Friend has one of those "Paul McCartney's basses, good choice. Sounds like you already know how to tune the beast, hold it and mute some of the buzz, if not Bass Guitar for Dummies will help with this. Coming from rhythm guitar the bass' learning curve is not that difficult. I bet you're no stranger to fake chord sheet music. Fake chord on the bass is about the same, as what you did with your rhythm
acoustic guitar. However, we do not strum, we play the chords one note at a time to the beat of the song. That in itself is not a big step.
But, you will be composing your bass line to fit the specific song. Will just root notes of the chord be enough, or will you need some of the other chord tones? Will R-5-R-5 work, or will R-3-5-8 fit better? Kinda left up to you. Ed Friedland's book Building Walking Bass Lines is IMO where you need to spend some time right at first.
But, big but
, I know of no instrument that does not start you out running your scales. Why? So your fingers get to know where the good notes are on your fretboard. No need to spend a lifetime doing scales. Move quickly to running your chord tones. Because chord tones is what we play 90 plus percent of the time.
Major Scale Box. |
G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
Cmaj7 chord coming up in the song. Find a C note on the 3rd or 4th string. Place the box's R (root note) over that C and then play the spelling for the Cmaj7 chord. That will be the R-3-5-7. The G7 chord is now coming up. Find a G note and place the R over it, but, this time the spelling for a dominant seven chord is R-3-5-b7. Major chords will have a standard 3 and 7. Minor chords will have a flatted 3 and 7, (b3 & b7). Get the following spellings into memory - see a chord and your fingers already know what to do.
Basic Chord tones
• Major Triad = R-3-5
• Minor Triad = R-b3-5
• Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5
7th Chord tones
• Maj7 = R-3-5-7
• Minor 7 = R-b3-5-b7
• Dominant 7 = R-3-5-b7
• ½ diminished = R-b3-b5-b7
• Full diminished = R-b3-b5-bb7
See a chord and play it's chord tones. As every key will have three major, three minor and one diminished chord it's a good idea to get your major, minor and diminished bass line chord tones into muscle memory so when you see a chord your fingers just know what will work. Now the song may only give you enough room for the root, or root five - adapt and get as many chord tones into your bass line as needed. Root on 1 and a steady groove from the other chord tones plus something to call attention to the chord change is what we do.
Scales; It's been pointed out that fish have scales bassists play chord tones. IMO scales if you want to go melodic and chord tones if you want to play accompaniment bass. Not any different from what you did on the rhythm guitar; chords when accompanying and scale notes when playing the tune. Be a long time before you start getting lead solos, so --- spend your time on chord tones. There is an old joke; people go for drinks during the bass solo.
Back to scales and getting our fingers moving to the good notes. The spelling for the major scale and it's major pentatonic are as follows:
Major scale R-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
Major pentatonic R-2-3-5-6 Leave out the 4 & 7.
Want the natural minor scale use the major scale and flat the 3, 6 & 7.
Want the minor pentatonic use the natural minor scale and leave out the 2 and the 6.
Take those up the neck starting on the F major scale at the 4th string 1st fret, R-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, the major scale pattern is the same, however, the pattern automatically places the notes of the F major scale under your fingers. G at the 3rd fret, notice F had a Bb note and G does not. G has a F# note and the F did not. Each scale is unique, but, the pattern will put the correct notes under your fingers. Now get the A major scale at the 5th, B at the 7th, C at the 8th, D at the 10th and then E at the 12th. Notice the fret space gets smaller as you go up the neck. My point in sending you there.... your sweet spot moved on you....
I still play both rhythm guitar and 4 string bass. The rhythm guitar is on auto pilot. Same ole 35 songs over and over. With the bass I have six new song every Sunday, now that is fun. Plus people are always looking for a good bassists.
Have fun, and welcome to the bottom end.