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Playing fast...


Gimmegroove

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This is a very informative post, because it proves that most bass players "get it" when it comes to technique vs. musicality.

 

I saw a band where the bass player, while technically very good at tap, slap, and playing fast, just looked and sounded lame because he was totally showing off and detracting from the band's overall sound. I felt like saying "dude...you're the bass player...no one comes to see you."

 

But the majority of us low-enders know that it's all about making the music sound good, whether it's playing fast, slow, or inbetween. And that is good to know.

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Ah ... I see the ol' "less is more" thread has returned! ;)

 

We've been down this road before, but I think I have something new to add. (Well, it's new to me anyway.)

 

In my music tech. class we're working only with programmable MIDI. As an example one day the instructor -- who has claimed on more than one occasion that he's "not a musician" -- showed us some different ways to enter notes other than in real time from the keyboard controller. Needless to say, hearing a machine play 128th notes on a kick drum at just about any tempo can give you a new perspective on this topic. :freak:

 

 

[Aside: Bunny, at my last practice someone mentioned metal, and since we don't play metal I grabbed a pick for chuckles and fired off a volley from the bridge that was loud and proud! :thu: (Maybe I need to mount a pick to a high-speed drill like I've seen somewhere before for those occasions? :D )]

 

Now, I don't mean to disrespect our fine metal-playing crowd here, but that genre as a whole doesn't do anything for me personally (although I admit I do like some Metallica). I respect what you guys do; it just ain't for me.

 

OTOH, I don't know that I could survive on a steady diet of only slow ballads. At some point I'd want to "rawk out". Again, I respect players that only play this kind of music, but for me maybe every 10th song or so is a slow ballad.

 

Call me egotistical, but as a bassist first, I feel the need to spotlight the bass in my own compositions. If I could sing like Sting or Paul, maybe I'd be less insecure in making a "solo" CD with my name on it that makes people ask the question, "What did he play? All I hear are vocals and guitar? Why is the bass player's name on the CD?" (I realize the great composer/bassist Charles Mingus didn't have this hang up. However, I totally get where JPJ was coming from when he released "Zooma".)

 

Also, having played a lot of classic rock, I found it more than slightly unfair that the guitarist gets to take a solo in nearly every song but the bass does not. I mean, even the drummer gets at least one solo in that format! Having some experience with jazz, where it is not uncommon to have a bass solo, I took this as somewhat of an affront.

 

Now, when you solo, when you're standing all alone on center stage and every eye and ear in the house is on you, when you're not supporting anyone else and you can't hide behind the guitar, vocals or drums ... you really do want a little "wow" factor. Otherwise you put people to sleep and perpetuate the stereotype that bass is not a solo instrument. (Hopefully you won't slap in a really sucky way, though. ;) )

 

But yeah, sucky guitarists wanking off "yet another solo" totally killed it. The only kind of soloing allowed in modern music is the aria-like gymnastics of Mariah Carey-style vocalists.

 

So I hear you, those of you that say "more" is not musicial and uninspiring. I'm still honing my craft, so hopefully by the time I have something to release you guys can all sit back and tell me, "it's not my cup of tea, but I can respect what you're playing". I can't make you like it, but hopefully I won't make you hate it.

 

And when you're on stage playing metal or a ballad, look for me in the audience. I'll be out there cheering you on, my cup of tea or not.

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Aight, this is nice. Seeing as how I started this thread basically as a joke, it's good to see people react to it. And it seems the general opinion is pretty much on the same line. And please, people, I did not intend to offend anyone with the whole "i hate fast playing"-thing. I guess I was just somewhat venting for annoying musicians in my environment. I would just always like to see the musicians that are good in my opinion get the praise they deserve.

 

Ok, I'm done, I love you all, fast and slow :)

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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This is actually a really good thread...lots of solid and varied opinions. I think it depends a lot of how you approach the instrument. For me, I see bass as a groove instrument (meaning in my mind, 75% a rhythm instrument and 25% a melody/harmony instrument)...I know others here take the opposite approach, still others split it 50/50, etc. And it's all good! For me, I tend to maybe use a slow phrase followed by a fast phrase for contrast purposes, etc. Since I approach bass as mostly a rhythm instrument, it's often necessary to play something fast (although it might only be 2-4 fast notes followed by rests, etc.). Even then though, I still double-check myself in terms of "does it groove?"...that's the end goal that I strive for.

 

I'm answering this from the perspective of original compositions...if we're talking covers that's kind of a different story in some sense.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Originally posted by Dave Sisk:

I'm answering this from the perspective of original compositions...if we're talking covers that's kind of a different story in some sense.

 

Dave

Yea, but even playing covers I tend to use the original bassist's idea and create my own lines for it. Just my thing. I hate having to play exactly what someone else plays.

Love God...Love People!

 

 

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I recently picked up Strapping Young Lad's For Those Aboot To Rock DVD (for those who don't know, SYL play very, very fast and extreme heavy metal), and one of the things I was very interested in was seeing how their bass player approached playing those tunes live. The production on their albums is pretty murky, so I could never quite tell whether the bassist was playing all those extremely fast metal licks with the hyperspeed drummer or not. Watching him on the live DVD, it became clear that he does not always play as fast as the drummer and guitarists are playing - often he's playing about one-half or even one-quarter the speed they are. You'd never know it if you weren't paying attention, though.

 

I generally hate the "fast people have no soul" argument, though. That's crap. One thing will always remain true though - playing faster will not help you write better songs. And it's the songs, fast or not, that people remember.

"Expectations are the enemy of music." - Mike Keneally

Hi! My band is... my band is... HALF ZAFTIG | Half Zaftig on MySpace | The Solo Stuff

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Exactly - train for harder than the average situation calls for and you'll excel in the average situation.

 

And you can have a fast player slow down effectively much easier than you can have a slow player speed up. I call it the "Christina Aguilera effect," although she still tries to sing as many notes as possible. If she ever slowed down a bit she'd me much more soulful.

 

There's a big difference between fast and exciting, but the two are often linked - most dancing isn't done to slow music. Slow dancing is far more intimate, but there's always more fast songs.

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