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Less is More – So, Is This Bass Line too Busy?

One day back in the late 70s, my friend asked me if I ever listened to the bass on Jim Croce’s classic hit I Got a Name.  I had probably heard the song over one-hundred times, but thought I should listen to my friend, Mark Patterson, and go listen one more time.  I was blown away at how much the electric bass (believed to have been played by Motown bass legend Bob Babbit)  drove this acoustic classic from Croce!  Take a listen for yourself.

Less is More?

Yes, I do believe that we bass players can sometimes overplay and get in the way of the intent of the song.  Now, I don’t believe this bassist was overplaying, however, it makes me wonder what it means to “overplay”?  What do you think?  Would you have told him to lay back, play less, let the guitar and vocals drive the song?  Would love to get your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Less is More – So, Is This Bass Line too Busy?

  1. I think thatvin this song the bass line is a huge part of what makes it what it is. Lyrically the song moves and keeps moving. The bassline adds to what is going on lyrically. Also … the sound he’s producing and how he is creating the cuts and holds add. If he were to just play those runs and not having dynamic it would just sound sloppy and a ‘roaring’noise. The texhnique of what he does with this doesn’t suggest ‘hey listen ti me and how much I can do’ with this bass guitar. It adds rather than distracts from the song. IMHO

    1. Agreed Tina! Very tasteful line that just works so nicely with the entire song.

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