Comments on

The Outer Limits

Original entry posted: Fri Oct 27 12:26:08 2006

wheat @ Fri Oct 27 07:40:26 2006 EST

Well said. I enjoy interviewing bassists who are pushing those boundaries. I asked Steve Lawson what he thought about people who try to limit the role of the bass in this way, and he said "there aren't really enough hours in the day to bother answering people who say that" [source]. I've spent a lot of time arguing with people about the bass and its supposed role, but I think Lawson's view is healthier: ignore such fools and get on with making music.

There is an aesthetic problem, though, in trying to maintain the timbre of the bass while exploring upper registers and more effected tones. Even when I'm playing upper-register lines, I want the bass to sound like a bass. It's fun to deliberately make it sound like other instruments, of course. But what I love is the sound of the bass itself. That's a challenge, I think.

Thomas @ Fri Oct 27 08:26:08 2006 EST

I try to think of the changes in timbre across the neck as a part of composing on the instrument. The rounder sound at the highest notes, contrasted with the snap of notes fretted farther down on the neck, is to me a big part of the sound of bass. So I don't really spend a lot of time worry about how to make it sound bassy, but I do have to take it into consideration when I write music that will use different registers.

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