We’ll kick this year of with a 16 year old article in Bass Player back in 1997! Why, you might think? Well, it’s a really good one. The Bass Player Staff (in 1997) did a compilation of these 30 must have essential bass recordings! Of cause there have been quite a few new albums released since 1997 but these 30 is still a great start if you want to get some inspiration and a bit of a history check to kick of 2013!
To top it of I also put together a Spotify playlist. (There is only four of the albums that you can’t find on Spotify! You’ll have to find these elsewhere, or you might already have these in your collection!) It’s a 733 song playlist! So you DO have some music to go through 🙂 I think it is about 24 hours of music! Click here to find out more about Spotify if you don’t know what it is. It’s not availiable everywhere I’m afraid 😦
Time for part three of my string test and a demo of the first part of the new song Jam Afrique (working title). See these earlier posts for some background info. Post 1 | Post 2
Besides the YouTube video below I also uploaded some versions with less instrumentation (and maybe a bit better sound) on my Soundcloud.
The only thing I have done with the sound during mixing is some EQing. (The last two sound bites have no EQ!)
The recording path is as follows:
Track 1: UBass into Sheer Acoustic Headway EDB-1 then DI out to Universal Audio Apollo (sound card with built in digital mixer and effects from their UAD family).
Track 2: AKG C414 condenser mic.
There are four bass parts. 1. Regular bass part
2-3. African inspired single string riffs
4. Bass melody
Bass parts 1 and 4 is recorded with both line and mic while parts 2-3…
I have come to the following conclusion based on the recordings. I guess I like both string types but they do have some things that sets them apart.
I have played these strings (that come as stock/standard strings on new Kala Ubasses) for more than two years. I have actually been using the same strings the whole time! I did buy a spare set early on to be safe and prepared for emergencies… Since the strings are solid plastic rubber they are unlikely to break and there are no place for sweat and dust to ‘creep’ in. (As with regular wound strings). I have not felt the need to change them. I have however felt that I should have restringed and rewound them to get rid of the extra turns of string that I got. Especially on the A-string post.
One more reason for the strings to be able to stay on for so long is that I felt it would be hard to part from playing my beloved UBass for that time it would take the strings to ‘settle in’ 🙂
This is also one thing that sets the strings apart. There are quite a lot of tuning to be done in the beginning but once they settle in you’re fine. As I wrote earlier restringing one or two strings, stretching them a bit more, would have been a good thing to do! I know there are players that have done this a few times and then they felt they stayed in tune better. More about this in the Thunderguts section.
Ok. How do I feel about the sound and playability of these strings? Well, I have got quite used to the feel of the Pahoehoe strings under my fingers. I took a while to get used to the rubbery feel – well, it’s almost rubber so that alright I guess 🙂 I think you should try to ‘forget’ about how it feels playing this or that bass and/or strings. If you instead try to do the best of this ‘new and maybe strange’ feeling you’ll soon be on the way to make great music with these strings.
I have had these strings on my acoustic UBass for just a couple of weeks and decided to compare them to my ‘trusty’ Pahoehoe strings. There are a few differences. First of all. They are not that rubbery and the tension is a bit higher. This is on the plus side because of a couple of things. First they don’t take as long as the Pahoehoe strings to settle in making the switch quite fast. (It only took a couple of days untill the (almost) stay in tune). Another reason I like them is that because the higher tension they have a bit more ‘core’ to the tone. (I will make a video showing this soon!)
On the minus side. The Thunderguts have a ‘sticky’ feel. Especially on the thicker strings. This makes them a bit harder to play. Since I have the fretless version I do want to have the option to do slides and this is a bit diffucult to do when you feel like you get ‘stuck’. I don’t know if this will disappear after some use!? But I have read about other UBassists that have had the same feeling.
I will keep the Thunderguts on for a while longer to try some more playing techniques! Stay tuned!
On the Brazilian Night concert mentioned in an earlier post we played the Jobim classic ”Surfboard” (Jobim). Why not play along with us! You can hear the original version in a previous post. Let me know if you want a PDF with the bass part!
