Keeping it Simple – Walking the Bass Line #2

The Beatles

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Isaac Newton, 1676

A lot of music leaves me feeling detached and unengaged because, putting it simply, it doesn’t make me feel anything. Sometimes it’s just that the song is not that great, but there are plenty of times when that has not been the case.

I was trying to work out why that is as the world seems to be full of technically proficient bass players and I think part of the reason is that there is not enough space left within the song itself to allow it to breathe.

If you think about music like colours painted on a blank canvas, sometimes things can be unnecessarily ‘busy’ which can detract from the overall perception and experience of the piece.

What I have really enjoyed about learning the bass and appreciating its role within a song is the absolute joy experienced by keeping things simple. There is always a little pressure in the back of your mind to up your game and play more advanced and complicated lines and I appreciate that, but sometimes, simple is all that is required.

“As a session musician, I can never remember being asked to play more notes or play slap!” – Andy Seward

As a case in point, when studying a couple of Beatles songs for a celebratory gig in Valencia I have been invited to play at, ‘My Guitar Gently Weeps’ completely mesmerised me and hooked deep into my soul. The haunting McCartney bass line is simple, sublime and melts me every time…

New personal mantra: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”