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csmallett

Do you learn songs EXACTLY as they were recorded, or just the general vibe of it?

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2 minutes ago, dudewheresmybass said:

That’s totally up to your preference. If you’re happy to play along in the spirit of the song, that’s great. Equally it’s great of you want to play it to perfection 👍👍

Of course - I'm asking what everyone does :)

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25 minutes ago, csmallett said:

Of course - I'm asking what everyone does :)

Welcome to Basschat!

Question: I want to do X, how would you guys do it?

Answer: You do it however you want, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!

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If it's an essential riff, fill I like or main part of the song then I try to get it note for note. Otherwise I just get the feel of the song and fill in/make up the dots as I go along. 

A track on a record is kinda like a photograph of a song, so it'll be the same everytime you hear it. I can't think of any bands I've seen live where everything was played note for note though. If the recording artist doesn't have to stick to the rules then I don't see why I have to 😁

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Years ago I learned loads of Sly Dunbar riffs - saw Sly & Robbie live and he didn't stick to the riffs.

If he doesn't have to, why do I?

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In my case probably about 50/50.  If ive learned the song from sheet music I'll  play it as written, possibly with some slight embellishments.  If ive learned it my ear im more likely to deviate a bit, but not hugely. Occasionally  I'll go right off the page and make it up, but thats rare - im a decent enough player, but not especially imiginative or creative.

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40 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

Years ago I learned loads of Sly Dunbar riffs - saw Sly & Robbie live and he didn't stick to the riffs.

If he doesn't have to, why do I?

I saw an online tutorial with Slash and he admitted when he got to one part he always ad-libbed it, so he had actually had difficulty in teaching his own guitar part.

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I've mostly played in dance music bands covering funk, disco and house tunes. When on bass I had to be bang on the money as most of them had well-known basslines so I wouldn't be doing the rest of the band any favours if I went off just approximating them. However, when playing guitar I didn't really stick that closely to the originals not that I shredded during a cover of Lost In Music.

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I've been to see enough bands to know that the 'singer' rarely sings the recorded part never mind the bass player, added to which I love making my own bits.  However, if a bass part has an absolute recognisable part (Money) you can't alter it.  

Saying that, I once auditioned for a Simply Red tribute band (it was a while ago) and learned the 'gist' intending to busk the rest (I had the best of it nailed and was confident in the passing notes/phrases)... I was shown the door in about 10 minutes... sometimes you have to learn it note for note.

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9 minutes ago, warwickhunt said:

Saying that, I once auditioned for a Simply Red tribute band (it was a while ago) and learned the 'gist' intending to busk the rest (I had the best of it nailed and was confident in the passing notes/phrases)... I was shown the door in about 10 minutes... sometimes you have to learn it note for note.

I guess that's fair enough for a tribute..... but I'm impressed how quickly they rumbled you given that you had most of it nailed!

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I always tried to learn exactly as the recording, but soon learned the drummer wasnt going to play the same. It annoyed me when certain drum fills weren't there or accurate bass fills no longer fit so just played what suited the new drum line 

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2 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

I guess that's fair enough for a tribute..... but I'm impressed how quickly they rumbled you given that you had most of it nailed!

Honestly I was good but they wanted note perfect 'at the audition', which I could have done if I got the gig.  If I'm honest the band weren't right for me and I wasn't right for them; I'm chilled and go with the flow, they wanted stuff as it was recorded on the studio album, learned from the get-go.  

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2 minutes ago, warwickhunt said:

Honestly I was good but they wanted note perfect 'at the audition', which I could have done if I got the gig.  If I'm honest the band weren't right for me and I wasn't right for them; I'm chilled and go with the flow, they wanted stuff as it was recorded on the studio album, learned from the get-go.  

You would have to really love simply red for that...

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1 minute ago, LukeFRC said:

You would have to really love simply red for that...

I was putting myself through Uni as a mature student... I had a mortgage to pay.  :/  

 

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11 minutes ago, warwickhunt said:

I was putting myself through Uni as a mature student... I had a mortgage to pay.  :/  

 

Ah - I imagine that puts it back a few years then. A bunch of folk that into note perfect Simply Red in 2018 would be a wee bit more odd

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I'll try to get as close to the original note for note and then i can tweak it to fit the band i'm playing with. 

Would also depend how i feel on the night. Could be any song in the set that i feel like adding a little or in some situations i might reduce the bass line a bit especially during audience participation sections.

If the band is in the zone on the night i might add a few little extras on the night. 

Dave

 

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22 hours ago, csmallett said:

But what about when learning something on your own just for the fun of it? 

What's the point in that?

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I am a Jazz musician. I never play the same thing once. 

 

Seriously, I have played tunes significantly wrong for decades. Nobody died. 

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Much as I'd love to be able to reproduce, note for note, the basslines to all my favourite songs, there are a few issues that would intervene.

1. Many of them have no 'agreed' absolute original line. I was actually listening to John Pattitucci's line for How Sweet It Is earlier today, which he says is the line that Jamerson actually played, and frankly I don't agree. [Spoiler: He's probably right and I'm probably wrong.]

2. I am fairly promiscuous in a band/music sense. Right now I'm 'in' three bands and I occasionally dep for at least two more. Each of those five bands has at least three hours' worth of repertoire, so I need to be gig ready with at least 15 and in reality perhaps 25 hours of music covering Hank Williams to Bruno Mars. Playing every note of every song exactly like the original is a pointless exercise.

