Tips and Techniques for Worship Bass Players

The bass guitar is such an incredibly important instrument in a worship band context. Bass carries all the energy, and when played properly can really help your church enter in and engage during musical worship. Yet many bass players take the wrong approach to their playing in a worship setting. Worship calls for a specific style of playing. In this episode I share four key concepts to keep in mind when playing bass in a worship band context, and then demonstrate a whole host of techniques that your bassists can begin applying this upcoming Sunday. Consider this a crash course tutorial for your worship bass players. Be sure to send this episode to them, or even better, send them the video version of the episode so they can watch me demonstrate the principles and techniques in action: Worship Bass Tutorial Video 

Episode: Using Vocal Cues To Help Your Church Sing
Episode: Utilizing Your Acoustic Guitar To It’s Full Potential
Episode: Helping Your Band Beat Busyness and Embrace Musical Simplicity

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Alex Enfiedjian 01:33 Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the worship ministry training podcast, a monthly podcast for worship leaders and worship team members. My name is Alex Enfiedjian. Your host, welcome to the new year. Welcome to 2020. Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying that we are getting old fast. But I’m so excited to start this new year with you guys to grow together and progress together through this new year. As we grow in our craft in calling called worship leading, I wanted to start the year very practical give you something super tangible to give to your team members to help them in their musicality. Specifically, we’re going to be talking about the bass. So today is all about that bass. So definitely think about your bass players. If you’re a worship leader, send it to them, encourage them to listen to it. And to watch the accompanying video that I’m creating. for this episode. It’s gonna be very practical, very hands on I’m actually holding my bass in my hands right now. It’s one of those episodes I’ve done a couple already in the past where I did one about using vocal cues to help your church sing where I actually play and sing vocal cues for you to listen to and learn. I did one about using your acoustic guitar to the full potential where we talk about dynamics and different strumming techniques, you can try to take your acoustic playing to the next level. So this is one of those episodes. So there’s going to be an accompanying video uploaded to YouTube and I will put a link in the show notes and you can send that to the bass players on your team or you can send them this podcast whatever is comfortable for you, but I wanted to show you what I was talking about because it’s gonna be filled with lots of techniques and tips. So with that, let’s jump right into today’s episode.

