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  1. #1

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    I was listening do this today and thought...why do all these people say "don't play bass notes with a bass player or they'll be pissed!"

    It sounds nice in this case.

    Barry Harris brought it up one time and was like "Not ONCE did a bass player tell me I was playing too low, dig that, not ONCE." And he does play in that register that is supposedly off limits.

    I skipped learning drop 2 chords on the bottom strings because I thought "well that's off limits anyway."

    I think if it's muddy there it's a tone issue.

    I think the problem is greatly exaggerated.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    When I joined my current band, the bass player told me "now we've got three bass players". Since then, I've stayed out of his way. The pianist is still all over the place, though

    The electric bass has more overtones than the acoustic double-bass. What works for Tal's very tasteful playing - no druns, and a reticent bass player, too - doesn't necessarily work in a more contemporary setting.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve View Post
    doesn't necessarily work in a more contemporary setting.
    nothing always necessarily works, like i said i think the point is just over emphasized. I don't know anything about modern.
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  5. #4

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    I really like this article from Ethan Iverson:
    Theory of Harmony | DO THE M@TH

    Here’s a list of pianists that regularly play a root in the bass whether a bass player is present or not:

    Duke Ellington
    Teddy Wilson
    Earl Hines
    Art Tatum
    Bud Powell
    Mary Lou Williams
    Horace Silver
    Ahmad Jamal
    Oscar Peterson
    Herbie Nichols
    Randy Weston
    McCoy Tyner
    Jaki Byard
    Geri Allen


    Here’s a list of pianists that never play a root in the bass:
    Bill Evans
    jazz students

  6. #5

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    Not to be too obvious, but piano is not guitar.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Not to be too obvious, but piano is not guitar.
    yeah those guitar root notes are nasty
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  8. #7

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    Really depends on the tone and how you play.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  9. #8

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    If you have a good percussive attack you can play any voicings you want. Better strum than pluck though.

  10. #9

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    From my old book of musical terms:

    "bass"- the lowest tone in a chord

    (not necessarily the root, but the lowest in the harmony which may be changing quickly when walking, approaching, tri-toning, chromaticizing, etc.)

    "root" - the lowest note in a chord in the fundamental position

    This misunderstood distinction is the source of much contention... if the bassist plays "bass" the playing of roots by others is fine.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    I was listening do this today and thought...why do all these people say "don't play bass notes with a bass player or they'll be pissed!"

    If the bass player all of a sudden began to play a solo during your solo, and it wasn't in a frame/context where it fit, how would you feel?

    Or if you played chords during a soloist, and all of a sudden a piano player began hammering fourth voicing chords louder than McCoy himself?

    Not only would it be annoying as hell, furthermore, going back to the bass, you would also limit the bass player in his ability to be creative and move around the way he wants.
    Maybe he wanted to anchor a pedal point and you did not get it, and continued to play the roots in all chords, that would certainly ruin the experience and effect intended by the bass player.

    Not only will the bass player be pissed, but also the rest of the band.
    I am playing a solo over my buddys new song, King of Lego

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKUeMfR0hgc

  12. #11

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    Of course it can be done. Freddie Green did it for decades.

    It can be done well, but it also can be done badly. And, like a lot of things, it's easier to do badly.

    Some thoughts:

    The register can overlap. If you have a G on the E string at the bottom of a Gmaj7, that's the high string on the bass played open.

    You might play a G for two beats and he might play an A on the second beat. Seems to me that his movement in the bassline is going to sound better if the guitar is out of his way, playing an octave or so higher.

    But, it also depends on the EQ and how staccato you play. The problem intermediate archtop players often have is that they lose control over the volume of the lower frequency information. Sometimes it's because the guitar is moving towards feedback and it gets boomy. To my ear, this makes the band sound muddy. Do it with a Stratocaster and it might not be as big an issue.

    If you play a 4 note chord on the lowest four strings of the guitar and then play the same chord voiced with the root an octave lower than the rest of the chord, you might find one muddy and the other clear. Same thing happens when the bass note is by itself in a lower octave.

