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#884507 - 03/10/11 10:39 PM My Retarded Bass Question  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
Helping Hand

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Cincinnati, OH USA
Hi all! Long time singer, first time bass player. I picked up the bass out of necessity for the all female rock band I'm in. We're doing covers and originals. We've been choosing easy stuff to work me in as well as give our lead guitar player time to get her chops together.

All the male bass players I watch/talk to play all over the neck. I'm basically playing mostly on the second and third fret, some open chords. Last night, a REAL bass player told me that he plays further up the neck because he gets a better "tone" than open chords. He demonstrated, but I really couldn't tell that much of a difference.

Since I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger trying to sing lead AND play bass (which is difficult because my voice is doing one melody and the bass is doing something completely different) I am keeping it simple, but I don't want to look like a loser to all the other bass players who come to see us.

So here's my retarded question (those of you who know me would expect nothing less! grin ) Is there really that much difference between playing up the neck and keeping it simple at the bottom of the neck, playing some open chords? Are these guys just trying to make it SEEM more than what it is because they're frustrated guitar players and therefore picked up the bass? If I continue to play simply, will they still respect me in the morning?


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
http://www.facebook.com/polly.wilmot
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You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#884528 - 03/10/11 11:45 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,997
Mike Caro Substudio Offline
Mike Caro Substudio  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,997
NY
Hi Polly

I just happen to stumble across your post here. lol

Okay first of all don't pay too much attention to the details of others including me lol. Boy am I silly today!

1- Play how it's most comfortable for you and especially since your singing as well.

2- Open notes are NOWHERE on the neck they are open smile You got that open low E then A - D - G

Use that open LOW E to death!!!! And Ride that and the open A a lot.
The D and G can sound weak so try to ride those on the 5th fret A string for the D Note and the 3 rd Fret E string for the G note...

3- Try to stay within that box area 3 frets apart. Keep using that because you can leave your third finger on the E string on the 5th fret A note and easily hit D the next string over, G one down, B one up the low open E, drop down to get the F etc...
This makes it easier to play and sing, your hands will move more naturally form that position.

4- Playing up higher is just EASIER on your fingers and wrists,
Down low is a wide spread on bass...

Of course play higher notes when they are a must for the song... Or when your not singing during a guitar solo, you can mess around the neck a bit.

But screw anything else right now but being solid, locked in in time. And LOW notes work wonders in Rock and most songs on the bass.

Work everything from that position.... Sometime soon we'll Skype
I'm always on late at night usually. Cause I'm a nut and I never want to go to sleep smile And I'll show if you want.

Okay smile

Thanks
Mike



Thanks!
Peace Mike
Sub

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#884535 - 03/11/11 12:18 AM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 190
John Cook Offline
Serious Contributor
John Cook  Offline
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Posts: 190
What he may be referring to is that the string vibrates less wide (is that a real phrase?) if you play further up the neck, which means you may get less buzz I think. The trade-off is you also get less sustain for exactly the same reason. In all honesty though, I have played with fantastic bassist and some very average bassists and never noticed a big tonal difference when they were amplified. On an acoustic bass things show up a little more readily.

Mike is 100% right - Play where you feel most comfortable. If you're first starting out I would worry more about getting locked in the groove while singing.

Also, don't worry about "looking" like a loser playing bass and singing - no musician worth his salt is going to say anyone singing and playing bass is a looser if they're playing in the pocket and singing well. Work on the show AFTER the sound.

Hope this helps!!

Best of luck!!

John

#884541 - 03/11/11 12:43 AM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: John Cook]  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
Helping Hand

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Cincinnati, OH USA
Mike, I'm going to print that out...and YES! Let's Skype! smile

John, thank you for your kind, encouraging words! I struggled with the decision of actually continuing to search for a female bass player or really dedicating myself to playing bass, and decided that I actually enjoy playing bass and it will make me a better musician overall (and more valuable to the Cincinnati music scene). I always hated "just" singing...it's much more cool to be playing an instrument too. In my other band I have decided to play rhythm guitar in addition to singing lead, but that's not as much of an issue. It's a lot easier and I'm only playing it on 10 songs out of 40.

