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Am I short changing (not selling) myself?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Sumosized, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. Sumosized

    Sumosized Learning to lay down a cool groove!!!

    Nov 24, 2006
    SW PA
    I've been playing for about a month now. I really enjoy it! But I feel that I need to stay away from TAB--not exactly sure why, but I try very hard not to use it.

    Now I do have a background in Bass Cleff music from my high school years, but that was 15 years ago. I am finding that reading the music is starting to come back to me, but I'm also finding it to really be slowing me down while learning a new instrument (this is my first string instrument--if you don't ount my feable attempt to learn how to play the guitar.) If I look at the tab, I can learn the lesson MUCH MUCH faster.

    So do you folks think I'm taking the wrong approach? My goal is to be able to play in a band sometime--probably a classic rock/pop/country music type of a band. The kind you go see at a bar or club to have a good time.

    Maybe I should take some time to learn to read music in realtion to the Bass Guitar AND some time to learn songs from tab AND ADD learning by ear?
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Real world for what it sounds like you are doing... you are rarely going to have someone give you a chart with bass clef notes or any notes at all...

    most will be just a chord progression with rhythm kicks / fills written in...

    its good to know the basic's... but mainly as a bassist in a "rock / pop / country" band, chords are what you will mostly be reading... and you will have to build a bass line from there...
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It never hurts to read music, but if you're just learning songs to play in a bar band, I suppose tabs will work.
  4. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington

    What lesson? Do you mean song?

    Then look at what you're really learning: where to put your fingers or what notes you're playing?

    I can guarantee you that if you start learning the notes on your fingerboard and play from sheet music, you'll see different ways of playing the same thing, how everything relates, etc. Things that a tab can't really teach you, since it's only one person's way of playing it. Even if I have to look at a tab, I transpose the song to standard notation and then find my own way of playing it. Sometimes it's the same, sometimes not. But even if I decide to stick to the tab, I still explored the fretboard and memorized more parts of it and am more familiar with it.
  5. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com

    if your playing in a bar band... they arent going to jot down a tune on a napkin in tab.. . they are going to write a chord progression....

    F7 | Bb7 | F7 | C-7 F7 | Bb7 etc...
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    He was saying that he's learning songs with tabs. Which you really don't need to know how to read music to do. There are a fair amount of bar bands who do that and keep working, and they don't ever read music.

    However, I'm in full agreement that learning to read is the way to go so in case a tune gets sprung on you via a few hastily written chords on a napkin, you'll be able to figure out a good bassline to play. And it does separate you from the rest of the pack as someone who's got advanced knowledge.
  7. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Most bar bands that I've played in don't require looking at anything... you learn the tunes by ear from recordings. Or, at the gig a bandmember hastily shouts the changes in your ear and says, "It's easy-- you'll get it..." Or even, "Honky Tonk Women! In G!"
  8. reading music is in all ways superior to tab except one - ease of use. Tab is simply a Notation Lite systems. For learning songs quick, tabs are the way to go if you can get the rhythm right, and if you only need to know one way to play the song one way. and have a recording you can listen to over and over again.

    With sheet music you can look at a piece of paper and SEE exactly how it's suppose to sound, so you don't need a recording.

    That being said, and as someone who has not been in a band yet, I have yet to find any musicians in my area that know theory very well, let alone know how to read sheet music. None of the people I jam with know sheet music, and they rarely know the chords and notes they are playing. They're good guitarists, but they have no idea what I mean when I say something like 5th or E major or whatever.

    the green stuff got me kind of off track, but the point I'm trying to make is that, atleast in my situation, how you read music does very little when writing and creating songs, or improvising on the spot. Theory has helped me much more as a musician than learning how to read(which I still can't sightread) or eve how to read tab.

    My opinion is to study what makes music work, and build your own thing off of that. No matter how much you read, it won't click until you try it and hear for yourself.

    But if covers are your goal, then yea, sheet music would help, and it's much easier to study one thing if you aren't focusing attention to another, and especially with two such different systems. with how easy it is to read tab, it doesn't even need practice.
  9. billjr


    Jul 25, 2006
    Darlington, SC
    I have been learning for about six months, and have a similar background with the bass cleff. I have successfully used a varied approach to learn the bass, as I don't want to limit my ablities to any one way. Since I can already read music, I want to be able to play the bass that way. I am using several method and scale books to learn to play via written music. I have a couple of books that show lines using both notes and tabs, and I have to try really hard not to use the tabs, as I feel like I am cheating on my music reading skills.

    I am also trying to learn bass lines by listening to the song. This has been the most difficult, since I never learned to improvise when I played trombone, but I think will be the most practical way of learning a song. I recently purchased the TASCAM CD bass trainer to help in this process (still waiting on delivery), but I also think that using tabs helps me see what I am hearing, and will help my ear training.

    Our band leader gives us a sheet with the song's lyrics and the chords written above the words at the point of the chord change. He also gives us a CD with a version of the song, and I take that and listen to it several times trying to imagine the bass line in my head. For more difficult lines, I will see if there are any tabs online, and then try to follow the tabs while listening to the CD. In most cases, this has worked well, but there have been several songs where no tabs are available, or are just wrong, and this is where I hope the TASCAM will help.
  10. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I have nothing against tab as a notation system, but as I learn something from tab, I pay attention to what the chord is (if shown; sometimes I have to ask my more experienced guitar playing buddy) and think of the part within each chord change as a line based on the root note of the chord. In a lot of rock and blues, you will find that the same shape is used over and over on different roots. You get a better level of understanding, know how to transpose it and it is often actually easier to remember. There are also times that you will think "hey - there's that shuffle (or whatever) I was looking for in another song" and you can map it over.
  11. Sumosized

    Sumosized Learning to lay down a cool groove!!!

    Nov 24, 2006
    SW PA
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I guess I'll keep learning the way I am, and I do plan on lessons, while learning he theory that goes with it.

    Can anyone recommend a decent theory book that is not "Bass Guitar for Dummies?" I already have that book, looking for something a little more.
  12. Most of this is good advice, but I would emphasize the learning by ear. Ill usually listen to a song and try to decipher it for about 2 hours before I look for a tab or sheet music because training my ear has helped me the most play with other musicians. I can read sheet music quite well, but I usually dont find the stuff I want to play in sheet music.

    As for a good book, I cant help you there.

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