    Some bassists hang out in the lower octave more than others. On a bad night, I have felt like saying, "you're playing bass like somebody else was playing bass". Meaning, they're so high up the neck that there ought to be somebody staying home in the lower octave. And, there's the issue of their EQ as well.

    Overall, I think avoiding the 5th and 6th strings is a good strategy. High up the neck, the notes may be high enough, but guitars tend toward more intonation issues up there on the lowest strings. Two note voicings, 3rd and 7ths on the D and G strings often work very well. The bass is lower, the solo is higher and the only thing you have to worry about is the piano, if any.

    The pianist, especially a busy one who plays chords in the left hand, adds to the difficulty. Most pianists don't feel obligated to leave space for the guitar. So, the guitar spends the night trying to avoid conflict with both bass and piano. A busy pianist comping stick and jab and a bassist who likes playing all the way up the neck, and it's potentially a long muddy night.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    ...................

    The pianist, especially a busy one who plays chords in the left hand, adds to the difficulty. Most pianists don't feel obligated to leave space for the guitar. So, the guitar spends the night trying to avoid conflict with both bass and piano. A busy pianist comping stick and jab and a bassist who likes playing all the way up the neck, and it's potentially a long muddy night.

    That's when I clean my spit valve.

  14. #13

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    Whether it's a problem tends to also depend on the touchiness of the bassist. Some bassists get quite out of joint about it, defending their harmonic turf as it were, some are quite mellow. I think it also depends on whether the guitarist's use of the bass notes in the chords is making its own bassline that he has to work with or against. Then go listen to Bucky Pizzarelli play with a seven string and a bassist. They're in the same register frequently and yet Bucky seems to not get in anybody's way with it.

    Tone is a factor too. The guitarist favoring a very dark wet-blanket-over-the-amp type of sound is maybe likely be more annoying to the bassist than a guitarist with a lighter brighter tone. Maybe that's part of why Bucky gets away with- his tone tends to be pretty bright.

    If I am playing with both a pianist and a bassist, that's a good time to sit out and get a drink at the bar. Unless there aren't any horns or a vocalist, they don't need me up there. Indeed, the gig that I realized it was time for me to leave my band- and maybe stop gigging- was when I sat out to let a pianist sit in and realized I was having far more fun in the audience listening than I was on stage playing.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  15. #14

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    How about we talk about how to really comp for a bass player when the bass takes a solo--and not get in the way.

    Sometimes I try to do shell voicings in a higher register--using the b and high e strings to guide my range.

    Sometimes I try to use those octave melodic fragments that pianists love so much when they support a bassist (think Bill Evans)

    All in all, you really have to get off the chart and open your ears for a bass solo.

    Here's what Peter Martin and Adam Maness had to say about the matter:



    I think respecting the bass is crucial--the bass is the rudder to the whole band. A bassist, even more than a drummer, can make or break a band. I know, I know Bill Frisell and Gilad Hex played in bands without a bassist (I'm not talking organ trio stuff--that's still bass to me).

    So listen, and get friendly with the bassist. Buy him or her dinner. Take him or her out to lunch. Carl Allen did a workshop in UNO where he said that the bassist and drummer should be best friends--and know each other's favorite musicians on their respective instruments. Let's take that a step further, the rhythm section should be an inseparable family unit.

    RE: Freddie Green. He only played chords with notes on the low e when he played in very small outfits. In big band settings, he relied on the D and G string (mostly the D string, but the G pops more). James Chirillo was all about explaining the guitar as a "tenor line" in a swing era big band.

