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That Entwistle-Bruce-Jones-Casady thing...


dcr

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On the "filling the void" thread, binkyt said:

 

"The references to Live at Leeds and How the West Was Won are perfect. Those are essential recordings for any bassist playing in a power trio situation. Listen to how Entwistle and JPJ move through the chord changes, without stepping on the soloists. That's a tough technique to master!"

 

Is it ever!

 

When I was a kid & had my first bass, I quit before too long, after listening to John Paul Jones; I was sure there was no way I could do that. I didn't bother touching a bass again until my mid- to latter-twenties. Last week, I watched the How the West Was Won DVDs, and it was deja vu all over again! I'm not going to quit again this time, but damn that Jones kicks butt!

 

So here's the question...how does a person learn that kind of technique? I realize this is a question that a bass prodigy doesn't need an answer to...but I'm no prodigy, & I need serious help. Players like Entwistle, Bruce, Jones, & Casady had this perpetual motion style; not random or noodling (Lesh?), but still just jumping all over the place. What's the best way to approach that sort of playing?? :confused:

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Play, play, PLAY!

 

Oh... and experiment. That's the only way to become as good as the pros. Play and experiment and find what works and what doesn't. Making observations and learning what sounds good and doesn't is a great start to becoming amazing at bass.

 

As Nike's saying goes, "Just do it."

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Good answer, DLITPD. These guys all found and won their own way. Sure, they referenced what others had done, and they had obvious influences. But when it came down to it they were (and still are) their own men.

 

Sometimes I think the internet (and improved media in general) has people looking OUTSIDE too much for the answers that have always been on the inside for each of us; waiting, available. Maybe the media voice has drowned out our own inner voices if we stand too close, too long... A lot of strength, I think, comes from searching and finding the answers from within one's self.

 

...I could be wrong ; }

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dcr,

 

Maybe you should expand your study of MUSIC beyond the instrument specifically. Think of this a lateral strategy ; } ...I find that putting MUSIC in all its diversity and its rich history and traditions in the driver's seat is a great way to approach the experience of playing. Then you see interesting and compelling musical questions in front of you in the headlights, and you just do what you can on the instrument to respond to the shape of the road.

 

Seems a little zenny I know, but I truly do like to be free of mind and just drive, once I have maybe checked out some maps (or not). Spending a lot of time behind the wheel driving every blue highway you can imagine, or off the road entirely, may be what does it for you. Don't worry about what Mario Andretti was doing once you've checked out his thang. He was merely using his honed responses to the road.

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Originally posted by Da LadY In Tha Pink Dress:

Play, play, PLAY!

Yes. To go along with playing a great deal: steal, steal, steal!! Learn the lines that those guys are playing that you like. They all have their own "bag of tricks". Once you start to learn their lines (tricks), the rest will fall into place.

 

Stealing ideas from the song that you are playing is always a good thing too. Play the vocal lines, or variations of it. Play the guitar part, assuming is varies from the bass part. Etc...

 

The last thing I'll mention is *listen* to what the soloist and the drummer are doing. Ideally, the bass player and the drummer are going to be reacting and functioning as one brain during this exercise. If you are both listening to each other and the soloist, you should get an idea of where you should be going with your accompanying parts. Bring it up to a firey fury? Keep it mellow and sparse? It should become apparent if everyone is paying attention to one another.

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Play, play, PLAY!
When I was a kid I was constantly learning Jones and Entwistle lines because they were the poop back then. I must say Entwistle was much easier to follow and learn. JPJ on the other hand was more intimidating. I saw them both live and while I came away from the Zep concert thinking Jones a master who put on an impeccable show (especially considering his guitarist was a slopmiester) but found Entwistle to be a riffy show-off who didn't give the bottom a whole lotta love.

Nowadays guys like John Myung keep my interest peaked. I can listle to DT tunes for the 100th time and still shake my head and go "F**k me."

Some day I hope to be able to complete one of their more technical tunes without ending up at a dead stop staring at my fretboard halfway thru.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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Originally posted by punkin' patch-ulator:

Some day I hope to be able to complete one of their more technical tunes without ending up at a dead stop staring at my fretboard halfway thru.

Boy do I ever know what you mean ... I finally got around to learning Peruvian Skies but that has to be one of the easiest songs they ever recorded. It has to be, or otherwise I wouldn't be able to play it :D

 

To answer the original question: perseverance is the key. If I look at how I played a year and a half ago (and I can actually do that :D I have a VCD of the 3rd rehearsal I did with my second band - I played bass for 7 months then) and compare it to what I am "capable of" now, it's like looking at two different persons ...

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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A key ingredient in playing in a power trio setting is gaining a greater understanding in how your drummer and guitar player play. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN! Sure, there's plenty of space for you to stretch out, but it's also crucial that you listen to what your bandmates are doing and make it work with them. There's really no quick and easy answer there.

 

Now I saw that you cited Jack Bruce, John Entwistle & John Paul Jones. Even though they all made it work, they also all had their own thing going on.

