The Bass As A Solo Instrument

For modern rock with bass as the lead, check out Death From Above 1979 and Royal Blood.

I play with a bunch of guys in the trades; they’re going to LOVE this!

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Best example yet for a complete song, with the Bass as the only instrument, that a beginner should be able to handle. Not too crazy about the bass line but he did it.
Thank You :+1: :+1: :+1:

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I was coming to that same conclusion and then finally @Old_Noob posted a video in post #57 that I think answered my initial question best.

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In my opinion, a bass is not as good of an instrument to play the melody on, as others, but of course you can do it. While it is not as dire as trying to play a melody on drums, it will never sound as good (to me) sonically as a higher scale instrument like a guitar. I appreciate that there are bassists that do their best to bridge that gap, and I appreciate their technical prowess, but I’d still rather hear a guitar playing it.

Think of it the other way around too. I’d rather hear single note rhythm on a bass than on a guitar. I can eat soup with a fork, but I’d rather use a spoon, because it is better at that particular job. We have different instruments for a reason. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

The question I’ve always had is whether this is because we’ve grown up hearing music a certain way or whether it is biological. Nature vs Nurture. However, I think it is mostly biological if I had to wager a guess.

All that being said, if you want to solo “Flight of the Bumblebee” on your bass then you should do it! And it will sound incredible and I will be amazed. I will be more amazed than seeing a guitarist play it, because it is technically harder to do, but the guitar version will sound better to my ears.

However, we are all different. This is just my personal take on this.

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Do you think this could be because we are playing an octave lower than a guitar?

Yes. I think lower notes are more rhythmic. Higher notes are more melodic. I think the lower the note the muddier the sound is and that melodies tend to gravitate towards crisper sounds. I can’t think of any piano songs where the melody is played in the lower register. I think this is because it sounds strange to our ears. Again though, just my two cents.

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I know it’s on a cello (I think) but still :wink:

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It was explained to me that the human voice sits in a frequency range that the guitar also occupies. As opposed to the bass that’s lower. That makes sense.
Here’s a graphic showing the various frequencies.

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Agreed.

My take is that because most songs have sung lyrics, and most singers do not go down into the bass clef range, we are just not used to hearing melodies down that low.
But like you just my .02 worth.
Thank you for the input. :+1:

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Our brain has different levels of ability to perceive timing precision across sonic spectrum. Our ability to “clock” lower frequencies is much better than that of higher ones. I’ve read a paper exactly on this. I will try to find it.

Here: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/111/28/10383.full.pdf

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This also could be why my wife hates when I play my soprano or sopranino sax. She likens it to a cat dying.

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In my opinion we just have a superior low frequency clock mechanism somewhere in our sound processing path because of evolution. We filter it out on subconscious level, but we use our auditory processing system in constant heartbeat monitoring. In really low frequency. Universally, on some level. So that’s why basic rhythms and timing concepts are universal across cultures. Specificity of melodies and connected variations in rhythmic section are IMHO a spandrel, in some correlation to, of our cultural difference in our complex spoken languages.

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Ability to experience music IMHO has no biological reason. It’s just a coincidental secondary product of other evolutionary pieces. Music just presses the right buttons in our brain, the same buttons that our speech processes push when we speak, but the timing and rhythm, keeps the pushing, and emotions going. Music IMHO had much more prominent role in social evolution. In mating, where music provides, unique to humans, way for females and other interested groups, to find out who is dexterous, fit, brave etc. without the one winner dying three days later from infected injuries he suffered during the mating fights. I am not even talking about the three opponents he fought who suffered similar fate as the winner did. … It just boggles my mind, that there’s a possibility that something we all consider so significant is just a lucky accident. Just my two cents.

Could it be simply how we use the instrument traditionally? Leaving evolution aside or any biological preferences to a certain sound frequency, the bass today came from the big upright bass, right? That instrument is used a certain way, it has limitations (not as loud, big, awkward to move around, whatever) it’s kind of destined to be complementary, to even solo on that thing the rest of the band has to hold back and give it space, the electric bass guitar inherited that role, it’s still relatively a young instrument but as examples posted by others here some people are using it differently, expanding what has been done with it before
At this point there’s not enough bass soloist yet in pop/rock music, but I can see that changing in the years to come, someone from this YouTube generation will breakthrough

I wonder if the future will go a different direction. I see young lead bassists like Blu DeTiger using her bass to lay a groove for her words.

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Mid to higher range are easier to play than lower range for many reasons, I don’t necessarily think it’s better, as I do enjoy the solos in lower notes. There are just not too many of them.

Like the gymnastics uneven bars, most people like to stay on the high bar because it’s easier and more comfortable to stay up there, when you see some one staying on the low bar it shows better artistic and technical skills.

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