Alex Enfiedjian 03:08 Alright, in today’s episode, I’m going to be sharing with your bass players the exact concepts and techniques that I share with the bass players who come onto my team at my church. So be sure to pass this episode on to your four string friends in your life. But let’s start the episode The right way by giving praise and giving props to all the bass players out there. Because the bass is an unsung hero. The bass doesn’t get enough credit. But the bass is so vital in music and in worship. In particular, people underestimate and undervalue the importance of bass in music. The truth is the bass guitar or the synth bass or whatever bass you have is the thing that carries all the energy and music. people mistakenly think I often in the past thought that the energy comes from the high frequencies like the guitars, the electric guitars, the cymbals, you know the things that are sharp in your ears, but that’s actually incorrect. The energy the energy comes from the bass frequencies. bass frequencies are made up of the longest wavelength, which means they contain the most power so bass players you are very powerful bass frequencies can travel through walls, bass frequencies, rumble the room, bass frequencies are the things that thump your chest and rattle your teeth. You know, the bass literally moves you It literally moves your body. And so when there’s no bass in the mix, it feels weak and anemic. And so I just want to start there and encourage all you basically is listening but you are critically important to the worship band even if no one else notices you. I want you to rejoice and know that one god notices you to your worship leader notices you and three like you are so vital to a great sounding worship mix. And so just embrace that beautiful calling that you are super important. But being important doesn’t mean that you can just get up on stage and play Whatever you want. And so what I want to do in this episode is to help you understand how to approach the bass in a modern worship setting. And if you’re a new bass player listening, this is going to give you a huge head start and an advantage in your craft. But if you’re a veteran, you’ve been playing 20 years, you kind of know all the techniques, you actually I’m going to challenge you, you might have more work cut out for you, as a worship bass player than the newbie bass player, because you might need to unlearn some things that you have carried with you through your bass playing career. And you might actually need to change your approach to bass playing to better fit within a worship context. So whoever you are, however long you’ve been playing, I just want you to hear me out. I think we can all agree that we want to bring the Lord our absolute best, I think none of us have it all figured out. I think we can all keep learning and growing. And hopefully, you want to keep growing and progressing in this craft and calling as a worship musician, you know, keep learning new styles, keep pushing yourself, keep changing, evolving and growing. So if you are a veteran bass player, your worship leader sent you this episode for a reason. Because he or she wants to say something to you, maybe they haven’t told you, you know, in the past, and they think you’d better receive it from me for whatever reason, but they want you to hear something. And so at least hear me out. I’m not the best bass player in the world. But I am a worship pastor who has, you know, a heart for the church and a little bit of experience in this area. And so, I would encourage you to at least at the very least, take these principles and put them into your tool belt, and so that you have more tools in your arsenal, and you can have a different approach to how to utilize your instrument in worship. So the way I’m going to structure this episode is to very briefly very briefly outline the role of bass in worship band. This will be super short and basic, but I think it needs to be reiterated. And then next, I want to outline some general principles that you should keep in mind, whenever you’re playing bass in a modern worship setting, I keep saying a modern worship setting. And that’s because worship has a particular context, and we should adapt our playing to that context. And then after we cover those core concepts for bass playing in worship, I want to show you a whole host of techniques that you can use to make your bass playing more interesting and effective in worship. So let’s talk about the role first the role of the bass. So the role of the bass BSS is that you are the bass, the BA S II, the role of the bass is that you are the bass You are the foundation, you are the fundamental bottom layer of the band, you are the thing that we stack, all the other layers upon you are the solid platform upon which everything else is built. All the other layers need to be able to stack on top of your solid, clear, stable base layer, you are the one who is primarily outlining the chord changes, okay, like the guitars and the keys. They’re all doing different melodies and countermelodies. But you need to give us the chord changes the root notes, you are also the one who is establishing the rhythm patterns, obviously along with the drummer, and establishing the groove of the song. And so bass players are supposed to work very closely with the drummer and the lead vocalist to establish the right rhythm patterns to best support the song. So that is the role of bass within a band. Okay, that’s your role. I told you to be short and simple. But if you want to go back, you can just go back 30 seconds and re listen to that again, because that is your role. And if you get your role right, everything else will fall into place. Next, what I want to do is talk about some fundamental concepts to keep in mind as you approach the bass in a worship setting. Now, these concepts apply primarily in a church context. If you’re playing in a jazz band or a blues band, you will have different concepts to apply. But the first concept to playing bass in a worship setting and really in most settings is number one to support the vocal support the vocal support the melody and the lyric of the song, because unless you’re playing in a prog rock band and instrumental band, the band is not about the music or your awesome bass playing skills. It’s almost always about the song, playing in a band that singing songs is about serving the song. And so our job all musicians jobs, is to serve the song the best that we can, not playing what we want, but playing what the song needs. And I did a whole episode on this called embracing musical simplicity, which you guys can I’ll put it in the show notes, you can check that out. But oftentimes, when you serve the song, it means that you actually have to play the most boring parts. Sometimes you get to play interesting parts if it’s serving the song, but most of the time, it’s to find joy in dying to ourselves and dying to our selfish desires and playing The Best Supporting part for each moment of a song.

