Creating isn’t easy. The hardest part is that it can’t be taught. Sure, you can learn some rules here and there, but the act of creating is spontaneous and often thoughtless. That being said, there are a few things you can do to stimulate the process.
In this article, we will give you tips of how to make your own bass line.
But before we start, take into consideration our first sentiment; creativity is not something that can be taught. Being an average bassist is something that can.
Our tips will simply guide you through the thing to look for when you are looking to put bass to a song, but by no means are they actually step by step instructions on how to be creative; those don’t exist.
First off, study your song. If your song is slower paced, then it is quite obvious that you will need to write a slow paced bass line. Doing a bass solo in the midst of an emotional break will only subtract from the piece.
Keep this in mind if you hope to convey your message through your playing. While you may have sat in your room honing your chops, listeners aren’t always interested in this; they want to hear the piece itself, not your showcase of arpeggios and tapping runs.
Stand back and take an outside perspective. Thinking that your bass line is perfect is the same as believing that you are a bass god or a gift to the musical world; just because you think it, doesn’t make it so.
Look at the piece through a set of foreign ears; what path begs for bass, the guitar or the drums?
If your piece is fast paced then it is best that you follow the guitar to avoid it mudding itself into the drums. Likewise, if your piece is slower, you have free reign; you can follow the drums, or you can simply build off of the guitarist’s melody and play your own, in key.
Unfortunately, there is no formula on how to make your own bass line and soloing on the bass guitar. Making a bass line requires you to study your own piece and, more importantly, study other musician’s pieces. This will show you not only what works well, but what doesn’t work at all. In turn, it will help you avoid making the same mistakes.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is limitations; in music, there are none. Modesty, however, is something quite different, and can make the difference between a startlingly colorful piece, and a beautiful intricate piece.
Treat your music as you would art; each note is a stroke, and each stroke should have purpose. If your purpose is to show off, then chances are your piece will suffer, as your note will become unnecessary and overwhelming to the listener.
Practice is the key to perfecting writing your own bass lines. Not only will practice teach you how to make things work, but it will develop your ear so that you notice things that simply don’t work which, in the long run, is almost more important than knowing what works. Try different ways, and never assume that your bass line is simply ‘good enough.’ Strive to make each line perfect for the piece it was written.
JamPlay gives you the best of both worlds by offering highly structured curricula and a variety of teachers each covering various musical styles for you to learn from. Their video lesson quality is phenomenal and showcases more than 5 different camera angles!
With lessons taught by renowned players like Billy Sheehan, you can now see the exact finger placements and mimic techniques used by the legends themselves.