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Pushing the Limits of Bass Guitar: We Must Go Deeper!

SkrillexWhenever I see something really cool being done with a bass, I am sure to make a point to stand up and take notice. But when that performance is something already musically familiar and fantastically reworked for bass, then I really take notice.

Lately the most recent example of this was a video I came across on YouTube by bass player Nathan Navarro covering Skrillex’s “Bangarang” with nothing more than a Spector 4 string and a slew of pedals and effects.

Here were some of the big reasons why I felt compelled to write about this particular performance:

1. It was an original cover choice. I had never seen anything like that before – flat out. It was like a breath of fresh air to see and hear that performance. There are many bass covers on YouTube of Beatles songs that cover both melody and harmony, Rush bass-only covers,Who bass-only covers and many others. But rarely do you see a cover done of a song that is so far removed from the bass guitar in the classic rock, blues or jazz fields – and done so well.

2. It was pretty damn close to the original. Now, I don’t say that as a skeptic or some hard-nosed critic, demanding that it isn’t good unless it’s a spot on recreation. There were some things that were expected to change because Navarro is working on only a bass with effects while Skrillex has a whole digital workstation to make his music on. But all things considered, it really was a remarkable, well done performance.

3. The details were all covered. Navarro nails the vocal samples’ skipping effect, placement in the song and quality of the sample in one hit. It’s little things like that that take a cover from good to great and then to fantastic.

To me, seeing performances like these inspire me and really get me excited for bass guitar. It is a refreshing change to see the limits of bass guitar being pushed out in a different way and I really hope to see more of this in the future. Heck – it’s given me something new to consider for myself: how can I push the limits of bass guitar TODAY? What can I do that hasn’t already been done, or if it has been done, how do I take it to the next level?

 

Something for all musicians – not just the bass playing community – to consider!

 

-Mike

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