As a bass player, you put in just as much hard work as a guitarist, and when it is your time to shine, you want to be blinding. Putting your thousands of hours of hard practice into bass solos and fills can be a bit overwhelming.
With so many techniques and tricks, yet so little time to play them all, you may find yourself stumbling over your own two feet to try and complete your solo.
Today, we’ll give you some pointers that will help you to avoid doing just that.
First off, let’s talk about fills. Fills are short, sweet, and to the point. This means that your playing has to be short, sweet, and to the point as well.
Before you write a bass fill, take a few things into consideration. The first thing is your key signature. As nice as it would be to be able to play whatever it is that pops into your head at the moment, within the context of a song, this is never possible.
You need to make sure no matter what your fill is, that it adds to the dynamics of the song. You don’t want to play a D Major fill in an F Major song; this will take away from the song’s structure and feel. The second thing is you need to choose a technique beforehand so that you don’t wind up lost.
This means if you want to play a legato bass run, establish the fact before you play your fill lest you find yourself lost in the moment. Being lost in the moment may sound like every musicians dream, but it shouldn’t be; if you are lost in the moment, playing whatever your heart’s desire, where does that leave the rest of your band mates? As tempting is it may be to expansive and extravagant, keep your fills simple.
Now let’s talk about solos. Solos are not all out improvisational free for all’s; they have a direction and a purpose. Solos are meant to highlight you as a musician. In order to highlight you properly, your solo should be built of your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Stick to techniques that you feel you have mastered, and steer away from those that you still struggle with from time to time; if you are having an off day, the audience won’t know that and they will just take your sloppiness as, well, sloppiness.
Build. Solos should be crafted from the ground up. A simple riff should be your frame. To this frame, you can add more and more. Building off a simple pattern helps build anticipation and keep your audience interested. If you simply play all of your best riffs and throw out all of your techniques at once, the listener will lose a reason to keep listening afterwards. You want to keep their attention.
With these tips, you should have a better understanding of what goes into a bass fill and a bass solo. The final stage is to craft your own. Take your time, let yourself flow, and most of all, have fun, because if you aren’t, then neither is your listener.
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