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Salsa Bass


flyingmarcel

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Hello All,

 

I was wondering if any of you out there are experienced at playing Salsa or other types of Latin Music. I've been asked to do a few shows with a Salsa group and am having a really hard time breaking a way from my "jazz" mindset of playing. If any of you have had this problem and have a quick or quicker remedy for it, I would love to hear about it....

 

Thanks

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Yes. Latin is a whole different style of playing where the bass is providing the main rhythm instead of the drums. Most latin is played 'Tumbao' style where the notes are played a hair before the 1 and the 3. It's definitely something you have to feel. You can't force it as it will sound very obvious.
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Seek out CD's by Cachao (the Charlie Mingus of Cuban music?!!!), Buena Vista Social Club (you MUST see this DVD), Afro-Cuban All Stars, Ruben Gonzalez - for real-roots cuban son.

Salsa is a sort of marketing catch-all for "tropical" or caribbean latin music, so there's a HUGE variety of styles that may get thrown at you under this label.

Bass parts are characteristically offbeat-syncopated; a big accent on 4-1/2 (sort of like the Big 4 that New Orleans jazzers are always talking about). Right-hand position & articulation should definitely be coming from an upright bass state of mind (even if you're an electric bass guitar player; you will spend a lot of your time in that sweet spot over the end of the fingerboard, for "fat" tones).

This is a generalization, but if your main focus is always on a deep, almost half-time groove between you & whatever part is playing the "clave", you'll probably be in the pocket.

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Originally posted by flyingmarcel:

Hello All,

 

I was wondering if any of you out there are experienced at playing Salsa or other types of Latin Music. I've been asked to do a few shows with a Salsa group and am having a really hard time breaking a way from my "jazz" mindset of playing. If any of you have had this problem and have a quick or quicker remedy for it, I would love to hear about it....

 

Thanks

I have played in salsa, cumbia and latin jazz bands. The key ingredient is that you have to develop a polyrhythmic ear. There are many grooves going on at the same time and although the bassists role is to hold the foundation your melodic fill will clash with clave and other melodic part if you are not listening.

 

Quick tips:

 

Stick to roots and fifts

 

Dont play the downbeat of the one or three in 4/4

 

The more you sit there in a particular rhythmic pattern the more wood you add to the fire.

:D

"Word to your mother"
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I would also recommend

 

Cubanismo! - the Cuban All Stars

 

Anything by Pancho Sanchez. His rhythm section of the Banda Brothers (Tony Banda on Bass) smokes.

My faves by him are Latin Jazz and Congo Blue.

 

Anything By The Rhumba Club

 

There is lots out there. Jazz Improv magazine has a good Latin jazz column. Rebeca Mauleon's books are also good. If I'm not mistaken the Aebersold play-alongs have a few Latin CDs and workbooks. I have been trying to find a Latin Jazz band in my area. Not much success, yet...

 

BTW most folks will tell you that salsa is a sauce or condiment not a type of music.

RobT

 

Famous Musical Quotes: "I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve" - Xavier Cugat

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