What are bassists important

What is the job of the bass player in the band?

"Solid as a rock" or: What makes the bass player a bass player?

"The bassist is often described as a calm, relaxed, steadfast character. Nothing upsets him that quickly. In many bands the bassist is also occupied with organizational or technical tasks. He doesn't talk a lot. When it comes down to it, he can, however get energetic. He knows what he wants ... "

... well, such descriptions may or may not be correct. For me it is mainly the musical and, secondarily, the character tasks that matter.

My old bass teacher said: "There is strength in calm." That is exactly the nature of the bass instrument. I am now writing about the instrument I understand most about, namely the electric bass.

We know from the nature of the instrument that it is equipped with thick strings. Strong hands are an advantage. Craftsmanship and musicality are prerequisites. If the notes of the first position on the electric bass are mastered, the first sense of success can be achieved with a good sense of rhythm. I usually demonstrate the simple way of bass accompaniment here during a bass seminar.

Practice makes perfect, but how?

Learning the bass includes scales, chord resolutions, playing melodies, rhythms of all styles, developing your own sense of timing (best practice with a drummer; or use a sequencer). Later it is important to work on your own 'good tone'. I like to call it 'letting the bass sing'. In this case, it certainly makes sense to ask a teacher. Regular practice times are more useful than not practicing once a week for five hours and then again for six days. I also think it makes sense to set a personal goal. For example, I used to set myself annual goals. A year of jazz, reading sheet music, Afro-Cuban grooves, timing, ensemble playing, etc.

"There must be order" or: The interaction with other musicians

Of course, musicians with other instruments are an aid to becoming 'band-friendly'. I got (I still do) a lot of suggestions and information from other musicians. First and foremost, of course, my teachers and lecturers. I am still in contact with my old double bass teacher.

He also wrote the sentence: "Sigi, always stick to the pianist." This little piece of wisdom has helped me in many situations. Why does the pianist play such an important role for the bassist? Quite simply: the pianist has the whole range of harmonies, melodies and bass in his hand (s). In most cases he puts together the accompanying harmonies; arranges the pieces and often has good rhythmic ideas too. Often the pianist is also the band leader. In the Bible (1 Chronicles 25: 2) I also discovered the word 'instructor'. Here it is clearly defined who is in charge. I also think that's important so as not to waste time. Most bands work with lead sheets. These are brief notations (see Realbook) that contain the essentials for all musicians involved. Harmony sequence, style, sequence, breaks, fills, motifs, melody and text. Most of the time it is even less what is offered. Often, however, the individual voices are also completely noted. I call it the 'rules of the game' for the band.

The role of every musician is thus clearly defined. Of course, you practice at home. I can do everything I can't and then go to the band rehearsal with the skills I have acquired. For the performance, the dynamics, the rhythm and the interaction are worked on and are regulated by the 'boss' (band leader) as described above. At the rehearsal dates it is important that all instrumentalists appear on time, fully assembled and with the correct instruments on the specified date. 15.00h means: Counting in and playing and not arriving and unpacking. But I only know this phenomenon from amateur musicians. In professional bands, being late is equivalent to resigning.

What does the bass player have to do in the band?

The bassist defines himself as a bridge between melody and drums. So a harmonically rhythmic task. So it is clear what needs to be practiced. As I said, melodies and rhythm. It was very helpful for me to practice the bass lines of chorale preludes by Johann Sebastian Bach. As a supplement to popular music, which in its diversity offers unlimited possibilities to practice bass, I listened to a lot of music and listened to the bass lines. I bought sheet music and just practiced whatever I could get my hands on. There are now quite a few bass schools and very good ones. Some are already out of print, but can still be found on the Internet.

Back to the duties of the bass player in the band. As a bass player, I also concentrate on all the other musicians while playing. Teamwork is the secret in a good band. Five good musicians are still a long way from being a good band. If the bassist and the drummer get together rhythmically well, the band is built on a solid foundation. The drummer controls the dynamics and the 'timing'. The bassist either plays exactly on the accents of the bass drum or in exactly the right gaps. At this point I would like to recommend the CD "God is groovin" from the series 'Plug'n'Pray' as a suitable recording. It will be published by ASAPH in February 2004.

Now I wish all bassists a successful 2004 with a lot of good, bass-heavy music.