Post Number: 110
|Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 4:14 pm: |
I was going through the various postings and random thoughts occur, (scary huh?). ;)
So, out of curiosity, how many bass soloists are there here on this site?
If you're a bass soloist, what is the greatest challenge you face?
For myself one of the greatest challenges is the 'education' of the venues/people I play at and for. It's quite common for people to think bass soloist = bass solo, as the concept of a stand alone bassist playing complete songs/tunes and melodic stuff is so unusual/out of the ordinary. As a bass soloist do you find this to be true also?
Another challenge for me is material. Too often I'll learn a song and then find it just doesn't 'translate' well as an instrumental (as I don't sing) or, a viable piece as the lyrics tell a story that melodically are the same notes repeated, which makes the tune 'boring' per say. Do you find this an issue/problem also?
As the title states, curiosity drives my questions.
Thanks in advance for your responses.
Post Number: 1285
|Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 8:12 am: |
I like to solo & don't sing either but i find the groove better to solo in while outrite just jamming real funky stuff here's one cut i did some time ago!http://mghost.musicgroups.com/sitephp/musicians/public/music.php?Music=kbarnes
Post Number: 1167
|Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 9:03 am: |
I think the number of soloists jumping into this discussion would imply that you are of a rare breed indeed. Your gig is a very hard one to pull off, and from what you've posted it sounds like you do it very well..
To address perhaps one of your questions, medleys are an excellent way to cover songs with 27 verses without having to do the entire piece. Perhaps it could be done with extended quotations within the framework of other tunes sometimes, so you don't become the "medley queen"...
Post Number: 111
|Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 11:54 am: |
Keavin - Thanks for responding. Nice tune.
On a kinda related 'note' ;) I did an 'independent contractor' street fair gig with a band a couple of months ago and was a 'little bit miffed' as out of about eight tunes I only got to do one solo. One of the things I've found with being a solo artist is the unforeseen/unintended consequence of 'becoming spoiled', in as that when unaccompanied if I hit a 'good groove', I can take off and 'run with it' whereas with other players I'm more restricted with what I play. There have been times I've avoided playing with others simply because I've gotten bored. Not to say the 'groove' isn't important (or fun) mind you, or that the energy of a band isn't a good thing, it's just that I discovered the freedom of playing as a soloist. Truly, I don't know if I could ever go back and be happy for the 'long run'.
John - Thank you.
As you suspect with the number of soloists jumping in on this thread, a bass soloist is a rarity. While not as rare as I first thought, 'way back when I started soloing', still very much a minority. On a positive, my competition is limited in numbers. On a negative, those who become soloists are generally quite accomplished, which makes for some tough competition. ;)
The medley 'solution' is one I've already incorporated (great minds think alike eh?) and is quite effective. On a related aside, I like it when I see people in the audience being 'captured in the moment' and then see the look of surprise when I segway into another tune. Yep, medleys are my friend.
Thanks for responding guys.
Post Number: 157
|Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 12:40 pm: |
Those folks in Poulsbo don't know how good they have it!
One of my favorite things that the Grateful Dead would do is start a song, go to a second song part way through the first, then return to the first song for wrap-up and exit. It gave an 'epic adventure' feel that would be missing if the two songs were played seperately. A little different approach than a medly that gave a satisfying sense of closure to the audience.
Post Number: 212
|Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 2:22 pm: |
I started doing what I like to call bass-centric music around 2002. I used to always play in a band with a guitarist and keyboardist, and tended to ride on the coattails of the guitarist. But I began jamming with just my drummer friend, trying to make music where just the bass and drums were sufficient. We recorded once with the guitarist, but the next time the guitarist wasn't available and I got really worried - would we be able to come up with anything on our own? What was I going to do without the guy?!!!
Well, it turned out OK. We've recorded stuff at a friend's studio several times over the intervening years, and when I moved I found a studio in my new location. What I would do is take the tracks we recorded and either overdub stuff at home over the original bass and drums, or keep only the drum track and re-record or newly record everything! I also have recorded some stuff with just bass, but usually there are at least two bass tracks, if not more.
