Tapping basslines

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by distressed_romeo, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    Is anyone here any good at tapping a bassline with one hand while playing a melody with the other?

    This is something I'd really like to get better. My ability to play multiple parts on either guitar or keys has improved since the summer, but I'm still not nearly as good as I'd like to be at it. This is one of the real holy grails of musicianship to me.

    Any tips or thoughts?
     
  2. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Gear Junkie

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  3. Jason

    Jason Forum MVP

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    I *attempt* it normally failing miserably
     
  4. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman 8-0ctaves

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    Yes. What exactly are your goals?
     
  5. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    The main thing is playing true counterpoint (a la Bach's keyboard music), as at the moment when I currently compose or improvise in this way, it tends to be based on keeping an ostinato going with the left hand whilst adding a melody with the right. This is fine to some extent, but it's getting pretty limited. What I'm aiming for is to create interweaving melodic parts, although I'm aware mastering this sort of thing is a lifetime's discipline.

    I mentioned Bach, and working through his music at the piano over the summer has helped to some extent, although my shoddy keyboard technique's doing me no favours.
     
  6. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman 8-0ctaves

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    A great choice. I can only speak from my experience and also include my opinions about the whole process.
    The goal is to gain indepence, NOT to spend months "mapping out" a piece,re-arranging it to fit on your guitar , memorizing it and to make a video of a performance.

    You want to develope independence so you can eventually improvise freely with both hands playing independent lines.
    Bach's 15 two part inventions takes the pianist through a variety of left hand lines played against right hand lines. Some "tappers" spread either hand's dedicated parts out for either hand to play.So they start the bass clef in the left hand but then play the next note with the right hand, then go back to the left hand for the next note. This type of playing concept is a long term disaster. It destroys the fluidity of phrasing and of one hand playing one clef while the other hand plays the other clef.Just my opinion.

    There are easier harpsichord and piano pieces available, but the two part inventions will set you straight. One thing is that traditional guitar "thinking" has to go. You may need to play bass cleff with your right hand on certain pieces. You learn to use all your fingers.

    There are considerations:
    Range of your axe
    Span of orchestration of the piece you will be working on
    Sight reading pitch, bass and treble cleff and rhythm
    deciding the best fingering to avoid both hands ending up needing the same sting at the same time
    developing good touch technique which means forgetting "tapping" and all it implies.
    I could get you started on these pieces.
    Does any of this sound interesting?
     
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  7. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    Cheers for the advice (E-rep!). Sounds like you've already been through this process many times over, lol...

    I've already encountered all the difficulties you mention when tackling Bach's music...
    When arranging one of his preludes for nylon string guitar I found myself wishing for at least three extra bass strings, as I ended up keeping the movement of the chords intact, but losing most of the movement in the bass-line, which ruined the feel of the piece for me.
    I've encountered a similar problem to the one you mention resulting from trying to divide lines up between two hands; when I play from two clefs at once, I tend to look at the score vertically, thinking 'what are both hands doing on this beat', and looking at everything like that, as if one was playing chords one a guitar, which as you noted, ruins the feel of two independant parts.

    Regarding touch technique, I already tend to approach it in the way you describe, using a pianistic approach rather than in the same way I would approach an eight-finger legato lick. Metalmike and I were discussing this in the thread in 'Lessons and Techniques' regarding legato technique.

    Is this the sort of thing you're going to tackle in your instructional book?
     
  8. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman 8-0ctaves

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    You sound like you are on the right track.
    I have always wanted to play bass with one hand and guitar with the other.So it has been a long time facination of mine.

    If you can't pick up the Bach Inventions and read them down, then this book will show you how. It has a fresh approach to sight reading and a different way to view the fretboard. However, it's not finished yet. I wanted to spend at least 2 years playing the 12-string before writing about it . I use it's fretboard as the master fretboard because of it's 432 fret positions.

    Pianists have been playing Bach for hundreds of years, so "if it ain't broke,don't fix it". One hand is devoted to one part and the other to the other hand to the remaining part. The idea is to explore all the work arounds because we are not playing this music on a piano. Thos guys have a string for every single note!

    I don't think in terms of what each hand is doing on each beat. The right hand plays a phrase, and the left hand is also playing a phrase. it's getting those two phrases to flow together.
    We want to sight read and have total independence.
    A good place to start is by touching the first phrase of the treble cleff part with the left hand. Then try it with the right hand in another position on the fretboard. Do the same with the bass clef. Then try doing both lines switching off hands.
     
  9. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    It's been a relatively recent thing for me, as when I've tackled classical music in the past, it's always been the violin or classical guitar repetoire. Since the summer I've been trying to improve my keyboard skills (played on and off for years, but never had any serious formal training, which I really regret now), which is how I've renewed my appreciation for Bach's keyboard music.
    It's improved my touch-style technique no end, although the issue of hand independance remains. Playing Travis-picking type stuff on the acoustic has been interesting as well...

    I was trying Invention IV tonight...going to give it a go on the guitar (should be easier, as my reading on guitar is much better than on the keys) later, but unfortunately I can't right now, as it's early in the morning, and my flatmates are asleep (damn day-walkers!).

