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Thread: Bass runs?

  1. #1
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    Benn playing mandolin for about three months and in that time it's basically become my prime musical focus (seriously, I love this little eight-string toy). However, before mando, I played guitar for a few years, mostly bluegrass. When playing bluegrass rhythm, some well-placed bass runs make things a little more interesting. I was wondering if the same holds true for rythm in bluegrass mando. Is there room in between chops for some walks? I haven't really noticed it when I listen to bluegrass mandolin players, at least not to the degree that it's used in bluegrass guitar.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    The problem is that "bass on a mandolin" is kind of an oxymoron. There really is no bass on a mandolin, just strings that are closer to bass than the treble strings. So it is a valid technique to do the same runs, but it will never have the same effect.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    The lowest note on your mando is at the top of Lester's G-run. If you're chopping off-beats, trying to tie the chords together with runs will just get in the guitarist's way. Not to say you wouldn't want to think of some way to tie chords together in certain circumstances, but probably not the same kind of runs a guitar uses.

    Think about emphasizing the "seventh' note just before you change from a I to a IV chord, or sliding your chord up to the new one. There are neat transitions you can try between chords.
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    Registered User Santiago's Avatar
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    I love playing runs up high on the G string (even if it's not bass), but it's tough to play cleanly there.
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    Listen to Dawg on Dawg's Rag. There is one part where he walks up the G string, A note to D note. Kind of like a bass run.

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    Try everything, everywhere to find for yourself if it works.

    You can always claim you were just trying to create tension before resolving it. ;-)

    Seriously, if you play the equivilent to a walking bass line to lead into the next part of the song or chord it will still work. It might be even nicer to use double stops by adding a harmony to the line. It won't be a bass line (too high pitched) but it will reinforce the bass line. There are no rules that can't be broken as long as it works.

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    double stops on the g and d strings when the band gets all trebley. don't forget slides for emphasis.
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    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    I've found that the G-run, or a variation of it, can be a nice way to end a break.

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