I think this is a little different than what you are talking about, though, because we really haven't tried to do it live. I have been considering doing it live, and in order to fill things out I have been incorporating synth-bass pedals. Not that I expected that to be easy, but it's more difficult than I thought it would be! I've experimented a little bit with loopers too, but at this point don't see myself diving into that route.
I can see how "educating" people about solo bass could be very frustrating. I don't play live much anymore with a band or otherwise, but I often find it amazing that live music works at all! I'm impressed by anyone that does it for real.
Post Number: 112
|Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - 11:26 am: |
Thanks for the input guys.
Paul - I agree about the 'adventure' aspect when playing multiple tunes combined into a single 'production/show' piece. My medley's are exactly that type/kind of approach/format. Play a tune, segway into another one, segway back and out. It's a nice way to resolve a medley, not to mention being able to play an 'extended' version of the tune(s). Also adding my 'twiddly bits' between sections, adds more to the length and character of the 'tune(s)' and 'individualizes/kimberlyizes' the material (which is usually a good thing). ;) Yep, medleys are my friend.
hieronymous - Sounds like you've got quite the interesting project/approach to what you're doing. A "little different" from my 'direction' sounds about right. ;) Seriously though, as with you I've also considered pedals and may even follow through on them 'one of these days'. Truthfully though, it'll be awhile as I'm still working on my synth and looper stuff and a new distortion device. Not to mention the standard 'search for material'. Actually I'll likely go with a midi foot controller before anything else substantial/significant. If nothing else it will allow 'smoother' changes between patches using presets. I still need find out if I can run multiple patches simultaneously with one. That will be sweet if doable.
The "education" aspect of being a bass soloist is an issue, but as I've found it only takes a 'song or two' for someone to 'comprehend'. It's the getting in the door with that song that's the most challenging part. ;)
And I guess that's about it. Thanks for those who participated. Anyone else? Feel free to 'chime in'.
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - 12:31 pm: |
Kimberly,Iam six sting bassist turned guitar player 10 yrs ago I also have a degree in upright bass.I found that looping short solo sections consisting of 4 to 8 measures of the tune or writing a very short solo section seems to work well for solo playing with the loop station.I play the melody then solo with loop ,fade solo out to melody again.I'm 50 and looking to play around town dinner music.I'm new to the club and thought I would share some Ideas
Post Number: 1642
|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 3:30 am: |
I've been without a band for a couple of years now, just playing at home, but does that make me a bass soloist? I find the challenge is to get a groove going, and to find new "moves".
The idea of using a looper doesn't really tempt me - listen to Bach's cello suites, and consider that it's just one note at a time (with the odd arpeggio or double-stop) however all the movements and harmonies going on are suggesting a small orchestra.
I bought an NS Design WAV electric upright earlier this year, which has stirred up a couple of ideas.
Post Number: 791
|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 12:10 pm: |
My main issue as a bass soloist is getting the other people I play with to get out of my way.
Post Number: 113
|Posted on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 11:10 am: |
Bass6 - Thanks for your participation and welcome to the club! What you describe is pretty much the approach I take when using my looper. Laying down four to eight measures of 'the groove' followed by melody, followed by melodic noodling, followed by melody and out. The amount of melodic noodling is generally determined by how well I've been able to 'hook' audience with my presentation, or as often has it, my mood. ;)
When playing 'stand alone' (no looper/synth), (as I realize during the composition of this response), I generally play the tune/melody without a solo section. (Hmmm...begins to ponder this 'revelation'.)
Anyway, as I began my soloist venture (first gig January 2007), for some months prior to that I was in the process of 'putting my act together'. At that time I had to conceptualize what it was I was trying to 'say' as a soloist and who/what I wanted to be 'when I grew up'. ;) Dinner and dance were the options I saw initially but, as time has passed I've now changed focus/direction and am working toward the 'presentation/show/performance/experience' type production/musical adventure. So far I'm fortunate that the venues I play regularly are supportive of this 'style/genre' of musical presentation. Long term viability will be determined when I 'go out into the world', i.e. 'road gigs'. Time will tell the tale.
