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how do you read bass guitar sheet music?

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by nick rutigliano, May 7, 2004.


  1. nick rutigliano

    nick rutigliano

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    I just started playing bass guitar and i have no idea what i'm doing. The first thing i need to know is how to read sheet music.
     
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

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    Aug 26, 2003
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    Jackson, MS
    Find an internet guide on learning to read music. Or purchase a beginner piano book. It's great that you made an effort to think outside tablature, most beginners don't.

    I believe middle C is the fifth fret of the G string.
     
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange

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    Dec 25, 2002
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    New Orleans, LA
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    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Go buy "Note Reading Studies for Bass", by Arnold Evans, published by Mel Bay. Best. Reading. Book. Ever.
     
  4. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

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    Location:
    LA, MA, FL
    Ben: Any links on this book you could hook it up with? I'm interested, I'm at that point where I can read so-so, but not very fluently, per se. I know all the notes on the fretboard, but I still have to stop and think when I'm reading notation.
     
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  6. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange

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    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
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    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
  7. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    LA, MA, FL
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange

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    Dec 25, 2002
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    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Location:
    Edinboro, PA
    I get yelled at for remebering it like this but when it comes to the notes, the spaces are ACEG then the lines are GBDFA and I remeber it like this

    A
    Crazy
    Evil
    Gangsta

    Ghetto
    Bin Laden
    Da
    Funky
    Arab

    Being the name of Osama Bin Laden's debut rap album. :D
     
  10. Timbo

    Timbo

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Hahahahahahahaha I'll have to tell my friends that one.
     
  11. spc

    spc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Location:
    South of Boston
    Why is reading music the first thing you need to know how to do? What about learning your instrument, some basic music theory, the basics? What is the obsession with reading music? I understand that at some point in a musicians career, it would be nice to be able to read effectively. I understand that Victor can read, Jaco could, Stanley can, etc. But how often do you see those cats on stage with sheet music in front of them? Or for that matter, how about Hendrix? Stevie Ray? The Beatles? Reading is a much talked about, and little used skill. How many of the guys here who gig regularly have sheet music put in front of them? I get that two bassists being of equal skill, etc., and one of them can read, yes, he'll get a gig if it requires reading, but I feel we make it way more important than it has to be.
     
  12. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Edinboro, PA
    Well, a couple of things.

    If you can read, you can play a gig with people you have never played with before, playing songs you've never played before.

    Wooten/Jaco learn things off sheet/compose on sheet and then memorize what they've learned. And I think I've seen Wooten with sheet in front of him before.

    One word: Classical

    Hendrix, SRV, Beatles play simple music. When you speak of Hendrix and SRV I'm sure you are talking about guitar solos, which are mostly improvised, you don't read improvisation.

    What about learning your instrument first? You are suppose to do both at the same time. We live in the era of multi-tasking. :smug: A major benifit is the music is right in front of you and theroy seems to make sense, it helps you understand chord relations, why notes work together the way they do.

    Something that is stated again and again, sheet vs. tabs: Sheet music has rhythm indicated with it as well. I recommend learning to read early on. I've been playing for 4 years + now and I regret not learning the basics early on, it's making them even harder to learn/breaking old habits.
     
  13. spc

    spc

    Joined:
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    Location:
    South of Boston
    I think you're missing my point. Hendrix, Stevie Ray, The beatles were innovators. They didn't become innovators by learning to read music off of a piece of paper. THey didn't sound like themselves and be instantly recognizable by reading music. And I'm not sure the word "simple" can be used to describe their music. There must be a reason they're still being copied. My point was not that you shouldn't learn how to read music, I think it's a worthwhile skill. I just don't think it is as important to working, innovative, creative musicans as beginners think it is. And I'm not calling you a beginner to insult you, I don't even know you, as far as I'm concerned, we're all beginners. Again, how many of us tb'ers have had to sight read? Haven't you ever met or played with someone who could sight read really well, but couldn't improvise? Furthermore Matt, I checked out your influences on your profile, can any of those cats read? Unless i"m mistaken, I don;t think anyone of your cited influences can, so how did they learn to play? If reading is as important as everyone seems to think, why isn't Beethoven or Bartok on your list?
     
  14. learning_towalk

    learning_towalk

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    learning to read is deffinately a good thing...I was talking to a college, and played some for members of their school of music...they said that my technique and overall ability was great but i was handicapped by not knowing how to read (esp on upright)....so needless to say I'm gonna start learning...probly check out that book...thanks for the link!
     
  15. Matt Till

    Matt Till

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    Well I chopped up your post to give me some points to ponder.

    Indeed we all are beginners, in that sense, we should be constantly learning. Why not include learning to read in learning process.

    How many TBers read? Go ask over in the Double Bass section, you'll get some interesting replies.

    Music is a language, so in that sense, you are saying we should just speak and not be able to read this language. Think about it that way for a little while.

    You're right, SRV and the Beatles are very simple. Some of us want to go beyond simplicity. Personally I don't. The Irony of me making a big stink about this is I don't read, nor will I in the near future. But if you want to make music a job in a non "pop" (Pop meaning everything from Blues to Jazz to rock to a classical person) band, you'll need to be able to read.

    Orchestra, Jazz Band, Studio Musician, etc. None of this may sound cool now, but someday it might.

    Being able to read is just one of the many tools that could/should be in one's bass toolbelt.
     
  16. spc

    spc

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    (I said the Beatles, SRV, and Hendrix were not simple btw)

    I agree that reading is important to some people at some point. My problem is the conventional thinking like the above quote... Reading sheet music is definitely not the first thing he needs to know. You said you have no intention on reading, if it is a must to learn your instrument, why aren't you learning? How does Stevie Wonder play so amazingly? Jeff Healy? Did they learn their instruments by reading?
     
  17. Matt Till

    Matt Till

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    But the two can go hand and hand, my friend who recently decided to take up bass is learning from a teacher (not me thank god) and he's learning sheet. He's reading scales off of sheet music, so not only is he learning to read, but he's learning his scales.

    Boy for a bass player, you sure like Blues guitarists a lot. :eyebrow:
     
  18. spc

    spc

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    I like amazing musicians alot.
     
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

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    Then on the subject of guitarists: The widley regarded gods of guitar (Satriani, Malmsten, Vai) all read and write sheet music.
     
  20. spc

    spc

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    Apr 10, 2004
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    They keep it in front of them on stage?
    You're missing my point by being the great defender of music reading, read the beginning of this thread...
     
  21. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Location:
    Edinboro, PA

    Sometimes yes.

    OK, yeah, I get your point, "Sheet music is aparently not important for beginners." But this kind of thought leads to futher procrastination.

    Oh I need to learn to slap now
    Oh I need to learn my favorite bassline
    Oh I need to play a million notes a minute

    Meanwhile, you've learned nothing about actual music. I should know. I wish someone would have forced this stuff upon me. I guess if all you want to do is "Rock out harDKor3!!!" that's fine, but if you want to do more than that, sheet music helps.

    This is turning into pointless squabbling where I'm repeating myself, so my final retort: My dad could beat up your dad.
     

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