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TIMBA BASS: Part 2 – Analysis of clave-based bass movement on “Con La Conciencia Tranquila” (audio + transcriptions)

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by Michael Lazarus


In Part 1 of this series I outlined the mayor trends in the bass
movement for the title track of Paulito F.G.’s classic timba album Con La Conciencia Tranquila. Now we’ll see how these trends permeate throughout the record and also discuss some variations.


Mi Tentación – BASS – Audio track 7


Tune your bass to an A 440Hz with Audio Track 1.

Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 7.


Here we see further use of the emphasis on the backbeat, accentuated by
the space left on the fourth beat of each 2-side. It’s really nice how
the bass movement mimics the coro melody. Note how it links to the
clave.


Llamada Anónima – BASS – Audio track 7


Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 8.

In a similar manner as with Mi
Tentación -where the same rhythmic figure is employed on every 2-side-
Llamada Anónima uses the “leading up to the ponche” on every 3-side.
Also notice the big fat low B on the one (1) of the last measure in
this coro chord progression. Note that the open space (no music) during
both strokes of each 2-side makes for extremely funky,
call-and-response, bass movement in relation to the clave.


Para Volver – BASS – Audio track 9 & 10


Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 9.

Listen to the bass & piano montuno variation with Audio Track 10.


Further proof in my proposition that the bass movement in timba music
seeks to reinforce clave, the bass rhythm in Para Volver simply mimics
the clave, albeit in a very tasteful way. Notice how the clave is
emphasized by NOT playing on beat 1 of each 2-side -letting the note
carry over the bar from the previous measure. These spaces are
indicated below with a small red arrow.


De La Habana – BASS – Audio track 13 & 14


Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 13.

Listen to the bass & piano montuno variation with Audio Track 14.

Akin to Llamada Anónima, the bass
movement in the main coro and mambo sections of Paulito’s anthemic hit
De La Habana make excellent use of space over the 2-side to reinforce
the “leading up to the ponche” trend over the 3-side. These key spaces
in the first and third 2-sides of the 8 bar phrase are noted by the red
arrows below. The red box indicated 2-side alignment with heavy
emphasis on the backbeat stroke.

Con La Conciencia Traquila was
selected for this analysis 1 because it was the earliest
chronologically released album, within my collection, where several key
trends in Timba were easily recognized as a collective -the presence of
the gears, the song by song micro-composing of percussion parts, the
reinforcement of clave by the bass, the classically and jazz influenced
piano parts, the mid-mambo conga fill, etc. After further
transcriptions and analysis of numerous albums within the genre, it
became clear that the relation between the bass movement and clave was
a consistent and marked general trend. Clearly different bands and
players had idiosyncratic variations and touches, but the main idea
remained throughout. .


My next article will kick-off reviews and analysis of the bass movement within other timba bands. Stay tuned mi gente.


credits:

– Audio tracks used by permission from Pyrale Music.
– Transcriptions used by permission from Kevin Moore, editor-in-chief of http://www.TIMBA.com

– Article excerpts from TIMBA Style Bass Vol.1, an eBook I published on www.latinpulsemusic.com

– All content ©2009 Michael P. Lazarus




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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @zonguitars @shukerbassguitars @bite.guitars @adamovicbasses @mayonesguitars @bassbros.uk @capursoguitars @overwaterbasses @saitiasguitars @ramabass.ok

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Gear News

New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

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New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

New from Elrick Bass Guitars, Headless Series added to Custom Lineup…

Elrick Bass Guitars is excited to announce the addition of a headless option on hand-carved series bass guitars. Initially previewed on the 2023 Gold Series SLC MkII bass of prolific solo bass practitioner and educator Steve Lawson, a headless bass option is now available to all. According the Elrick, “The excitement surrounding Steve’s MkII SLC bass at 2024 NAMM confirmed that the time is right to add a headless option to our extensive range of custom options.” To date, Elrick instruments have only been offered with traditional headstock construction but, in response to market demand, custom features will now include a headless option in 4-, 5- and 6-string models.

Headless bass guitars share these features with the traditional headstock series:

24 frets + zero fret
exotic wood top
hand-rubbed oil finish
2-way adjustable truss rod
custom Bartolini pickups
custom Bartolini 3-band preamp
fully shielded control cavity
Hipshot bridge
Dunlop Straploks
Elrick Fundamental strings

The headless option can now be selected when submitting custom order requests via the form on elrick.com, contacting the Elrick Sales Office directly, or working with your favorite Elrick dealer.

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Gear News

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

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Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

View video at the museum: www.youtube.com/shorts/2evdqfR6gUE

What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

Specs highlights:
Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
New York: 4726 USD
London: 3645 GBP
Berlin: 4965 EUR

Full specs available at bite.guitars/old-master-bass/

Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: 
khm.at/en/visit/collections/picture-gallery/the-best-of-bruegel-only-in-vienna/

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Gear News

New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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