Latin (Cuban) Bass - hints and tips

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by existentialist, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    OK, so (more by default than any great promise in the genre), I've found myself with the bass gig in a Cuban Latin band I already play(ed) fiddle in.

    My musical strengths have hitherto tended to lean in the direction of melody rather than rhythm, but banging out 12 bar bass lines to rather boring 1960s rock'n'roll hits has given me a basic grounding in at least staying locked in with the drummer.

    But I'm looking for ideas as to how best to go about (or where to look) skilling up on some Latin grooves. I plan on listening to quite a lot of Buena Vista Social Club, and I'm looking at ordering a copy of "The Latin Bass Book" (Chuck Sher), any other pointers most welcome.
     
  2. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    Carlos del Puerto is yer man. Legendary Afro-Cuban bass player. I have a mate who plays bass in a Salsa band and swears by a tutor book he wrote, which comes with a CD. I've looked through the book, but not actually used it myself. It looks the business.
     
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  3. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    I've just looked on Amazon. It's called The True Cuban Bass and there's some second hand copies available.
     
  4. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    There's a downloadable edition, too. I've just listened to the sample track - Lagrimas Negras.

    Fuck. I've got my work cut out!
     
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  5. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    Well you did say you were bored! There's no semibreves here.
     
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  6. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

  7. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    Woah! Some good wild party stuff going on there.

    Oh! News. He wants to do a tour in Cuba. In November :eek:. I'll believe it when it happens, Raul is a man of big ideas and small execution, but he does tend to yield surprises...
     
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  8. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    You need to get good by November then! :eek:
     
  9. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    Yep. Even if it happens, I don't think I am going to be in a position to suddenly disappear to Cuba, what with teaching commitments, etc. And I don't suppose anyone's going to pay me to go. But it wouldn't hurt to practice, just in case :)
     
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  10. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    It'd be really cool. And I'm sure you'd be enthusiastically (if patronisingly) welcomed!

    Are playing from full scores, or just lead sheets/chord charts? There's more bluff potential with the latter!
     
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  11. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    [​IMG]

    Raul is musically illiterate. He learned to play the traditional way...so no printed music, no lead sheets. If we're lucky, we get a set list in Spanglish Dyslexio :D. Assuming he sticks to the set list. Usually what happens is he starts playing on the piano (he's a very good Cuban piano player), and I yell the key at the brass section. If in doubt, I yell "G flat", because it usually is :cool:

    Playing with him has been a musical education - I've a feeling I'm just about to enrol on the postgraduate course :)

    He has a knack of surrounding himself with outstanding musicians (including the likes of Nik Turner, late of Hawkwind), who manage, despite the complete lack of any useful guidance, to knock out some great tunes. But it takes a lot of tolerance - he also has Latin machismo in spades, and he's got through a lot of musicians over the years.

    ETA: I've been bluffing ever since I've been in the band, which is getting on for 10 years, now. It's just a little harder to bluff on a bass line.

    ETA2: just in case it sounds like I'm bitching, he's actually a lovely guy, and an outstanding musician, of the untutored variety. I'm very lucky to be playing with him.
     
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  12. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    It all sounds like enormous fun! So it's a lot of finding the key and guessing whether it's I IV V IV or I V V I?

    I'm kind of jealous.
     
  13. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    I'm fortunate in having perfect pitch, so I don't even really think of it as I IV V IV, just feel the chords - it's hard to explain. It does help to actually know what the key is, but after that I do it from feel. When I start trying to do that I IV V thing, I usually confuse myself! :)
     
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  14. PippinTook

    PippinTook Well-Known Member

    If you get a chance to go to Cuba to play music...you've got to take it.
    That's once in a lifetime stuff.

    :thumbs:;)
     
  15. fizzerbird

    fizzerbird Fading Star of wet dreams...

    This thread reminds me of a song I heard when I was a young teen. It has nothing to do with fiddles or Cuban bass beats but it was a fav of mine at the time.

     

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