Writing Music Off Of A Bass Line in 5 Styles 

A bass line is a great place to start when writing music. It's too easy to get stuck in a box and forget how versatile a simple boring bass line can be, so in this lesson/demonstration we'll be experimenting with transforming a single bass line into 5 different genres ofmusic by using different techniques. Special thanks to Roger Reupert for playing the lick for me in this video! 


Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

Hey, I'm Jake lizzio. And in this video. What I want to do is show you how you can write music when the only thing you have to go off of is a baseline one point that I've really tried to get across to my students and songwriters is that it's not necessarily about what you write. It's about what you do with what you wrote. A lot of bass lines are pretty boring in isolation.

But if you put the rest of the band around it really stands out as something else. It's it's more than just the sum of its parts. So what I'm going to do is take a very simple Baseline and then show you how we can transform that into five different genres of music and we're going to do this. Using some of the music theory that I've taught on this channel and a few new Concepts that I haven't taught before but if you ever get lost or confused just check the description because most of these things I'm mentioning I have done videos on so let's take a look at the bass line that we're going to use to turn into five different genres. It's extremely simple. It only uses three notes the notes G and a and on the examples. I'll be doing it on the base for today out for right now. I'll just do it on my guitar, but the Riff sounds like this.

G a g 1 + 3 + 1 + & & & 1 2 & 3 4 & 1 & and so it's just a simple riff in 4/4 it takes up two measures and like I said, it only uses three notes the notes EG and a and when I see okay, we're only using three notes. I think of all the scales that are out there that use just the three notes egn. A e-minor uses those three notes E pentatonic minor key phrygia need Orion.

There's lots of different choices. Aces here for us. And that's why I like simple bass lines because imagine if I had like, you know, seven different notes going on in my Baseline while that's going to spell out a whole scale and it's going to kind of lock me into a key right now with this just only having three notes EG and a I kind of can go anywhere. There's a lot of different choices to just use those three notes, but without getting too exotic. I think the good scale candidates that I'm going to be thinking of here. Our E minor that uses an EEG in an A/C pentatonic minor uses those three notes and also e Dorian so as I go through this Video, those are kind of be the three areas that I'm focusing on the most when I am thinking about scales, but we don't always have to think about scales. So let's get started into actually using this Baseline and turning it into a genre and I'm going to start by using some of the simpler genres the one that require a little less music theory and then we'll add more Theory as we go on. What I want to do is start off by turning this riff into a metal song or some metal riffs. All I have to do is play my Riff on my bass guitar and now just add a basic rock drum beat.

Next I play the exact same bass riff except on a distorted guitar instead.

I could also try turning each note and will power cord and then I filled in the gaps in between my power cords with some almonds.

You can also try just chugging away underneath power cord.

And then maybe bringing in a little bit of a trip.

And lastly we could add a little bit of that e pentatonic minor scale to create a variation of our roof and hopefully you agree those wrists all sounded good on their own so you could easily mix and match them to turn it into a full song next. Let's go into the EDM realm and take the same idea and just put it onto a synthesizer instead We'll add a kick drum to every quarter note and a snare to the two and four beat and then a high hat. the offbeat I added an extra layer of percussion.

And I always like the energy that a tambourine can add next I added some quick power chords on a synthesizer and then another synth player this one just playing lots of sixteenth notes on our kaneki.

So this gives us a nice Groove plenty of space to put in a lead line.

I wrote this line using the notes of pentatonic minor on a Plucky sounding synth and then added a liberal amount of delay.

Now, let's forget about scales all together and let's just freaked out. Funny note while pitch bending up and down.

And now let's harmonize that a minor third above.

Okay, now we'll talk about the blues part of working off of a baseline means giving yourself the opportunity to make some judicious changes to that Baseline. A lot of Blues is done with a swing feel or a shuffle feel and my rhythm is done with straight eighth notes. So right now I'm doing one and three and one and and pan and one but if I just add a swing to that or a shuffle it would sound like this one two, three four, I wanna ha ha ha one two three.

Come on a 2 a 3 a 4 A 1 and you can hear that sounds bluesy herb losses often Shuffle not always but I figured hey, you know, this is such a small change to our Baseline.

Hopefully you'll let me get away with it where it's not the exact Baseline we started with it's just the small variation where instead of playing it's with straight eighth notes. We play it with a shuffle but everything else will be the same now in my rock / metal version you can see I started replacing all those notes with power cords.