 

Jack Bruce had the benefit of being a schooled jazz and classical musician, and that gave him a greater insight into locking in with Ginger Baker who was just a propulsive monster driving the beat along. He was also constantly improvising, more than any of his peers, IMO. I really think that Clapton was just along for the ride with them sometimes.

 

Entwistle was a totally different kind of case. He came at things from more of a guitarists POV. But at the same time he had to compensate for Keith Moon being all over the place. In truth, the Ox was more often the timekeeper than Keith Moon. And believe me, this is coming from someone who loves Keith Moon, but he wasn't the greatest pure timekeeper going. The Ox held it all down.

 

Next we get to John Paul Jones. I really think that he's the archetype for the rock-solid bassist. He came out of the London session scene with a lot of gigging experience as well. He and John Bonham, while sounding like an absolute powerhouse, were pretty well steeped in Motown grooves. If you want to see where Jonesy came from, listen to a lot of James Jamerson's Motown work. I consider Jonesy to be a pretty direct musical descendent of Jamerson.

 

I can't really provide a lot of insight on Jack Casady and that's kind of criminal. But I just don't own any Jefferson Airplane or Hot Tuna stuff. What makes it ironic is that I own his signature model bass from Epiphone. But check him out if you want to learn about using the pick with the instrument. He has a great touch with it. Anthony Jackson has cited him as a big influence for years.

 

There's a lot you can learn from all of these guys, but bear in mind that they all have their own style. As for the perpetual motion style, the only way you're going to get that going is by jamming with people and forcing yourself into situations where you have to figure stuff out. Get to know the notes of the neck better than you know your girlfriend. Get to a point where you know how to play in all keys all over the neck. That'll help you get towards where it seems you want to go.

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Entwistle is simple: the key is pentatonic scales: (pentatonic-pentagram-sign of the devil :eek: )

Oh yeah, but you have to play them wickedly fast, with "typewriter" 16th triplets flawlessly.

See, simple. ;)

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Good'un, Nicklab! I'd just quibble on the rock-solid bit about Jones - but not because I don't think he was impeccable, but more because he was very elastic in the Jamerson swingin' way. His rubbery approach to some displacing some notes within a phrase really worked well with Bohham's complimentary, more angular approach {whatever that can mean ; }. Jones was indeed the most obvious Jamerson-influenced of them.

 

Too bad you haven't gotten to appreciate Casady with the same attention to what's going on with these others. My personal estimation of his playing in Jefferson Airplane is that "his" drummer had less to with how he fufilled his role in the band. He was a straight time-keeper as regards push and pull feels, comparitively - a little more like Entwistle in that regard. His musical persona was very much built on his monolithic wall of sound - perhaps his most memorable moments are predicated on HUGENESS. That's wehat attracted me to that period of his playing, anyway.

 

Again, beautiful post.

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2 possible reasons

 

- The guys you mentioned were playing with unique drummers and were, at times filling different voids.

 

- You can't get locked into "bass players do this" mode. Playing non=traditionaly and experimenting at times lets you find the gap filled.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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I'm with the "listen" crew (and the "steal" thing), but one key I have found is that over time, you connect with the soloist. Sure, you can connect with Clapton (cause the CD doesn't change), but I mean connect with your own group. Those outstanding live moments that we hear were not first time experiences (or mostly not). Some of the coordination you hear came from many gigs.

 

For me, I practice with my band too infrequently to develop this coordination. But back in the day, my guitar player and I got in each other's heads. We "felt" when it was time to go there, went there together, and did incredible (to my ears) things. Even if you hear it today and aren't impressed, we still snapped our heads round because it (whatever it was) came off that way. This "magic" (for so it is) is one of the things I lack in my current band. For me, the lack of that connection has toned down my playing, and has made me a better bass player (because I'm wanking less than I used to).

 

Not for the faint of heart, but late Vanilla Fudge and Cactus (Tim Bogert and co.) did lots of this. In their case, the bass and drum tended to have the conversation, but there are some outstanding moments between bass and guitar.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Great advice so far. Thanks especially to Bump & Nick.

 

Went out last night & bought Led Zeppelin II, for which I also have one of those "Off the Record" transcription books. In the middle of the night, I started working through "She's Just a Woman." That rocks! And the jams in the choruses are pure Jamerson.

 

Now just to rinse & repeat...

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Torgo,

 

Guess I misunderstood your dilemma. I thought you wanted to find the great player within yourself. That's not the same as just copping some other great player (though role models are totally neccessary). The way of the Samurai is not about technique. It's about Beingness. I didn't give the easy answer. I shall take the honorable way out ; }

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Good thread, good topic, great responses.

 

I have to say in my own intensive study of these players and their band dynamics, LSD and lots of it played a crucial role.

 

Bruce is especially over the top because he's belting the vox at the same time- lordy, lordy. He has a very antagonistic relationship with Ginger Baker- really he's lighting a fire under Ginger constantly, playing cat to Ginger's dog, and pissing him off very badly in the process. On the other hand there are tunes like Badge where the composed bassline is the song itself almost. Where did Bruce come from? Classical is correct, 'cello background, and 'cello doubles bass in most orchestral scores, and CHARLIE MINGUS. Check out Mingus- see him write most of the Allman Brothers Band material back in the 50's! Hear him bring the New Orleans everybody solos at once concept up to the sophistication of Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane, while maintaining the raucous gut bucket spirit.

