Peavey G-bass strung up with piccolo strings (one octave higher than traditional bass strings)
Peavey Cirrus 4 string
Boss ME8B Bass effects processor
Fender acoustic guitar
Fostex MR-8 recorder
Boss DR-5 drum machine
PC using Cakewalk Clubtracks
The reasons I wrote this song are two-fold: to practice Latin basslines and to practice soloing with the bass.
For this recording, I programmed the drums/synth on a Boss DR-5 drum machine. I also played the guitars followed by the standard bassline and lead piccolo bass. The Piccolo Bass is a Peavy G-bass strung up with piccolo strings (one octave higher than traditional bass strings). The main bass line was reccorded using a Peavey Cirrus 4 string. Both of my basses were recorded direct through a Boss ME8B Bass effects processor (mostly for compression although I did use chorus and delay for the lead piccolo part in stereo). I also tend use both pickups on my basses in other words I just turn everything up full blast and let my fingers dictate the tone. I did back off the highs a little on the lowere bass in order to go for a smoother Latin bass tone. The guitar used was a fender acoustic/electric ran through my Boss ME8B as well. The recording was done on a Fostex MR-8 recorder and the mixing was done on my PC using Cakewalk Clubtracks.
At 0:15 you will hear the piccolo bass come in. The chord progression for verses of this song are: A minor, Emajor, D minor then back to A minor. Simply put, I played most of this song in variations of the A harmonic minor scale (the Aeolian mode with a #7 instaed of a flat 7th). This helps give the song the spicy latin flavor. During the breaks with punches you can hear me using more of a 'A' pentatonic minor riff in A to add more attitude to the song.
0:32 makes the entrance of the main bassline. What I am striving for here is to play a root,fifth, lower 5th bassline in the Latin style i.e. an 'A minor' chord would have the bass line of root'A', fifth 'E' follwed by fifth low open 'E'.
The timing of playing a bassline is very crucial in Latin music. Notice that in 0:32 the bassline comes in. If you count it out in 4/4, it sounds like this : 1.. and.. ahh...and..ahh..and..ahh..etc. The latin bassslines commonly fall in on the off beats. This song is an example of how it sounds.
The bassline on the chorus at 1:05 is more of a funky root-fifth-octave-fifth-root riff to help push along the melody.
My piccolo bass solo on 2:40 starts with a run in the G mixolidean mode or more accarately a G "be-bop mixolydian mode" which features both a major and minor 7th. The key of soloing in this section is to use a lot of half-steps between your scale notes so that your a "chromatically" working your way through the scales. Notice the dimished appegio walk at 2:52 as a transition back to the reapeat of the solo verse. The second part of the verse pretty much weaves in and out of A blues pentatonic minor soloing and A harmonic minor soloing.
I have been playing bass for about 12 years now. I love exploring all styles of music with bass in it from progressive metal to funk/fusion and jazz. A healthy dose of classical doesn't hurt me once in a while also. lately, I have been trying to focus on learning to play more bass leads in songs. I also have an electric drum set that a fool around on to learn more about rythum. This song has been a great practice tool for me. I wrote this song because I have always been fascinated by the passion of Latin music. Not only does the music inspire me, but the rythum does as well. Please email me if you have any questions and comments.