If you play-along please try to mimic the surdu drum by emphasizing the second quarter note of every bar and play the first quarter note ‘lightly’. (BTW the time signature is 2/4!). To get the best effect play the first quarter note really soft. In that way you don’t have to play the second quarter note that hard to make it ‘stand out’!
Yeah! Finally I have once again played with my old friend Mattias Pettersson! We started to play back in the late 90s.
We had blues bands and played in the rhythm section in a small big band. Later on we had a band playing a lot of jam based music.
I guess it must have been at least 5-6 years since we last played together. Too long!
My brother-in-law (also featured in the last Jammin’ video) joined in on drums.
On this first rehearsal/jam we tried an old tune I started writing in the late 90s. I found it a couple of weeks ago. It’s basically a blues based around a bass riff. I ad libed a scratch vocal part based on the working title of the song, ”You took my blues away”.
We sure had a great time and will hopefully play more this summer. This song and maybe one more will probably end up on my recording project ”Speaking UBass!?” Read more about the project here.
I played on the Kala S.U.B. throughout the rehearsal/jam. I’m starting to get a bit more used to the fretted neck but I’m still more comfortable playing my fretless spruce UBass. A little more practice and I hope it will feel more relaxed with the SUB too!
We did record some audio and video. I might post some of it later!
Please check out some of Mattias playing on this YouTube channel!
Thanks for a nice jam/rehearsal guys!
Mattias Pettersson, guitar
Hannes Nordgren, drums
Magnus Sjöquist, Kala S.U.B UBass
Ok time for some jazz again! Thanks to Susan C. for your suggestion!
In this lesson I will feature the jazz standard ”The way you look tonight” written by Jerome Kern. This song has been covered a thousand times by as many artists.
But I have a favorite version!
In 1995 one of the most famous jazz singers in Sweden, Svante Thuresson, released the CD ‘Jag är Hip, Baby!’. (Eng: I’m hip baby)
This album features the wonderful lyrics of another famous Swede Mr. Beppe Wolgers! Here’s a link to a web page about him [in Swedish]
He wrote all the Swedish lyrics including the ones for ‘The way you look tonight’. It became ‘Sången’. The lyrics is a celebration to Music and tells the story of the performer and the listener and that you need both to have the complete experience of Music! So true!!
If you use Spotify here’s a link to the version I mentioned above!
Here’s a YouTube clip of an audience recorded video from 2010. (Not the best sound or picture but still…)
Ok. Let’s get on with the lesson!
I’m gonna do one a couple of versions. One in medium-up tempo and maybe even one in uptempo.
And I will also do a slowed down version of the medium-up tempo.
Before we start let’s talk a little bit about what walking bass is and how you could think when you make your own bass parts!
First of all: To make your walking bass parts work you have to have a basic understanding on how chords are built. The general idea of walking is to navigate through the chords using quarter notes. Just as you would walk from one place to another using your feet! You could play the same note (the root, probably) over and over again but that would be just like standing on one spot just moving your feet up and down…and that wouldn’t take you very far 🙂 You could just play random quarter notes but after awhile this approach is going to get to ‘out there’ for most regular playing situations. (Just like walking around with no goal…(That can sometimes can be a good thing though…:-)
I think a more chord based approach is what you should work on. This will help you get a firm knowledge and act as a starting point. Then go from there using notes from the different scales that correspond to the different keys and chords in the song you choose to play.
There’s quite a lot going on harmonically in ‘The way you look tonight’ and if music theory is new to you maybe this will be a bit hard. But I’ll try my best to make this as understandable as possible! I will make more lessons based on easier songs if you want! Just send an email to email@example.com and ask away!
Basic music theory
Let’s divide chords in three basic categories. Major, minor and dominant.
A chord is based on a so called triad. In C major it’s C E G. On a piano it’s three white keys with a white key in between. (This is not always true. It depends the chord and key!)
