‘Creating New Sounds’ – Jared Followill



There has been a decline in the past few years in the ‘melodic’ bass line. The type of groove that will not only make you dance, but is also the most memorable section of the song, and supports the vocals. Indeed there are thousands of amazing bass players within the industry today, however when discussing the mainstream there are only a handful that attempt to make the bass something more than ‘just a root note’ instrument.

By far one of the best of the bunch is Jared Followill, Kings of Leon’s youngest member. His playing is somewhat key to their sound, especially with their last two albums. Jared employs a different tone to most other indie bass players and seems to be fluent with both pick and finger styles. Additionally he also uses a wide arrangement of pedals to create different sounds. But anyway, enough of my bass playing techniques, lets look at some of his lines!

(Only By The Night)

Many people would not know that the synth, octave jumping sound featured in ‘Closer’ was created by Jareds bass. Its true though, he uses an octave pedal and delay effects to achieve this sound, something many people would just create with a keyboard. This type of thinking out the box is certainly impressive to watch, as Jared is capable of playing the keys himself.

‘Revelry’ also features some amazing bass playing from Jared, whilst at the same time not being over the top flamboyence. The bass line underneath the chorus is reminiscent of many of Paul Mcartney’s, where the instrument follows the vocal harmonies to create a melodic sound. The verses also feature the use of octaves again from Jared, however with more delayed effects making them sound spacey and atmospheric.

The last two tracks on the album, ‘Be Somebody’ and ‘Cold Desert’ are also very unique. Whilst Be Somebody features simple chord changes in the verses, during the chorus’s Jared is playing a completely seperate melody to the rest of the band, however with harmonies being employed. Cold Desert is primarily a bass song, with most of the track featuring Jared playing minor style melodies and holding the root note of D.

I could go on with this musical bable, though it is safe to say with this evidence that Jared is making the bass popular again within the mainstream market. Being experimental with your instrument and general sound is a risky business, however when presented in a such a clear and precise way it can only enhance your music. Check out these songs above for yourself, and you can hear the influence his bass playing has on the songs. Sure he could have just played the root notes with no fills, but wheres the excitement in that?

We salute you Jared!


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