Alex Enfiedjian 10:03 So it’s really the goal is everyone’s cooperating as a team to bring everything cohesively together musically to convey a concept to convey an idea to convey a lyric, that’s a win. That’s the win in music is when we come together, all our parts come together. And they cohesively convey an idea, a concept, an emotion, or a lyric. It’s not about one person, it’s not about an individual. It’s about the team. And it’s about serving the song, and particularly in worship ministry, when everything is about helping the church sing or should be if you didn’t know that should be about helping the church sing. We want to bolster the melody and bolster the lyric. And we want the church to have this stable platform upon which to sing and project out to the Lord. That means that we’re keeping things simple, solid and stable. It means that we adopt a common musical language that most people are familiar with when they’re listening to modern styles of music. That means we’re not playing too much. We aren’t playing too complicated. And we aren’t playing too melodically. We’re just keeping it simple, solid, stable, predictable, and rich. And that leads to the second concept of playing bass in modern worship, which is to keep it simple. Keep it simple, modern worship is based on layers. And when I say modern, I’m talking like 2000s and forward so the last 20 years, maybe it was different in the 70s and 80s. But now with you know, the rise of the computer and production, and all the you know, worship albums that are coming out, everything is layered, it’s all stacked on top of each other. The production of the song is stacks and stacks and stacks of layers that work together. And so the drums and bass are the foundational layer. Okay, the keys, the acoustic guitars, the electric guitars all laced together on top of the foundational layer to add melody and counter melody and rhythm. But if your bass playing is too busy, and too bombastic, then it interferes with the other layers on top, and it doesn’t let them accomplish their role in the band. The bass players role in modern worship is not to be melodic. It’s to outline the chords, the root chords, the root notes, and to give simple stable rhythm underneath the other instruments so that the other instruments can play the role that they were intended to play. So keep it simple, okay, don’t make it too complicated. Don’t make it too too much movement. Don’t make it too melodic. And that’s the third principle, which is play the bass rhythmically, not melodically play the bass rhythmically, not melodically. in worship music. The role of the melody belongs to the vocals, the keys and the electric guitars. Bass does not need to clutter and confuse the role by playing overly melodic lines. I found this article about worship bass playing, I’ll try to find the original article like I don’t know where I found it. But the author wrote this. He said, because the bass is a very simple instrument, it can be very tempting to overplay, I was told that I should learn to play bass, like I had to pay $1 for every note, wow, that’s a concept right there. Remember that when you do a run or a riff, you are usually taking away from the structural bass notes that the worship team is depending on, only use these advanced techniques when they have the opportunity to support the drum and the vocal lines and do not take away from the foundation of the song. I would rather have a bass player who simply plays the notes, but is consistently in time and onpoint than a virtuoso who does not know how to blend. I couldn’t have said that better. I couldn’t agree more. Again, in genres like blues, funk, Motown, the bass moves a lot, it’s supposed to move a lot. But that’s because the the electric guitar or the higher instruments are playing very simple, just rhythmic like on the two and the four. So the bass is allowed to move it has space to move. So you need to not do that. And it’s not Motown. Okay, it’s worship. And that leads me to my last concept that you want to keep in mind as a worship bass player, which is you need to learn the genre and adopt the style. You need to learn the genre and adopt the style of worship music. If you’re a musician, playing a certain genre of music, it’s important to adopt the style country guitarist approach the guitar a very specific way with a very specific style. If they got a gig, they would be expected to learn and execute their parts with a country style. It’s a stylistic thing Okay, and for better or worse, modern worship, lyrical melodic, for the congregation worship has a specific style that actually helps facilitate the singing of God’s people. And so you must learn that style and you must adopt that style. It’s important Not just to play the right notes, but to play the right style. And modern worship is based on modern pop and modern rock genres. And in those genres, the bass is primarily playing the root notes. There’s not a lot of movement, there’s not a lot of passing chords. And there’s not a lot of melody to the bass playing. It’s mostly just the route. When I first came to our church, there was a bass player here, God bless him super sweet guy, but he would make every song feel jazzy on the bass, if we were playing. This is amazing grace, which is that really straight rock feel he would be walking non stop for the entire song, and I fired him immediately. No, I’m just kidding. But we did have to reprogram his brain. But the first thing that you should do is not do that. But what you should do is you should start listening a lot to this style of worship, music, start studying, start studying the tone, start studying the techniques, study the playing the grooves, the subdivisions, immerse yourself in this style of music. Listen, even if you don’t like the style, even if you don’t like it, learn it, adopt it and add it to your tool belt. Remember, we talked about that earlier, at least you have something a new language to play in, okay, and it’ll make you a better player. And if I may be super frank, I know you don’t know me. And I know this might sound harsh. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a style you like or not. Because our job as servants of the Most High God is to serve with a good heart, and a glad spirit and a humble attitude. And so whether we enjoy the style of music or not, it’s not about you. It’s about serving the song. It’s about serving the congregation. It’s about serving your leader, and it’s about serving the Lord. And so those four principles, I think, if you keep those in mind, you’re going to be a really great bass player in a modern worship setting. And so now with those four concepts in mind, I’m going to pick up my bass while I’m actually already holding it. And I’m going to show you some specific techniques that you can employ as a bass player to be as effective in your craft, as you can keep in mind, I’m a worship leader.