You can look at it like this: From C to E there’s 4 half steps (On a fretboard it looks like the picture below. I will explain this further in Part 2 of this lesson!). From E to G there is 3 half steps. Se picture below. In a C minor chord it’s the opposite way! From C to Eb (flat) there is 3 half steps and from Eb (flat) to G there is 4 half steps.
Ex. C Major: The notes that make up the triad/chord are called root (C), third (E) and fifth (G). (These names correspond to the C Major scale and refers to the scale degrees).
As you can see below, on the first 4 chords of the song, it’s also common to add a forth note to these chord. This is the seventh degree. In a major chord this will be the major 7 (ex. C7: C E G Bb (flat)) and in a minor chord this will be the minor 7 (ex. Cm7: C Eb (flat). A Dominant 7 chord has the minor 7. In C Major the Dominant 7 chord is G7, a fifth from C (G7: G B D F) More on chords and scales in this previous lesson.
Here are some basic chords in the Major, Minor and Dominant category Major
Cmaj7 (Sometimes you’ll see this as C ”triangle” 7, see the first chord of the song below!)
These are just a starting point. What dictates how the chord is built is often decided upon how the melody is written. You could look at it as the chords are made to fit a specific melody! Sometimes the melody comes first but there are of course times when you come up with a nice chord progression first and then make the melody. One way to make the chord fit the melody is to add ‘extension’ notes like the 9th, 11th and 13th degrees. These are not ‘new’ notes. They are the same as the ‘regular’ notes of the scale but one octave up!
Ex. C major: 1C 2D 3E 4F 5G 6A 7B 8C and then it start all over again 9D 10E 11F 12G 13A. Sometimes you make alterations to these ‘(ex)tensions’. You can raise or lower these extensions depending on the melody and the sound you strive for.
Some examples of these ‘extension’ chords Major
CØ9 (half diminished) or Cm9b5
So how does this help you when you want to play walking bass? Well if we look at the first 4 chords in our song we can see that there are both major and minor chords.
As a basis for our walking bass we’ll look at the core of the chords/triads which I mentioned above, the root, third and fifth of each chord. In the next lesson we will go through the chords and check out what notes that will fit the different chords and how to combine them to make a ‘musical’ and hopefully flowing bass line!
Stay tuned for Part 2, with the actual bass parts, coming soon!
Good luck and feel free to comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and I’ll try to help you out!
Let me introduce one of my guitar playing friends, Marcus Måttgård! Please check out some of his stuff on his YouTube Channel. In the photo above we rehearse some country tunes (by Jerry Reed) that hopefully will end up on my CD ”Speaking UBass!?”. The CD will feature different musicians and me playing UBass on all the tracks! (I might sneak in another bass on one or two tracks…) You can ‘REED’ 😉 more about it in my previous post or on the special page i just created that here at playubass.com!
On that page I will update the progress and and let you listen to some ‘snippets’ of the different recordings as I make them!
Ok now it’s time for part one of my lesson on the song ”Satellit” by Ted and Kenneth Gardestad. (For a short live clip of this song go to this blog post).
In part 1 we will focus of the music theory side of the song.
Parts Of The Lesson
We will look into triplet/shuffle playing and use the classic Swedish pop song as our ”tool”.
(Read more about the song in this post.)
There are other songs in this shuffle or 12/8 style that you might be more familiar with. One of the most famous might be ”Hold the line” (by Toto).
We will also check out what scales (modes) the different riffs derive from.
Triplets and Shuffle
In the sheet music I use triplets to write down the bass part. (See video – coming soon in Part 2 of this lesson). You can think of an 8th note triplet as three 8th notes evenly spaced where you normally would play just two. One way of describing this could be with the use of the 12/8 time signature. When I describe shuffle rhythm I often use the 12/8 example and the take away the middle 8th note of every group of three 8th’s. For more on shuffle rhythms and a way of playing those see this video.
Either way you should divide the pulse into four beats. In 4/4 it will be four quarter notes and in 12/8 it will be four dotted quarter notes.
