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1-5-8 box pattern

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gooble, Oct 24, 2000.

  1. gooble


    Oct 22, 2000
    mmmm me newbie
    wondering what a 1-5-8 box pattern is? =)
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    Get out your bass or picture the neck in your mind. Put your index finger on the third fret of the E string. This is the note G. Now place you pinky on the 5th fret of the A string, this is the note D. Now put the pinky on the 5th fret of the D string, this is G an octave higher.

    OK, now think of those two frets (3 and %) as being the sides of a box, OK?

    Now a G major scale has these notes:

    G A B C D E F# G

    The 1st note is G, the 5th note is D the 8th note is G. Thus the term 1-5-8.

    Within that "box" you can play a lot of rock and blues riffs.

    For instance, take this pattern:

    G (E str, 3rd fret) D (A str, 5th fret) F (D str, 3rd fret) G (D str, 5th fret)

    Try playing as eighth notes like:

    NOTES: G G D D F F G G F F D D
    FINGERS: 1 1 4 4 1 1 4 4 1 1 4 4
    FRET: 3 3 5 5 3 3 5 5 3 3 5 5

    That should sound familiar it's used in lots of classic rock and blues songs. Using those four notes, there are a lot of variations:

    NOTES: G G D F D F D
    FINGERS: 1 1 4 1 4 1 4
    FRET: 3 3 5 3 5 3 5

    NOTES: G G D F
    FINGERS: 1 4 4 1
    FRET: 3 5 5 3

    NOTES: G F D G G
    FINGERS: 4 1 4 1 4
    FRET: 5 3 5 3 5


    Hope this helps.
    JFlick likes this.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes, but absolutely useless if the harmony includes a half-diminished chord, for example, with a flattened 5th. :rolleyes:
  4. If you place your second finger on the root on the e string and use one finger for each fret you will open up a whole world of new notes. Including the scale that fits with the half diminished chord. This is called the four fret box. If you find the patern books by Dr. william Fowler they will with a lot of practice open the whole neck up to you. My 2 cents.
  5. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I agree with Ed. Leave the boxes for guitar players :eek:
  6. The four fret box is to bass guitar what positions are to upright bass. You can learn to play upright bass without positions. And you can learn to play bass guitar without patterns. You can learn to speak without knowing the alphabet. The four fret box and the fret above and below it is the bassis of playing most of what you play on fretted Instruments. The Fowler books are the way to learn the fret board. Box patterns especialy with incorect fingering are no way to go. Ed did you learn to play without a method? Or was it Simandl, Harabe, and Richard Strause orchestra studys? I play what comes from my head but I couldn't do this without a proper method. The four fret box is the best method for bass guitar.

    [Edited by bassdude on 10-24-2000 at 09:11 PM]
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Not for me it wasn't! Why not base your method on scales, modes etc. - the patterns of the fretboard are not conducive to making music and are a severe limiting factor as far as I can see. I'd never heard of "box patterns" until I got on this board and no teacher or book I have seen in the UK has mentioned it - and that's in 20 years of buying everything related to bass-playing I could find!
  8. We may be talking about different things so, I mean a four fret box is placing one finger on each fret. this will allow you to play the ionoian mode starting on your 2nd finger and the dorian mode on your forth finger ect. There are five types of overlaping fingering patterns (some span five frets) that cover a 15 fret range on a four string bass. This is what I am talking about is how to organize the fretboard. Using the term four fret box is not the correct way to express this concept as people misunderstand it. Which is that you can play scales and their modes in the span of four or five frets or travel up or down the neck using the overlaps in the scale type or change to most other keys with one fret shifts. Oh by the way I do read and I know where all 168 notes are on my 7 string bass. There are many books for guitar and bass utlizing these concepts.

    [Edited by bassdude on 10-25-2000 at 05:45 PM]
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    You're probably right - it's just the term "box pattern" that is causing the misunderstanding - I was just thinking of it the terms originally expressed by Brian Rost, (sticking to root,5 and octave) which to me sounds like a bad idea and not a habit that a new bass player wants to get into.
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Jamerson played some nice Root-5-Octave(1-5-8)figures-
    ..."Bernadette", "You Keep Me Hangin' On", "Reach Out, I'll Be There", etc
    JJ's rhythm made that simple "box" into something.

    ...though, I'm in total agreement about "patterns" bein' inherently "bad".
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Geez, slow down.

    Sounded to me like the original post was from a total newbie and if he wants to jam along with his buds in the garage, well let's face it he aint gonna go out and learn the locrian mode for that.

    I also didn't espouse using only the 1, 5 and 8 (notice the licks I showed him included b7). The guy had a simple question "what's the box" and I told him. Maybe you guys were brought up different but I spent many hours in the garage putting my fingers where the guitar player told me to and was loving every minute of it.

    Yep, I've studied plenty over the years and recommend others do the same but "the box" still gets a workout at every gig I play. Only difference from my garage days is I know why those notes work.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Sorry Brian! Actually I remember starting out and having to teach guitar players to play the parts on songs I wrote and even having to tune their damn guitars on occasions. On recordings I wouldn't have the patience and played the guitar parts myself!

    I can remember one of the first bands I was in, which rehearsed over the singer's parents shop (our "garage"!) - we had a great drummer (subsequently toured on cruise ships) - but we could never find any decent guitarists. I remember many times in this shop, auditioning guitarists, with awful dstorted tone and out-of-tune guitars who couldn't play an original note to save their lives - they usually suggested we play "Ziggy Stardust"! :rolleyes:
  13. All this talk brought me back to the point where I saw the first John Pattitucci tape and one finger per fret playing. Lately I have been spaning two frets some times. So I have to say "thanks" as this made me review his tape and I am going back to strict four fret playing again. I think this is better system even on the seven string.