    Allan Reuss also stayed away from drop 2 only voicings as far as I know (Jonathan Stout can chime in and help verify). Ruess was a student of George Van Eps and GVE used the bass strings of the guitar in a different fashion (I'm talking pre 7 string era)

    Granted, all of this goes out the window if you are like me. I haven't played in a band since my high school days. When I play out, I attend jam sessions--and I'm lucky if there's a house bassist on the regular.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    If I am playing with both a pianist and a bassist, that's a good time to sit out and get a drink at the bar. Unless there aren't any horns or a vocalist, they don't need me up there. Indeed, the gig that I realized it was time for me to leave my band- and maybe stop gigging- was when I sat out to let a pianist sit in and realized I was having far more fun in the audience listening than I was on stage playing.
    In groove based music, there's usually a way to contribute something even with the bass and piano being busy.

    But, in styles which have less repetitive rhythms, if the piano is playing stick and jab, and won't move away from it, I often can't figure out anything worth doing.

    Some pianists' styles naturally leave more space. Then it's easier.

    My idea, shared by some pianists, is to try to make one comping pattern out of the two instruments. That's fun to do too. You have to leave predictable space for the other guy.

  17. #16

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    In the stick and jab situation, do what Wes did.

    A lot of people forget that Wes used octaves as an accompaniment device (especially with Wynton Kelly in the band) as well as a tool for improvisation.

    Pick an upbeat, and hit an octave line. On a blues, I try to pedal the 5th all the way through. On paper it sounds annoying and repetitive. But when you're playing that octave line, and it sits just right in the mix, you end up driving the band.

    You kind of operate like a shout chorus.

  18. #17

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    "I think respecting the bass is crucial--the bass is the rudder to the whole band. A bassist, even more than a drummer, can make or break a band. I know, I know Bill Frisell and Gilad Hex played in bands without a bassist (I'm not talking organ trio stuff--that's still bass to me).

    So listen, and get friendly with the bassist. Buy him or her dinner. Take him or her out to lunch. Carl Allen did a workshop in UNO where he said that the bassist and drummer should be best friends--and know each other's favorite musicians on their respective instruments. Let's take that a step further, the rhythm section should be an inseparable family unit"

    very well said, a famous saxophonist once told me, "man, if you got a good bass player and drummer that work well together you're all set"



    Even though I've mainly played in organ trios/quartets for quite some time now, I still have a problem w/some [not all] organists overplaying when comping. this usually occurs in a quartet setting when the tenor is playing, some organists play too many chords which leaves little use for a guitarist like me. A lot of the cats I play w/ are older than me and many didn't work regularly w/guitar players back in the day, it was usually a tenor instead, so they could play as many chords as they wanted. As a result a lot of them just comp like they're playing w/ a tenor and don't even realize there's another chordal based instrument on the bandstand.
    Over the yrs. I've gotten pretty good @ filling in the places they're not so it doesn't sound busy, but it can be quite the balancing act and it's always refreshing when I get to play w/ an organist that's more concerned w/holding down the bass line and adding chords for color, etc, really frees up a guitar player to comp w/out fear of clashing.

  19. #18

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    I think it depends on the size of the group and where the guitar needs to fit. If it sounds good, it is good. As a rule, I like to leave the bass to the bassist and find my own space. With keys, it gets muddy quick if folks don't have big ears.

  20. #19

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    In general this rule comes from role/function tradition in a group - you play that part of a tewture/I play that... obviously if someone play bass a general rool for chor/rythm player is to be in the middle/high register and the soloist high/middle.

    A general rule means there can be exception... depending on timber and range of the instruments and how they mix...

    But basic jazz approach was pretty simplistic in that sense... it does not mean that one cannot play chords in low register... but one must be ready that it will sound a bit out of tradition, will add a specific colour to the overall sound...

    Also I think there can be functional bass playing... and just low register playing... those are two different thinks.

    If guitarist plays just chords in the lower register and these chords contain a root even but sound more like integral chords then it may be ok... (not always... it depends but it may work)

    But if the guitarist tries to plays bass notes functionally to lead harmony in the bass ... this can make problem... also not always --- but it may require some special coordination between players and sounds more some specific coception....

  21. #20

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    the bass will play a octave lower than a guitar is this corect. and a double Bass is two octaves lower. Now I understand that a Bass can play in the guitars octave range and a guitar can play in a bass octave range. what I dont get is why would eather want to play in the others octave range if they are playing together. I could down tune a 7 string guitar to be closer to the bass octaves and i could up tune a 5 string bass to be in more of the guitars octave range. And then make a avantgarde style of music.