Alex Enfiedjian 17:15 I’m not a bass player, I do play bass, but I’m not the best in the world. But I as a worship leader, I know what I want to hear from the bass player as a worship leader. So at least let me share from my perspective of what I would want you to play if you were playing on my team. And hopefully, with the concepts that we just talked about previously, you will understand why I would want you to play with these techniques. So let’s start with our techniques. I’m going to break this section into three categories. We’re going to talk about general playing techniques, we’re going to talk about dynamic techniques. And then we’re going to talk about bass fill techniques. So general playing techniques, the first tip or technique is to vary your plucking method with your plucking hand. So what I like to do is try to figure out what kind of energy does a song need, and then determine how am I going to pluck the strings for that song. So for a rock song, like Philip comes, this is amazing grace, I would want to use a pic. Because it’s aggressive. It’s 16th notes. It’s kind of a tacky and bitey. So you know, it’d be like,

Alex Enfiedjian 18:27 but for a funkier song or a groovier song or something, like, my fear doesn’t stand a chance, when I stand in your love, I would want to use my index finger to pluck like a traditional bass pluck, you know. And then for something like warmer and simpler, like the verse of do it again, I would probably want to use my thumb, because it gives it just a mellower and warmer feel. So it’s like so there are other methods, of course, you could slap but that’s probably not gonna happen in modern worship, unless you’re playing with Israel hootin or something like that. But you want to determine what does the song need? What kind of tone does it need? Also, you could even get a little more more granular than that. And you could actually decide what is this section of the song need. So for example, this is amazing grace, you know, I’m playing this in the verses. But in the bridge, when it breaks down Worthy is the Lamb, I was saying, I want it to be warmer and softer, so I’ll just pluck it with my thumb. So you can actually vary your plucking techniques, as the song builds or declines to vary the tonal qualities of your bass. So that’s something that you should definitely think about. The second technique is to keep your fretting hand, your left hand usually on the lower register, stay on the lower two strings and keep it in the first position which is like frets one through five or six. You don’t need to be up here. Much as a bass player, you need to cover the bottom frequencies. Again, bass equals bass frequencies. So if you’re up in the mid range all the time, you’re actually crowding the mid range frequencies, which are really, truly meant for the piano for the electric guitars for the vocals. So you want to get out of that range, because you’re actually making it harder for your sound engineer to make it sound good because it’s all crowded in the mid range. And you’re losing all the bottom end that your church is wanting to feel in the low end in the subs in the room. So you need to keep it down here, there’s actually a funny bass meme spinning around the internet, I’ll try to find it and copy and paste it in the show notes. But it says vendors new worship bass, and it’s this tiny Mac, and it’s only got five frets and two strings, and across inlaid in there. And it’s just it’s so true, though, because in modern worship, you really want to stay down here. And there are some times where you’ll slide up, which we’ll talk about later. And there are some times where you’ll want to play the E here instead of here, but for the most part, you want to try to occupy those lower frequencies. So keep your fretting hand down low, and stay on the lower two strings Don’t be walking up on the bottom two strings, you barely ever need to use those strings. So that’s the second tip. The third technique or tip is super obvious. It’s to match the kick drum. If you’re a bass player, you already know this. So I’m not going to show you that technique, but to match your kick pattern with your plucking. Also, though, as the song builds, you don’t just have to match the kick, you can also bring in the snare. And then as the song builds from there, you can actually start matching the toms. So I’m going to kind of try to show you an example using what a beautiful name. So if the chorus, the first chorus, you might be like a beautiful name. Just the kick. But then on the later courses, you might want to match the kick in the snare so be bom, bom bom. So you’re hitting the two and the four. Bom bom, bom bom. So that creates progression as the song increases in intensity, you’re adding more subdivision. And when you get to like the bridge, you can also match your rhythm To the Tom’s. So for example, the part where goes you have no arrival and he goes dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum, you can actually match that as well with your rhythm. You don’t just have to match the kick drum so you have no

Alex Enfiedjian 22:54 Okay, so those are some other ways to make the song grow as a bass player, you don’t just want to play straight for on the floor, or only match the kick. You can add other rhythms to your picking. Speaking of rhythms, you can also match the rhythm of a vocal phrase to add punch and emphasis to that phrase. So for example, if we were singing, it’s you’re

Unknown Speaker 23:20 in so we play bom bom bom bom is your bread. So we praise Oh, bom bom, bom, bom, bom, bom, bom, bom.

