You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat - More Free Bass Tracks Than Your Hard Drive Can Hold

I should say "more free legal bass tracks than your hard drive can hold".

As we all know, there are many sources for music on the internet, some are totally legit and some, well, not so legit. The tracks I am talking about here are all 100% legal, legit, and in many cases supplied by the band themselves (or their record company) from soundboard recordings of their own live shows.

What am I talking about - The Internet Archive

If you are a Dead Head, you already know about this place, but there is a lot more music available up there than just Jerry canoodling around mid-hallucination for 27 minutes over G7 to F7. There are some killing bass tracks up there, no matter what your definition of killing is. And it's FREE.

In this bass players opinion, the reason these tracks are so cool is because the tracks are all live, no studio tricks, no punch-ins to fix it, no beat-detective/auto-tune shenanigans, you get to hear how people REALLY play. You get to hear their tone, groove and notes, raw, as they played (or sometimes misplayed) them.

So who can you hear, stream or download for free? Um, how about:

  1. Bela Fleck and the FleckTones. They have some bass player, what's his name again, Vernon, no, wait, Victor something... hows about 301 live shows (as of today) and just about every one of 'em with a Victor Wooten solo feature in there somewheres. Listen to the current title holder of the only-have-to-use-his-first-name-and-everyone-knows-who-you-mean crown on bass these days. Get ready to hear some sextuplets!

  2. Oteil and the Peacemakers. Don't know Oteil Burbridge? You should. Here are tracks with him playing in his own band, (his "day job" is being the bass player with the Allman Brothers) and he is as funky as you would expect guy to be whose name means "Peace" in Egyptian. This band does funk, jazz, even kinda gospel-y, groove, rock and throws down. Check it out.

  3. Derek Trucks Band. Killer slide/blues player, who is the son of an original Allman Brothers guy. His band also mixes blues, rock and sneaks in some jazz if they can. Their bass player has a textbook amazing tube tone and super great feel. Check out "Volunteered Slavery" for a unison line as an example of afore-mentioned great feel and tone. Derek is married to Susan Tedeshi, another smoking blues guitar player, so she shows up on a few of those shows too. They have over 800 shows up there.

  4. 311. For the kids, ya know, with the rock and the roll. Hear P-nut doing his rock/ska/reggae/slap thing on his Warwick. Lots of live shows from the boys from Omaha. I think that is where they are from.

  5. Garaj Mahal. Listen to hours of Kai Eckhart playing in 11/14 or lord only knows whatever time signature parts of the song "Poodle Factory" are in. This band mixes together rock, funk, blues, jazz, and indian solkattu then bastes it all in Kai's juicy broth of world class bass playing and turns out a patchuli scented mixture of sophisticated improvs over very serious grooves. But NOT the bad kind of jamband-y grooves, the very very good kind. Everyone in this band is a musico grande ridiculoso ( from the Italian meaning "to be a ridiculously sick player"). This band should be waaay more famous than it is. Over 300 shows up there.

  6. Alex Skolnick. Want some jazzy shredding? There you go. Lap it up, Alex's guitar trio live and in action. Terrifying licks of all kinds, but mostly the contain-lots-of-notes kind. Where else are you going to hear Kiss's "Detroit Rock City" done as a jazz tune with a bass solo? Thank you internet!

  7. George Porter Jr. Fire on the Bayou, y'all! It's the funk man from Naw'lens. He plays bass with a little band called The Meters, and also has his own thing called the Running Pardners.

  8. Lettuce. Anyone I have met that is into this band is really, really, really into this band. Maybe it will happen to you too.

  9. Eddie Brickell & The New Bohemians. Oh, you want some fretless? There ya go. Shows from way back and surprisingly recent. Here what Mrs. Paul Simon is doing these days.

  10. Farko Collective. I would be remiss if I didn't post some local talent. Farko Dosumov is a local bass player that has a weekly gig with Michael Shrieve here in Seattle. This is his own project recorded live with plenty of bass shredding.

You can actually stream many of these with a widget The Archive provides, or you can use VLC, or Quicktime player, or even Itunes (if the files are MP3) to stream to your computer if the widget isn't on that bands page for some reason.

There are literally hundreds of bands up there, so this is just a small sample. Check it out and treat your ears to something new.

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