  22. #21

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    Electric bass and double bass are usually the same pitch (both one octave below the guitar).

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    So listen, and get friendly with the bassist. Buy him or her dinner. Take him or her out to lunch. Carl Allen did a workshop in UNO where he said that the bassist and drummer should be best friends--and know each other's favorite musicians on their respective instruments. Let's take that a step further, the rhythm section should be an inseparable family unit


    as a bassist, I wholeheartedly endorse this advice. definitely buy your rhythm section lunch.

    One of my great loves about playing bass in a jazz band is hooking up with the drummer and powering the whole band. It's the best!

    On comping for a bass solo, I'd say it's the same as comping for anyone else: job number one is to LISTEN. Is what you're playing supportive and is your accompaniment making the music better, or, are you making the soloist work harder? Whenever I've heard someone comp poorly, it's almost always because they aren't really listening, they are focused on "playing the changes", or their voicings, or time feel, or whatever else, but what they aren't focused on is listening to and supporting the music that's happening in the moment.

  24. #23

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    First thing to do in putting together a group is to make sure the bassist and drummer both have good time and love each other.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    I was listening do this today and thought...why do all these people say "don't play bass notes with a bass player or they'll be pissed!"

    It sounds nice in this case.

    Barry Harris brought it up one time and was like "Not ONCE did a bass player tell me I was playing too low, dig that, not ONCE." And he does play in that register that is supposedly off limits.

    I skipped learning drop 2 chords on the bottom strings because I thought "well that's off limits anyway."

    I think if it's muddy there it's a tone issue.

    I think the problem is greatly exaggerated.
    Yeah that's the sort of shit they tell you haha.

    Like most of these things that are presented as rules, they are at best helpful guidelines for inexperienced players. They do not include the variety of comping practices elsewhere... If you are into Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner or Fats Waller these 'rules' are obviously inappropriate.

    This stuff depends a lot on the style, the type of sound you are using and so on.

    The only real rule is - use your ears. Develop flexibility....

  26. #25

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    In terms of comping, one of the best lessons I got was early on from Dave Cliff.... He said 'play where the soloist isn't'

    Best advice ever.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I really like this article from Ethan Iverson:
    Theory of Harmony | DO THE M@TH
    Yeah I find Ethan's thinking and mine line up a lot. And of course, he takes me onto other stuff I haven't thought about.

    If I had to put my finger on it - I was always taught Jazz ahistorically. As in 'here's some stuff you can do on chord x' or whatever... So when I came across Barry Harris for the first time, I was confused. I think a lot of people are actually. Who is this guy to tell me what is and isn't right in jazz? I hear people say that often.

    To which I think 'don't be so insecure.'

    People (jazz players on the scene) often know surprisingly little about jazz history... But I think it's improving. I think a lot of young players are demanding more context.

    Anyway, in terms of guitar, I heard an interview with Bruce Foreman, who said Jim Hall basically invented comping on the guitar (as opposed to rhythm playing) on the Bridge. I think I kind of had an inkling that guitar instead of piano was a big deal in 1961, but I hadn't put two and two together. Imagine, I'd been playing jazz for over 20 years... Hadn't really grasped how and when guitarists stopped doing the Freddie Green stuff.

    So we model our approach on Jim... And that's a midrangey sustaining thing... Influenced by Bill Evans, for sure... Nice little three and four note voicings. But he's strumming, mostly.

    And then everyone now seems to do the finger pick chords thing. Who innovated that, I wonder? Jimmy Wyble? Why the hell do I not know lol?

    I feel Jim's student Peter Bernstein offers a different angle on the same thing. He plays a lot of rooty chords, but there's something about his sound that makes it work. I think - more pick, less amp... More like a rhythm guitar player in some ways....

