Learn How to Get Out of Your Bass Playing Rut
Sometimes it can feel like you hit a wall and can’t write anything that doesn’t sound like every other bass line you’ve written. It can be frustrating trying to write something new when it all seems to come out the same. However, there are ways to get out of that and start getting brand new, original ideas. By expanding your horizons in ways that might not seem intuitive, you can add a lot of variety to your own playing.
Listen To Music
Just sit around and listen to music and hear what other bassists have done, you can get a lot of ideas just by sitting and listening to other people play. Don’t just focus on your style of music either, if anything spend time more focused on other styles to hear techniques that might not be common among bassists writing the same kind of music as you.
There is no reason that in the right metal song, a funk bass line might be the most interesting.
Learn New Techniques
Expanding the amount of techniques you know can be quite helpful. Even if you don’t ever use the technique, you can still pick up quite a few ideas from bass guitar lessons. Even if it isn’t the technique itself, you may come up with quite a number of ideas from training exercises that might sound interesting or just from examples of the instructor playing.
Learn to Play a Different Instrument
You don’t necessarily need to get particularly good with another instrument, but sitting there and playing a piano or a guitar or drums or any other instrument will help to think about music in a brand new way. Each instrument tends to have its own intuitive way to play certain things, which can be quite different. The voicing of a piano chord is usually fairly awkward on a guitar because the way you access notes on both instruments is quite different. Just sitting there with another instrument may very well allow you to come up with a bass line that might not have been intuitive to come up with by focusing solely on the bass.
Spell Words or Make Shapes
Just sitting there and spelling out words with the notes or making shapes or patterns with your fretting can lead to some interesting lines. Most of the stuff that this will generate will probably sound lousy, but it is forcing you to listen to bass lines that you would likely have never heard before, and parts of them might be interesting enough to focus more on or to base a full bass line off of.
Use Bass Guitar Chords
Try incorporating full bass chords into bass lines to try to give them a bit more oomph. Most bass lines are exclusively single notes, so it can be quite different to learn to play bass guitar chords. It can also help to create much fuller sounding solo bass lines without the need for a rhythm guitar or a keyboard to fill out the entire overall chord of the rhythm.
Try to Learn to Play Bass Lines By Only Listening to a Song Once
Quite a number of guitar riffs and bass lines actually just came from someone sitting and trying to learn a song and accidentally coming up with something that sounded really good by mistake. “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks would not have been written if the guitarist hadn’t been trying to learn to play “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen. Trying to learn a bass line you only heard once easily opens the door for making those kinds of happy mistakes.