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Old 12-09-2012, 02:17 AM
tariq1890 tariq1890 is offline
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Default Figuring out the right basslines and rhythm for melodies

Hey Guys and Girls,

I've always wanted to make my own solo guitar arrangements.But i find figuring out the basslines very difficult by ear.I can work the melody part out though(anyone can).

Please share your tips so as to give me some direction in arranging songs

Thanks,
Tariq
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:01 AM
Anand00028 Anand00028 is offline
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Why not start with bass lines and chords in your compositions? Sometimes they can lead to melodies with catchy phrasing too.Programs such as BIAB have a lot of rhythm and bass parts that could be a starting point to develop your own.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tariq1890 View Post
...I've always wanted to make my own solo guitar arrangements.But i find figuring out the basslines very difficult by ear.I can work the melody part out though(anyone can).
Hi tariq...

I prefer doing my own arrangements rather than knocking off those or others. I appreciate the other versions, but mine is mine, and I'm only trying to live up to my standard and not some other player's standard.

When I'm designing arrangements of songs from scratch, I listen to a lot of representative music in that style (Pandora, YouTube etc) and kind of saturate myself in it (perhaps marinate myself in it).

Then I get my gigging partner to jam with me in that style. I hum along, listen for specific parts etc. I try to get a feel for the bass and I play along with recordings to track with the bass, and key harmonies, crucial chords etc.

And I give myself the freedom to try anything, but then begin narrowing in on what it is I'm putting together. This may be a 2 week process for things I'm familiar with or a 2 month process when it's foreign to me to begin with.

But I'm never just working on only one thing. So I take my time and get it the way I want it (or think I want it) and then tweak it into a shape that it's performable, and see how it survives a gig or guitar society meeting (where 15-20 other guitarists attend).

Then I may still shape it a bit more...

Hope this helps.


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Old 12-09-2012, 08:57 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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You should be able to this, to start, without the guitar in your hands. If you are hearing a groove or beat in your head, that right there is the basis of the bass line. Shuffle, straight 4, waltz, etc makes no difference. You know the chords, you know the bass notes. Work from there.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:17 AM
BluesBelly BluesBelly is offline
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Tariq,
Just finished reading an article in the Jan 2013 edition of Acoustic Guitar mag. On page 64 there is an article entitled "Fingerstyle Bass Lines" "how and when to use walking bass lines, pedal tones, and bass riffs in your compositions and arrangements. Just what your looking for I believe.
If you can't obtain a copy I believe there is on-line access.
www.acousticguitar.com

Blues
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:43 PM
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Hi Tariq,
You can do it, and you'll like finding your own groove.

Have you explored simple chord inversions? Thinking of the triad that makes the C chord, usually the C is in the bass, then the E and G are played over the bass. You can invert the chord: the first inversion would have E in the bass followed by G and C. The second inversion would have a G as a bass then C and E.

So reshaping some of your basic chords will give you different possible bass notes.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:03 PM
kydave kydave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
You should be able to this, to start, without the guitar in your hands. If you are hearing a groove or beat in your head, that right there is the basis of the bass line. Shuffle, straight 4, waltz, etc makes no difference. You know the chords, you know the bass notes. Work from there.
Howard's got it. For most popular music, a bass line isn't rocket science. It is there to be the musical drum.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:13 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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A song is chords, melody, and rhythm...get into the chords part...a bassline can practically write itself once you try to find a place to grab the chord and melody note simultaneously.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:12 PM
Von Beerhofen Von Beerhofen is offline
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Besides using software, I often play along with an early recording and try to design a simple tune which has a nice accompanying rythm for the song I'm working on.
A little bit of counter point is allways nice but harder to play on a single instrument.
The rythm usually reflects a certain music style, of which the basis is very likely copied from something I've heard before (probably the entire song is, lol).
Then I go to work on it and try not to take it too far or make it too complex, after all it's not a solo. It's usually a repetitive phrase with minor changes here and there to keep it interesting.
A good start is often the chord's base notes and then decide if it's better to have a 3rd or 5th in it's place at some locations. A bass melody will grow from that and the rythm usually adapts itself to it.
Then I look if I can play it that way, if not I make minor adjustments in either part, chords and bass. This way I try to do the hard thing first, but if I can't I'll fall back on something easier and possibly simpler too.
It may grow during practice when I start hearing better harmonies, this will never really stop as sometimes I forget a little and redesign the thing or I just think of even better harmonies I'd like to incorporate.
It may sound like an elaborate process but it's not, in the end it just happens almost without thinking whilst playing along with a recording. I've never worried about it being great or not, as I know it'll change over time and new knowledge will be incorporated.
Just start with something and let it grow on you, it'll get easier every time you try.

Ludwig
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
You should be able to this, to start, without the guitar in your hands. If you are hearing a groove or beat in your head, that right there is the basis of the bass line. Shuffle, straight 4, waltz, etc makes no difference. You know the chords, you know the bass notes. Work from there.
Onto something here...

Bass lines don't happen in a harmonic or chordal context first but in a rhythmic context first.

Also feel free to left hand mute to get at the rhythmic setting.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:20 AM
geordie geordie is offline
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"Figuring out the right basslines and rhythm for melodies"

this is where you have to develop and apply your musical imagination, simplest way is to record your melodie and image what you want to 'surround' it with as accompaniment - then workout how to do it - simple
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:36 AM
Mtn Man Mtn Man is offline
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Here’s the method we use to learn a new song, by ear, with the intention of creating our own arrangement:
  1. Learn the chords.
  2. Figure out the basic melody. Often this is nestled within the chord shapes.
The next step would be to use the framework of the basic chords and melody to add your own embellishments, substitutions, etc. to come up with your own arrangement. But we won’t worry about that for now.

In your case, you’re working on developing basslines. Here’s what I’d recommend. Every day, as part of your daily practice, make it a point to listen to some recorded music (whatever style you enjoy) and use the above to figure out what they’re doing. The only difference is, you’ll add another step, so it looks like this:
  1. Figure out the bassline.
  2. Learn the chords.
  3. Figure out the basic melody.
If you do this every day, you’ll eventually start to develop an intuitive feel for how the chords, the bassline, and the melody relate to one another. Writing it down helps too, as does reading about it (like you are now), but sometimes you just have to hear it, and feel it, before it really makes sense to you. This will help you when arranging your own music. Also, there's no shortcut when it comes to understanding this stuff, so don't get frustrated if it takes a while.
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