When I started playing bass, I said to myself… “Why would I want to learn someone else’s song? I’ll play my own music”. Then I started dabbling on the odd cover or two as my “band” wanted to mess around with a certain song or two. Then I started the 50 Song Challenge to play more covers. Then I started playing a lot of covers in my practice sessions. I’m currently learning around 20 covers. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned from covers. These learning are what keeps me wanting to play more of them, and the fact that my wife prefers hearing me play covers over improv.
The art of silence - I’m really appreciating how impactful it can be to just not have bass for a bar. When I’m just jamming with people, I’m always playing notes, but I’m going to try to start adding more silence.
The art of crescendo/decrescendo - Building up the emotion or lowering it is pretty powerful stuff. I’ve always been fond of a good crescendo and this is something I want to work on more in my own music.
The art of flare - So many covers I’m playing have quite a repetitive bass-line, but every once in a while they’ll throw in a few extra notes. This minor thing really helps to keep the bass-line from getting too stale and I’d imagine it makes it more enjoyable to play every concert as well.
Song structure - Quite a major one. Playing the odd riff from a song, I never learned much about the structure of the song. Now that I’m playing entire songs, I’m learning so much about song structure and what sounds “good” in terms of sections of music put together.
Those are a few things I’ve learned to appreciate in my journey on covers. There are more of course and I know I’ll keep adding to that. I’m using learning covers as adding tools to my tool-belt.
Anyway, is anyone else in this camp? What have you learned from other songs you’ve been trying to play.