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    And then everyone now seems to do the finger pick chords thing. Who innovated that, I wonder? Jimmy Wyble? Why the hell do I not know lol?

    I feel Jim's student Peter Bernstein offers a different angle on the same thing. He plays a lot of rooty chords, but there's something about his sound that makes it work. I think - more pick, less amp... More like a rhythm guitar player in some ways....
    I saw Jim and Peter play duo at the new school years ago, and both of them primarily comped strumming. non-guitarists generally greatly prefer the sound of strumming, I've found. I did the pick and fingers thing for years, but these days if I'm playing guitar I'll almost always strum when comping.

    Peter does play a lot of root-y chords but he also plays a lot of substitutions and creates a lot of motion, I think that's why it works.

    Interestingly, when I studied with Rodney Jones, he insisted on the first thing, before anything else, is really getting into the freddie green thing and learning to play that way; there are a couple different articulations and feels that he taught that were basically different long/short patterns that would vary according to tempo and feel of the tune.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    Anyway, in terms of guitar, I heard an interview with Bruce Foreman, who said Jim Hall basically invented comping on the guitar (as opposed to rhythm playing) on the Bridge. I think I kind of had an inkling that guitar instead of piano was a big deal in 1961, but I hadn't put two and two together. Imagine, I'd been playing jazz for over 20 years... Hadn't really grasped how and when guitarists stopped doing the Freddie Green stuff.

    So we model our approach on Jim... And that's a midrangey sustaining thing... Influenced by Bill Evans, for sure... Nice little three and four note voicings. But he's strumming, mostly.

    And then everyone now seems to do the finger pick chords thing. Who innovated that, I wonder? Jimmy Wyble? Why the hell do I not know lol?

    I feel Jim's student Peter Bernstein offers a different angle on the same thing. He plays a lot of rooty chords, but there's something about his sound that makes it work. I think - more pick, less amp... More like a rhythm guitar player in some ways....
    Jim Hall and Peter Bernstein definitely played harmony from different densities, but the same concept. However, I'd go further. Jim Hall was all about creating harmonic landscapes--not just outlining the changes. If you listen to Bill Frisell, he does the same thing--with more technology. Some of Jim's chords fall into traditional grips, but so much more of it is about creating movement through inner and outer movements.

    When I think of Jim Hall's comping--I think he truly embodied the string trio and string quartet idiom of accompaniment. As in, his accompaniment is so much more than Drop-2 this or shell voicing that. His stuff with Art Farmer is especially interesting, in my opinion:



    There's a complexity that I think comes from Jim Hall's HUGE ears--his accompaniment is about true interplay. Trying to comp like Jim Hall, and truly interact while being respectful of the soloist (though, I am impressed with Jeffy B.'s transcription) is a feat in-it-of-itself.

    Jim Hall sometimes plays chords way down low, but he knows how to weave in and out of the bass player--he knows how to listen and what to play...

    I wish I could comp like Jim Hall... or Ed Bickert.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    as a bassist, I wholeheartedly endorse this advice. definitely buy your rhythm section lunch.

    One of my great loves about playing bass in a jazz band is hooking up with the drummer and powering the whole band. It's the best!

    On comping for a bass solo, I'd say it's the same as comping for anyone else: job number one is to LISTEN. Is what you're playing supportive and is your accompaniment making the music better, or, are you making the soloist work harder? Whenever I've heard someone comp poorly, it's almost always because they aren't really listening, they are focused on "playing the changes", or their voicings, or time feel, or whatever else, but what they aren't focused on is listening to and supporting the music that's happening in the moment.
    [/LEFT]
    Agreed, but to be clear, I was directly quoting Irez87's excellent post above.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I saw Jim and Peter play duo at the new school years ago, and both of them primarily comped strumming. non-guitarists generally greatly prefer the sound of strumming, I've found. I did the pick and fingers thing for years, but these days if I'm playing guitar I'll almost always strum when comping.
    Yeah I figure if people want a pianist they’ll hire one.

    If I could work out how to do the strum thing for bossa that would be cool.