 

Cream is basically a drums and bass romp with some guitar tacked on- marvelous guitar, indeed, but check a tune like Pressed Rat and Warthog where the guitar plays a very marginal role- it's quite optional, until the solo.

 

Entwhistle alternates between playing the bass like a guitar and playing the bass like a piano. His tone can be very pianistic. He's always but always doing these octave-fifth-root things. A lot of that stuff works beautifully on the piano. And of course he is the propulsive element in that band- Moon's momentum is not linear and not necessarily in a forward direction, but Entwhistle drives the whole thing whether it's being maniacal or elegant- he is always methodical in his mayhem.

 

In this way Entwhistle has some things in common with the 60's Phil Lesh, who drives that band like the serpent Ourobouros. His early lines are so muscular and propulsive it's incredible. Lesh seems determined to apply all musical knowledge in the universe to the bass EXCEPT for anybody else's bass playing! How incredibly perverse. This is definitely one where a megadose of acid, an encyclopedic knowledge of modes and harmony, an EB-3, and a wickedly sardonic personality will take you there. In later years, it's as if the guy eschews rhythm and pulse almost completely... very strange. It becomes all about harmonic color.

 

Casady, is kind of a rambling wreck. Spencer Dryden is tight and deep in the pocket with his drumming, freeing Casady completely from any groove duties. Casady lends a sense of big epic-ness to things, and occasionally provides a great song-making hook like the one in Somebody to Love. His rambling style found it's home with Jorma in Hot Tuna, where it turned out that not having a tight pocket groove let his ramblings operate to greater avail.

 

Now John Paul

Now when we get to Led Zeppelin, this is the very heart of teamwork and these guys are greater team players than any of the above. Far greater. These folks definitely drew heavily from soul and reggae, and their entire body of work constitutes one long series of rhythm section and groove workshops, with Page supplying ideas far ahead of his time for hooky guitar stylings that seem to indicate whole eras of American music, many eras that were yet to come! Every song was so different, there are many bands that have existed for their entire careers only to aspire to the vision of ONE Led Zeppelin track. It's an encyclopedia of groove and style. Of all these brilliant models, the Led Zeppelin one remains the most modern and definitive, vocals completely aside. Teamwork!

 

It's so true that each of these approaches involves an intimate interaction with a specific drummer, creating a whole musical world from the possibilities that come up. Finding a unique take on the possibilities of what it is to be a drummer and a bassist and what it is to be a band.

 

Really Page, Townshend, Clapton all stay out of the way of the bass and drums more than the bass and drums stay out of their way. Page and Townshend are masters of the art of playing that ambiguous zone in between rhythm and lead. Space is a big part of it. Without that kind of tasty sophisticated approach in the guitar, there's not a lot you can get together on this ambitious scale with the bass and the drums. Clapton is by far the least sophisticated of the three guitarists, and seems only marginally cognizant of what's going on around him in Cream. This works with the everybody solos at once Mingus thing, whether or not Clapton knows that is what's going on- probably not. The Airplane is really a completely different animal- way too many vox, way too many guitars, it completely lacks the space that is the black backdrop for the work of the power trios, and Led Zep is a power trio with a singer.

A WOP BOP A LU BOP, A LOP BAM BOOM!

 

"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau

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I think you might be oversimplifying things with that analogy. In the case of Jamerson & Jonesy, Jonesy was inspired and influenced by what Jamerson was doing. He took what he learned from Jamerson and applied it in a different venue.

 

As for the whole "derivative" thing, well that's up to you. How? There's a fine line between being influenced by someone and just out and out stealing from them. You can take something great from these players and make it your own. A great example of this kind of situation is Pino Palladino. He reveres Jaco and what he did on fretless. But you know what? When I hear Pino on a record, I don't hear a Jaco wannabe, I hear Pino. He learned from Jaco and made his own name on fretless.

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I have to say in my own intensive study of these players and their band dynamics, LSD and lots of it played a crucial role.
So there you have it, dcr - one merely needs ingest LSD in the precense of the recordings or performances of these BASS GREATS!... Why didn't someone just come out and say so in the first place?!? - could have shortcutted through YEARS ... Proably the next ultimate bass player will be borne of an acid trip WITH these and other players. If you could get them to drop acid WITH you, think of the mind/soul tranfer! Ultimate!!!
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Damn. Grace Slick scored some orange sunshine for Casady, no prob. But Jones and Bruce insist that blotter is more fitting for UKers who never see the sun... and they really don't want to go to Jack's bass camp anway. The mosquitos, they say. And Entwistle's spirit guide insists that for him a ouija board is probably healthier. Though Timothy Leary did protest that he could intervene since he would be out guide anyway.

 

There's probably gonna be no bake-off MEET for us. So there goes the plan : {

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