck and pop the slap part just isn’t the same.

If I am mashing things up into another song there may be a slight alteration in key or timing.

The crux comes when I have to sing and play at the same time, some things just don’t compute, and if I haven’t got it, I won’t do it, but I will try up until the last minute to get both. Prime example is Pressure and time by Rival sons, I can’t yet do the bridge and play the actual line, or in Rage Take the Power back, difficult time rap and slap, put rap and play is possible with some time.

No brainer for me.

The key is not to rely on crap tabs, take the time, use your ears, find the parts

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2 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

I'd have ticked the box 'All of the above', if there had been one. It depends entirely on the song, and, so different songs, I (in the case of the drum part...) or the bass player (Our Youngest son...) will do any, and have done all, of the choices shown. When I was playing bass, I'd do the same. 'Nail it' if I'm able to, 'Close enough' if I'm not, 'Embellish' if it works better that way, 'Dumb it down' for the same reason, and adapt to the group's style when there's an obvious mis-match.

Nice try, though. ;)

I’d never had such a full and well explained response if I’d given you all options on a plate would I?😉

  • Haha 1

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If it’s a last minute gig, then I can understand simplicity, but if it’s a recurring song in a set list often done really should be nailed

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Definitely adapt to the band's style because:

- I'm playing in a three or four piece with no keys: we have to make it sound as good as it can sound with what we have. This is always more important than copying what someone was playing when they had four horns, three keys players and a small orchestra at their disposal (example: I mostly play the riff in Superstitious because the guitarist/singer is doing chords. The root note on-the-beat pattern in the original is funkier but someone has to play the riff!);
- the punters don't care* about bass line specifics, they care if it sounds good. My bandmates and I will make our own judgement on that, trusting our own musical sense. 'Because it's on the record' is not as good a reason to play a note as 'because it sounds good'.

*Obviously any really prominent parts I leave as is because the punters will expect it (I don't mess with The Chain, for example). 

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5 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

I'd have ticked the box 'All of the above', if there had been one. It depends entirely on the song, so, for different songs, I (in the case of the drum part...) or the bass player (Our Youngest son...) will do any, and have done all, of the choices shown. When I was playing bass, I'd do the same. 'Nail it' if I'm able to, 'Close enough' if I'm not, 'Embellish' if it works better that way, 'Dumb it down' for the same reason, and adapt to the group's style when there's an obvious mis-match.

Nice try, though. ;)

That is exactly the way I look on it, except written far more eloquently :) 

 

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Blues band- so it depends on the song. Some are riff specific so I try and stay close enough but look to add or maintain the swing/groove ( highly dependant on the drummer). Some bass lines are nothing like the original recorded version and it’s like playing an original. The great thing about playing the blues is there’s lots of freedom to either interpret or reproduce 🕺

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I agree. In my country gig I had 50+ songs to learn which all sounded so similar but all had their little idiosyncrasies. It was sometimes difficult to remember which song ascended with the vocal and which descended. I mean it all sounded close enough and I dare say I’ve created my own versions of some tunes but there are some which I feel must be played as the original as an ascending run here or a descending run there punctuates a melody or a chord change and to not play it would be remiss. Maybe it’s the country scene but those fans love the songs and are well educated in the originals!

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I suppose if you are taking a song from one genre to your own there will be a change, but if it’s a straight cover....?

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I'm in a 90's function band playing songs I would never normally listen to (or even want to listen to), so it's dumbed down as far as I'm concerned. We have keys as well as guitar and they do all the fancy stuff and as long as I keep a bass line going along with the drummer then no one seems to notice or care.

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If I'm doing the main vocals the bass line is dumbed right down, sometimes we have a song I've never heard of before, every youtube vid is different and there's no tabs so I make it up, sometimes I just don't like the original.

I really am a noob. I work out the tempo/rhythm, then learn the melody, then sing it and work out a bass to it, then try few tweaks.

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10 minutes ago, 6feet7 said:

I'm in a 90's function band playing songs I would never normally listen to (or even want to listen to), so it's dumbed down as far as I'm concerned. We have keys as well as guitar and they do all the fancy stuff and as long as I keep a bass line going along with the drummer then no one seems to notice or care.

