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Band with two bassists?


Cozmicslop

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We just did a show with myself and another buddy both playing bass. The original plan was for us to switch off and play either acoustic or electric rythm guitar while the other guy played bass. It became clear we wouldn't have enough time for me to teach him all the songs and I didn't have enough time to learn all the guitar parts.

 

So, I write out the charts for those songs I have trouble singing and playing at the same time, and decide that I'll play 'lead bass' on the originals and more complicated jazz fusion stuff that would take him a while to learn.

 

It ends up working out better than any of us could imagine. It was our first time playing a gig together and not only did we stay out of each others way, we complimented each other so well that the guitarists both suggested we do it all the time. In our subsequent conversations we decides we'd be better of if we didn't do the entire show that way. That we'd bring at least one keyboard and switch either play keys or synth bass.

 

The reason is he's a much more accomplished musician, but he doesn't know the songs yet.. The fusion stuff we do will be a lot harder for him to pick up so he'd be primary bass on the cover tunes, me on the originals. I figure it will be easier for me to be effectiive on keys or guitars on the cover tunes.

 

Anyone else here done the two bass thing? If so, how did it turn out? What types of music were you playing? other than avoiding being in the lower registers at the same time, any other considerations? Advice?

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me and a friend of mine were going to start a band like that but he ended up being recruited to an awesome metal band through his friend and i was left alone. We did write one song together though, it turned out really well, the entire song was based on a jam and i was amazed how much we complimented each other, especially since neither of us had ever played in a situation with more than one bassist before. I guess you could call what we were playing punk rock, i was playing the lead part because according to my friend i'm a better bassist, funny how the bassist who considers himself worse than me gets a gig and i dont, guess its all about the people you know, anyway thats another thread....

 

Anyway, if it works for you guys and the other members in the band (if there are any) then i say stick with it, its sounding like fun already.

 

peace

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http://www.toupe.co.uk

 

We are a two bass band. I play six - karl plays four. No guitars.

 

Too tired for tips right now - 2am here. I'll post more tomorrow. It's more fun than you'll ever imagine! :)

 

http://www.toupe.co.uk/imagehost/Joiners-14.jpg

http://www.toupe.co.uk/imagehost/Joiners-2.jpg

Toupé - www.toupe.co.uk

2Bass Players - One drummer - No guitar - NO RULES!

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hi Grant, man i checked toupe's site and i really liked what i heard, actually bought the album :) and actually just heard the first song, i hope the whole album is like that lol... and talk about compulsiveness.... i just hope there's no problem since i live in mexico :)
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Originally posted by Farid:

hi Grant, man i checked toupe's site and i really liked what i heard, actually bought the album :) and actually just heard the first song, i hope the whole album is like that lol... and talk about compulsiveness.... i just hope there's no problem since i live in mexico :)

Gee - thanks man. The album is a trip into every side of our personalities. But there's plenty on there for you to get your teeth into.

 

Thank you - let us know what you think. :)

Toupé - www.toupe.co.uk

2Bass Players - One drummer - No guitar - NO RULES!

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I said I'd come back with a few tips and things about being in a band with two bass players. I could do it in the form of rules, but the way we approach it, there are no rules. So I'll write a few things we've learnt from experimenting over the last few years.

 

1) Drop any ego you might have. Karl and I are both good players, we already know that, but we don't have any competition between as to who has the better lines or the better basses etc...we're not guitarists so we are better than that. :)

 

2) if there is a great bass line in a song already - it doesn't need another one. If Karl brings a fantastic and full bass line to the jam, I use my six to create a part that compliments it more in the way a guitar or keyboard will - pad it out and add texture to the song, but not another bass line. If I write something (i tend to write confident rythmical parts) Karl sits down with his effects and makes a sound that adds something to the song. He likes to know the lyrics if there any at the time and work with them.

 

3) Be musical about the songs you write. If a song is going on in your head, think it through first and think of all the lines you might need for it. The only difference is if you assign them to guitar normall, you assign them to a bass.

 

I wrote a song called 'Big Man said to Man' for our album in one night. It's a dramatic 6/8 thing that deals with religions place in the 21st century and whether mankind deserves any diety at all - tough subject, it needed to be big. So i came up with a busy chord/slap and pop/hammer on line line:

 

 

C--------------5----------------------5--------

G-7---------X-----------7---------X------------

D-7---------------6-----7----------------6-----

A-5---X--X--------------5----X--X--------------

E---X----------------------X-------------------

B----------------------------------------------

 

(damn it's hard to write tab on this thing!) - hop eyou get the idea. It's a massive sounding riff that moves down a semi tone.

 

In my head I heard an orchestra playing the notes underneath the riff - but I don't have an orchestra, I have Karl...so he became one. With a few distortions and wot not he created a great big tone that when left to ring fills up more and more space.

 

His line is so simple but so effective for the song. Then the verse kicks in. We had an idea of dividing a riff between us. So I hammer on a low D for the first crochet of each bar and he plays a little double stop for the last for quavers of the bar. This also allowed me the space to really try and sing on the song and loads of room for the drums to plink and plonk over.

 

In the end, I think we've written a great song - I started off witht he ideas but since getting it finished, we've let it evolve into it's own beast.

 

I think that's the big thing with writing with two basses, just let it happen but be aware of when it doesn't work - and learn from those instances. Use the whole bass and just have loads of fun.

Toupé - www.toupe.co.uk

2Bass Players - One drummer - No guitar - NO RULES!

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Originally posted by Steve Lawson:

The coolest thing about playing in a bass duo is that when one of you get a looper, it becomes a trio... :)

 

Get a DL4, and start doing solo duos... ;)

 

Steve

www.stevelawson.net

I'm no looping man, but we should try that one day Steve. You me an Karl. A Quartet. :)

Toupé - www.toupe.co.uk

2Bass Players - One drummer - No guitar - NO RULES!

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In one of my previous bands, I played bass, we had a drummer, and the lead singer alternated between guitar, keyboards, and piccolo bass.

My favorite songs were the ones with the piccolo bass.

It was fun writing interweaving bass lines and ostinatos between the two of us.

The higher register kept the two parts distinct.

"Tea & Cake, or Death!"
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Thanks for some great responses.

 

The ego thing won't be an issue. The other guy is highly trained but has little actual stage experience. I have no training (lessons etc), and have learned most of what I know from playing out live way before I was ready. We have the highest regard for each others abilities and it shows in the way we defer to each other.

 

We also have an excellent guitarist. Still I'll be working on my guitar and keyboard skills. I play both at home to write but haven't had much stage experience with either. The problem with this is that a lot of what we do is highly improvisational and I have no chops. I can play only if I know exactly what's going to be played. So I'll stick to covers when I'm on keys or sixers.

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There are always two perennial bands that get mentioned when the topic of 2 bass player groups comes up: Cop Shoot Cop, and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. The way they work it is usually by one bass player having more of a groove role, and the other playing more of a texture role. I'm certain that you could mix and match, just as long as you're feeling good about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok you guys.....nobody mentioned Wooten and Bailey(Bass Extremes)...they seemed to nail the 2 bassist thing pretty handly.....and they sound amazing doing it.....

 

cheers,

:thu::thu::thu:

Have you hugged your bass today?
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