Thank you both for your advice and support! love


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
http://www.facebook.com/polly.wilmot
http://www.reverbnation.com/rockcandycincy
You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#884675 - 03/11/11 01:23 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Great stuff here! This thread is terrific.

Polly, I once had a student who was afraid to play up the neck. I'm not saying you are afraid...but he was. This guy made two of me, he was a firefighter and and a decorated combat veteran. I told him, "It's your guitar, you paid for it. You could smash it against the wall if you want to so don't be afraid to play up the neck." LOL.

Anyway, playing up the neck is important also. Yes, there are some tones there that are different from open strings or lower strings. There are also slides up and down that really spice up a line. Then, there's what I call "eyewash."

"Eyewash," in a musical performance, is when you do something that is visual which entertains and enhances the performance. Playing up the neck without looking is great eyewash. A while back, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. Playing up the neck without looking would not only be great eyewash, it would be a real plus in the studio when reading charts. So I started working on it. It is fun to smile at the audience and make a jump up to the middle of the neck and come back down, catching some eyes of folks who "get" what just happened and, if nothing else, connecting with folks just by looking at them and smiling.

So here's a little exercise.

Try Broooooce's "Pink Cadillac" riff (or for us old farts, it's the Peter Gunn riff.) It's done all on one string, makes no difference which one for now, just do it for fun.

The timing is: one and two and three and four and played with straight eights, not a shuffle.

Here is the fretting: 0 0 2 0 3 0 5 3

That's open string, open string, second fret, open string, third fret, open string, fifth fret, third fret.

Repeat.

If using a pick, try: down up down up etc. and also down down down, etc. For fingers, use Index middle index middle. and just index index index.

My usual left had fingering is second fret, first finger; third fret, second finger; fifth fret little finger. I also use just the first finger for all, sometimes, and use the third finger for the fifth fret, then come down with the first finger on the third fret.

Play that over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over
over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over...and then some more.

Then, hey, it's your bass, go ahead and do it without looking. Here's my technique for learning stuff:

Do it five times perfectly without looking. If you do it four times and make a mistake, then you start over....until you do it five times perfectly. Once you hit five times, yell "Yeah Me...I did it!!!" And get yourself a cookie. Reward yourself.

Then go for ten times.

Have fun, God bless, knock 'em dead.

Mike





You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#884688 - 03/11/11 02:31 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 5,294
Vicarn Online content
Top 50 Poster
Vicarn  Online Content
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 5,294
UK
I think Mike has it about right in everything.
If it feels and sounds right to you, it's right.
Vic


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.
http://www.soundclick.com/vicarnold

http://soundcloud.com/vic-arnold
#884734 - 03/11/11 07:31 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Vicarn]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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Denmark
If you want to be popular with the band, keep it simple. Less is more, particularly with bass. Locking in with the drummer is everything. You can really run things that way :-)


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#884782 - 03/11/11 11:02 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
Helping Hand

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Cincinnati, OH USA
Mike thanks! Will do! I was using my thumb, but have started "plucking" with my index, middle, and sometimes ring finger, but mostly index and middle. It catches the strings easier and causes a more definitive sound.

Vic, it does sound right to me, but I'm still getting "You need to play up the neck" much like what Mike Caro was saying.

Magne, I agree. I'm not interested in playing "lead bass"...just want to get the job done and be somewhat good at it!


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
http://www.facebook.com/polly.wilmot
http://www.reverbnation.com/rockcandycincy
You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#885461 - 03/14/11 02:16 AM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
Helping Hand

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Cincinnati, OH USA
Thanks to Mike Caro...I have graduated to playing up the neck for the most part, and it IS easier and sounds better...best of all, I know the notes because of the "chart" he comprised above. I have also graduated from playing with my thumb to finger plucking which is so much more definitive. Since we play rock, this is crucial.

It's still difficult to play and sing, but I have been getting better every week! The girls support me 110% and encourage me which is so wonderful! love I saw a really, REALLY great bass player last night who's been playing for 30 years, and sure, next to him I felt like an "embryo" but tonight at practice I could tell my own improvement and so could the rest of the band. We are attempting more difficult songs now. Will keep ya posted and THANK YOU for everyone's input! smile


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
http://www.facebook.com/polly.wilmot
http://www.reverbnation.com/rockcandycincy
You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#885551 - 03/14/11 03:39 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 190
John Cook Offline
Serious Contributor
John Cook  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 190
Its all about practice Polly, I'm glad to hear its going well!!

