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Opening space in the new band


haggard

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I joined this band about 3 months ago, and it sounds fine, the material is all original and good. It's been rewarding as we meet often on a two or three basis to work in detail to really try bass lines against chords, and so on... It was a trio during years, until adding the bass (myself) and a drummer 1 month ago. Problems started as I asked the keyboard for more space to play in the low frequency. He was not very pleased to change his left hand parts. We met with the band's leader and after several tries, we found it easier that I listen to his playing and react moving out of his way to the upper register. Should work better that way...

In my opinion it is necessary to simplify the playing of the former trio to open sonic space for the rest of the new members, and obtain a cleaner sound. Specially considering we're doing a kind of latin-pop-french song with some jazz elements. It is impossible that they continue playing their old routine unchanged, and sound clear. I think when a band grows to a larger formation, simplification of the earlier parts is essential. Three that filled the song earlier must leave more space (re-arranging actually the songs!) if we are now five!!! :D Considering of course all the posible variations available in volume, rhythm, arpegios, stacattos, etc. What do you think? Suggestions on how to convince them if you agree?

"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn"

Charlie Parker

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In my opinion it is necessary to simplify the playing of the former trio to open sonic space for the rest of the new members, and obtain a cleaner sound.
I would agree, but I am nowhere near the wisest member of this esteemed forum. It seems that if you keep playing like a trio it may get to a point where there are toes being stepped on and parts getting lost on the "mud". This is why I play bass. I am a stand alone player - me and my drummer.

 

As far as the keyboardist goes - my opinion is this. I am the bottom end. I hold the bottom line. That's what my instrument was designed for and that is how I use it. Keyboards are not bass instruments. (Remember, this is just my opinion.) Keyboards are color and flavor instruments. Not bass! Don't try and play my part and I won't try to play yours. You have your twinkly fill and occasional solo but leave the bass to me. Okay? Okay.

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

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I would have to totally agree with both of you. More instruments need more room. Simple.

 

In that situation,I would just say so. Plain and simple.If there is no room for me,then I have no reason to be there wasting my time. There are a ton of examples of trios that also have recordings as larger groups. You gotta leave folks some room. If not,why are they there?

 

If the keyboard player is getting his nose out of joint about it,it makes me wonder why they hired you. It also makes me wonder about how much the guy is really interested in making music with other people and thinking more about the end result. Its kind of a shame,really.

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Originally posted by mattulator:

In my opinion it is necessary to simplify the playing of the former trio to open sonic space for the rest of the new members, and obtain a cleaner sound.
I would agree, but I am nowhere near the wisest member of this esteemed forum. It seems that if you keep playing like a trio it may get to a point where there are toes being stepped on and parts getting lost on the "mud". This is why I play bass. I am a stand alone player - me and my drummer.

 

As far as the keyboardist goes - my opinion is this. I am the bottom end. I hold the bottom line. That's what my instrument was designed for and that is how I use it. Keyboards are not bass instruments. (Remember, this is just my opinion.) Keyboards are color and flavor instruments. Not bass! Don't try and play my part and I won't try to play yours. You have your twinkly fill and occasional solo but leave the bass to me. Okay? Okay.

I respectfully disagree here.

 

While the bass does play low notes, it is by no means the only instrument that can play low end. Would you say that the tuba is not a bass instrument as well. Or what about early jazz guitarists just starting to add single note lead lines, guitar was originally purely ryhmic instrument. Players broke those molds and expanded the musical vocabulary of the guitar immensly. Im sure people told them "guitar is purely a rythem instrument let the sax and horns do the lead lines" The bottom line is that a bass is used to make music wether it be low notes, high notes, slap pop, running a finger nail down the string etc.

 

And as far as pianos with low end, from a technical stand point, pianos in a lot of ways handle low end better then electric bass guitars. With a longer scale length and multiple strings per note ( I believe) Those low deep notes right down to the low A are clear and defined where as of now getting really clear defined sounds below low E on an electric bass are a challange as well as never quite being quite as clear as a piano. Case in point keyboards are based on pianos.

 

Both keyboard and bass guitar can handle low end, but there both apporached differently.

