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Basslines for left hand anyone doing them?


Gods element

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Hi,

 

Me and my beloved bass player are no longer together because I moved so now I have to learn how to play without him. How are you guys creating basslines, what books did you use to learn them, and what can i do to practice them.

 

thanks everyone, i love you all :)

 

joseph

A-102/Leslie 122...can't live without it.
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Originally posted by God's element:

Hi,

 

Me and my beloved bass player are no longer together because I moved so now I have to learn how to play without him. How are you guys creating basslines, what books did you use to learn them, and what can i do to practice them.

 

thanks everyone, i love you all :)

 

joseph

Hey Joseph. So are you not wanting to look for another bass player? Or just trying to get use to playing without a bassist? I love creating bass lines with my left hand. I try to implement this in my accompinament as well, espeically when the bassist goes to mid-high range. I would first start practicing simple bass lines in simple blues progressions and then progressing to different styles (i.e. latin, funk, swing). What styles do you want to learn with your left hand? Are you a jazz purist or do you meddle in all different kinds of styles?

Play only what you hear within...if you hear nothing, play nothing at all

My Gear: Motif; Ensoniq MR-76; Suitcase Rhodes; Earthquake MKII Pedal; DiscomBOBulator; PodXT

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The genre of music will be jazz, Blues, funk and smooth Jazz (the mix of which is now call urban gospel). I play on an S90 and Hammond. I use my feet on the hammond and i think that makes for a great sound and freedom to move. When i play fast blues/gospel i use 888800000 on the top(or bottom) and run a bassline like: C-Db-D-Eb-F-Gb-G-Ab or Ab-Gb-F-B-Bb-E-Eb-G-Ab. These are some of the Basslines I use but I dont know the theory behind it.

 

Thanks Sven for your fast reply,

 

joseph

A-102/Leslie 122...can't live without it.
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I was in Borders and saw this book and bought it last Sunday. Its by Ed Friedland who is over in the Bass Player forum. It gives a lot of good examples of playing good grooves, and also how to program your drum machine or your drummer He helps you to learn a lot about the beat and playing bass against it. He mostly covers things like grooves in

 

R&B,Soul,Shuffles,Blues,Rock, The Meters,Soca,Eighth notes,Motown,Vinny Boom -Batz.Jimmy Reed, Disco Octave

 

I liked the book and thought , why not play keys with a bass players outlook. Of course I tend to like that style in keyboard players, but I really bought it to ,Understand better ,what makes a good groove

 

 

http://www.edfriedland.com/img/book_bassgrooves.jpg

 

 

He has other books at web page

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[/qb]

Hey Joseph. So are you not wanting to look for another bass player?[/QB]

 

 

I'm looking and I thought i had one but he wants to learn Keyboards. My old bassist is playing keys now too. :)

A-102/Leslie 122...can't live without it.
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Originally posted by God's element:

[QB] When i play fast blues/gospel i use 888800000 on the top(or bottom) and run a bassline like: C-Db-D-Eb-F-Gb-G-Ab or Ab-Gb-F-B-Bb-E-Eb-G-Ab. These are some of the Basslines I use but I dont know the theory behind it.

 

What key are you basing these basslines off of?

Play only what you hear within...if you hear nothing, play nothing at all

My Gear: Motif; Ensoniq MR-76; Suitcase Rhodes; Earthquake MKII Pedal; DiscomBOBulator; PodXT

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I studied bass with a well known Jazz Bass player for about a year, to get the feel for LH Bass. Been playing LH bass ever since. Many times I much prefer it to some of the mediocre bass players that I have played with over the years. Many of the busiest Keyboard players in cities I have worked in like New York and Miami, play LH bass.
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First thing you need to learn is independence of each hand.

 

Ragtime or stride piano is great for that, that's how I learned it. That left hand has to be on automatic, it takes practice and practice until it is on its own without have to focus on it.

 

Then you need to learn bass technique. Use your ears. Listen to how bass players play their notes, and listen how they interlock with the drummer.

 

Then try to copy their tone, which isn't always easy. Despite the Minimoog being a popular synth bass, it is not the best synth for LH bass. There's a difference. My preference for LH bass are Moog Source or Voyager, because both have hard sync which adds some tone color you can't get from a Minimoog. Voyager has other feature I exploit to emulate a bass guitar. I've fooled many a bass player in the audience when I was playing LH bass.

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Originally posted by God's element:

trill,

 

what do you think of Ed Friedland's book so far and how is it helping your piano playing?

