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Author Topic: Leading from the bass  (Read 4934 times)
cupples
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« on: November 30, 2009, 12:07:19 PM »

Hi folks, I'm new here. I've been playing bass on and off for ten years, and in our church worship group for the last two. I've been given the chance to lead worship from time to time (I've done a lot of singing over the years, and I feel God is calling me to do more of this), and I'm trying to combine bass and leading - it's really hard! There's no-one else who plays at the moment (although I've got my eyes open for someone to train up!).

Does anyone else out there lead from the bass? How do you manage it? How do you prepare? I find myself playing during the intro, then dropping out for the verse and chorus. At least it gives me something to do with my hands! Standing there with just a mic is a bit awkward... when I'm playing bass only, I usually play by ear, but I find I can't do this when leading, unless I'm playing exactly the same thing as I'm singing. Is it a practice issue? Maybe it's just a lack of multi-tasking ability due to being male!

Any thoughts?

Andrew

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"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" Joshua 24:15

Mania 4 string fretless, Dean Pace EUB, Ashdown Superfly amp and Laney 2x10 cab
CRBMoA
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 02:40:47 PM »

Singing and playing is a practice issue.

Leading from the bass, however, is a different animal.

There are a lot of cues you can give to the team from guitar and piano, but you have far fewer options as the bassist, because bass=foundation.

When I do it, I tend to use generous helpings of walk-ups and walk downs, glissandos, etc., to make it easier for the band to believe in the one. I also use a lot more vocal cues, which eliminates the need for sonic cues that can throw a wrench in the groove.

But, I am very comfortable in making the broad statement that it is easier to lead with a polyphonic instrument, and if you lead from the bass chair, you need to have solid, experienced musicians following you.

Or a lot or prayer.

Or both!
Grin
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1954bassman
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 10:06:43 PM »

Practice the bass parts until you can play them without thinking about what you are doing, then practice just the vocals until they just flow out. Then combine them.

It may take a ton of work to pull this off. I do not sing at all myself, so I only have to learn the bass parts.

The other bassist at church at times will lead worship and play the bass (or guitar), and he does it effortlessly.

Practice practice, practice.
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2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2009, 10:19:45 AM »

Just as CRBMoA and bassman have already stated, it is a practice issue.

When I first started to play the bass I didn't think I would ever be able to sing and play at the same time. As I played I could hear the words in my head but once I tryed to spit them out of my mouth, my brain completly forgot about my fingers and what they were doing.  Grin

Then I ended up in a 3 piece band so I began to work on playing and singing at the same time. I started with songs that had simple bass lines and I would throw in some back up vocals here and there. After about 6 months I was getting fairly comfortable playing and singing even with more difficult bass lines. It made me wish I had a better singing voice.  Roll Eyes

So my advice is to try not to become discouraged and hang in there and practice. You will get it if you don't give up.

Dave
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cupples
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2009, 06:48:03 AM »

Thanks for the advice guys! Looks like there's nothing else to do but practice! I'm on the hunt for another bass player to train up as well, so multitasking may not be so much of an issue in the future. Plus, I would be tempted to go back to a fretted bass when leading, as there's less intonation worries... so, just need to find another bass then!  Grin
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"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" Joshua 24:15

Mania 4 string fretless, Dean Pace EUB, Ashdown Superfly amp and Laney 2x10 cab
aikakone
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Posts: 62



« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2010, 08:01:37 PM »

I also lead from the bass, but I think the advice was already covered by the other posts.  Just want to give you support that you're not alone in it. Smiley
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chuckzee90
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2010, 02:51:14 PM »

I lead from bass too, on a few songs during our sets... usually I lead on the slower, more reflecting sort of songs, which is good... cause it lets me ring certain notes out for a while as I sing.  I've just kind of avoided leading any songs that would require a lot of attention as far as the instrument goes. 

I guess that doesn't really help  Grin
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mousekillaz
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2010, 10:36:21 PM »

Its a difficult task for those of us that can't pull it off effortlessly. I don't lead worship at this point nor do I sing except for the occasional un-miked moments when the Holy Spirit takes over. I used to sing a couple of tunes back when I was playing secular music in the 80's. I had to first pick easy songs on the bass and my vocal style was described as semi-punk so I'm not sure if that would fly in worship ...  either way I had to really work on it until it was doable for a paying audience. Which brings up the main point  and that is Gods grace and how awesome it is, every time I participate in worship for a congregation it never ceases to amaze me how what I knew was an impending train wreck  comes off sounding so well. Its His grace and the gift He bestowed on us to honor Him  that makes it possible
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mishicoco
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2010, 02:14:10 PM »

Hi folks, I'm new here. I've been playing bass on and off for ten years, and in our church worship group for the last two. I've been given the chance to lead worship from time to time (I've done a lot of singing over the years, and I feel God is calling me to do more of this), and I'm trying to combine bass and leading - it's really hard! There's no-one else who plays at the moment (although I've got my eyes open for someone to train up!).

Does anyone else out there lead from the bass? How do you manage it? How do you prepare? I find myself playing during the intro, then dropping out for the verse and chorus. At least it gives me something to do with my hands! Standing there with just a mic is a bit awkward... when I'm playing bass only, I usually play by ear, but I find I can't do this when leading, unless I'm playing exactly the same thing as I'm singing. Is it a practice issue? Maybe it's just a lack of multi-tasking ability due to being male!

Any thoughts?                   i have currently been working on the same issue and im finding that when we practice we should have good success. what i mean is get successful on  just one song then learn another till it becomes you ,i learned silly love songs  from  wings and i can sing and play it now, then i learned running in the family from level 42 .eventually your brain will release its other side from  its chains and you will be free ,just dont stop practicing just focus on  one song at a time and dont let yourself go on untill you have complete success dont cut yourself slack ,be your own worst critic and you will be awesome  I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME!

Andrew


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Mr.Ed
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2010, 04:56:50 PM »

 I like singing and have a good voice but I like playing slightly complcated bass parts and double and triple stops that would throw me off, so I lead worship(praying, testimony) and our guitarist leads the congregation for the singing. It works for our group.  My guitarist is dedicated but really too inexperienced to go outside of rythm strumming, which led me to get first a 10 string(double coursed bass) and now a 12 string bass.  Amazing how much sound 2 instrumentalists and 6 singers can make with Jesus in charge.  They let us crank it up pretty good...sometime soon we are doing a version of "Spriit in the Sky" that hews pretty close to the original.HAH!
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Practice is what you do by yourself, rehearsal is what you do with others who have practiced.  Never confuse the two and things will go much smoother.
Xylifrost
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 08:34:24 PM »

i also seen a school of bass over the weekend. they was in a popular spawning area. they are getting ready to spawn
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