Alex Enfiedjian 23:37 Okay, you can match that rhythmic pattern with your bass playing to emphasize that it’s not only the vocal that you can emphasize. But it’s also you could emphasize a important instrumental riff of a song, you can match the rhythm of that, to try and make it you know, more punchy. So for example, in the song, our God, where he goes, dude,

Alex Enfiedjian 24:08 you could just do straight or you could go. Now, you don’t want to always do those things. But if there is a key instrument part that you want to emphasize, you can use the rhythm of the bass to match that and amplify that. Another technique is to pump your fretting hand. So release the pressure from your fretting hand to kind of choke the notes and kind of pump the speakers. And what this does is it makes your notes emphasize harder because you’re taking away energy and then you’re adding the energy. And I’ll show you what that sounds like but you would use it for like the final chorus What a beautiful name where it’s huge and you want to kind of like really rock the speakers and make the speakers push and pump the congregation. Or you would also use it to pump like a fast song like a four on the floor song. So I’m going to show you both of those things, because you could play the chorus of what a beautiful name and just let the notes ring out like a beautiful name.

Alex Enfiedjian 25:25 Just let them ring like that. But you could also pump it and so you go.

Alex Enfiedjian 25:45 So that little choke in between, it’s releasing energy from the speakers, and then pushing them forward. So that really helps for like the big final course is to not just let the notes ringing out, but to pump them by releasing pressure from your fretting hand. You can also do it, like I said on four on the floor songs like praises rising Hosanna by Paul melosh. So it’d be like, instead of going is rising, lettering and then popped. So again, it’s you’re just releasing pressure and then putting pressure back on. So and then the last general playing technique before we move on to the dynamic techniques is in the quiet parts of songs, don’t noodle, do not noodle, just play full, whole low bass notes. Let the room fill up with that warm, rich texture. Don’t use it as your chance to noodle because a lot of bass players go, Oh, great, it’s quiet, the band’s quiet, it’s my chance to shine. And they go, you know that you don’t need to play that like just play the whole note. Because in those quiet moments, that is usually the most intimate time that the church has to express their hearts to the Lord. And you don’t want to steal attention away from the Lord, to your bass noodling. You just want to let the room fill up and let your notes ring out. And don’t draw any attention to yourself, just support the congregational voice and stay out of the way. And let them have that intimate moment with the Lord. And don’t noodle on the quiet parts. Okay, so that’s the last tip that I have for just general playing. Okay, let’s talk about dynamic techniques. So if you’re a new musician, dynamic simply means the softness or loudness or intensity of your playing. And the first tip or technique is that not playing is actually a dynamic technique, choosing when to not play your instrument is a dynamic technique. picking your spots where you will play or where you won’t play is super important. Because if you play the whole time, then it almost becomes meaningless noise. But adding and subtracting your frequencies into the arrangement adds beauty and adds new layers and nuance. And so it makes the times that you’re in more impactful if you’re out some of the time. And so I would encourage you to start thinking about where you can cut your base out completely. A lot of songs, slower songs will start on the piano. And you can probably sit that out and let the piano player take the lower frequencies with his left hand or her left hand and then enter in on chorus one because when you add that layer back in, it means something the song is changing, the energy is changing. And it makes the impact more impactful when you withhold your frequencies for a while and then bring them in. And so the beginning of a song is a good place to sit out the beginning of a bridge sometimes can be a good place to sit out. Even in fast songs. I’ve heard bass players drop out in the middle of a verse like let’s say they finish the first chorus of everlasting God, you know, you and then you come in. So you can actually sit out and fast songs even because if you subtract the energy, then you add the energy back that is actually a dynamic technique is not playing. So think about that. The second dynamic technique I want to talk about is to increase the complexity of your rhythms and your subdivisions as the song progresses. So the first verse, you might just do whole notes, the second verse, you might start adding more rhythm. So let’s say we’re singing the song holy and Anointed One, that old one from the 90s g just whole notes first one right God. Okay, but then let’s say you get through the first course you come in verse two, thank you like,

