Bass Grimore

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jeremy_X, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. Jeremy_X


    Jan 29, 2002
    HELP ME!!!!

    My parents bought me this book, the Bass Grimore, which appears to be very complete book. The only problem with it is, I don't get it!
    I can't understand a bunch of the stuff in it. The chord chart stuff gets me. What is with all those funky signs? What does this strange gibber mean?
    If anyone out there has this book and can understand it, I would like to talk to you. I guess I need a crash course in the language of music.
    My thanks to all that reply.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I have the book "Bass Grimoire" as do several others here at Bass Talk. The book takes some getting used to, but your task will be easier if you know something about music theory. If you do not, the way material is presented may be difficult to understand.

    Page 1 is titled "How to Use This Book." Even that explanation will be hard if you don't know what modes are and don't know that scales can come in seven tones, five, six and eight tones and don't understand what intervals are and how they are named.

    The fretboard charts will be hard to decypher, too, if you don't undertsand the orientation, which is a four string bass with the nut at the top (E-string to the left; G-string to the right.) The dark circles show you where to place your fingers to fret the indicated note. The blank circles indicate that a string is played "open" or not fretted, only plucked.

    The horizontal "Quick Mode Generator Charts" are an amalgam of a piano keyboard chart melded to a diagram that tells the first note of each mode from the scale diagramed on the keyboard. Look to the right and you will see fretboard charts that show the fingering patterns that go with the modes. So the mode of Roman Numeral I will be fingered as shown on fretboard diagram Roman Numeral I.

    In the case of the C scale (or the Ionian mode), find the C on the E-string, (fret 8) and finger as shown in fretboard diagram I.

    As for the symbols, go to page 10. It is titled "Chord Naming System." See the chart about mid-page. The symbols are at the far right. Example, the first symbol is "-". It denotes the value of the third interval of a chord. When the 3 has a "-" symbol, the three is flat. It is called a minor third. Sometimes you will hear folks say "flat three." So a minor chord would have these intervals--Root, flat3, 5.

    Likewise, a "+" sign refers to the fifth which is "augmented." That means instead of being played as a perfect five, it is played as a sharp five. So the formula would be--Root , 3 , #5.

    So if you look at the left of the chart, you will see formulas for seven different C chords.

    The next page, goes even further with polychords such as 13 #11. I have a feeling that you will not be involved in such complex chords for quite a while. Nonetheless, pages 12 and 13 show formulas for everything from a simple major chord of root, major third, perfect fifth to the afore mentioned 13#11.

    The formulas show the intervals between tones of the chord. Page 18 shows you every place on a four string fretboard you will find any interval of 12 different scales up to the 24th fret, including open strings.

    Here's my advice: If you are just beginning, don't worry yet about extended polychords and modes.
    Learn what intervals are. Learn the basic major, minor and dominant chords and learn the major and minor scales and maybe the blues and pentatonic scales in every key. That work will keep you occupied for quite a while.

    I have two quarrels with "The Bass Grimoire." One, it does not use standard notation. Two: It can be overwhelming for beginners. That said, it is an excellent reference tool for those who wish to delve deeper into music theory, especially seeking an understanding of where modes come from.

    I hope that helped some. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions.
  3. Jeremy_X


    Jan 29, 2002
    Thank you Boplicity! I have a very very very basic understanding of the technical side of music, much of it culled from a history of jazz class I took at school, so I know what a minor chord, for example, should sound like, but as far as reading the symbols, it is all Greek to me! The info you have provided will help greatly. I will begin with your suggestions, and work my way up to the stranger bits of the book.

    And I thought learning music would be easier than learning a forgein language. Maybe I should look in to that Japanesse class.........

    Again my thanks!
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Whops! I neglected to mention a vital chart. Page 3 has the names of the intervals of the twelve tones of a scale.

    Unison is what I also call the root. To help you figure this out, choose G at the third fret of the E-string. Call that G unison or the root. Move one fret to the right of the G. You get G#/Aflat. We will call it G Sharp. That is the minor 2nd interval. Move one more fret to the right. That is A. That is the major second interval. Following the chart on page 3, keep moving right one fret at a time. The name of each new interval will be given on the chart. Keep in mind that each interval, names the interval from the root or unison.

    Finally, the chart ends with the major seventh interval. But the next one has a name, not shown on the chart. It is the octave, but will be the G again, only one octave higher than the root you
    started with.

    Why should you even care? Those intervals are the building blocks of scales and chords. They are the parts from which scale, mode and chord formulas are drawn, so you can learn to play any scale, chord or mode simply by looking at the formula.
  5. Jeremy_X


    Jan 29, 2002
    Good to know! Thanks!
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Roger that, Ed. I didn't buy "The Bass Grimoire" until I had been playing almost five years.
  7. Jeremy_X


    Jan 29, 2002
    My thanks to you Ed.