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Old 10-24-2011, 01:59 PM   #1
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Writing a song around bass

Hey, this is my first post to these forums. I just figured I'd ask this, because it's something I've been thinking about for a while. Do you think it would be possible to start a song with a bass riff? I would think yes, if it wasn't for my experiance with bass following the guitar. Could it be done backwards?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, stories and opinions on this

Thanks guys,

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Old 10-25-2011, 04:38 PM   #2
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Do you mean a song intro on bass, or do you mean writing?
I do almost all of my writing on bass. There are things that translate differently between guitar and bass if you don't play bass with a pick, but nothing inhibiting.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HaveFaithWithin View Post
Do you think it would be possible to start a song with a bass riff? I would think yes, if it wasn't for my experiance with bass following the guitar. Could it be done backwards?
Of course it's possible, in fact I do it all the time.
I like the bass to do a melody and then maybe the guitar does more of an intricate drone type riff so you can really get into the bass line. Does that make sense?
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:56 PM   #4
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The idea of bass-driven writing can be hard for guitards and band members to understand, but it's totally do-able. I did a lot of the writing in my prog/post metal band. I think that if you are doing this as a bassist it helps if you have a reasonable understanding of the other instruments too, like how to communicate what you were thinking in terms of drums or guitar approaches.

I think the easiest way to start is to form an alliance/good relationship with your drummer. Get bass/drums down before bringing it to the guitarist(s). Think out your ideas as thoroughly as possible beforehand.

Issues of creative control and all that are always fun. Once my guitarist got into an argument with me and the singer and said- "I am [Band Name]!"

Collaboration and the interpersonal skills involved are an art of their own.

Bass driven music is awesome. I like music built from the drums up the most (imagine being a drummer trying to drive the writing process! lol).
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:29 PM   #5
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most of Candlemass and Iron Maiden (well the good stuff anyway) is written by the bassist
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:14 PM   #6
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Janick Gers and Adrian Smith write awesome stuff.

But yes, it's totally possible to write a song from the bass up. In fact, it's in theory, easier than writing from the melody down. Bass sets up the fundamental, the chord changes, the groove/rhythm/kick drum/everything. The bass guitar is really the most important instrument (and that includes vocals which I don't really consider an instrument...but I'm sure I'll get neg just for that so I'll digress) in a rock/metal band. And Has been since the 50s.

I'm actually working on the concept of a song for my band right now that has 2 basses (our bassist and me) going at points (I'll be switching back and forth between bass and guitar throughout the song) just the really hammer home some thunderous stuff.

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Old 10-28-2011, 05:47 AM   #7
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I feel redundant, but yes. One of my most-complete songs was built on the bass. It's not just the bedrock, but it carries a melody as well.

Granted, it's all synth, but it's still bass!

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Old 10-28-2011, 09:29 AM   #8
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Impossible. Everyone knows a song starts with the most important part, the guitar solo, and is built out from there.

Guitar techs are for sissies.

Learn some damn music theory, don't complain, and you'll be a better person. -Schecterwhore

Show me a truly awesome guitar for under $1000 and I'll show you hateful lies.
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