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6/28/2011 6:11:05 PM
Da Groove, Da Groove, My KingBass For Da Groove!
"If I had a penny for all those times I wished I could ..."

How many times have you listened to a really nice bass line and you got all bent out of shape because you felt that you could have come up with it or you just felt frustrated because you can't come up with that kind of stuff? (A testament to this is my lack of hair, from ripping it out!) The central part in every musician's music-creating process is coming up with those "stick out" lines, or that divine road we travel for the "groove".

"GOD! I'm so uptight, I can't think today...!"

Relaxation is the key. In the process of creating a new line or a groove, your mind has to be relaxed and open (but not so open that your brains fall out!). Thinking of other lines in your head will make the new line very similar to the one in your head, so thinking about other grooves is one the most important things to avoid while trying to come up with an original line. It can be a little frustrating in the beginning but you can get much more frustrated coming up with bass lines that sounds the same and being stuck at the same place. In order to get to this complete state of relaxation there are a few things that can be done:

Feel comfortable, sit down, make sure it's not too hot or cold, and that nothing is bothering you. Go outside, listen to your surroundings and try to capture some of that vibe. Take a nap… make sure that there is no pressure on you, and you are not too hungry, tired, or "have to go soon"… Grab a cool, refreshing drink (not necessarily a six pack!) and slow down.

A musician's environment and their surroundings have a very strong effect on their style, their creativity, and their state of mind. Many musician's move out to different places with the goal to capture some of the vibe of a big city, or just the sounds in the middle of nowhere. There is music all around you. You've just got to stay open minded. Listening to music can be a great way of relaxation and inspiration, if you are able to clear your mind of those songs once you set down to create.

"Wow, I can see... I can see!"

As your mind is empty from any other grooves, it should stay open for your emotions to influence the creative process. First, you find a beat to your bass line. This is fundamental to your creation. It's what you are using to guide you and direct you in the process, and it could be found in several different ways. Coming up with a drum beat first helps a lot and can be used as a great base to your groove. It could come up straight of the top of your head, using a drum machine that can play many different beats with a controlled tempo, or an actual drummer you can work with. I will concentrate on the process of coming up with the actual beat of the top of your head, but the process is very similar either way.

A very good, successful way of developing the creativity and coming up with the actual line is a technique popularly called "pursuing the groove". As I said before, the musician's surroundings have a great effect on their style and creativity, and this way of developing a line is a mix of relaxing, soaking in the environment, and creating the base of the groove using your emotions, and your mood at the moment. "Pursuing the groove" is basically just going outside for a walk, and starting to spit lines. You just walk around listening to the sound of your outdoors, if it's a big city or just a small suburban, and buzzing grooves out loud (if you wear a Walkman without a tape in it, people will not think you are crazy when you begin to buzz your groove!). It helps to start with a drumbeat and than just start improvising and get really into it. The groove you will come up with will reflect your mood and emotions. Your goal is to come up with a very basic line that could be developed. When you're starting to get something you really like just keep repeating it until you get a hold of a bass. This is like the moment of truth. Not everything that sounded good in your head will sound the same played, but if it does you got a great thing going on.

Developing and taking it to the highest level

After transferring the groove in your mind to the bass, try to write it down, or better - record it. This is very important because the groove and the tempo can be forgotten in a second or just over night, so it's important to preserve it some how until you reach the point it's stuck in your head. Now, when you have the base of the bass line, the beat, and the tempo, you can start taking it to a higher level. Setting yourself a drumbeat or having someone to play along is part of the process. You might want to improve your line, add stuff, create a whole melody out of it, or put it into an actual groove or a song. These things will come naturally to you, especially if you have someone to play with. Try to figure out how your groove is built; what scale is it on and what the chords are. These things will help you in the process of constructing your tune.

Knowledge that helps

Having a basic knowledge about scales, theory, and how tunes are built, will help you a lot in the process. Learning new techniques will also expand your horizons and the possibilities of coming up with new lines. A musician is an artist who needs space and creative freedom. Your mood, feelings, emotions, surroundings, environment, weather, and age are just a few factors from an endless list of inspirational sources we have. Do not force it. It will embody itself from within.

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