3. @MacDaddy is quite right. When I play Elvis in a 3-piece someone has to provide the missing piano fills, when I play Sam & Dave in a 3-piece someone has to be the brass section occasionally. If I get all up myself and refuse to play something because "well Duck Dunn never played that", chances are the band isn't going to last long.

4. There are some depths I will not plumb. Just because the original bassline contained slap, there's no need for me to sully my pristine fingers with such pathetic, desperate behaviour.

 

 

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Depends. Always get the feel right, stop and start together, then it's up for grabs.

I have no problem playing the original bass line, or parts of, when it's needed. If it's a cracking line I'll be up for it, but many numbers don't have unique lines, so there's no point in slavishly following those. My attitude is, it's me playing in the band so you get me playing the songs not copies of the 25 original bassists.

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I try to learn songs note for note, but I probably don't always get it right. 

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10 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

Much as I'd love to be able to reproduce, note for note, the basslines to all my favourite songs, there are a few issues that would intervene.

1. Many of them have no 'agreed' absolute original line. I was actually listening to John Pattitucci's line for How Sweet It Is earlier today, which he says is the line that Jamerson actually played, and frankly I don't agree. [Spoiler: He's probably right and I'm probably wrong.]

2. I am fairly promiscuous in a band/music sense. Right now I'm 'in' three bands and I occasionally dep for at least two more. Each of those five bands has at least three hours' worth of repertoire, so I need to be gig ready with at least 15 and in reality perhaps 25 hours of music covering Hank Williams to Bruno Mars. Playing every note of every song exactly like the original is a pointless exercise.

3. @MacDaddy is quite right. When I play Elvis in a 3-piece someone has to provide the missing piano fills, when I play Sam & Dave in a 3-piece someone has to be the brass section occasionally. If I get all up myself and refuse to play something because "well Duck Dunn never played that", chances are the band isn't going to last long.

4. There are some depths I will not plumb. Just because the original bassline contained slap, there's no need for me to sully my pristine fingers with such pathetic, desperate behaviour.

I used to learn bass lines note for note (when I could determine them all! lol) I well recall having to keep placing the stylus of my record deck, back a few mm to listen, re-listen and re-re-re- listen to riffs and individual notes. Oh the joys of Digital music files and helpful folk on YouTube :)  But these days, I'm far less fussy. Like @Happy Jack, I'm also in several bands, and have sometimes gigged with one band in the afternoon, and another in the evening... only to gig with someone else again the next day. (My "record" is 5 bands at 3 venues in a 24 hour period)

Having recently read Guy Pratt's book (very entertaining and well worth a look IMO) I realise that even pro players don't play their own bass lines exactly the same, sometimes. In his book, Guy talks about the time he played on Madonna's "Like a prayer". On listening back to the finished single some time later, with Madge in the control room, Guy asked "Who's playing bass on this one?" and the reply came "You, you dummy!"

There are certain songs where playing as close to the original is a must, and others where playing something that's close, or more importantly, something that captures the "mood" of the song is the most important consideration. I've played a few songs where the band have altered the key from the original.... and I've ended up thinking that playing the original bass line in that key doesn't sound quite "right" to my ear, But then, maybe that's just my ageing hearing? ;) 

Edited by Marc S

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Even if you're in a tribute band, it depends. There's always a smart derrière in the audience (or the band) who says "you played it wrong". Oh right, which version are you thinking of? "Oh the 1973 studio out-take version on a bootleg I've got". ok, I learned it from the well-known live album from 1977. And other parts from the 1988 reunion tour. Would you like your money back?

 

On the other hand, in my Gary Burton tribute band we just aim for the general vibes

/oneforthejazzers

 

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31 minutes ago, toneknob said:

Even if you're in a tribute band, it depends. There's always a smart derrière in the audience (or the band) who says "you played it wrong". Oh right, which version are you thinking of? "Oh the 1973 studio out-take version on a bootleg I've got". ok, I learned it from the well-known live album from 1977. And other parts from the 1988 reunion tour. Would you like your money back?

 

On the other hand, in my Gary Burton tribute band we just aim for the general vibes

/oneforthejazzers

 

100%

I play in a Roxy Music tribute band (don't judge me...) and something that works massively in my favour, is the "revolving door" attitude Roxy had to bassists, meaning I can claim to be playing versions of basslines played by loads of different players.  Sadly, no-one has ever come up to me at a gig to question my note choices, as I have a series of answers rehearsed and ready to go.

Generally, my advice would be to be as accurate as you can for "signature" basslines (in my case it would be the start of "Love is the Drug", the fuzz bass at the start of "Virginia Plain" etc) but for everything else, keep it in key and keep the feel, but add a bit of "you" to it. Unless you're The Bootleg Beatles or one of those super-accurate tribute bands, that is...

I've played in covers bands for years and taken pretty severe liberties with basslines and I've never once been taken to task. Play the bits that people expect to hear and have some fun with the rest.  

 

PS - The penny has finally dropped about the Gary Burton/Vibes comment.  Oh you little scamp!

Edited by rushbo

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I have heard recordings and asked who played bass only to find out it was me. If you do a session with layers of the track not yet added, it is easy to loose perspective. It's always funny, though. 

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3 hours ago, rushbo said:

I play in a Roxy Music tribute band (don't judge me...)

I'm jealous, I would love to be in a band playing Alan Spenner bass lines. He was a great bass player. I used to see him playing the pubs and clubs in Kokomo. Apparently he was Bryan Ferry's favourite Roxy bassist.

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