Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

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BluesBass
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Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by BluesBass » Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:41 pm

Hi guys,
Just wondering if any of you chaps have any good tips for working out bass lines from a recording of a song and developing an ear for what is actually being played?
Finding the key and the chord sequence if fairly simple, but what about the actual notes in the bass line as sometimes the bass can be tricky to pick out.

Does it actually mater, if your note playing note for note... will an approximation do?
I really guess the answer to that question depends on your band the style of music your playing.

Cheers
Sean

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by foal30 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:04 pm

well I think it can be beneficial to try to get each note of a line from an analysis prospective.
often your theory knowledge kicks in, you can sort of know what is being played.

I tend too hit the notes then the rhythm if that is any help.I def do not worry about strict time until I have the notes under my fretting hand per se.

If I know i have a specific transcription to do I try to sing it in my head leading up to actually putting the record on and picking up the bass.

Here is an easy one, "Life's what you make It" by Talk Talk
sign the line, think the line. It's actually the whole tune, Ab7 covers the entire Bass part sweet.

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by foal30 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:10 pm

er, basic Piano skills may help too.
this may be relevant to peoples ears in certain octaves. :D

approximations.
as you said I too think it's context.

we probably want to play the break on "the Chain" or the intro on "I was Made to love Her" note on.
but it's the rhythmic hits on "Thankyouforlettingmebemicelfagain" that make Larry Graham's part or even Pino Palladino's approach to the D'Angelo album he did.

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by beagle » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:38 pm

Yeah you're right... different songs & bands have different requirements.
I'll play a new song while I'm working, in the car etc lots of times till it's stuck in my head.
Then I don a good pair of headphones and go over all the segments and licks bit by bit until I'm happy I can play each bit.
Also making notes seems to help.
If the bass is hard to pickout from other instruments I tweak the graphic EQ to help isolate the frequencies I need.
Also ... I recon learning new things just before I go to bed helps. While sleeping my brain keeps going over it and when i try to play it the next day... it's heaps easier.
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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by john » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:37 pm

foal30 wrote: Here is an easy one, "Life's what you make It" by Talk Talk
There is a bass in that song? :D

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by foal30 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:06 pm

er, I think it's fretless, I can't actually remember.
Talk Talk records are a fair a chocka full of bass goodness.
nice vocals too, reminds me of Gramsci

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by john » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:23 pm

I think you are confusing "lifes what you make it" with "It's my life"
Life's what you make its' bass line is done by a piano ...I think

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by foal30 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:49 pm

by gum the plaster is right.

who is responsible for the cover of "It's my Life". Female Vocals.
for what it's worth, "For What it's Worth" is a good fretless Talk Talk line too.

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by john » Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:24 pm

foal30 wrote:by gum the plaster is right.
you missed out the "er" plasterer looks stupid but it is what it is.
foal30 wrote:who is responsible for the cover of "It's my Life". Female Vocals.
No doubt
foal30 wrote:for what it's worth, "For What it's Worth" is a good fretless Talk Talk line too.
yeah that bass line is coooool, I'm so glad someone else in the world likes talk talk

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by foal30 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:13 am

er :)

I'm so glad someone else in the world understands the drivel I go about

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by john » Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:09 pm

foal30 wrote:er :)

I'm so glad someone else in the world understands the drivel I go about
LOL

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by BassinHardSince1992 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:34 pm

One of the easiest ways to begin working on ear training is to sing what you play. For example, you can play a C major scale (C D E F G A B) in any position-preferably one that is physically comfortable for you-and sing each note of the scale as you play it, being very careful to sing on pitch as accurately as possible. Start with one note: play the note, sing it, and then play and sing the note simultaneously. Then go to two notes. Once you feel comfortable, take a little piece of that scale, say, the notes C, D, E and F, and create a very simple melody with these notes for you to sing simultaneously, la jazz guitarist George Benson.
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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by justintechy » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:58 pm

I think getting the major notes are all you need. I often find those then add my own, putting a new twist on it.

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by alanp » Tue May 12, 2009 10:35 pm

If the bass part in the song is hard to hear, I find sometimes switching listening to the guitar, or other rhythm instrument in the piece, can give useful clues as to where you need to be.

I started doing this in the days before mp3s, when I was on the dole, and couldn't afford to buy CDs of everything I needed to learn, so often all I had to go on was a slightly murky tape given to me by the guitarist, and the bass was usually not very clear, lol.

Even listening to the singer can be helpful, and in fact is a good thing to be doing in any case, cause your part is often more closely related to the vocal line than the guitar. Even if the original bass line wasn't following the vocal, it could end up sounding good anyway.

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Re: Transcribing a Bass Line from a Recording

Post by SoopaPoppa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:39 am

I Like to get the bass lines off recordings note for note and I use a program called "Transcribe" Check it out online. Its an excellent program and you can slow it down to any speed, so you can play along with it and cut out higher frequencies and just hear the bass notes only while your working out hard to hear difficult licks, etc. I also have another program called "Sibelius G7" for writing out music. I type the notes in and then when finished just print it out and you have a nicely printed piece of sheet music of the original bass line. Well worth buying those two programs.

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