Good luck!

#885572 - 03/14/11 05:09 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,428
Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

Top 40 Poster

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,428
Minneapolis
Originally Posted by Mike Caro Substudio
...screw anything else right now but being solid, locked in in time.


Word.

That's the most important thing to focus on right now (and forever, if you stay on bass). All the other stuff will follow.

But yeah, plucking an open G string sure does sound different than the same note played up the neck on the A or D string. It's thicker and ballsier on those heavier strings. On my Rickenbacker, it makes all the difference between sounding wimpy or booming.

Thing is, once you get more familiar with basic patterns of your songs, you might find that playing further up the neck is just as easy as the lower stuff (sometimes even easier). But DON'T WORRY about it yet--since you're already performing, keep it as easy as possible while you're learning, and get to it when you feel ready. What's most important at your gigs is FEELING THE GROOVE. Just pluck those strings like you're getting off on 'em, till the crowd goes wild.

#885579 - 03/14/11 06:22 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Listen to the hi hat. If you're listening to the kick, you're too late. The hi hat tells you when to go. Remember, even if the drummer is off according to a metronome, when the red light is on, the drummer is the time boss. So learn to "read the drummer's mind." You do that by listening to the hi hat and cymbals, they'll set you up for when the kick hits. That's why, traditionally in Nashville, the bass player sets up on the drummer's hi hat side.

The drummer tells the band when to go. You tell the band where to go. smile

Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#885632 - 03/14/11 10:30 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
Helping Hand

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,526
Cincinnati, OH USA
Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
Just pluck those strings like you're getting off on 'em, till the crowd goes wild.


Hey Little Mister! This is a FAMILY site! Keep it clean! laugh

John, thanks for the good wishes. We are still tickled in spite of our uphill climb. smile

Mike Dunbar, great advice! Nobody else told me that (not even the drummer...but then maybe she wouldn't know to tell me that). I've been trying to follow the guitar, but obviously hitting the strings with the drum beats. I'm playing the songs at about 75% right now (keep in mind singing lead on all but "Seven Nation Army"...turned the vox over to the rythm guitar player). I'm fine unless the song calls for some "noodling" bass...then I scramble and mess up sometimes.

Last edited by Polly Hager; 03/14/11 10:32 PM.

http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
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You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#885644 - 03/14/11 11:27 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Polly Hager]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Polly, in every tight band, someone is the "clock." In most bands it is the drummer. In bluegrass, it is often the banjo. But in some bands they follow the bass player or the guitarist. In studios here, it is always the drummer (makes sense, I guess). An old buddy of mine, great drummer, played with Duane Eddy and with the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose, was the guy who told me about the hi hat. Then I noticed most stages here were set up with the bass player to the drummer's left, where a right handed drummer would set his hi hat.

Check this out, how we chase the beat around, keeping it tight while the song accelerates: the drummer chases the guitar player and I chase him LOL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWJlPoH75Yc





You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#885689 - 03/15/11 04:57 AM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,997
Mike Caro Substudio Offline
Mike Caro Substudio  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,997
NY
That was great Mike enjoyed it smile


Thanks!
Peace Mike
Sub

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#891887 - 04/12/11 03:29 PM Re: My Retarded Bass Question [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 22
Canyontide Offline
Casual Observer
Canyontide  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 22
Deep South
Hey Polly..I also had to learn bass out of necessity. I needed bass on my songs, in the studio..I do everything else, so I needed to figure out bass too. I just started playing, and learned by trial and error. I played on the first few frets as well...till I got more comfortable..that was 5 years ago. Now, I also find that playing further up the neck, has a better tone..for ME. I love a great Jazz bass, and playing further up the neck sounds smoother to me, and I like it on my songs. So, all that said, do what is most comfortable for YOU, and then, when you're ready, you can decide what is best for what you're playing.

Have fun!!


Have a blessed day!

Canyon..aka, Carol

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