I think if the songs originally had a simple bass line then that’s what you have to work with but we can embellish them to suit us as a three piece or four piece etc especially if we’re substituting some synth or keys. We play Just Can’t Get Enough and I’m playing a combination of the synth parts, using finger style, some thumb and even a touch of slap but yeah what ever works in the context of your band. 
 

This probably ties in with the show us your band live threads but feel free to post your cover version below to illustrate a point. I’ve some video but would need to host it on you tube first etc but we’re working on it. 
 

I’ve been in a band with a keys player and the arrangement was changed so had to adapt my part for that arrangement. I’ll link one below and apologies for the terrible video style! 

Edited by krispn
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32 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

I'd have ticked the box 'All of the above', if there had been one. It depends entirely on the song, so, for different songs, I (in the case of the drum part...) or the bass player (Our Youngest son...) will do any, and have done all, of the choices shown. When I was playing bass, I'd do the same. 'Nail it' if I'm able to, 'Close enough' if I'm not, 'Embellish' if it works better that way, 'Dumb it down' for the same reason, and adapt to the group's style when there's an obvious mis-match.

Nice try, though. ;)

Spot on for me. 

Though I'd add a "I thought I was nailing it week in week out for three years but now I've listened to the original for the first time in forever I realise I'm completely off the reservation!" 

Case in point, I listed to Hungry Like the Wolf yesterday and thought "oh bugger!" I've got a bit lazy with my version! I do have to remember over 60 songs though so just knowing roughly what order verses and choruses come in is challenging enough without having to be accurate on the playing side of things too! 

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Entirely depends on how the rest of the band play it and how closely their instrumentation and arrangement match the original.

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I'll try and get as close as I can, every time. Sometimes however, my best is nowhere near good enough, Neil Murray's stonking bassline in Whitesnake's 'Fool For Your Lovin' is way beyond my means, but the song always goes down well with my simplified version.

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Must add I'm only workng in a duo towards doing open mic, so one song in particular I've kind of merged a couple of parts into a bass line.

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I’d have ticked ‘All of the above’ as well, it depends for me on too many variables. At present the band I’m rehearsing with does Highway Star by Deep Purple, and the actual bass line is ridiculously over busy imo. I can play it fine but it’s too much so I dumb some parts down a bit. On other songs I’ll do backing vox so again will keep it pared down a tad.

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A mixture. For main covers band, I'd say a lot are "very close" i.e. in between close enough and nailed it. There's a few that I've put my own take on - particularly where there's no bass line in the original e.g. Kiss, or where adding a slightly different rhythm mixes it up nicely e.g. Moves like Jagger and a slightly latin feel to Breakfast at Tiffanys for the verse.

For the 50s and 60s band - generally close enough is fine; after all they're not the most demanding of 4 chord bass lines in the world on an electric bass! But I suspect will be a whole lot more challenging on EUB.

Edited by Al Krow

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Was a bit surprised by the vote but i always like to nail the original bass line and if suitable i'll add a little here and there.

A lt depends on the band and the songs. With chart songs i tend to keep to the original. With album tracks i'll learn the original first and then take it from there. Sometimes add a little other times best leave as it is.

Also depends on whether its a 3, 4, 5 or more piece band.

3 piece i'll add more during guitar solos.

4 piece is more difficult making the call on what to do.

5 or more you can play more ad-libs or fills as you have more backing support.

Dave

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It was an I’ll judged idea by the choir leader to highlight members so apologies for the terrible video editing. Bass is hard to hear too so phones/earbuds might help. I should add it’s nothing special 😀

Edited by krispn
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4 minutes ago, dave moffat said:

Loved that

Cheers! Guys feel free to add below but I’m aware there’s other threads doing this.

Edited by krispn

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1 hour ago, Dad3353 said:

I'd have ticked the box 'All of the above', if there had been one. It depends entirely on the song, so, for different songs, I (in the case of the drum part...) or the bass player (Our Youngest son...) will do any, and have done all, of the choices shown. When I was playing bass, I'd do the same. 'Nail it' if I'm able to, 'Close enough' if I'm not, 'Embellish' if it works better that way, 'Dumb it down' for the same reason, and adapt to the group's style when there's an obvious mis-match.

Nice try, though. ;)

Exactly this ⬆️

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