Alex Enfiedjian 30:21 okay, so you’re adding more subdivision, I was kind of pumping my hand like we talked about. And then as the song goes on, you add more and more subdivision. So I always say that song should build in both intensity and complexity. You start simple, you end more complex, you start quiet, you end louder. Now, that’s not always a rule. But that is a helpful rule and thing to follow. The speaking of subdivision, another way to build intensity in a song is to incrementally increase your subdivision to build intensity. So I know that sounds similar to what I just said. But it’s actually a completely different point, because I’m talking about four parts of songs like a bridge, if you start with whole notes, and then you go to quarter notes, and then you go to eighth notes and you go to 16th notes, it feels like the intensity is ramping up and it wants to go somewhere. You’re leading people through rhythm to want to break into something and so I’m going to show you like what a beautiful name bridge it starts with.

Unknown Speaker 31:22 whole notes it goes. You have no the grave Tommy for you saw in some bones, Sawsan anger and then you go to quarters because the kick don’t dumb down.

Alex Enfiedjian 31:46 And then they bring the Tom’s in. So you’re gonna match the tongs and then eighth sixteenths if you can. That’s where we would pop. Okay, so does that make sense? Hopefully that makes sense that like by using a section of a song and going from whole notes, to quarter notes, to eighth notes to 16th, it builds this intensity where the congregation wants it to crack open, and then you do you crack open to like a huge chorus or a down chorus. And it’s very effective and increasing that intensity. Another thing that you could do to increase intensity is to learn some like dissonant underneath notes. So for that bridge of yes is the key is supposed to go back to the five chord, which is the B, but you could go to this note.

Unknown Speaker 33:08 Because it’s like, oh, I want it to not be there, I needed to resolve to the E So, so it’d be like yours is sounds really ugly, but you go to the one It feels good.

Alex Enfiedjian 33:30 So that is another way to increase intensity is to learn a couple of those like dissonant notes that lead into there like leading notes that lead you back to home base, which is the root note. Speaking of kind of passing notes, in modern worship, a lot of time, anytime you’re going to go to the forecourt of a scale. So if you’re in the key of G, your four chord would be C, a lot of times in worship, it’s nice to go to the three chord which is the B minor. Before you go to the C I hear that a lot in songs like this, I believe the creed by Hillsong two, three, then it goes to the 334. So if you listen to a lot of worship, if almost not always, but on the fourth beat the four count of a bar, it will go to the three chord if it’s going to land on the forecourt after that. So that’s just another little thing to to be aware of in modern worship that that’s a very popular chord progression is on the fourth beat to go to the three chord before going to the four chord. So check that out. Try that out. The next dynamic technique I want to talk about I have three more dynamic techniques and then we’ll begin wrapping this episode of but the third to last dynamic technique is to use octave slides, octave slides to signify a change in dynamic this is a way to tell People that are listening that, hey, something’s about to change, we’re going somewhere. So an octave slide is simply going from the one position, C, all the way up to the C above the 12th fret. So you can do octave slides, like for this amazing grace for the verse.

Alex Enfiedjian 35:32 And I’m gonna go to the octave slide over here on the sea, we’re going to signify that we’re going to the Corps. So going from this one, this one

Alex Enfiedjian 35:47 helps the ear feel like whoa, we’re going up, and then we bring it down into the chorus. You know, I told you also to stay out of these ranges, but it’s okay to go up there just quickly to signify we’re going somewhere, and then you land back down on the low notes. However, there are some times if you want to make it interesting. You can learn your fretboard pretty well, you could play your G, let’s say that the chord progression is G, D minor, D, C, like, if you always do it down there, sometimes it can get boring. So let’s say verse one, the chord progression here like just

Alex Enfiedjian 36:35 but what but let’s say, verse two, you want to change it a little bit, and so you go.

Alex Enfiedjian 36:50 So I only changed one note between those two verses. And that was playing the E minor first here. And then here. So sometimes it’s good to use higher notes, but don’t always do it. It’s just a way to add, you know, interest to the year. The final dynamic technique, and we were talking about octaves using octaves, is to use the octave of whatever note you’re on as a snare hit accent. And so in slower songs you can like.

