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the process of emulation


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Many of the players that many of my peers and I admire are progressive players, and while some come to electric bass ready to forge a new style, some borrow from other influences.

For example, Les Claypool admits his efforts to fill up the space of a bass player and rythm guitarist openly, John Entwhistle always portrayed his guitaristic influences, Flea who came from a horn background made this fact obvious in his solo's melodic content, and Jack bruce forged the sting through his sparse yet poignant note choice and almost delayed attack forged the gap between upright and electric. (obviously their are players that faced electric bass as a clean slate, such as Jamerson, whose upright and electric work are two different animals alltogether).


Who or what do you emulate?

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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I think we all wind up emulating someone, or something. Whenever I've met players who give me the "I want to be totally original so I don't listen to anybody" nonsenese, I find that they're ususally very young, and not very good musicians.


I'm a product of my influences like anybody else, and depending on the song, I emulate them in some way. I don't think I copy their licks but I definitely emulate their style or approach to the instrument. Most of the time it's totally unconscious.


The players I find I most often draw from are:

John Entwhistle, John Paul Jones, Lee Sklar, Pino Palladino, and Chris Squire.


Some of the most groundbreaking trailblazers are born out of necessity. Larry Graham invented modern slap bass technique out of a necessity to provide the percussive elements of a drummer to his family's nightclub act. They didn't have a drummer. John Entwhistle practically invented lead bass out of a need to fill in the space where Pete wasn't yet confident in his lead guitar playing. The list goes on and on.

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I've been influenced by every bassplayer I've ever heard.


The number of basslines I have learned note-for-note is staggering, I can't even begin to think how many that would be.


But some prominent ones I have emulated have been: (in no particular order)


Chuck Rainey

James Jamerson

Carol Kaye

Larry Graham

Louis Johnson

Paul Jackson

Noel Redding

Jack Bruce

Carl Radle

Bernard Edwards

Robert "Kool" Bell


And once I started typing this list, it's pretty hard to stop.

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I'm not sure I actually try to emulate any player in particular. I work out to a lot of different types and styles and try to glean something (even if it is subconcious) from all.


For a long time I concentrated solely on John Paul Jones because he is so adept at melodic fills (and I play in power trios) but lately I have been working out to more difficult progressive players. As frustrating and befuddling as it gets at times, that style makes me want to play more and better bass.


Despite my best efforts, I still consider myself a mediocre hack who is adequate at best. Good thing I can sing. :D

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


I have nothing nice to say so . . .


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jeremy, thats probably the greatest list Ive ever heard :D


I always find my influences showing without realizing it. When I was last recording i was going for a certain tone on a softer song and the engineer said, wow looks like flea just showed up. Funny, i wasnt even going for that vibe, it just kinda showed as a result of me learning so much from the mans playing on blood sugar sex magic and californication. I guess that now whenever i play that kind of laid back feel, as in soul to squeeze or californication i just want THAT sound.


On an even funnier note, whenever i play live i tend to get excited and do what guitar players tend to call overplaying, but since we know better than that, we call it getting into the groove....or for short, G.I.G. ing.


So anyway i was G.I.G.ing one night and afterwards a friend of our singers mom who happens to be an amzing drummer asked me how much john entwhistle I listen to, and how its cool im keeping his spirit alive.

Funny thing is, ive barely listened to his playing. But fortunately, I just bought the who live at royal albert hall dvd, and i now must thank her.........a lot.


On a side note, the dvd is great..full of energy.

JOhn even gets up to sing my wife, and there are lots of special guests.

ONly griope is the bass is a little backed off in the mix.....i know what youre thinkin, cuz i am too


its a shame :(

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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When I first started playing bass and learning bass parts, it wasn't my goal to emulate anybody, but that is exactly what happened.


The first person I could emulate (or so I thought) was Louis Johnson. Note for note on at least the first 3 Brothers Johnson albums. Also, Will Lee and Abraham Laboriel, but when I first started playing you could hear these 3 players on almost everything that was played on the pop radio stations I listened to or the tv that I watched.


While Stanley Clarke's "School Days" album probably didn't leave my turntable for 2 years. I sound nothing like him. That was a very conscious choice.


Chuck Rainey and James Jamerson (I had no clue who he was at that time) also sounded so perfect, I always figured that is exactly what "regular" basslines were supposed to sound like. Motown, Steely Dan, Aretha, yeah, just regular basslines. Ignorance is bliss.


As for Anthony Jackson, I didn't think I would ever actually sound like him, but I knew when it was him whenever I heard him and I still listen to him religiously. When I hear myself in playback and it is an inspired take, there is no shortage of Jackson-isms. I should also add that this is not intentional, it's just what comes out.


In the late '80s and early '90s I listened to so much Marcus Milller and Jaco that I could easily do an imitation of either. It took years to work that out of my playing.


These were my early influence. I never took Larry Graham or Bootsy or Bernard Edwards seriously, they were just good time party music. No place for them in "serious" study :rolleyes: I was an idiot.


Sometimes even idiots get lucky.

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Claypool for me mainly - I learnt to play from Primus records - it's hard to get out of when writing. But I spent a lot of years studying all sorts of music and players after i had learnt my show off chops.


Musically I draw a lot of influence from good classical music - the basslines are better than anything I (or even Les) could write - the way things work around each other - as well as a lot influence directly from the charts - pop music has a lot of ingenious hooks and techniques in that will always go unheard to most listeners - it's great to apply those techniques to the odd 'alternative' song and see how they work there.


I'm also lucky to work with Karl who is a Flea/Tool fanatic - so i pick up a lot from him as well.

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The first music I can recall is the Beatles Let It Be. McCartney is a huge influence on me. I started guitar lessons at around 7 years old and I would take off the B and E string off my crappy beginner acoustic and try to work out the bass lines. As I got older Motown became my favorite pop music so James Jamerson also (I hope) is an influence. I definitely tried to emulate those two guys, now I guess their vibes have assimilated into my playing.
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The most prominent bass players for me have been JPJ, Entwhistle, Burton, Harris of Iron Maiden, Jamerson, Jemmott, the list goes on.


Seems like I try to emulate whomever I'm listening to that week.


I think we all need to emulate someone, because the end result is our take on what we like, and it comes out original.

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath


Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

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I don't know the names of most of the people I'm emulating when I learn the bass line from a song I like. There are a lot of folks that when I hear their stuff, I think to myself, "I wish I could play like that dude." But it is on a song by song basis, not necessarily a particular bassist.





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