 

To the thread starter. If the keyboard player wont leave space for you, try playing a less traditional bass role. Pick up a fretless and play your parts an octave higher with some fretlessisms (slides, vibrato etc) as long as you keep it simple it might even add to the sound, and make for an interesting playing situation.

 

my .02 cents.

THE ace of bass
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Point taken Bassarama. My opinions stem from being in a 3 piece "power trio" forever and occasionally trying to incorporate a keyboardist has played a big part in forming those opinions.

 

If the keyboard player is getting his nose out of joint about it,it makes me wonder why they hired you. - donut
Another good point. You may want to ask that question at some point haggard.

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

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I just got the 'Classic Album' DVD "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

 

Try telling Elton John not to play in the lower register.

 

Get this DVD and watch it. There is an interesting bit about how the piano and bass interplay. Come to think of it, the Elton John band is very full, with intricate parts and a competent pianist. Still, they all leave lots of room for each other, add backing vocals and even orchestra parts. This would be a great example of how to achieve good sound with a fuller band.

 

How to convince everyone? Let them watch the DVD as well.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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Personally, I wouldn't play in a band where the keyboard guy wanted to cover the entire audio spectrum and not leave space for anybody else. If he gets his nose out of joint over that, it sounds like an ego problem-- "I'm going to play it the way I've always played it, and screw you."

 

I've had this conversation with a couple of keyboard guys in the past, both of whom were real pros, and they were very cool about it. I'm a traditional bass player, I hold down the bottom end. If that doesn't fit in this band, I'll find another band where it does fit.

 

Bruiser

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bassarama19,

 

Nice points there until you talked about the piano doing a better job with the low notes. Most bands (certainly mine) use electronic keys these days. On a real piano I'd agree, and I don't know what Haggard's situation is.

 

When I play in my band, I move the keys guy off the low end in many cases. Sometimes we double (some Doors covers this is nice). Sometimes we work with it. In church, the keys guy plays a grand piano - sounds great. We mostly stay away from each other, but many times we're ending on the same notes. Sometimes we're together, sometimes he's doing octave things, or whatever. We aren't hurting it.

 

To have to play up an octave and stay "out of the way" is a less traditional role. If that works for you and the band, great. It's not what I'd want - I'd push the keys guy into that area.

 

Sounds like the keys guy is struggling with the adjustment to having a low end instrument. Often classically trained, they are used to filling the entire spectrum. One option is to get him to play fills ("horn" parts) on a separate keyboard with his left hand.

 

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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I've had the same problem with keyboardist at my church. One in particular would dial up a very thick pad and play octave roots at the bottom of the keyboard. If I tried to walk betwen changes or move off the root at all it clashed and the bottom just sounded really muddy.

 

Fortunately, I didn't have to say a word. The sound man kept telling that keyboard player to stay away from the bottom of the keys. Eventually he either EQed the keys or ran them through a high pass filter to thin the bass out. I haven't had a problem since.

 

Haggard, maybe you could talk to your sound man and/or other respected and objective non band members to make simular recommendations. Must be diplomatic so people don't think your talking about them behind their backs.

 

Sort of off topic: We had a worship leader that was leaving my church and he wanted to do a set with all the musicians together as a last hooraw. So there was me and one other bass player. We worked it out that she just played the groove and I played fill stuff in the upper register. Made good use of my processor for some funkified wah and synth sounds. Man was that a blast! Wouldn't want to do that all the time, but still it was great fun for that one gig.

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Posted by Bassarama19

To the thread starter. If the keyboard player wont leave space for you, try playing a less traditional bass role. Pick up a fretless and play your parts an octave higher with some fretlessisms (slides, vibrato etc) as long as you keep it simple it might even add to the sound, and make for an interesting playing situation.

 

Yes, that's the approach I am taking. Going to the upper octave and try to keep out of his way.

 

Posted by Tom Capasso

Sounds like the keys guy is struggling with the adjustment to having a low end instrument. Often classically trained, they are used to filling the entire spectrum. One option is to get him to play fills ("horn" parts) on a separate keyboard with his left hand.

 

Tom

I think that's exactly the case. They've played long time as a trio. It will take some time until we find each our room. We have a first gig tomorrow, so I'll be listening and moving up and down a lot.

What is comping? Can somebody clear that? I am not familiar with the english prof music terms! :D

"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn"

Charlie Parker

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