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Sixth Sense

October 2006
VOL #2 NO. #10

Should electric bass be used as a solo instrument or should it be a strong foundation for other instruments?

Danielle Egnew, Los Angeles, USA ~ Solo Artist: I think electric bass makes a fabulous lead instrument. When I played with my band Pope Jane, which was a three piece, bassist Holly Hoagland used her base to fill in leads and I held the rhythm with the guitar while drummer Kristen Coyner divided her kick line and snare line between the bottom end and the vocal line. This "lead bass" sound was one of the defining properties of Pope Jane!

On my upcoming album “Red Lodge”, I wrote a song whose accompanying instrumentation is 8 layered bass lines, and only 8 bass lines, in various registers. It’s a fascinating texture, and because the bass has the ability to be so deep and rich as well as resonant and high, I find the bass to be one of the most expressive instruments not only in a band, but in recording, period. One can even debate that the mere fact the bass is the instrument whose sole function is to bridge the melody and the rhythm to the audience, that this application then defines the bass as a lead instrument by its mere complexity of sonic function alone. Is a bass a lead instrument? Yes

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