Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Good Bassist

I've been playing bass for several years and I'm still learning something new everyday. For a while I've realized that as bassists we have a very important role in a band. A good bassist needs to keep time, keep rhythm, keep groove, keep melody etc. A good bassist is aware of what the drummer, guitarist, vocalist etc are all doing apart from focusing on his/her own playing. Which means that a good bassist is the glue. When I started I was very flashy by virtue of having been a lead guitarist for sometime. Then I realized that while flashy is cool...fulfilling the above role is much cooler. Be flashy once in a while but remember thy role in the band. This is easier said than done.
The point I am trying to make is that if we have to improve in our role, we have to go beyond what we know. Jam with better musicians. Not just other bassists. Great drummers will get your timing in shape. Great guitarists will get your sense of groove and rhythm in place and great vocalists are excellent sources of solid melodies. Everytime you start thinking "hey I am really awesome at this" go and find a more experienced/knowledgeable musician and jam with them. It will be a beautiful reality check and you will always be at the top of your game.
This is of course not just useful information for the bassist. This is equally important for every musician. Want to become better? Find better. And when you do, jam with them and later talk to them and be very open and ask them "hey is there anything I could have done better?". NEVER fall into the trap of thinking that you are super awesome just because you think you are better than those around you. Make the effort and go find better than yourself.

WOKAY. Enough lecture. Go Play.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Root Note

To ALL fans of bass guitars and bass guitar music out there: Welcome to my new blog for just that!

Whether you are a musician (bass and otherwise) or a music lover, I invite you into my world of the Low End. This post is titled "The Root Note" as it is my first post in this blog.

Now for some context. I have been a musician for 11 years now. I started out with guitar and played that for several years before playing bass. I was always interested in the sound of the bass groove thanks to one of my favourite bands: Red Hot Chili Peppers (who would have guessed?). Flea's approach to bass in the sea of music that I was listening to at that time really stood out to me, making me wish I was playing bass as well. As a result, any time I touched a bass, it resulted in some lame-ass slapping attempt!

However, as the story goes for many guitarists-turned-bassist, I got into a band that already had two guitarists and needed a bassist. I just wanted to jam and said hey yea I am your man! I promptly bought a bass and started practicing. In the beginning my approach to bass was very guitarist-like (solo at every chance until the lead guitarist says "hey stop that! that's my job!"). However, I seemed to have a feel for the bass already and quickly grew as a player.

That was then, and today my influences include all the usual suspects including Flea, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, Victor Wooten etc. Now, I can't help but be funky, jazzy and throw in a harmonic every so often. I am pretty sure I am nearly all bassist now.

So that's that.

Groove on!