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Al Krow

Toughest bass line you play live?

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Posted (edited)

You know the one that you always used to (or still!) dread before it came up each time in the set and still have a huge sense of relief when you've got through it and not balls'ed it up?

Full disclosure: ulterior motive is that I'm sure this thread will give me and anyone else "grounded" at home by this bloo*dy virus a chance to work on some challenging new material with some of the extra time we have on our hands.

If you want to post a clip of you playing it or the actual original track then please do!

[Edit] Been some interesting themes coming up so far, so if you don't fancy scrolling through the entire thread (which let's be honest is actually more than half the fun, right?) then here's a summary:

BC's hall of difficult to play bass lines

[TO FOLLOW SHORTLY...]

Edited by Al Krow

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Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Not technically difficult but got to get the feel and timing right and remember the solo bits which one starts in where on the Fretboard. And hope the guitarist and drummer also get it right, or if we get anything wrong we all make the same mistake together! 

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Not so much dread but tend to get too excited about when we come to play it is Footloose. It's all over the shop and when I get too excited I tend to dig in and so it becomes more difficult than it should be. Cracking bass line and I always should "yeah" when it gets to the last bit and I've managed  to not make a complete pigs ear of it

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Posted (edited)

The beginning of sweet child was my nemesis for years! No idea why... the most complicated bass line we play now is probably Never too much, although I love it I don’t dread it! Somebody else’s guy used to send dread through me, Stevie wonders I Wish, took some getting used to as well. What yours? 

Edited by bassfan
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What is Hip? With a jazz big band. Just to make it even more challenging they have changed the key which means I don't have the benefit of the occasional open string.

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9 minutes ago, bassfan said:

The beginning of sweet child was my nemesis for years! No idea why... the most complicated bass line we play now is probably Never too much, although I love it I don’t dread it! Somebody else’s guy used to send dread through me, Stevie wonders I Wish, took some getting used to as well. What yours? 

I used to regularly get some bit of Sweet Child wrong, perhaps 'cos it was our encore number and after 2 hours late at night with a pub full of drunken air guitarists, I (mostly) got away with it - although very little escapes the attention of our drummer! Recently the guitarist got the intro muddled and it was very much an "at last it's not me" moment!!

Two tracks I kinda enjoyed but found very demanding were Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi and Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson. Certainly the Wilson riff wasn't particularly technically difficult but maintaining just one riff metronomically precise for 4 mins was quite a challenge, for me anyway! We've not played them live yet but I think Muse's Hysteria, Duran Duran Rio and quite a few Jamiroquoi numbers will require a fair bit of work to nail.

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6 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

I used to regularly get some bit of Sweet Child wrong, perhaps 'cos it was our encore number and after 2 hours late at night with a pub full of drunken air guitarists, I (mostly) got away with it - although very little escapes the attention of our drummer! Recently the guitarist got the intro muddled and it was very much an "at last it's not me" moment!!

Two tracks I kinda enjoyed but found very demanding were Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi and Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson. Certainly the Wilson riff wasn't particularly technically difficult but maintaining just one riff metronomically precise for 4 mins was quite a challenge, for me anyway! We've not played them live yet but I think Muse's Hysteria, Duran Duran Rio and quite a few Jamiroquoi numbers will require a fair bit of work to nail.

Good luck with the jamiroquai numbers!! 

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The toughest one we do has to be The Real Me by The Who, not too bad if I busk it a bit but nail the important runs in the verses, but a lot of people in our audiences expect it to be bang on all the way through as they've seen the opening scene to Quadrophenia so many times they know every bit. But I'm not sure Entwistle ever played it the same twice. 

That said, the one that I've balls'd up with the most frequency is the bass breakdown in Special Brew by Bad Manners. It's not difficult at all and in rehearsal, or at any other time, I can just play it without thinking, but for some reason my mind goes blank whenever we gig it. I think it's because we do it at the end of a medley starting with Chasing Cars (of all things) which starts slow but gets skanked up, flows into Lip Up Fatty and then into Special Brew, and I have the whole medley to start thinking, 'oh shite, I can't remember that bass part', and we all know what happens when you start thinking. 

