3 – Noodle Bass

Our name for this one might imply a somewhat ill-conceived and meandering approach to creating a bassline, but its origins lie in the exceptional funk and disco players exemplified by the fluid playing of Chic’s Bernard Edwards (just listen to the second half of their ‘I Want Your Love’ to hear him in action) or Herbie Hancock’s ARP Odyssey riffing on ‘Chameleon’:

Check out Daft Punk’s ‘Around The World’ for a more modern take on this:

The key thing thing here is movement, with the bass moving into much more melodic territory. It may come back to the root to provide some sort of resolution, but it can go almost anywhere in between. This type of bass works particularly well over a simple unsyncopated beat.

Pic 7a - Noodle synth bass example

Here it’s the bass that’s pushing and pulling the rhythm to create an interesting overall groove. Leaving gaps and avoiding too many notes on the downbeat adds a sense of anticipation. What you leave out is as important as what you leave in.

Things get more complex (and less disco) when other parts of the track exhibit rhythmic complexity. ‘Footwork’ by Theo Parrish exemplifies this, with many of the tracks on his recent American Intelligence album revealing a serious indebtedness to freeform jazz and experimental fusion artists of the 1970s:

To expand on this idea, you can also try recording your bass parts live (as audio) and then treating them as samples for further manipulation.

25th July, 2015

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