Its made my right hand worse :D

 

Well, It has all the basic grooves that are usually in music we hear. He even writes out the drum parts along with the bass parts. His big thing is how to be solid and on time to set a groove, Not superspeed,slap and all kinds of technical stuff. So what you get is the groove,and thats what makes the music feel better ,sound better and play better. You get a cd with the book and I paid around 20.00 dollars for it. I like it , but thats me. If you program a drum machine also ( which I am starting to do ) ,I would say definately get it. The music qaulity on the cd is excellent. I have already learned about 4 new patterns and I have about 30-50 more to go. Some of them are some I already use but with a twist .

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I answered this in the thread on "Complete Hand Independence", but let me enhance my original answer.

 

In Jazz, a bass player would normally play the following:

Beat

1 - Root

2 - Chord tone or chromatic

3 - Chord tone or chromatic

4 - Leading tone to next chord root (half step, whole step, or even a third).

 

This could be a descending or ascending pattern. Now this is highly oversimplified and seeing this will not necessarily tell you what pattern to use.

 

So the way, I was taught to do this was to transcribe. I took one of Coltrane's tunes and transcribed the bass player. I have to tell you that you will see enough patterns here to get the picture pretty quickly. It is something you can do in a few hours. Bass is not that hard to transcribe. Pick a tune with simple changes like blues stuff. Do not do this on Giant Steps :eek: LOL.

 

The patterns are easy shapes you begin to remember. After considerable practice, I am able to play these on the LH while improvising on the right. That was not easy.

 

However, early on, I stuck to only one pattern since I would lose focus on the LH if I altered the pattern. And most listeners aren't that sophisticated anyway so the pattern I used was

scale degrees 1 - 2 - 3b - 3 for each chord. Now this particular sequence worked for me because in a typical 2-5-1 chord cadence or 6-2-5-1, the "3" in the example, lands as the leading tone to the next chord and thus satisfying the little example I gave above. This is good for moving chord changes. For modal, I would begin with a simple 1-5-8 pattern for each chord.

 

I have actually reached a point where I can create free flowing bass patterns, but have to stop doing it when the RH is busy.

 

Now here's the complexity. A true bass player will make "pig-in-a-poke" kind of rhythms (say it out loud so you can hear it, kind of like a triplet 8th notes). Like "One-and-uh", where the "-and-" is some sort of ghost note played by a distant finger. This is what gives the bass a true bass player kind of feel and adds to the swing feel.

 

I spend a lot of time practicing this and maybe I'm overdoing it but I'm trying to emulate a real bass player with the left hand. On my keyboard, I would typically put an acoustic bass on the left split and whatever instrument on the right for doing the improv.

 

Now here's the other HARDEST part. When you listen to Coltrane and his bass player, you will find the hi-hat and the bass are JUST SO EXACTLY IN TIME. Bass keeps time. So I find it extremely difficult to play an extremely steady, exact, rhythm on the LH while the RH is soloing, which includes going off time, doing varied rhythmic phrasing, etc. So it is quite a struggle to get this LH / RH independence going.

 

I'm happy to report though that some degree of hand independence is doable as I'm already seeing improvement from EXTREME hours of practice.

 

So how long will it take you to get this usable? Er....Maybe get a bass player for now. ;) LOL.

 

Regards,

 

Jazzwee

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Originally posted by God's element:

Jazzwee were's your faith!! :)

If there's a will there's a way.

Hey, I'm glad you have the drive man. You've already gone past the first step! Anyway, you don't need the book. I gave you enough to get you going for awhile.

 

p.s. I pay big bucks to get this information ;)

 

edit - BTW this reminds me that my first teacher couldn't explain it to me either. He just kept showing me these blazing moves and I had no idea of the theory behind it. So I had to figure out a system.

 

Jazzwee

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Originally posted by The Real MC:

First thing you need to learn is independence of each hand.

 

Ragtime or stride piano is great for that, that's how I learned it. That left hand has to be on automatic, it takes practice and practice until it is on its own without have to focus on it.

 

Then you need to learn bass technique. Use your ears. Listen to how bass players play their notes, and listen how they interlock with the drummer.

 

Then try to copy their tone, which isn't always easy. Despite the Minimoog being a popular synth bass, it is not the best synth for LH bass. There's a difference. My preference for LH bass are Moog Source or Voyager, because both have hard sync which adds some tone color you can't get from a Minimoog. Voyager has other feature I exploit to emulate a bass guitar. I've fooled many a bass player in the audience when I was playing LH bass.

