Creating bass lines

I’ve never really had a method. I mainly just noodle until something sounds cool or see what pops up in my mind’s ear which, thinking about it, may be a bit limiting?

What’s your process for crafting bass lines or songs?

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For crafting a song a good drummer will get you farther than anything if yr starting from scratch. That’s where groove comes in. Then lines seem to flow as you’ve someone to bounce off of. Then having a definite key, one that applies to any melody you have, vocals etc. Then is it major or minor, or both? Then a verse section, chorus and bridge sections and maybe a fill for a solo. Then again for a Bass line you can always improvise around any of those “structures” once you’ve laid a foundation everyone gets. The by far best way are the happy accidents when you are just noodling and something new pops up all by itself and it’s original! Here’s a great example of the groove thang.


Haha nice find @muff!

@Chris, personally I probably have about as many processes as I do bass line ideas. Sometimes I think of a bass player, band, or song I want to emulate, sometimes I think of a scale I want to play with, or a rhythmic idea, or something to fit over a certain drumbeat like @muff mentioned… or sometimes the muse just graces you with the perfect idea, no concocting required. :slight_smile:

For me, context is really key. The “perfect” bass line (if there is such a thing) depends on everything that’s happening around it.

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Yeah, that’s why you the teacher…

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Totally agree, and also agree with the myriad-process-theory as described by Dr. Fossgreen above.
There’s a KILLER drum loop app called Drum Genius (it has the world’s worst icon):

The developer took the time to find and painstakingly recreate actual drum loops and parts with his really good-sounding MIDI drums. The result is about 400 pretty authentic loops with pitch and speed control. The swing catalog alone is worth it. There’s tons of bizarre and heavy jazz odd times in there, tons of world music… it’s killer.

This has been an endless bass-groove generating machine for me. Just find a loop, and play to it.


Ooh, cool! And yeah, wow, that app icon. WTF. Is that supposed to be what a drum genius looks like? I never noticed Bernard Purdie or David Garibaldi being green, maybe I wasn’t looking closely enough. :slight_smile:


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Thanks all. Some great tips. I might begin compiling all the ideas into a list a bit like an artists palette to choose from.

I read an interview with Robert Smith of The Cure talking about when he was in the studios writing songs. His method would be “Ok, by the end of today let’s write a song that makes us all cry” … I love that angle, writing songs in terms of what actual emotional impact you want them to have. Cool.


Wow, that’s awesome!

Since I’m learning the drums while I’m learning the bass, I’d like to come up with my own drum loops. :crazy_face:

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