Originally Posted by BassPlummet
.................. Currently I am trying to wrap my head around the theory side of things as I would like to be writing my own basslines.
Anywho! With your help, I hope to become a better bassist and make some friends along the way
In making bass lines - will it be A, B, C or 1, 2, 3? I think in both but the A, B, C's lead me to the 1, 2, 3's of the scale degrees I need for the chord I'm playing over. Playing from standard notation sheet music I (we) think in A, B, C's, but, playing from fake chord sheet music I see the chord as an A, B or C and then build my bass line using the R-3-5-7 spelling used for that specific C chord. Keep reading.....
My old standby chart of generic bass lines using the major scale box as a Rosetta stone may help: |
Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.
Major Scale Box.
G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
Cmaj7 chord coming up in the song. Whoa, right there, where will I be seeing this Cmaj7 chord? Answer; In the fake chord sheet music the band director hands to you. http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/m/mi..._range_crd.htm
OK back to that Cmaj7 chord. Find a C note on your 3rd or 4th string and put the box's R over that note, then use the chord's spelling for the bass line, i.e. Cmaj7 has a spelling of R-3-5-7. Normally we start pounding out roots only, and then add 5's as we get comfortable, an 8 or octave note fits nicely R-5-8-5. As you need more notes in your bass line grab the correct 3 and 7. Ed Friedland's book Building Walking Bass Lines has the rest of this story. The spellings you need are listed below.
Review; See the chord, visualize your major scale box pattern, place the R (root) note of the box's pattern over that C note on your fretboard and then play the spelling of the chord, in this case it will be the R-3-5-7. You will need a fretboard chart showing the notes on the fretboard. I've dropped one in several of the posts I put here.
Basic Chords aka the triad.
• Major Triad = R-3-5
• Minor Triad = R-b3-5
• Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5
7th Chords We will probably be playing in 4/4 time. Four quarter notes per measure - the 7th chords have four notes in their spelling, thus fill out a measure very well.
• 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.
Generic Notes - for your bass line.
• The root, five and eight are generic and fit most any chord. Remember the diminished has a flatted 5.
• The 3 is generic to all major chords. So R-3-5-3 will fit under any major chord.
• The b3 is generic to all minor chords. And R-b3-5-8 will fit under any minor chord. Why the 8? Well the 8 is just another root in the next octave.
• The 7 is generic to all maj7 chords. Yep, R-3-5-7 fits nicely.
• The b7 is generic to all dominant seventh and minor seventh chords. G7 = R-3-5-b7 or Gm7 = R-b3-5-b7.
• The 6 is neutral and adds color, help yourself to 6’s. Love the sound of R-3-5-6 with a major chord.
• The 2 and 4 make good passing notes. Don’t linger on them or stop on them, keep them passing.
• In making your bass line help yourself to those notes, just use them correctly.
• Roots, fives, eights and the correct 3 & 7 will play a lot of bass.
Scales -- We gotta do our scales so our fingers know where to go, however, chord tones not scales is what we play 90% of the time. Here are some spelling for several of the scales - get the Major Scale into muscle memory first and then I've listed some of the other scales so you will not get bored.
• Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7 Home base
• Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 Leave out the 4 & 7
• Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted.
• Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Leave out the 2 & 6.
• Blues = R-b3-4-b5-5-b7 Minor pentatonic with the blue note b5 added.
• Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor with a natural 7.
• Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.
Let the major scale be your home base then change a few notes and you have something different. No need to memorize a zillion patterns. Let the major scale pattern be your go to pattern - then adapt/adjust from there.
This may be confusing right now. Copy and past it somewhere you can get to later. Take it one bite at a time.
For pure (generic) theory pick up a copy of Alfred's theory books # 1, 2 & 3. Amazon will have it, or any music store that sells pianos will have copies. It's written for piano, IMO seeing theory on a piano key board is a piece of cake as everything runs in a straight line. http://www.christianbook.com/essenti...FeJF7Aod7V8AxA
Knowing how to use fake chord sheet music, Bass guitar for Dummies and Ed's book I mentioned above, along with the spellings and major scale pattern I gave you, should keep you busy for six months, when you get that down and come up for air, there is more. Use Dummies for how to hold the bass, how to tune it, how to get sound and how to mute some of the sound. Dummies is a great get started book. Your public library may have a copy. If not get a paper copy, the patterns on the Kindle version are really too small to be of value.
Have fun, welcome to the forum.