Since ”Satellit” is mainly based on triplets (or groups of three 8th notes) I choose to write it in 4/4. Jazz notation: In the case of swing music notation you often use regular 8th notes and write at the top of the score or lead sheet that the 8th notes should be played with swing/shuffle rhythm feeling. That way you don’t have to write out every triplet.
Here’s a pic of the how shuffle notation looks like in 4/4 and 12/8:
Besides the 8th note triplets there are also a couple of quarter note triplets. The same method is used here. You ”squeeze” three quarter notes in the space of two. These triplets are a bit harder to do. But if you play along with the video (in part 2) and maybe the original recording or why not other songs using these triplets I think it can help you get good at this quickly!
Riffs and what scales they are made from
There are two main riffs in ‘Satellit”. The whole song starts with Riff 1. In the chorus it’s time for Riff 2. Riff 1 is also played during the guitar solo and outro.
Okey. What are the scales/modes used in these riffs?
Riff 1 is clearly based on the G minor pentatonic scale. This scale uses five notes from the G minor scale.
G minor scale: G-A-B flat–C–D-E flat-F–G
G minor pentatonic: G-B flat-C-D-F-G.
Riff 1 starts on scale degree 1 moves down to scale degree 7 and then climbes up the scale. Let’s devide the riff into three phrases.
I think this is a nice way to really make the most of this scale. Making up little motifs based on small parts of the scale and the make connections between these motifs using nothing more than notes from the scale!
Riff 2 is really based only on the Bb major scale! And this works really well because the the key of the tune is B flat major. Let’s break it down a little bit.
B flat major: B flat-C-D-E flat-F-G-A-B
If we build chords based on the Bb major scale we get these chords:
Bb major – C minor – D minor – Eb major – F major – G major – A minor b5
In the chorus we have these chords:
Bb major – D minor 7 – Eb major – F11. (F11 is a E flat major triad with F as bass note). As you can see all of these chords derive from the B flat major scale and chords based on that scale. This means the B flat major scale will work throughout the chorus!
On the first chord (B flat major) the riff starts on the 3rd degree (Bb: 3-2-1) and then moves to next chord using the same three notes landing on the D. After this we have a long scalar motion starting on the Eb (the 4th degee of the Bb major scale) moving all the way to the high Bb.
Now we know that Riff 1 is based on G minor pentatonic and the chorus riff is based on the Bb major scale. How come this works? Well it’s because these to keys are related [G minor is the relative minor to Bb major] and use the same notes with different starting points/notes! Check out this picture of the circle of fifth. As you can see B flat major and G minor both have flatted B and E!
Watch the original version with Ted Gärdestad from the Melodifestivalen 1979 (Swedish TV) on YouTube.
Stay tuned for part 2 for a video lesson on how you can play the bass part!
I just got home from two great gigs. This weekend I’ve been playing concerts featuring music by Ted and Kenneth Gärdestad. Ted has been one of the most celebrared Swedish pop artists and has even been said to be the best Swedish artist of the 20th century!
These concerts features his music and we are lucky to have Kenneth Gärdestad (Teds brother and the lyricist of all the songs) telling their story between songs. The guitarist on most of the original recordings, Janne Schaffer (know for his work with ABBA), is also featured on these concerts. And the great Erik Linder sang lead vocals on some of the songs!
I decided to use my Kala UBass on a couple of the tunes. As usual it worked like a charm! I will do a style/song lesson of one or two of the songs from the concerts soon!
Joining me in the band is good friends Fredrik Kjellgren, piano/organ; Gunnar Hjorth, guitars; Oscar Eriksson, drums and me on Kala UBass, a fretless Rob Allen and my trusty old Ares 5-string bass.
This concept was the idea of more good friends; Magdalena Eriksson (featured singing lead on a couple of songs) and conductor of the choir Krister Kallin. (We studied at the Orebro University together!)
Stay tuned for the lessons!
Please check out the links below for more info on Ted, Kenneth, Janne and Erik!