1 picture to greatness

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tshapiro, May 5, 2018.

  1. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    21E86CB1-9A11-44A2-BE7F-EC5B792EC671.png Becoming a great bassist or guitarist has everything to do with what and how you learn and practice. But, with the endless online sources, CD’s, books, teachers, where do you start?

    Let me help you with this. Spend 1 year memorizing and learning everything you can about this image and you will, at the very minimum, become a very, very good player. Some people would call it modes - to me it’s just all positions of the major scale. The keys almost everthing you need to understand about music theory can be found within this single image.
    Spacewoman likes this.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Personally, if it took me 1 year to learn the G Major scale (and I didn't even know the names of the notes) I would find a new teacher. ;)
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
    BassChuck, Bob_Ross and tshapiro like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    sounds like you did some homework and learned something! congratulations! :thumbsup:
  4. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I dunno, that's kind of like saying that the answer to any question can be found in Pi. Perhaps a slight over-exaggeration, but you see where I'm going.

    Everybody learns differently, but that wouldn't be my personal recommended starting point for anybody really.

    Just a different view is all, YMMV.
    fearceol, Flippy and DirtDog like this.
  5. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    When I started learning theory - as applied on guitar- the teacher got me started just like this. I tried and tried and tried and tried but it didn’t sink in (modes). Years later with another teacher - on bass this time - helped me understand chord theory and that then unlocked a lot of stuff for me. Including making it much easier in learning how to play pedal steel guitar.

    I’m very far away from even being close to reasonably knowledgeable about music theory but I can get by. For example, I really didn’t understand the depth of information contained in the circle of fifths - but a recent post in this forum showed how much information is contained in that one graphic.

    All this to say is that my experience has been one of a variety of useful learning and teaching supports and tools, physical skill development and a having and using a pretty decent ear. I’m pretty sure lots of folks fall into this category.

    The image you posted is one of those useful tools.
  6. AMp'D.2play


    Feb 12, 2010
    I had a former instructor who taught the major scale in 5 positions instead of (yes, as you mentioned, they ended up being the modes, but that wasn't his focus).

    The Phrygian/Lydian and Locrian/Ionian positions were combined since having the index finger on the root of one also has your middle finger on the root of the other. The one confusing thing about how my former instructor taught this method - or the person who actually wrote the material that he worked from - was he numbered the positions starting from the lowest note on the bass. So position #1 of the C major scale started on the open E, position 2 started on the G, 3/A, 4/B, 5/D. It would've been more intuitive IMO to call starting on the open E position #3, since it started on the major 3rd. 2 could've been called #5, etc. This would've related the 5 positions to the scale degree each started on.

    Anthony Wellington has a video on YT where he goes into the modes across up to 7 strings. On the "major" scales, he plays the major 3rd on the same string as the root (2 whole steps up) instead of moving up to the next highest string.
    Al T. likes this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Ah yes, the good old "CAGED system." Very popular with guitarists since it relates to the common major chord shapes they learned as beginners. If you were a guitarist then the numbering system would make sense. Questionable how useful it is for bassists, as we don't have the top two strings of the guitar, and we don't often strum open shape chords, so they don't have the same mnemonic meaning to us as they would to a guitar player.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I think players make a grave mistake thinking that memorizing some chart will make them a better player ... it doesn't. It might help someone with a good ear to understand WHY what they're playing sounds good (or doesn't), and be able to describe it in musical terms (maybe), but no one PLAYS modes. And no, that diagram does not represent "almost everything you need to understand about music theory". Not by long shot. Again it could be helpful, but I'd rather give a beginner some EAR training, learn to recognize intervals, learn common chord progressions, learn to create simple bass lines over those progressions, learn to read notation ... and THEN maybe learn why all that is musical.

    Not sure at all how this is related to the CAGED system, which really is the key to learning to play movable chord patterns, and isn't, as said above, directly applicable to bass
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  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I agree with you 1,000%. Great post. Fingerboard patterns are "technique," not "music theory." Music theory means knowing how to put those notes together to play a song. You're not going to get that by looking at a fingerboard diagram.

    My comment about CAGED was in response to Amp'd2play's comment directly above mine and had nothing to do with the OP. Sorry for the tangent.
    Kro and Whousedtoplay like this.
  10. Yes! But fingerboard charts are step one. The charts let me "see" what was being talked about. So if you are getting started don't shy away from your chart patterns.

    And as Mushroo says after you know where the notes are its knowing which ones to use.

    Good luck on your journey.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2018
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  11. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
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  12. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Very few players know the G major scale in all positions. For starters, you can do transition riffs over any chord chord in a progression - most players only riff using the pentatonic in 1 or 2 positions. They’re too scared to play full scale riffs because they’re uncertain about which notes are going to be out of the scale. This would be especially true if a song started on a minor chord. Without a full understanding of these patterns (let say you only know the pentatonic, one wouldn’t know if the song is starting in the sixth scale tone (Aeolian) or the second scale tone (Dorian). But, if you know this diagram well enough, you can determine that. And, you can riff away using the full scale. And, most newer players would love to be able to do that. That’s just one things that comes from understanding this diagram fully.
  13. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Naw man, I’ve known this stuff for decades. Took plenty of music theory in college. Been playing pro gigs since that time. I just think there is a general lack of teaching the major scale in all positions and teaching the relationships that exist within.
    JRA likes this.
  14. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    With all due respect, this statement is part of the challenge. I would never tell a beginner to learn the modes. I would tell them to learn the major scale starting from each scale note. I keep the terminology simple like that. And, I think it’s more practical to apply it like that.
  15. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I didn’t just say memorize this chart. I said take a year and learn everything you can about this chart. More specifically, tell people to learn position 1 and then 6. Then learn all you can.
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  16. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    For beginners, would it not be better to have them learn how to harmonise the major scale using triads, and how chords are derived from a scale ? After all, chord tones are what he/she will be playing ninety percent of the time....not scales. This is not to say that scales are not important, but IMO chord tones should always be treated equally.
    mambo4 and Mushroo like this.
  17. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
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  18. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Agreed...and more to the point... everyone is taught differently. ;)
    shawshank72 likes this.
  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

  20. Spacewoman


    Dec 3, 2018
    This is similar to something that Josh Fossgreen teaches (Advanced Bass Scales - THE BEAST!!! - Josh Fossgreen), and which he says he picked up from an old Billy Sheehan video.

    I have the four-string version of it firmly imprinted on my brain, and, like the OP says, the seven patterns encapsulate just about everything you need to know in terms of seeing scales, chords and intervals. To give just one recent example from my own experience, I used the patterns to easily see and practice all possible patterns for open voiced triads and their inversions.

    One thing I've found is that I prefer to name the patterns as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. rather than after the modes. After all, they're all the major scale, and each pattern contains all the modes.

    Now I'm learning to play a five-string (strung EADGC), so the OP's post is quite useful for helping me extend my knowledge. Thanks a lot.
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