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Boston Rock and Roll Band theory?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by gdavis, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. gdavis


    Oct 18, 2012
    Not sure this is the right forum but I'm trying to get away from tabs so this seemed like the best place...

    Short version:
    Can anyone tell me the key and maybe basic chord progression that the bass follows for Rock and Roll Band?

    Long version:
    I have my first audition ever for a cover band and for the first time I have to cram to learn a bunch of songs. I know the basics of keys, scales, chord construction, progressions etc. but haven't really been applying these to actual songs. When learning a song I just find the notes on the neck (by ear or tab) and memorize that. But with songs that have a lot of notes it's just a lot of rote memorization, which I'm terrible at and seems like a waste learning song after song note after note. And of course I quickly forget it if I don't play it regularly. It seems to me it would be a lot easier/simpler to learn and memorize songs if I payed more attention to the key and chords (not to mention making me a better player all around). After all, that's the whole idea right?

    So, to make the question more general, any advice on how to approach learning songs this way? I hope that makes sense. Is it even possible to answer without getting into an in depth lesson program?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
  3. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Just going from memory here: I believe that song is in E major.

    Again, from memory:
    Verse: I - IV (x6) - I - ii - IV - V
    Chorus: vi - IV - V - vi - IV - V - I - ii - IV - V - I

    Someone else feel free to correct me -- It's Been a Long Time (pun intended) since I've jammed to that song.

    EDIT: Whoa, looking at two fingers' response links, I pretty much nailed it. :cool:
  4. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I think the OP was asking about how to apply knowledge of keys and scales to learning/memorizing songs.
    The best reference I've found for this is Garry Will's 'Fingerboard Harmony'

    It's not an esp easy book, but ideas are presented of recognizing keys and letting that guide left hand positioning and how a given hand position can function for related keys and when it can't and the scales/chord tone patterns on the roots of those keys.

    What little I've picked up from it has improved my fretting choices dramatically. I can't say I've used the methods recommended for learning/memorizing songs, but that's definitely covered.
  5. gdavis


    Oct 18, 2012
    Ya, I know. It would be nice if you would read my post before insulting me since google doesn't really answer my whole question.

    Ya, except that the first link two fingers gave says it's in B. So is it E or B? :confused:

    Thank you.
  6. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    In my head, the song is in E. The intro is B and if I remember correctly, it modulates to another key later in the song for a bit.

    In my opinion, this is one of those songs where it's less helpful to know the keys/chords than it is to know the actual bass line, which is actually pretty important to the song. Other songs, knowing the key and chords are far more useful (e.g. Long Train Running is Gmin blues).

    Finally, anything information you get of the net has to be taken with a very large grain of salt!
  7. gdavis


    Oct 18, 2012
    Ya, the actual bass line is definitely important, it just seems it would be easier to remember if I knew which notes where root notes and other chord tones, which were diatonic and which passing tones, instead of just memorizing a stream of notes without that context. Same way learning lines of a play is easier if you understand what the characters are saying rather than just looking at it as a stream of words.

    And yes, I've found that google results for this type of information on most songs are often complete garbage which is why I posted here. There seems to be some pretty knowledgeable folks here :) Not to mention that I've gotten viruses from some of these "chord"/"tab" sites so I try to avoid them.

    I was confused about it being in E because of the G that's part of the verse riff, but it just occurred to me that the G is a passing tone. And I knew it started on B, but that didn't seem to be tonal center of the song to me. I think the guitar solo section modulates but I haven't gotten to that part yet. I expect it's going to make everything that much more difficult to remember without some context. That's why I'm trying to figure this stuff out.
  8. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
  9. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    Intro- B
    Main Verse Riffs

    Alternate between E and A for this riff below- work out the rest yourself and grow your mind.

    -0 0 3 4 -----3--4--

    Chorus- Alternates between C# and A then back to E

    BTW- this type of "Boogaloo but the main chord is E when it is in E and A when it is in A. Listen to "Fast as YOu by Dwight Yoakam for a similar bassline.
    pattern will get you thu MANY songs...

    The guitar solo moves up to F#- pretty cool

    So theory wise, I'd say the song is most definetely in E (major) since it has the E chord, the F# chord at times, the A, and C#.
    This would be a song that will NEED a lot of work to GIG with a band well by the way...
  10. Sloop John D

    Sloop John D

    Jun 29, 2012
    It looks like you're doing great so far. If you understand enough theory to follow MonetBass's summation of the chord progression, and it appears that you do, then you can follow a lot of the song by relying on chord tones.

    If you look at the riff the bassist plays over the I and the IV, he's mostly relying on the root and the third. Over E major, he starts on the E, hits G as a passing tone on his way up to the third, G#, before hitting E again in the octave. He similarly relies on the root and the third in a slightly different riff played over the A major.

    If you know the chord progression and the main chord tones being hit on each chord, it can make the song a bit easier to memorize and follow.
  11. gdavis


    Oct 18, 2012
    Thanks guys. I started working through the progression from MonetBass and it's making sense. I'm understanding the verse section just like John explained. The chorus is a little more complicated but I'll keep working through it. I'll pick up the book Fingerboard Harmony book also.