Alex Enfiedjian 37:29 So it’s like the lower note is the kick. And the higher note is the snare accent. So those are some dynamic techniques to try. And hopefully you’re not bored and turning episode off, I only have a few things left to talk about because I really want to talk about bass fills. Now we’re gonna talk about bass fill techniques. First thing I want to say about bass fills is don’t do bass fills all the time. It’s annoying. It’s amateurish, and it rarely sounds good. So save your fills for when they actually matter. Okay. It’s like everything we’ve talked about, just because you want to do it just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it. And I heard a musician recently say that intent is everything. If you’re just noodling the whole time, or if you’re moving the whole time, or if you’re doing bass fills the whole time, you have no intention. What are you trying to convey each section of the song? How are you serving the song with what you’re playing? Rarely, will constantly playing bass fills throughout the whole set sound good. It might feel fun for you as a bass player, but it doesn’t sound good or help the song. So limit the number of fills you do per song, make them count, make them matter. And pick the points in the song where they’re actually going to add something to the moment that’s the first thing I’ll say, the most simple bass fill is an entry point fill. And I know it’s not really a fill, but you are filling a beat. And it’s one thing to just like, enter on the one count, but it’s not as effective as if you signify the entrance or Prelude into the entrance to help people know that, you know, oh, we’re swelling into an entrance now. And so it leaves your ear. And the easiest way to do an entrance fill is to just slide down from an octave. It’s the Great start of a song. So for example, if we were going to play this is amazing grace, and the band is counting in 1234. You could just start on the one or you could do an entrance fill, which would signify the entrance and it would be on the four count you’re going to hit the octave and you’re going to slide down so be like 12323 I love the entrance fill. I think it’s amazing. Okay, so you can also do it not just at the entrance of a song but the entrance of a chorus. So I don’t know if you know the song you Love is greater, but an entrance fill coming into the chorus would sound like this, Connie and Connie came. So the entranceway is great. So in that demonstration, I showed you the sliding up to signify a change. And then the entrance was slide down to rock back in to the low notes. So I guess I could show you one more time, come on, even greater. Okay, enough of that. Also, I would encourage you guys to use rhythmic fills, instead of melodic fills. Remember, you want to try to stay away from too much melody you want to so if we were doing reckless love, a rhythmic Phil, as opposed to a melodic Phil would be something like this.

Unknown Speaker 41:01 How’s your steel? Love? Me? Do you been so so good to me.

Alex Enfiedjian 41:17 So does that make sense a rhythmic fill, you’re just filling in the space you’re changing, you’re keeping the ear interested, but you’re not going. Whatever you know, also, very important tip about fills is to not do your fills during singing, unless, unless you’re supporting the vocal melody by mimicking it underneath it. So usually, what you would want to do is you would want to play the fill after the vocal melody has finished in between when there’s a little breath. So for example, in great things. So the vocalist finished the phrase, you had some space, hopefully the guitar player didn’t step in, and also take that space. If you didn’t, then you could do that bass run and come back in and then the vocals back in and you want to stay out of the way the vocal so don’t do Phil’s on top of the vocal do it after the vocal unless you’re actually mimicking the vocal melody to support it. So keep your fills out of the vocals regarding the melody of your fills nowadays, okay, back in the day, it was okay to do half step walk ups like but now it sounds very dated. And I’ll just be honest, it to me, it sounds cheesy. I’m sorry if I offended people, but I just I don’t think it works in modern worship. So you want to do your fills on the pentest pentatonic scale. So like, like stay away from half step stuff half step does not really work well with modern changes. Okay, the last tip and the last thing regarding fills is save your bigger fills for the end of the song. In the beginning, like we say keep it simple. As the song progresses, you can increase the complexity of your fills as long as you’re maintaining all the other rules that we’ve already talked about today. So that’s really all I have regarding fills into and other techniques to try in general. I guess I would encourage you guys the big takeaway from today’s episode, I hope it was helpful if it was please send it to other bass player friends that you have. But the big takeaway is that you are super important as a bass player, you have an incredibly vital role. So play it well. Work on your tone, support the vocal. avoid being too melodic, set the foundation for the band, choose the path of humility and service and try to become less so that Christ can become greater. Alright, I hope this episode is helpful for you guys. Thanks for listening or watching and i’ll try to do more of these if you like them if you don’t, I won’t do anymore. Alright, that’s it for January 2020. I’ll see you guys next month for another helpful episode. God bless