    I'll try your hand-switching idea once I've broken out the axe later today, and report back with how I get on.:yesway:

    PS. Are you familiar with Trey Gunn? He's recorded some of the Two-Part Inventions on Warr Guitar, although I can't find any vids right now...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IwjnT70Oi8

    Posted vids of this guy before, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone play Bach better on a guitar...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm9QsZcdGS4&mode=related&search=
     
  10. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman 8-0ctaves

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    Yes,I have heard of Trey. The Warr Guitar, The Stick etc. still top out with an E4 string, so playing piano music where it is written takes a little more effort.
    Somewhere I have a few recordings I made of me playing the inventions on the Stick in the 1970's and on the 7-string bass in the 80's. I would approach it all differently now. I stopped trying to re-arrange the music to fit into 4.5 octaves. By this I mean it's easier to play when you have, say , 7 places to play middle C as opposed to only having 4.

    This is in line with our other thread, but I developed a concept for two handed independence called "Rhythmic Idling". It is a work out, but it really establishes and defines the whole process. I may make a video to demonstrate the concept,or at least part of it. It is used to get one to "wake up" to the energy flow going on within and each hand.
    It makes developing two handed independence fun.

    I don't think I subscribe to the "better"or "best" concept. Either it is played correctly,or it's not. Pianist Glen Gould does his own interpretation of the Bach inventions,and I have never heard anyone play them on that level on a guitar.

    As with any set piece (non-improvised) of music, you can always interpret it in a new way.

    Here's my point on the Bach pieces- You can figure them out, memorize them, listen to them on a CD and learn them by rote and perform them.
    People who never played them may even be impressed by the performance.That's all good. But that's missing the point. Learning one Bach invention doesn't make the player "awesome". Being able to play all the inventions and Sinfonias is a stepping stone to being a fluent two handed player.
    The reading of the parts is the point.Rhythmic accuracy, eveness in tone and volume,etc. Then you learn from them. Remember, this is just my POV.

    Pianists who have spent time playing them can hear if they are played correctly or not. From my point of view, you want to be able to play them as you read them.

    It's like reading English. You can memorize the story by listening, or read it for yourself. I see a few guys learning by listening and they get a few words wrong. Anyone can work anything out, but you want to be as fluent as any other instrumentalist who simply reads the part down.

    The more you read,the better you become at reading. Then you can cover a large amount of literature in a short amount of time.


    I think you sound like you have all the elements to play these pieces well and do a great job with them. Nothing is hard or difficult. You just have to do what needs to be done so you can play them.

    Just for clarification:
    Invention #4 spans nearly 4 octaves from C2 as the lowest note to the highest note , B flat4.To play it where the piano does, your treble cleff top space high E5 is really the 12th fret high E string. The first melody note D, D4 293.66 Hz, is really the D below your high E string.
     
  11. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    +10000000000 for Glenn Gould...his recordings are really the definitive version of the Inventions for me as well.

    You've really hit the nail on the head regarding the purpose of studying them; treating them as a party trick is totally pointless, and doesn't really do the music justice at all. Most non-classical guitarists/bassists seem to totally miss the point of studying the classical repetoire. I mean think how many awful renditions of Paganini's 24 Caprices we hear from rock guitarists...
    I posted the Adam Fulara video just because, to my ears, he tends to get into the spirit of the pieces on a slightly deeper level than most rock players.
    Hopefully once I get to MI next year I'll have brushed up enough on my reading to begin serious study of this music. I really regret not having started on piano or violin when I was much younger now...

    Thanks for your support. Hopefully I'll have some recordings eventually to show evidence of my labours.
     
  12. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman 8-0ctaves

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    Adam does a great job and I have seen several of hisl videos. I don't include him in the group of "party trick" players. He uses two fretboards, so I don't think of his playing in our discussion.

    Don't forget to work on fingering and shifts . Also, JMO, I wouldn't wait on sight reading. The more you do it, the easier it gets. There are ways to make reading notation effortless.
     
  13. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    Yeah, I'm already doing as much reading and transcription as I can in order to get it up to speed. I'm well aware it's a use-it-or-lose it sort of thing. Unfortunately I've got to try and balance my practice time with finishing my academic commitments at university, which is frustrating, as it's difficult to keep up a consistent practice regime.:( My sightsinging isn't too bad at the moment, but it's the page-to-fretboard/keyboard connection that still needs work...

    You used to go down the two-fretboard approach at one stage didn't you? I've been tempted to give that a go, but my bass is stranded back at my parents' house at the moment...

    Have you seen Stanley Jordan perform BTW? I brought his DVD when I was beginning to seriously get into this style of playing...wasn't actually that informative. He's a great player, but I wish he'd choose some slightly more substantial material to perform.
     
  14. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman 8-0ctaves

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    I had no choice at one point in time but to play two instruments. The one fretboard concept lead me to the Stick. In 1974, it was a radical concept. I like the consistency of tone and volume when I play on one fretboard, like playing piano. One continuous voice. With two guitars, there are gaps. On my Adler 12, if I choose to make it sound like two different guitars, I can with the stereo circuit.

    I remember when Stanley Jordan came on the scene. Some of us Stick players thought "Why not just play The Stick? " . I saw him play live once. He was a pioneer for tapping guitar.
    Like traditional guitarists, there is plenty of room for different interpretation with touch players. It is always interesting to see what players come up with.
     
  15. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    Definitely. It'll be interesting to see how far it's developed in, say, fifty years time.
     

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