Adriaan - the challenge is indeed getting a groove going (when playing solo). On a positive, playing at home gives one the time and freedom to experiment ("new moves"), or just play with wild abandon. ;)
When I'm in my home practice environment I find myself able to play for hours, as I do improv 'naturally'. I guess I'm just 'lucky' this is part of my talent and skills, not to mention a fundamental part of 'who I am'.
When it comes to Bach, or any of the great classical composers for that matter, I'm just a 'babe in the woods', as I'm a self taught, play it by ear type of gal. My use of a looper is one of the things that 'makes me an item' as I'm basically a 'one woman band'. ;) Multiple instruments and voices from my synth, multiple parts on the looper and my bass, I'm good for gigging.
Bradley - Your comment made me laugh out loud! :D That is sooo.... true!
Post Number: 1174
|Posted on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 12:42 pm: |
I've just had an epiphany: I need to get a looper!
Great thread to read, even though I know I'll never be able to pull off the solo bass gig...
Post Number: 5568
|Posted on Sunday, October 21, 2007 - 7:41 pm: |
Hi Kimberly, sorry I'm late.
With you as inspiration, I've kinda sorta been working in that direction (solo gig); though it will take a long time before I'm there.
Post Number: 119
|Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 4:44 pm: |
Looks like I'm not the only one running behind and a bit late on this thread. Apologies.
John - Thank you for your input. A looper is a wonderful device that would certainy improve your playing if nothing else, as it's so easy make a loop and 'get down with your bad self'. ;) A phenomenon I've called 'time warp' can happen quite easily though. I've been quite shocked more than a few times, when I've become aware I've literally been playing for hours and not noticed the passage of time because of becoming so 'into' the groove(s). As it's happened for me, I can lay a groove down and start noodling around with it, which can then lead to another groove and then another one and then another one...
Be forewarned. ;)
Ultimately, you will play many more notes than you do currently, which to me is what it's all about for personal practice, as each and every note counts, both good and/or bad.
Dave - Good to see you. You said, "With you as inspiration". I say, that is one of the best compliments I've heard in quite awhile, not that I don't receive compliments mind you. ;) But seriously, I consider this one heck of a compliment and thank you very much! Big smile.
John and Dave - Being a bass soloist. (Bear with me, I promise I'll reach my point, 'eventually'.) ;)
Roughly three years ago I hadn't played for about 17 years because I was so burned out from traveling and being a human 'juke box', way back in the day. Hotel circuits primarily, playing what was on the charts. Young(er), carefree and living the adventure was good for some years (15)but, it about killed my music. Actually, it literally did for 17 years.
Anyway, a bit less than three years ago I started playing again to accompany a housemate just for fun.
About 2 1/2 years ago I started playing open mikes.
About 2 years ago I played with a few bands.
About 1 1/2 years ago I started to think there had to be more to it then what I was doing with a band and the glimmer of becoming a soloist began. Soon thereafter I got my looper due to realizing my skills weren't sufficient to 'stand alone'. Soon after that I added my synth because I became aware I needed more than my looper and to 'sweeten the pot' and increase the 'size' of my overall sound.
About ten months ago I played my first solo gig and I haven't looked back. Bands are fun, but for me, being a soloist is not only more fun, but much more gratifying for my heart and soul.
And now to the 'promised point'.
Granted, being a soloist isn't for everyone, but if you're one of those that it works for, the pay back is well worth the effort. The reward of knowing that *you* as an *individual* reached out and touched someone with *your* music. Not with a band, but as an individual. This is 'hands down' the most rewarding aspect of my music I've *ever* had, regardless of the however many and however good the bands were I played with through my musical career.
John - The cartoon of the frog being swallowed by a big bird and his hands choking the birds throat comes to mind and the real, (or imagined), caption of "Never say never" comes to mind. Three years ago I had no idea of being a soloist, much less playing music professionally again. Three years later, here I am playing music again and having more fun than I ever did before.
Dave - It is a project that takes time, dedication and effort, but if you keep on keepin' on, the reward is well worth the effort. If I can be of any assistance please feel free to 'give a holler'. I'm happy to help in any way I can.
And with (all) that, I think I'm going to go take a nap now. ;)
Post Number: 120
|Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 4:54 pm: |
PS. My offer of assistance goes out to anyone who's interested.