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Covers band players. Nail it or close enough?

Covers band- nail the original part or close enough  

135 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
      42
    • Close enough
      34
    • I like to embellish and expand upon the original
      12
    • I dumb it down nobody will notice
      4
    • I like to adapt the original bass part to suit our bands style
      43


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56 minutes ago, Bilbo said:

Most pop songs are based on limited song forms that an educated player can find their way around without too much difficulty. It's a bit reckless if you don't know what you are doing but, if you do, it's fine. 

I think you’d have done just fine 😀

This wasn’t a wreckless seat of the pants gig. Good and or educated players can make a song work this felt more like someone who enjoyed all the aspects of being in a band except learning the songs. I’ve know a few folk like that.

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I voted 5.  I tend to listen to the original(s) of a track and start from that, but then do my own thing in the same vein. Obviously there are exceptions where the punters expect a specific thing at a particular point in a song, but generally they don't give a stinky poo as long as they reckognise it.  I very rarely play the same song the same way twice in a row anyway. Much more fun to vary it as you go along and see where it takes you.

NOTE: all this is in the past tense as I'm currently dormant!

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52 minutes ago, mikel said:

It depends. I feel some songs need the parts to be as the original, as any changes remove the feel. Some songs I believe that as long as the feel is right you can play with them to suit yourself. Also, some songs we change them to suit our style and make them different. If changed enough they are almost a new song. Take  "It must be Love",  the Madness version is very different from the original by Labi Siffre and stands on its own.

This as well. In many cases the original band would play it differently each time anyway. As I said above it keeps it organic and exciting. It's only when committed to a recording that songs become frozen.

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This is my take, as a total noob with no ability or experiwenc at all and after  re-reading the OP with due care and attention

Tribute - note perfect

Cover - near enough

Anyone else suit the band/occasion

I mean a Lemmy style bass line isn't going to work at a Derby and Joan club do is it, unlikely to be enough defibrillators for a start

experiwenc where the hell did that come from?

Edited by dave moffat
f'k knows
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Easy to be too clever.

Case in point - Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson, as I have discovered.

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I have had plenty of experiwenc. Some of my greatest experiwencs have been when I have had a bass in my hands.

Edited by Bilbo
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I try to 'nail it', but as Count Bassy said a few posts ago, the original can change.  Take for instance the Beatles' Back in the USSR.  The original bass part on the record has quite a riff, yet when McCartney plays it live (at least on YouTube) he only seems to pay the root notes, at least while he’s singing.

So what is 'the original'?

Edited by Baxlin

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This thread has made me realise that I don’t actually play any of our songs exactly like the original. I get close on a few occasions but on the whole I make it up as I go along and then if I like what I’ve played and nobody complains I try to remember it next time. That’s worked for me for the last 30 years. Our guitarist is the complete opposite to the point where he nails not only the song note for note but also the guitar and amp sound. He makes up for my shortcomings. It seems to work. 

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4 hours ago, Baxlin said:

I try to 'nail it', but as Count Bassy said a few posts ago, the original can change.  Take for instance the Beatles' Back in the USSR.  The original bass part on the record has quite a riff, yet when McCartney plays it live (at least on YouTube) he only seems to pay the root notes, at least while he’s singing.

So what is 'the original'?

I don’t think it’s a case of playing the original per say,  its more playing the most popular version. Sometimes ‘original’ means by the artists that wrote  and recorded it first, but its not always the original version that we all know. 

My example here would be Alright now. The original is very different to the version most of us and the general public know. Still by the original artist, but not the original version. 

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On 14/02/2020 at 13:58, Baxlin said:

I try to 'nail it', but as Count Bassy said a few posts ago, the original can change.  Take for instance the Beatles' Back in the USSR.  The original bass part on the record has quite a riff, yet when McCartney plays it live (at least on YouTube) he only seems to pay the root notes, at least while he’s singing.

So what is 'the original'?

This is my spin on it and the same applies to Thin Lizzy stuff, Phil Lynott played simpler bass lines when playing live due to being also the lead vocalist, the recorded bass lines are more involved.

My current band does a few Lizzy numbers and we have a lead/frontman vocalist, I much prefer to play the bass lines off the recordings as I only have to concentrate on playing.

 

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I play church gigs, which hare 90+ percent covers (we do some originals here and there). A lot of the tunes we do, the recording has the same part on every verse, and every chorus - there's no build. When you see any of those artists live, tough, they do "build" their tunes. So, what I do is try to play what they'd play if they played a tune live - my part goes with the vibe of the tune, how the place feels, how the singers and worship leaders are emoting, how the drummer is playing - all of that enters into what I play. Often it starts with what's on the record (which is usually pretty simple), and evolves from there. We do a couple rehearsals of the songs in the middle of the week at rehearsal, and again on Sunday morning (you have to know the song structure and chords cold when you come in). During all that I work out most of what I'll do for the services. Often the second service is different than the first,though - my part is still evolving. As I play in different churches with different leaders, singers, drummers, etc., sometimes I play very different parts for the same song.  If I did what's on the record every time, most of the time, it wold be wrong on some level.

The interesting part of what I do is that bass is the person on stage who has the most freedom musically - worship guitar parts are full of memorable licks that you have to play verbatim, the vocals and drum parts are also often very memorable. So, if you want the song to sound like the song, but feel right for the situation, that's largely my job.

