I just watched a really interesting video from Scott’s Bass Lessons – this one was from Toronto bassist Rich Brown. In it, Rich took a simple bass lick made up of the first 4 notes of the G minor pentatonic scale and showed how, by simply playing it starting on a different beat, it becomes a different bassline, sonically. The notes are all the same, although he changes from playing them long (legato) to short (staccato); but the sound and because of that, the notes he uses in fills to connect bars, completely change simply due to starting one 16th note later.
Towards the last minute of the video, he moves the line forward one additional 16th note, and again, it completely transforms. This is a fascinating phenomenon to me. It shows how any bassline, even if its played in nearly the same way, effectively has 16 variations that substantially alter how its heard, just by starting it on a different subdivision of the beat.
Also – I love his bass tone. What he’s playing is apparently called an F-bass, and the 5-string version costs about $4,000!