Songs that made you a better bass player?

georgestrings

Senior Member
Messages
1,488
It is actually more difficult these days to find a solid, no nonsense player who can stay on the pocket and drive
the song, rather than all the bass athleticism some players feel is their personal priority.

I've heard this more than a few times, and it has affected my approach to the instrument - rather than show off amazing chops, I've always tried to stay focused on being a solid player that keeps the rhythm section tight, and to contribute as much as I can vocally... I've always stayed busy as a bassist, so I'd say it's been a sound approach... I still play a fair amount of guitar, and can tear it up on bass pretty good, but I always serve the song first and foremost - and do whatever it takes to make any band I play in better...


- georgestrings
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
I think some of the taste & timing and knowing where to drive and when a bit of flash is cool, just comes from experience.

I may be my toughest critic, but I'm also long past needing to prove I can play.
 
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4,210
It is actually more difficult these days to find a solid, no nonsense player who can stay on the pocket and drive
the song, rather than all the bass athleticism some players feel is their personal priority.

Substitute "guitar" or "drum" for "bass" in the above statement and it still holds true.

That said, I do pride myself on playing what's needed, whether it's 16th note finger-funk, vaguely Jaco-ish fusiony stuff, slap-both electric and upright or milking a root-5 for all it's worth. My gig book manages to stay full.
 

flatnine

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
349
Standing in the Shadows of Motown Book,
I Want You Back- Jackson 5
I Wish- Stevie Wonder
Revelation- Robben version with Roscoe Beck
Dry Cleaner From Des Moines- Joni with Jaco
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song
Queen - Tie Your Mother Down
Elton John - Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Steely Dan - Reeling In The Years
Vapors - Turning Japanse
Rolling Stones - Live With Me
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
40,590
LZ - ramble on, what is and should never be (and all the rest)
aretha franklin - respect
sly - everyday people (one freakin' note!)
yes - roundabout
rush - closer to the heart
grand funk - some kind of wonderful

later on, but very much worthy:

mute math - typical
STP - big empty, days of the week (and all the rest)
jane's addiction - summertime rolls
the cure - love cats, fascination street
soundgarden - outshined
alice in chains - would
radiohead - just, national anthem
 

Funky Chicken

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,444
Once I could play "Joe Frazier" and "5G" by Bruford (Jeff Berlin on bass) everything else seemed a lot easier.
The whole Rio album (John Taylor) is another great lesson in fast fingerstyle pocket playing.
Got to mention Verdine White with EWF too.
 

SamJ

Member
Messages
83
Trying to learn Dave Hungate's line in "You're the one I love" from Grease soundtrack was one that forced me to make progress... Still not happy with my version.
 

chris0186

Member
Messages
34
For me:

- Flea, songs like "Suck My Kiss" and "Aeroplane"
- Free: "All Right Now", at the bass breakdown/solo (how many bassists have you seen punt on this part?)

Just wanted to quote this for emphasis. Aeroplane has one of the most fun slap bass sections in the verse and it took me a long time to be able to nail it down. Very fun song and a great way to improve slap technique.

The bass solo on All Right Now is a lot trickier than it sounds. I went back and tried it out after reading your post and it's definitely not as simple as it sounds.
 

Zim

Member
Messages
1,973
I wouldn't say an ah-ha moment. in the sense that everything fell together, but David Bowie- Ziggy Stardust. Trevor Bolder's bass line on this tune helped me understand a whole other spin on putting a bass line together. I had to learn it for my bands set list and it was so far from what I was use to and I found it incredibly interesting how the verses just weaved in and fell together for the chorus. Gave me a different outlook that was outside my norm.
 

slave

Member
Messages
857
It is actually more difficult these days to find a solid, no nonsense player who can stay on the pocket and drive the song, rather than all the bass athleticism some players feel is their personal priority.
A good point.
IME, I've found it's more about finding the guitarists who will also show some restraint too.
I've played in bands where there was absolutely no chance for a solo or even a flourish because the guitarists just spooged all over every single opening. It gets boring....
There needs to be a balance of course, so whilst a guitarists-forever-solo's can have their place here or there, I've always seen *less-is-more* to be true in most aspects, so being able to get a good band dynamic where everyone has a moment of restraint, aswell as a spooge-solo moment, can work quite well.

Sounds funny but playing bass in a band did more for my bass skills than songs did....if that makes any sense.
Yeah I agree. You tend to pick up a lot of tricks from others.
Learning to play normal guitar was a major step for me (bass player first) > pretty massive actually, got me thinking differently about how I approach bass and how I want to attack certain parts.

Learn some lines by Scott Reeder (especially from *Welcome to Sky Valley*). You won't regret it.
 
Messages
11,596
I played in a power pop cover band for 18 months. So sums up my entire bass playing career. These were the most difficult songs:

The Who - The Kids are Alright
Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio
The Jam - In The City

But the things that helped me the most were truly realizing what my limitations were. Playing with a pick on a 30" scale instrument allowed me to put everything I had been working on into place.
 




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