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29 minutes ago, micguy said:

I play church gigs, which hare 90+ percent covers (we do some originals here and there). A lot of the tunes we do, the recording has the same part on every verse, and every chorus - there's no build. When you see any of those artists live, tough, they do "build" their tunes. So, what I do is try to play what they'd play if they played a tune live - my part goes with the vibe of the tune, how the place feels, how the singers and worship leaders are emoting, how the drummer is playing - all of that enters into what I play. Often it starts with what's on the record (which is usually pretty simple), and evolves from there. We do a couple rehearsals of the songs in the middle of the week at rehearsal, and again on Sunday morning (you have to know the song structure and chords cold when you come in). During all that I work out most of what I'll do for the services. Often the second service is different than the first,though - my part is still evolving. As I play in different churches with different leaders, singers, drummers, etc., sometimes I play very different parts for the same song.  If I did what's on the record every time, most of the time, it wold be wrong on some level.

The interesting part of what I do is that bass is the person on stage who has the most freedom musically - worship guitar parts are full of memorable licks that you have to play verbatim, the vocals and drum parts are also often very memorable. So, if you want the song to sound like the song, but feel right for the situation, that's largely my job.

OK, I only play at one church, but on a rota, so we have different lineups each service.  We have evolved (Created??) a set of hand signals, both to move to verse/chorus/bridge, and to build/cut/end etc the song.

TBH though, I think songs in church, while obviously covers, are meant, or at least ours are, for the congregation/audience to join in, rather than a performance, so the "should we nail it" question maybe isn’t as important.

I do agree though, that the bassist does have the most freedom.  Great, isn’t it!

Malcolm

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Thankfully our duo isn't not a tribute or covers band went through Star of County Down for the first time yesterday ended up going with a hollowed out melody. Also worked on Caledonia, ever heard it played Calypso style? Neither had  I until yesterday, actually I reckon it'll wok with a bit of work, certainly different 😁

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It's got to depend on what the band aspires to do. You get function and trib bands who try to get as close as poss to original versions which is a skill in itself and fair play to them. Personally I like to roll my own in terms of arrangements , style , bass lines - anything. I'll happily sing and play a female sung pop tune with a slapped line as if motorhead we're doing it. If I don't like the middle eight , I'll dump it. If I want to shove a chorus from another song in , I will. If I wanted to earn more money I'd have to adapt I'm sure , but I don't so I won't !

For me - play what makes you happy. Rules were written for the obedience of fools and the guidance of the wise.

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I think some of this depends on the situation. Most of my gigs are with scratch bands rather than with well-rehearsed ensembles so I spend a lot of time playing songs I don't know with people I rarely play with so, in a nutshell, it's anyone's guess what is going to happen. Somehow, it usually comes together. I guess it's about the experience you gain from playing in this way fir decades. It always sounds better after a rehearsal, though. Always.

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1 hour ago, Bilbo said:

I think some of this depends on the situation. Most of my gigs are with scratch bands rather than with well-rehearsed ensembles so I spend a lot of time playing songs I don't know with people I rarely play with so, in a nutshell, it's anyone's guess what is going to happen. Somehow, it usually comes together. I guess it's about the experience you gain from playing in this way fir decades. It always sounds better after a rehearsal, though. Always.

Respect and admiration for any musician that can do that. I'm assuming you are reading sheet music while you play.

Dave

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When I've worked with tribute bands I've always learned the album versions exactly.... then listened to live versions from different eras and picked out any tasty 'live fills' the original bassist added and adapted them into the bassline.... so it becomes a 'best of'.

With cover bands I've always got as close as possible but with some wiggle room. Funny thing is...... having played the tunes for months/years, when I eventually go back and listen to the original I've usually strayed miles from the original bassline over time! lol!

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Exactly what i did with the Deep Purple tribute. Learn studio version and listen to all the live ones for best bits.

70's Glam covers i tend to do as per the well known singles version. That's what people remember.

Dave

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40 minutes ago, cetera said:

When I've worked with tribute bands I've always learned the album versions exactly.... then listened to live versions from different eras and picked out any tasty 'live fills' the original bassist added and adapted them into the bassline.... so it becomes a 'best of'.

With cover bands I've always got as close as possible but with some wiggle room. Funny thing is...... having played the tunes for months/years, when I eventually go back and listen to the original I've usually strayed miles from the original bassline over time! lol!

Same here. The live versions are normally where the good stuff lives.

My first covers band was about 16 years ago. I had to learn a lot of the (wedding/party) standards quickly, and most were songs i didn't really listen to away from learning them. Gigged them for years. With new band i thought i needed to  refresh myself with them, and i cant believe how far off i was. Not that it was ever a problem, but i was shocked that i had missed some of the fundamentals.

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On 12/02/2020 at 16:36, Oopsdabassist said:

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.

Other Whitesnake versions are available...thankfully!  I play the lines from Live in London as played by Marco Mendoza

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Hah. For some reason I have 'You Spin Me Round' in my head today, wonder if I can persuade the guys to so a version in the style of Deep Purple?

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That's freaky, just went to the jokes thread and found this. Is it a sign?

86870101_10158452514010757_1432823586984

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5 hours ago, DaytonaRik said:

Other Whitesnake versions are available...thankfully!  I play the lines from Live in London as played by Marco Mendoza

Sounds quite similar to how I do it too

 

 

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5 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Hah. For some reason I have 'You Spin Me Round' in my head today, wonder if I can persuade the guys to so a version in the style of Deep Purple?

We did a very zz toppish version

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13 hours ago, Dr.Dave said:
18 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Hah. For some reason I have 'You Spin Me Round' in my head today, wonder if I can persuade the guys to so a version in the style of Deep Purple?

We did a very zz toppish version

Well they didn't laugh me off the court....

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