    Peter does play a lot of root-y chords but he also plays a lot of substitutions and creates a lot of motion, I think that's why it works.
    I don’t think that’s *why* it works exactly... I think he has his sound right to make it work. If you didn’t and tried to play that stuff you would really get in the way. A lot of jazz guitarists have the volume up too high and too much bass on the amp to use these types of voicings. Strumming the chords really helps.

    Just my thoughts anyway....

    Interestingly, when I studied with Rodney Jones, he insisted on the first thing, before anything else, is really getting into the freddie green thing and learning to play that way; there are a couple different articulations and feels that he taught that were basically different long/short patterns that would vary according to tempo and feel of the tune.
    I didn’t know you studied with Rodney.

    I’m glad I spent a few years playing rhythm guitar for dancers. There’s a lot of subtlety you can put into it...

  32. #31

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    I like strumming comping... I also like how Bill Frisell combines pucntual strumming with counterpoint-like lines in compping

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I didn’t know you studied with Rodney.

    I’m glad I spent a few years playing rhythm guitar for dancers. There’s a lot of subtlety you can put into it...
    yeah, I switched to benson style picking in college so I took some lessons with rodney to try and get that together. I agree about rhythm guitar, finding out how much I enjoyed 4 to the bar comping was a big motivator for me to try bass, which is one of the best musical decisions I've made.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxJaxon View Post
    the bass will play a octave lower than a guitar is this corect. and a double Bass is two octaves lower. Now I understand that a Bass can play in the guitars octave range and a guitar can play in a bass octave range. what I dont get is why would eather want to play in the others octave range if they are playing together. I could down tune a 7 string guitar to be closer to the bass octaves and i could up tune a 5 string bass to be in more of the guitars octave range. And then make a avantgarde style of music.
    Double Bass or Acoustic Bass are the same thing. They have the same notes as a standard 4 string electric bass. Bass lines easily and frequently get into the guitar range. I had a big band director tell me to be careful with anything below the C (third fret of the A string).

    As Cosmic Gumbo said, if it sounds good it is good. At least related to tone and mud, playing low notes on a brighter sounding guitar (like a dreadnaught or a bright tele sound) will probably work better when playing in an Acoustic Bass range as the tones are so different... a traditional hollow body guitar type sound not as much.

    Freddie Green had to fit in with the piano, bass, and horns. Not a lot of room there. He is known for that chunk chunk style with the short notes cut off and muting the low strings. It looks like he is playing the low string but often was just muting it. More important as a rhythm instrument than a harmonic instrument.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  35. #34

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    Finally had the chance to see what the video in the OP was (firewall blocks YouTube at work)

    Of course it sounds fine, the bassist is playing half notes!

    The "stay out of the bass range" really applies much more when comping while the bass player is walking, not when the guitar is taking the melody with chords and the bass is staying out of THE GUITAR PLAYERS way.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Double Bass or Acoustic Bass are the same thing. They have the same notes as a standard 4 string electric bass. Bass lines easily and frequently get into the guitar range. I had a big band director tell me to be careful with anything below the C (third fret of the A string).

    As Cosmic Gumbo said, if it sounds good it is good. At least related to tone and mud, playing low notes on a brighter sounding guitar (like a dreadnaught or a bright tele sound) will probably work better when playing in an Acoustic Bass range as the tones are so different... a traditional hollow body guitar type sound not as much.

    Freddie Green had to fit in with the piano, bass, and horns. Not a lot of room there. He is known for that chunk chunk style with the short notes cut off and muting the low strings. It looks like he is playing the low string but often was just muting it. More important as a rhythm instrument than a harmonic instrument.
    '

    Freddie played staccato and without a lot of low frequency energy. Since he played unamplified, he didn't have a problem with the bass strings starting to feedback, even before the guitar starts howling. The bassist was predictable and Basie was the very soul of discretion in terms of leaving space.