I fooled one of the best bass players in town with the bass on my RD-600 which I have been using for about 4 years after finally retiring my Mini Moog.
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Originally posted by Jazzwee:

 

 

I spend a lot of time practicing this and maybe I'm overdoing it but I'm trying to emulate a real bass player with the left hand. On my keyboard, I would typically put an acoustic bass on the left split and whatever instrument on the right for doing the improv.

 

Now here's the other HARDEST part. When you listen to Coltrane and his bass player, you will find the hi-hat and the bass are JUST SO EXACTLY IN TIME. Bass keeps time. So I find it extremely difficult to play an extremely steady, exact, rhythm on the LH while the RH is soloing, which includes going off time, doing varied rhythmic phrasing, etc. So it is quite a struggle to get this LH / RH independence going.

 

I'm happy to report though that some degree of hand independence is doable as I'm already seeing improvement from EXTREME hours of practice.

 

So how long will it take you to get this usable? Er....Maybe get a bass player for now. ;) LOL.

 

Regards,

 

Jazzwee

This is what I meant when I said my right hand got worse. My right hand found out its lead parts and fancy playing was not in time. Of course my left hand told the right hand " look dude ,your overplaying like a guitar player or something. Get in the groove and it will sound like your playing more than you are" :D
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The first time I did it, I had about 5 minutes notice that the bass player wasn't going to make the gig. I split the lower keyboard to put bass in the left hand and muddled through.

 

After the first set, my left hand was so tight I could hardly move it. I came to realize that if I was going to make 3 more hours, I had better find a way to loosen-up and stay loose. So I increased the volume to the bass split and played as light as I could. That's what works for me.

 

As far as style, I always try to approach chord changes from a half-step (above or below), play a lot of octaves, fifths, chord outlines, drops (one to 3rd below, etc) and sync the rhthym to the bass drum.

 

As far as gear, when I know in advance I'm going to be pushing bass, I try to bring a separate amp and keyboard (VFX) which I keep set-up for this. Separating the keys and bass in the mix seems to make everyone more comfortable on stage.

 

Hope that helps,

JC

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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Bobsk8,

 

I know someone who is the bass player on many many records (excluding his own). Except he doesn't use a bass, it's a keyboard. So I know exactly what you mean. If you know the techniques, you can sound awesome. His stuff is so good that bass players cannot tell, and this is on a record.

 

Now one thing he does that makes it sound even more sophisticated is that he uses two hands. Thus, this solves the problem that Blue JC experienced, because you can really tire out your left hand. I cannot do the two hand technique because it is like rethinking my hand movements again.

 

I was at GC today (yeah I had a little GAS!), and this keyboard player was demonstrating his Boogie-Woogie techniques. Completely different bass patterns though from what I'm talking about. Simpler too. Maybe the Boogie-Woogie/Rock and Roll experts can educate us. My guess is a 1-3-4-b5 pattern with 1-5-1 variations.

 

Bass in straight ahead/blues jazz is more difficult. I did get a Bass book before (The Evolving Bassist - Rufus Reid), but found the transcription process a lot faster to understand.

 

J

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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i dunno if this helps but i watched jordan rudess's instructional video keyboard wizardry and found that helpful on playing bass lines. he covers a good deal in very little time. He shows you how to make intresteing bass lines with jsut one note and its octave. I found it helpful. he also covers jazz bass and independence of the hands. but i feel that this video pretty much helps only beginner or intermidiate players, i am a beginner so i learned a good deal.
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Hey guys,

 

How about this for an update? Just as we have been talking about bass players, I saw Avishai Cohen tonight (Chick Corea's Bass Player) with his trio.

 

OK. Let's be clear. There is no 'effing way you can play that on the keyboard! :eek::eek::eek: The guys was playing lead guitar on drums on the bass. He had better phrasing on his bass playing than many piano players on their RH. And how about 16th notes on bass...

 

So yes, you can do simple and interesting basslines with some bass effects. Hey but don't overdo this! ;)

 

Anyway, I thought this was timely...

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I play bass lines with my left hand just to stay current jazz wise (I play in a blues/rock band). I set up Band-in-a-Box to "play" drums and comp chords (usually jazz standards), while I play along, with my LH doing the bass part, and my right hand improvising solos. So I become a one man quartet of sorts. I usually use one of the acoustic bass voices (or a combination of two of them)in my Yamaha S-90 for the bass.

 

It's great fun, and I've been doing it for so long that I don't really think much about what my left hand is playing. But I recall that it really took a long time and lots of practice to get to this point. This is my favorite way to practice. For my purposes, it beats doing Hanon!

