How to Write Energetic BASS Lines
Step 1. Rhythmic Energy
There’s a super energetic bass line in the new single “No Reason” by The Chemical Brothers. To write a bass line like this, you need a lot of movement. Not just rhythmic movement, but melodic movement too. So, start by writing an energetic 2-bar rhythm for your bass line. Just use one pitch for now. We used A. You see, if you can get your bass sounding cool on one note, imagine how amazing it’s gonna sound when you bring in the melodic movement!
Here are three guidelines for writing your rhythm. First, use a combination of 1/8 notes and 1/16 notes. This provides speed and variety. Second, use lots of rests. This allows your bass line to breathe. And third, use a few syncopated notes, which are off-beat accents. This makes it groove! And by the way, the tempo is 128 BPM.
Just before we jump into the next step. If there’s an artist you want us to hack, drop us a comment. Also, are you new to music theory? Or are you experienced, but you want a refresher? Then download our FREE BOOK (link opens in new tab). It only takes 30 minutes to read, then you’ll have a solid theory foundation that you can instantly apply to your songwriting and producing.
Step 2. Melodic Energy
Now it’s time to add melody. So, first think about the chord progression you want your bass to outline. We’re in the key of A minor here, which is all the white notes from A to A. And the chord progression we chose to outline is: Gmaj, Fmaj, Am. Next, move some of your notes an octave higher. This hugely increases the energy, because it hugely increases the melodic range.
It’s sounding good already, but the bass is still only playing the root note of each chord. So, next you wanna move some notes off the roots. Over the Gmaj, we’re playing F a couple times. That’s the ♭7. This is a funk favourite, so try to use a ♭7 somewhere. Over the Fmaj, we’re playing E a couple times, which is the 7.
And by the way, the ♭7 (over G) followed by the 7 (over F) creates a motif. A motif is a short musical idea, which is repeated to give music structure and make it more memorable. Then lastly, over the Am, we played C. That’s the ♭3. This creates some variation. And, the ♭3 is also another funk favourite, so throw one in somewhere if you can!
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