Bass Guitar Michael Rossback

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1 Bass Guitar Michael Rossback Often the bass guitar s roll is misinterpreted in worship music. It is important to recognize where our role is in a band and take the necessary steps in utilizing those places. Worship music carries many similarities to rock music and the bass is a pivotal instrument in translating the songs accurately. While there are many different approaches to playing, this workshop emphasizes a few of the things I ve picked up along the way that have helped me personally develop in my playing. The Role of the Bass in Worship Traditionally, the bass performs two basic and necessary functions: rhythmic foundation harmonic foundation The Rhythmic Foundation Rhythmic foundation refers to the consistent pulse of the music. We support not only harmonically, but rhythmically to how the song/drums are received. Though the drummer is the main drive behind the rhythm of a song, this does not mean we re along for the ride: we are to follow the kick drums every move. So much can change in the scenery of a song when the bass and drums not only lock in with each other, but also finding different rhythmic possibilities by not always following suit. Your rhythmic skills are the most important thing for you to master as a bassist. It doesn t matter how perfect your choice of notes are, if they are landing in the wrong place, rhythmically it won't feel or sound right. The Harmonic Foundation More often than not the bass is put in a category of almost a tonal kick drum. A major part of the bass is supporting the harmony. When we hear several notes played at the same time, we hear them all relative to the lowest sounding pitch the bass note. The bass player's second major traditional role is to properly define the harmony by supplying the correct foundational notes.

2 Frequency s and their relation to the music hz sub- mostly felt hz low mid- heard hz mid range khz high mids 2 khz and up high end of frequency Clarity and Good Tone Each note you play should ring clearly with a full, pleasing tone. This means we should avoid: buzzing unintentional muffled, or muted notes unwelcome open strings ringing in the background unwanted unintentional harmonics other accidentally produced extraneous noise - sliding fingers on strings Tools for playing with clarity Mute un-played strings Maintain tuning during the set Monitor yourself at an optimal level Maintain your basses set up to avoid pulling notes sharp When and where to Play In relation to frequencies and how they are interpreted to the listener, here is an overlook on how I would approach when and where to play in a typical worship song: Into/V1: play whole notes high on the neck Pre Chorus: let there be a little more subdivision to help build to the chorus. Possibly drop down to a lower octave changing to ¼ notes. Chorus: get into the lower octaves and increase subdivision. This does not necessarily mean play more notes, but more so increasing subdivision. Bridge: a bridge can be a great place to find a unique hook or line to contribute to the song. However this get s out of hand quickly. A few rules to help keep the line in a contributing place would be:

3 Stay out of the way of the vocal. Look for the gaps in between phrases where you can add your line. Explore your bass line with a recurring melody in the song or possibly the hook the guitar is playing. Charting and playing by ear Number system This is a great tool to learn for quickly charting out a song Memorization Getting stuck on a chart is easy. The best way to memorize a song is to listen to the notes instead of playing them of a chart. This usually results in a few wrong notes but you will internalize the song much more quickly. I will always take a pass through the song listening to the recording and reading the chart. Then when it comes time to play, I ll take one pass with the chart and immediately follow without the chart. Methods of practice: Drum Loops Drum loops are a great way to feel subdivision and get your pocket feeling good. Recording yourself Helps show you your weaknesses and strengths visually Prepares you to play to a click Helps familiarize you to being in a studio environment Metronome Metronomes allow you to select a tempo. Tempo is expressed in beats per minute (bpm). A metronome helps to keep a steady pace much like a drum machine. Keeping a steady beat is critical for bassists and musicians. Good music almost always requires a consistent pulse. Start with whole notes playing a simple scale. Periodically increase subdivision and the rate you play the scale. As you raise subdivision slowly, pull back the down beat and quarter notes until the rhythm is more felt than heard.

4 Playing along to music As basic as it may sound, playing along to music is a great tool to not only memorize the song, but also get to a place where you re playing the song like the album and not just getting by. When practicing a new song, it is good to listen to the song while watching the chart. After you ve played through it using the chart, try to take it away and play with the track alone. There is a good chance you ll make you re share of mistakes, but given time you ll find yourself internalizing the song to the point of no longer needing a chart and this will eventually free your headspace to enjoy the music and not worry about the chart. Tips on singing and playing Repetition Monitoring bass at low levels and vocals on top of your mix Internalizing the bass line to the point of which it becomes second nature

5 Scales and modes to Practice Harmonic Major Minor Whole-tone

6 Diversify the Music You Listen to Listening to a wide variety of good music will increase your versatility. There is so much great music to draw from, both in the past or that which is being created now. Some players approach a song melodically and some based on pocket and feel. Listening to and processing how different players approach a song is an important part of being a musician. What You Hear Watch your hearing Listen to the rest of the band Feel the subdivision Make sure you hear what you need to How Loud is Too Loud? Loudness is measured in decibels (db). You begin to damage your hearing when you're exposed to constant sound levels above 85 db. Sound levels above 120 db cause serious damage to your ears. A whisper is measured at 30 db. A rock concert measures at db. An ipod at full volume plays at 120 db. As a bass player, you re going to play with drummers a lot. Drums are loud and you re going to be standing near them. When a drummer hits a snare it can measure in at 125 db. Your ears can handle only a few minutes of 125 db before sustaining permanent damage. Also, many guitar amps can easily put out over 110 db. Similarly, your own bass amp can put out some damaging volume as well. Do what you can to protect your hearing now since you wont get it back in the future. Hearing loss is irreversible.

7 Set up and Gear Gear Pedals -(sans amp) -(compressor) (graphic eq s) Amps -ampeg svt classic Di s Passive vs. active basses Bass AMP Front of House Sans Amp/Di Distortion Tuner Volume Pedal Bass Guitar Setting Up a Bass Guitar The advantage in knowing how to set up your own instrument is that you have the ability to design it to the way you specifically play. That means it plays in tune, it sounds good, it feels comfortable to fret and pluck the strings, and it suits your playing style in general. There are 4 basic elements you can adjust on your bass: 1. The straightness of the neck: 1 st &14 th 2. The height of the bass strings: action found on bridge 3. Intonation: found on bridge 4. Pickup height: adjusted by screws on either side of pickup Set up tips to remember Adjust truss rod first. Fret 1 st and 14 th to see how much bow is in your neck Adjust action to a height where buzzing is minimal playing at full strength Adjust intonation

8 Bass Mainenance tips Lemon oil on the fret board (maple or rosewood) Wipe down strings after every use: they will last twice as long from removing the oil from your skin. Place cloth between strings and frets while stored in case to avoid unnecessary wear on the frets Frequently change battery on active pickups In you live in a dry climate, put a humidifier in your case to avoid drying out your neck. This prevents frets pulling from the finger board Tape off fret board and lightly dress frets with steal wool Take a very light grain sand paper to the back of your neck to remove any build up Parts of a Bass Head Stock Tuners Nut Fret Board Frets Body Pick Guard Pickup Bridge Saddle

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