But in this case what we can do is replace all those notes with 7th chords, so instead of just an e note on the base. I'll have the guitar playing E7 chord for G note. I'll play a G7 chord and for a an A7 chord. So just sliding around this movable 7 shape. This is something I had in hinted at in my last video on writing with seventh chords. I said that if you take dominant 7th chords and just slide them around you get some really nice bluesy sounds and here's a good example of it. So to build the track, I just started with my Baseline.

And then I replaced every note with the seventh chord.

Then I programmed an organ to play those same chords.

And then finally, I was able to add a lead on top just using the E blues scale next we're going to transform this Baseline into a funk riff and to do that. I'm thinking Dory. Dorian to me is always got like a funky flavor to it. And these notes are already in E Dorian.

So to kind of beef up that Dorian flavor. All we have to do is start adding in some actual chords. The chords of e Dorian would have an E minor in it and a G major in it and also in a major and if I want to extend those into 7th chords what I get is an E minor 7, I'd get AG major 7 and I get an A dominant 7.

So I think that chord progression right there. Sounds kind of nice even all on its own. And it should fit up nice and well with my Baseline because my bass is playing an E note so I can play an E minor 7 over that, you know, when the blade bass plays a gnote I can play AG major 7 and when the bass plays an 8 out I can play an A7 and all of those chords are diatonic to e Dorian which is the same thing as D major, but we don't want to think about that. We want to think of Eid Orion. So keeping those chords in mind a here's how I was able to develop that into a full Funk section.

I once again started with the base and then I found this old school. Hip hop drum loops and filtered out the low end.

Then I introduced a new snare and do kick job.

Then I added my guitar chords.

And once again a tambourine Loop because they're awesome.

Next. I added another guitar layer consisting of some percussive AKO strumming next. I programmed an organ to play the same chord to my guitar with a plane and now we've got a juicy Groove section that's ripe for leads. I called them a good friend Roger Rupert and had him play me some Trumpet lines which are mostly derived from the e blues scale.

So for this last section, I want to introduce a concept that I haven't taught before on this channel. And that's the idea of changing chords over a steady consistent static bass note. So that's called pedaling over a bass tone and to do this. What I want to do is just show you three simple chords. We're having an E minor a minor C major and E minor. So that's what it sounds like all four of them in a row.

That sounds nice, but we can get a different sound out of them by peddling them over the note E. So every single cord has an e on the base.

So for example, like here's an E minor G on the base.

Here's an A Minor with be still on the base.

And now here's a c-major he still on the base and then back to E minor.

Hopefully you can hear that sounds pretty different and it has a different effect.

Then just playing the chords in root position when you have that steady base note. So that concept is what I want to apply to what we've got right in here.

I'm going to have the base just continue to plow ahead. It's going to be doing eega just like before nothing different but these chords are gonna have these long stretches of just an E minor with a you on the base that a long stretch of a minor with you on the base and a long stretch of sea. Now. The reason I picked those chords is because they should match up with the notes in my Baseline. My Baseline is just EG and hey, well, what are the notes of Any minor chord E mg? So I got two of those three notes right there. What are the notes of an A minor chord A and E. Well, that's two notes of my Baseline and C major as an E and A G. Those are two notes in my Baseline.

So I believe that those cords would work pretty well on top of that Baseline and I figured as long as we just keep the Baseline steady, we can sort through different chords and it might sound pretty cool. So to get started what I did is once again start with just my Baseline and then I added drums again except this time. I added a little delayed to the snare to add a Spacey texter then I added in the synth towards keeping everything pedaled over and as you can hear this really darkens up the group.

I played around with different voicings on my guitar until I found some that I liked and then added them on top with slopes trumped then I wanted to add some slighty dreamy delayed goofiness, but I couldn't find a slide. So I ended up using a battery instead. We're just fine lastly. I coated the entire thing and E minor guitar leads with lots and lots of delay.

So like I said before it's not about what you write. It's about what you do with what you write and a lot of times you might write a little piece or a riff or a chord progression. And then the first thought that pops into your mind as well. That's lame. That's dumb. What am I supposed to do with that next and you throw away that and you know, you go on to something else but my point here is hold on to that stuff and try to play with a try to make it work by surrounding it with the right players with the right actors and the right instruments and you know, you might be surprised at how many of Your bad ideas were actually good ideas that just needed to be seen in the right light. So I hope you enjoy this video, and I hope you learned something. If you did like this video you can thank my wonderful patreon subscribers for making that possible. They've been sponsoring these videos for the last year and I wouldn't have been able to do without them. So if you'd like to join them you can there's links Below in the description, but if you can't do that, that's fine. Just like subscribe comment and that's good enough for me. Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time.


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