'Wow' sound on bass - what's it called?
May 16, 2007 8:35 AM   Subscribe

What's it called when a bass guitarist goes all the way up, then down, then up the fret on one string?

It generates kind of a "wow" sound and can be heard in these two songs (sorry, that's all I can think of):
  • In the introduction to "Our House" by Madness
  • In the bridge of "A New Day" by Killing Joke right before the singer says "You...You caught me in your spell"
posted by ostranenie to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
glissando
posted by SNACKeR at 8:39 AM on May 16, 2007


Hamming it up.
posted by jeffxl at 8:44 AM on May 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Agreed

Check out the bass stylings of Pino Pallidino (Paul Young's"Everytime you go away" ) and the king Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report's "Birdland")
Fretless bass lends itself quite beautifully to this technique
Percy Jones is worth mentioning as well.

Bass Glissando Heaven
posted by djrock3k at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2007


Yeah glissando (gliss for short)
posted by ob at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2007


Glissando, better known in the case of rock guitar as a slide, is the basic technique. But this actual sound (which, if I'm thinking of the right one, opens up Weezer's Hash Pipe) is more specific. I'd term it a "growl" for a start.
posted by abcde at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2007


"Glisser" is a french verb meaning "to slide"....I didn't know that bass players were so, how you say, "pompousando?"
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:51 AM on May 16, 2007


Genius, in terms of the "Our House" bassline. What a fun line that whole song is. Keeping to the strict rhythm for 3 bars, then changing on the 4th one. Getting subtly busier with walking up lines in the instrumental section, and bringing that fun into the last verses. I wish I had been more attuned to bass line construction like that when I started. Granted, it's not Jamerson, but I appreciate the craft that went into that line.
posted by dr. fresh at 8:53 AM on May 16, 2007


Bozo: "Glissando" predates the bass guitar by serveral centuries. Many musical terms in English are Italian thanks to the proliferation of composers from there during the Renaissance.
posted by mendel at 8:54 AM on May 16, 2007


jeffxl for the win, folks. No self-respecting bass player should ever do this.

I do it all the time.
posted by Aquaman at 8:59 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bozo: "Glissando" predates the bass guitar by serveral centuries. Many musical terms in English are Italian thanks to the proliferation of composers from there during the Renaissance

...I stand corrected, and, in this case, I accept the shorthand use of my name...
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:01 AM on May 16, 2007


mendel, I think terms like glissando, piano, forte, staccato, etc because of the markings on Italian opera music scores. Scores weren't marked much at all during the Renaissance.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:03 AM on May 16, 2007


chuckdarwin: all those terms are much older than opera. You'll find staccato, piano, forte, etc. littered about any piece of Bach you could find.
posted by tylermoody at 10:42 AM on May 16, 2007


Some bassists call refer to the specific sound, not the technique, as "mwah." Which is kind of dopey but sort gets the idea.
posted by 6550 at 10:55 AM on May 16, 2007


6550 is the first person to ascribe a name to the specific sound. Everybody saying "glissando" isn't being precise enough.
posted by abcde at 7:38 AM on May 17, 2007


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