    On the Brazilian strumming thing -- Brazilians do it when the tempo gets fast enough, but that's samba, not bossa. One trick I've seen, worth trying, is all downstrokes.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    '
    On the Brazilian strumming thing -- Brazilians do it when the tempo gets fast enough, but that's samba, not bossa. One trick I've seen, worth trying, is all downstrokes.
    Well I suppose that leads neatly onto the dilemma of, what do you do with your thumb when you play bossa with a bass player :-)

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    '

    Freddie played staccato and without a lot of low frequency energy. Since he played unamplified, he didn't have a problem with the bass strings starting to feedback, even before the guitar starts howling. The bassist was predictable and Basie was the very soul of discretion in terms of leaving space.
    True, a big wooly archtop with a floating pickup and round wound strings can be a problem.

    If only there was some way of adjusting the EQ and volume on the instrument!

    You'd think they'd have addressed that in the almost 100 year history of the instrument, wouldn't you?

    Seriously I think it's knowing all the sounds you can get on your instrument/amp setup and how to alter your pick technique according to requirements. One compliment I get (from bass players) is that I know how to clean up the bottom range frequency of the instrument so that it doesn't compete. This is something I have worked on a lot.

    (It's also why I prefer 10" speakers. I just end up rolling off the bass on anything bigger anyway.)

    Strings, pickup setup, volume level compared to pick attack, and EQ and the instrument itself all play a part. But you have to use your ears.

    (Also, Freddie mostly played the D string.)

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well I suppose that leads neatly onto the dilemma of, what do you do with your thumb when you play bossa with a bass player :-)
    Suck on it?

    In bossa, with bass player... strum! Percussive strumming, why not? Honestly, was never a big fan of Charlie Byrd.

    In a traditional samba group where there is no bass player, then you do the thumb. That and a big fat hand drum takes care of bass.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Suck on it?

    In bossa, with bass player... strum! Percussive strumming, why not? Honestly, was never a big fan of Charlie Byrd.

    In a traditional samba group where there is no bass player, then you do the thumb. That and a big fat hand drum takes care of bass.
    Charlie Byrd? An American???

    Strumming isn't AFAIK what the Brazilians do even with a bass player... I can make it work sure, but .. yeah...

    Ties into the same debate...

  41. #40

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    Interesting topic. I do play my bass notes, no bass player complained so far. Though I admit, I never played with an A-list bass player. People I play with are occasional giggers with day jobs and not so big egos
    Theoretically there are three considerations:
    1- Potentially incompatible notes are more likely to clash within the same octave than further apart.
    2- Counter melodies/counterpoint work best when played in different voices.
    3- Bass lines played with a bass instrument sound better then the bass range of guitar or piano.

    On the paper these are good reasons for staying out of the bass players range. No one wants to hear a piano player with two left hands. But I guess devil is in the details here. Busy comping with a lot of movement and inversions where altered notes are played in the bass range would require more awareness then stabbing chords here and there in rhythmically interesting places. I don't see root position or second inversion chords clashing with bass lines either.

    On the other hand I wouldn't imagine any composer deliberately writing a bass part for one instrument and another bass part where 1st's and 5th's are played in random places. But then this is jazz we are talking about not symphony music.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-22-2019 at 06:19 PM.

  42. #41

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    Well as I say, useful guidelines for players starting out.

    A lot of these jazz education tropes outlive their usefulness though. Things like:

    - Don't have an altered and unaltered version of the same chord extension in a voicing
    - Guidetones (3rd and 7th) are the most important notes of a chord
    - Play the minor II-V into a minor chord
    - Don't give away the sound of the dominant on the ii
    - Play the notes of this mode on this chord
    - Build chords on 1 3 5 7
    - Don't play a major 7th on a dominant chord
    - Analyse melodic lines with vertical relationships to the underlying chord
    - Stay out the soloists way when comping
    - Don't use a major seventh chord when the 1 is in the melody
    - We learn to solo by by basing our lines on the chords of the song
    and so on...

    Some of these (not all IMO) are all useful things for education, but they are all at best simplifications, at least when compared with the actual reality of the recorded music. Real world is more complex.

