View Full Version : writing bass lines for ska...

02-08-2008, 03:57 PM
is really hard. Any tips on coming up with bass lines for ska?

Jesus Christ
02-08-2008, 04:19 PM
There's no cookie-cutter way, or blueprint, to do it. Try listening to other ska bands and see how they do it. Or better yet, why not do something totally new? It's not like you have to restrict yourself to a certain genre.

02-08-2008, 04:45 PM
Learn music theory.

Take the chords, figure out what scales fit in those chords, and run those scales up and down in a melodic and rhythmic fashion.

Say your guitarist is playing E minor to A minor, you play:


Or something.

02-08-2008, 05:35 PM
that's a fun scale, thanks.

Edit: The second part of it is also the bassline to our newest song now. Except I play double notes.

02-08-2008, 08:19 PM
Learn music theory.

This is generally what I say to everyone about everything ever.

02-08-2008, 09:00 PM
Just learn all the notes that go into each chord (that is to say, the scales) and play around with them until something sounds good. It's not a science. You could even write the bassline first and then find some chords to fit around them later. I find the latter approach tends to facilitate more creativity.

02-09-2008, 06:52 AM
I hardly count the amount of knowledge required to write a simple walking bass line as "music theory."

Obviously it is, but there's a big difference from that sort of basic knowing-what-notes-are-in-this-chord and the more annoying music theory freaks out in the world. Have you ever listened to an argument concerning advanced music theory? First of all, it doesn't make any sense because no one knows what these people are arguing about. Secondly, if you did know what they were talking about it would seem like the most unimportant thing that no one could ever argue about ever.

So learn maybe some very basic music theory - but unless you're planning on going into a much, much more creative genre than ska, don't bother knowing more than your basic scales and chords.

02-09-2008, 04:43 PM
i take a lot of my bass line creations from listening/ playing a lot of jazz. playing jazz helps develop your ear/ chord recognition, so now when we come up with songs, i can write basslines on the fly, and its like they came out of nowhere.

but i agree, knowing your theory certainly is a major plus.