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The Right Way to Play Bass

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We bass players are always looking for ways to make our playing interesting. But let’s face it. Most of the time, what we’re really doing is trying to keep ourselves interested, rather than actually making the bass part more interesting.

One of the ways we do this is to funk up our bass lines by adding extra notes, or ghost notes, to whatever we’re playing. But this often only serves to clutter up the music — especially when the other instruments are playing something busy.

Whether we hate to admit it or not, sometimes just nailing those quarter or eighth notes is what’s needed to establish the all-important groove and propel the song forward.

This is especially true in recording situations, but it’s also a key thing to remember in live performances. It’s so easy to get carried away while you’re in the moment, without realizing that all those funky little things you’re doing are actually detracting from the overall sound, rather than enhancing it.

In the following video, Andy Irvine walks us through “the right way to play bass.” He offers some great examples of how to tighten up and simplify our bass lines in order to maintain the deep groove which is so important in rock and pop music.

Check it out.

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