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We're experimenting as a Brass-Brass-Bass combo, and wondering what we can do to make the bass's job more interesting (besides throwing in more solos). Is it fairly easy to replace substantial portions with improvised walking-bass style lines and still retain the percussive properties of the bass sound?

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This really depend on the style you play. When you form a group, your sound is yours to define and explore. You speak as if your bass player was peripheral to the group. What's his/her opinion ? –  ogerard Apr 29 '11 at 6:08
    
Can you specify in your question the genre (blues?) that you are playing? When you speak of a bass, can you be precise: double-bass, guitar bass or something else ? –  ogerard Apr 29 '11 at 6:10
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@ogerard I've added that info to the question –  blueberryfields Apr 29 '11 at 6:17
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Seems like the kind of thing you should try and then see if you like it. These are the kinds of experiments that give a band its unique sound and character. –  Alex Basson Apr 29 '11 at 10:17
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I agree, all the answers to this are going to be opinions. You should just try it and see if it results in what you're looking for. –  Matthew Read Apr 29 '11 at 13:29

1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

A bass player can easily be the timekeeper for a jazz combo without drums.

I'm a bit confused by your question, specifically--

Is it fairly easy to replace substantial portions with improvised walking-bass style lines and still retain the percussive properties of the bass sound?

The properties of the timbre are going to be up to your bassist, but on what I am assuming is an electric bass guitar, you should be able to find a representative jazz bass tone: a bit of midrange and not too bright of an attack.

Timekeeping is inherent in a walking bass line, simply because it plays four quarters to the bar. Also, I really can't fathom what the bass player might have been doing instead of a walking bass line. Root movement half notes? Whole notes? Based on what you've stated in the question, I would certainly use a walking bass line as the default setting.

Maybe throwing in a few unison band lines might spice things up a bit?

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