    [Edited by bassdude on 10-26-2000 at 06:21 PM]
  14. gooble


    Oct 22, 2000
    Thanx people! =)

    Thats some real informative stuff yup

    so i guess its back to practice heheh
  15. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I think this is in keeping with what Ed just posted.
    Part of my approach to playing bass....has been to transfer the sounds(notes) I hear in my head...to the bass, via the fretboard, be it fretted, or fretless. Therefore, it is even conceivable that I can paly a bass which is out of tune....because I am NOT going for position of the note, but rather...the sound of the note. In actuality...this helps me keep my bass better tuned.
    I do believe that it is important to know WHERE a note SHOULD be, but as Ed said..."if you don't have an expectation of the note in your ear and head, how do you hope to get it out on the instrument?"
  16. Ed I agree with you Knowing how to play dosn't make you a good player. But I think that starting out with a teacher that plays what you want to play and learning by a method helps. My connection from my brain to what I play is from starting with a method of fingering some fifty years ago. The basses I play are upright bass, tuba, and bass guitar, the bass player is in my head. An instrument is only a machine and being a machine operator dosn't make you an artist. On any of these instruments I can get it from my head to the air because I have studied. I don't know if you or short fat ugly or play out of tune or are unmusical by what you write. And I don't think you know these things about me. The first time I heard that you should musical when you play even an exersise was by my instructer in the 1950's. I come here every day because I love playing bass and talking to bass players. I respect you because you play this instrument we love. And will listen to what you say because it makes me think.

    [Edited by bassdude on 11-02-2000 at 05:43 PM]
  17. The Navy Bands I played in played two octave scales in every key, including broken thirds and chromatic scales ect. every morning. 5 days a week this was in the 1950's. All I was trying to tell the newbe was not to play his octaves on the first and fourth finger as shown in the tab, but on the 2nd and fourth. What I should have said is get a teacher. One finger per fret is one of the ways to start playing bass guitar many scales and their modes are under your fingers all the time. Every thing is cool I am not always a good comunicator as my typing skills are wanting,....... sorry.

    [Edited by bassdude on 11-03-2000 at 06:21 PM]
  18. knash2112


    Dec 12, 2000
    Hi Folks,

    I REALLY hate to dredge up old threads, but I am new to the board and pretty new to the bass also, so all these threads are new to me :)

    Anyway, I read this thread with great interest and I absolutely agree that simply learning finger patterns is not the way to go. In my still embryonic music/bass education, I am quickly realizing that understanding the theory behind it all is going to greatly help me to understand how to get around the fretboard and why what I am playing sounds the way it does.

    That being said, it seems to me (and I don't think this is inconsistant with the general conclusion arrived at during the previous dicussion of this thread, but if so please correct me) that 'patterns' are useful to an extent, as long as you know what is going on 'behind the scenes'. For instance, if I want to play a major scale like: 2-4, 1-2-4, 1-3-4, just memorizing the 'pattern' of where to put my fingers in what order doesn't help me NEARLY as much as understanding that I am actually hitting the Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Major 7th, and Root. So, when I say that patterns seem to be useful, I mean that I now know that from any given note, the Major 3rd interval is one string over and one fret towards the head (is that up or down? Don't have a firm handle on the lingo quite yet), and the Major 5th it over one string and two frets toward the bridge.

    So, I guess my reason for posting this is to try and get some feedback as to:
    1) Am I reading this thread correctly and understanding what is being said?
    2) Am I thinking correctly about this, or am I heading down a path that is going to set me up for hardships down the road?

    Even though I am quite new to the bass and to musical theory in general, as well as only pursing this as a hobby (i.e., I don't ever forsee myself gigging or anything, but would like to eventually become good enough to get together with other hobbyists and play for fun), I would still like to attack my learning of the intrument in a proper fashion. Therefore, any and all input from those of you on the board who are obviously more knowledgable and experienced than I would be greatly appreciated :)

    And if you're still reading this, please forgive me for asking one more question.:) Basedude mentioned something about 5 types of overlapping finger patterns that cover a 15 fret range on the bass and help to organize the fretboard in one's mind. I am interested in learning more about this and was hoping someone could either explain it a little more in depth or provide some guidance as to where I might go look it up.

    Thanks again folks. I am really looking forward to your replies.

    BazzaBass likes this.
  19. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    You guys need to read Gary Willis' finger board harmony for bass. His whole concept is based around visualizing shapes on the fingerboard. Maybe he doesnt know what he is talking about though.

    Oh, and Root 5th octaves are the foundation for MANY great bass lines.

    [Edited by theJello on 12-14-2000 at 03:06 PM]
  20. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Having taught, though not music, I know that students learn in different ways. Some are very oral and learn best by hearing. Some learn best by seeing. Some learn best figuring things out for themselves. Others like step-by-step instruction. Some learn in a scattershot method, others are very methodical. The methodical ones are uncomfortable with too much liberty and suffer under a catch-as-catch can approach.

    Gooble is a newbie. Maybe he learns better with patterns or boxes. Or maybe he would learn better just fooling around, familiarizing himself with the fretboard and sounds it produces at different places. I really sped up my learning once I had a grasp of the twelve bar blues and the chords most commonly used in it. Once I learned how that sounded, then I could easily tell when there was a departure or something unexpected and refreshing. That approach might be murder to someone else, though.

    I, personally prefer a structured method and once I have a plan or structure or pattern down, then I can be creative. For me, it just takes too long for me to explore and discover with no clear road map. It was very frustrating to me because when I was a beginner, even the intervals were a puzzlement. But that is my learning style. Each person is different in the way he learns as I said before. Patterns and "boxes" may help some beginners and may hinder others. It is a matter of personal learning style.

    Jason Oldsted

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