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Just now, Maude said:

That said, the one that I've balls'd up with the most frequency is the bass breakdown in Special Brew by Bad Manners. It's not difficult at all and in rehearsal, or at any other time, I can just play it without thinking, but for some reason my mind goes blank whenever we gig it. 

I do exactly the same thing with that song! 

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29 minutes ago, bassfan said:

The beginning of sweet child was my nemesis for years! No idea why... the most complicated bass line we play now is probably Never too much, although I love it I don’t dread it! Somebody else’s guy used to send dread through me, Stevie wonders I Wish, took some getting used to as well. What yours? 

Yes! I got asked to play it on a dep with naff all notice a few years back and I said OK if we miss the bass intro bit. They seemed to forget about it so I made something up there and then that seemed to pass... 

I am twice the age of the rest of the band, probably why I'm out of shot for the video! 😂

 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, bassfan said:

The beginning of sweet child was my nemesis for years! 

Try humming the theme tune to Last Of The Summer Wine in your head while your guitarist starts the intro, that should completely ruin any chance of getting it right. In a band a long time ago I used to play Last Of The Summer Wine instead of the proper bassline to wind up the singer/guitarist. 

 

Edited by Maude
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8 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

Yes! I got asked to play it on a dep with naff all notice a few years back and I said OK if we miss the bass intro bit. They seemed to forget about it so I made something up there and then that seemed to pass... 

I am twice the age of the rest of the band, probably why I'm out of shot for the video! 😂

 

Well blagged Sir 👍🏻👍🏻

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it's probably not that difficult a bass line but The Jam's Going Underground was always the one that I was pleased to get right, there are a fair few different parts to it and some unusual note combinations

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22 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

We've not played them live yet but I think Muse's Hysteria, Duran Duran Rio and quite a few Jamiroquoi numbers will require a fair bit of work to nail.

In our acoustic (but amped up) band I have to play Rio on doublebass, and I'm sure we do it even faster than it's supposed to be. At a gig I'll glance at the setlist, see it's next and just think 'oh fook, here we go'. 😁

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Two spring to mind, not because they are particularly difficult bass lines, more because I'm singing at the same time.

Backing vocal on Fleetwood Mac's Say that you love me and lead vocal on What's so funny about peace, love and understanding. The latter I made difficult for myself by working out a bassline first and then, much later, worrying about if I could sing at the same time.

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11 minutes ago, bassfan said:

Well blagged Sir 👍🏻👍🏻

It's in the wrong octave but hey, if you know you aren't getting it 100% right why even try to get 90%?

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I Wish by Stevie Wonder - if you breathe wrong while playing that...it’s game over.

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In my current non-gigging band set up it has to be Dazed & Confused by Led Zep. None of the parts are actually that difficult, but the middle break part is finger energy sapping, requires a lot of concentration to not drift and keep with the drums. 

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38 minutes ago, Rich said:

I do exactly the same thing with that song! 

Maybe it’s because the breakdown comes right after the sped up part that you know you have to nail.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Harlequin74 said:

Always pleased if the guitarist, keys player and me manage to sync the solo on Sir Duke!

Only once. Yeah nice this has happened.

And we were really young - had nothing to do but play all the time.

Edited by AndyTravis
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Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick. The first time we played it I had a horrible moment of onstage terror halfway through the prior song, but it went OK in the end. We couldn't really hack it convincingly though, so it got dropped after a couple more performances.

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Thinking Of You (Sister Sledge) has always been a bit of a white-knuckle experience for me. Lots of slippery staccato notes that need careful muting... and then there's a couple of big sections with no bass, perfect for letting the mind wander and then being taken by surprise when it starts up again!
 

 

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Holding Out For A Hero. Not technical at all but we rock it up so I play a Steve Harris gallop for the whole thing. After about 2 1/2 mins the cramp is building and I have to really focus on relaxing and keeping it light to maintain the pace & rhythm.

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I depped for a band last summer and the song that gave me the biggest challenge was Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. A classic James Jameson work-out. Luckily, I’d got a copy of Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown with notation, but phew, the bass is prominent from the start and defines the song. Just about got away with it.

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