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Fascinating thread from a bassist's perspective. I'd echo the above comments about transcribing and studying bassist's lines. Stevie Wonder has some of the greatest keyboard bass and his style comes straight from legendary bassist, James Jamerson. Ed Friedland's books are the best around on bassline construction; whether it's rnb/funk or jazz walking lines.

 

Walking:

Jazzwee's post on walking line construction is simplified but about where it's at. The only thing I'd emphasise is that we tend to play chord tones on beats 1 and 3 and use the other beats to link the line and give forward momentum. The importance of rhythmic skips is overemphasised. You can make a great walking line using just quarter notes. What is more important is considering note length and a slight stress on beats 2 and 4.

Check out some recordings of the great bassists and copy what they do.

Jazz: Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown, etc.

Funk: James Jamerson, Larry Graham, Prince (I know ;) ), Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Stevie Wonder

Have a google for walking bass line lessons on the web or over on the Lowdown forum!

Cheers,

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I will echo Phil W's comments, very fascinating from a bass player's perspective.

 

Also, Ed Friedland's books are great, as mentioned.

 

Another option is to buy a bass to kick around. Positioning (left hand) for a bass player often has a lot to do with composition. While looking at a keyboard, there's one way to produce a specific tone, whereas a bass player usually has two. You can get a working bass cheap. I am a hack on keyboards, but I always keep one around to do the opposite of what you are trying to do. :)

 

Take care,

 

Maury

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Originally posted by Phil W:

and a slight stress on beats 2 and 4.

Yes, I forgot to add that. Thanks Phil W.

 

BTW the effect of stressing 2 and 4 as well as the rhythmic skipping is to add to the syncopated/swing feel.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Originally posted by God's element:

The genre of music will be jazz, Blues, funk and smooth Jazz (the mix of which is now call urban gospel). I play on an S90 and Hammond. I use my feet on the hammond and i think that makes for a great sound and freedom to move. When i play fast blues/gospel i use 888800000 on the top(or bottom) and run a bassline like: C-Db-D-Eb-F-Gb-G-Ab or Ab-Gb-F-B-Bb-E-Eb-G-Ab. These are some of the Basslines I use but I dont know the theory behind it.

 

Thanks Sven for your fast reply,

 

joseph

Wowsers! A bass discussion over here.

 

Let me give a shot at basic bass theory you are dealing with.

 

1. In this example, you are playing 4 beats per measure and playing quarter notes.

 

2. You are outlining the Ab chord, playing 3-4-5. Since you have 4 beats, you use a raised 4 to fill in the measure.

 

3. The second half is a chromatic walkup to the root, again, including both the minor and major 7.

 

This pattern works amazingly well against the major or the minor chord! Since you are including both thirds and both sevenths, the ear perceives the "wrong note" as a passing tone.

 

Little bass trick you've stumbled on.

 

The second is also a famous bass trick. If you put a chord tone on a strong beat (in your second example, you are playing a 1-6-2-5 chord pattern) you can approach that tone using a chromatic leading tone on a weak beat. Cool thing is, it doesn't matter whether you use a 1/2 step above or below the target tone. Your line would work equally well playing Ab-Enat-F and so on.

 

Now you know why y'all hire us all the time!!!! We live in this theoretical muck our whole lives. :D:D:D

 

Funny! Over there, I'm a moderator, but here I'm just a Gold Member.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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You know, it seems that bass players can get away playing about anything (I'm talking about jazz walking bass) particularly at fast tempos, if one or two notes in a four beat measure are in the chord, as long as the timing is spot on.

 

Consider that if you play totally randomly, statistically, you have a very high probability of hitting at least one note in the chord given four chances to do it. If you don't repeat notes, it's a shoe in to hit one note in the chord. A four note chromatic run will absolutely do this with any major or minor sixth, seventh, or ninth chord.

 

I'm not saying that this is what bass players do, but I think that when they do get lost playing a new chart, for instance, they can fudge their way through a couple of measures with nary an eye blink.

 

Can't do this playing keys!

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Hehe :D Our little discussion here is bringing out the bass players. How fun!

 

So now that you bass players are in this little thread, help us understand how you guys keep such perfect time. How do we get our left hands driving the pulse of the music in the absence of a talented bass player?

 

How do we develop our timing "ear"?

 

A lot of us start out with the "solo piano syndrome", i.e. no time.

 

To me we can fake it with simple bass lines but one cannot fake the effect of good bass time on the groove.

 

Jazzwee

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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