    Ethan's a great and important counter to a lot of this stuff that we learn unquestioningly, there's a lot of baggage I haven't succesfully unloaded... Stuff which I understand I can effectively now forget, but on the bandstand still find myself preoccupied with...

    Bottom line is, check out the music, use your ears...

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Charlie Byrd? An American???

    Strumming isn't AFAIK what the Brazilians do even with a bass player... I can make it work sure, but .. yeah...

    Ties into the same debate...
    Yea, but then Brazilians don't exactly play electric archtops or telecasters, do they now? Do you carry a nylon string with you to every gig to just play a few bossa tunes? Point is, too many rules. And you already break some. I found strumming works great in some settings. And no stepping on the bass player shoes happens then.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Yea, but then Brazilians don't exactly play electric archtops or telecasters, do they now? Do you carry a nylon string with you to every gig to just play a few bossa tunes? Point is, too many rules. And you already break some. I found strumming works great in some settings. And no stepping on the bass player shoes happens then.
    Bossa Nova players play nylon. I can't think of a well known exception, but probably somebody else will.

    But, there are other Brazilian styles and you do sometimes hear players using steel strings on all kinds of guitars. Of course, lots play nylon.

    Toninho Horta: Strat style among other guitars
    The guitarist in the Spok Frevo Orquestra plays an archtop.
    Chico Pinheiro plays a Benedetto archtop.
    Nelson Faria plays an archtop. I don't know what else he uses.

    I had an opportunity to study with Kleber Jorge (Sergio Mendes) who said something like "every guitarist in Brazil strums when the tempo is fast enough". I don't know if he meant that they're hitting the strings on every 16th (2/4) or just moving the wrist in 16ths while striking accents only. It is certainly possible to mute all but the accents with left hand pressure and release. When I do that, it's usually too busy sounding, but it depends on the group.

    Aside: I've recently started playing with an excellent drummer and I've noticed that his energy and groove have made me change the way I comp. Stuff that didn't work so well with a less driving drummer suddenly works better. I've been ruminating about this a bit. I guess I didn't appreciate the extent to which context influences technique. And, I'm not talking about bad drummer vs good drummer. These are both experienced pro players.

    Back to strumming: The problem with strumming is that it's easy to make too much sound, losing crispness. I think that's why some players go to all downstrokes at high tempo. Which, btw, is not so easy to keep up.

    On sound: When playing with my octet, I actually prefer comping on a Strat style with a lil 59 HB. Less low end energy. Sounds crisper. Sits in the mix nicely. But, I can't quite get my solo sound out of the strat type. There's a Roland 40XL in the rehearsal room which I use occasionally. It has a 10 inch speaker. I prefer my Little Jazz with its 8 inch speaker. And, before that, I preferred my JC55 with 2 eight inch speakers. I can't be sure the speaker size makes the difference, but for band playing I'm always trying to control lows. OTOH, I used a HRD a few years back with a 12" speaker and liked it.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Yea, but then Brazilians don't exactly play electric archtops or telecasters, do they now? Do you carry a nylon string with you to every gig to just play a few bossa tunes? Point is, too many rules. And you already break some. I found strumming works great in some settings. And no stepping on the bass player shoes happens then.
    Some Brazilian players play archtop, in which their aim is to try and get it to sound a little like a nylon string.

    Again, it’s just about being aware of your EQ and volume levels

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Some Brazilian players play archtop, in which their aim is to try and get it to sound a little like a nylon string.

    Again, it’s just about being aware of your EQ and volume levels
    But of course it's about your EQ and volume levels, it's been said here many times by many peoples on this thread.

    ...And how much percussivness you have in your rhythm technique. That's my personal input. Fingerstyle or strumming, all good as long as it's there.

    And if you it's not there, if you can't treat your guitar as a drum, you can follow the tradition and still sound muddy, have your bass player giving you an evil eye, get vibed by the musicians in the audience, etc.

  47. #46

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    Nothing. Shouldn't be an issue; if it is get a new bass player.