Originally Posted by Smith_brc
Hello bassists! Quick question on jamming with the dudes. Jamming with the drummer is easy(feel free to throw in tips) but with the guitarist.. Need help there. I always need to ask what key they're in to find what to play(still don't feel I'm doing it right) so any tips? Let me know!
What part will you play, melody, harmony or rhythm?
- The drummer will be providing the beat or rhythm.
- The guitar will probably play chord accompaniment and sing the melody. So he/she gets the melody and the harmony and his strums flow (fit) with the rhythm.
- What are you going to provide?
Sounds like the beat is being provided by the drummer and the harmony and rhythm are being provided by the guitar and his voice takes care of the melody. So what is needed? Where does the bass fit into a jamming situation?
Chord tone accompaniment. Our basic job is to provide the beat (or augment the beat being played by the drummer), call attention to the chord changes (root on one does this) and help the vocalist keep from speeding up. We do that by locking in on the kick drum and playing the notes of the active chord in the song, i.e. we are a part of the rhythm section.
So the bass line (the bass clef) belongs to us. Start with pounding out roots to the chord you assume is active. When you feel you have selected the correct chord then start adding something besides the root. The 5, 8, correct 3 or 7 are good candidates.
Jamming session; Song called out; "The next one is Kiss Ole Kate and let's do it in G. Ready one and two and...."
From your question I believe this is where you need help. OK the song is going to be in the key of G. That means the people providing melody will use the G scale for their notes. The people providing harmony will use the chords made from the G scale notes (this is where you come in). Which chords? Good question. I do one of two things. 1) Hope for a chord chart, i.e. fake chord sheet music on that song. Or 2) assume the chord progression and watch the guitar's fretting hand and change chords when he does.
Most basic Rock, Country, Gospel, etc. will be in a major key and use the I-IV-V chords of a specific key (C, G, D, A, etc.) G's chords are:
G, Am, Bm, C, D7, Em, F#dim. G is a major key, what are the major chords in the key of G? Look above --- yep the G, C & D7. Those are your money chords. Those three chords have every note in the G major scale in their makeup thus those three chords are all you really need to harmonize any melody using the G major scale for it's tune. Songs in a major key will use the major chords in that key as their foundation, the minor chords are the color and or flavor chords. Jamming to a song you have never heard before just worry with the major chords first.
And here we start assuming or rely upon a chord chart.
Sounds like you could use a scale chart and a chart of the chords in each key. Help yourself; http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-c.html