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cant belive im asking this

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by NNbassest, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. NNbassest


    Nov 4, 2004
    hey yall,
    ive had this on my mind for almost 2 years now...i startedplaying bass 3 1/2 years ago. anyways. i already have a good view of what these answeres will look and sound like. but im asking to A)prove somone wrong, B) to help me out

    1: do you HAVE to know how to read notes or is tablature ok? ive been doing it that way for years now, we cant aford a teacher so i learned tab. will i be ok with that?

    2:is it ok that i cant slap...but still wanna play motown and the funky stuff?

    thanks. :bassist:
  2. steve724

    steve724 Guest

    Jul 25, 2004
    you don't HAVE to know anything. but the more you know, the more gigs that will come your way that may not have just reading tab. there are a lot of cool sites out there to help with reading. check out musictheory.net. it has helped me alot. as for motown, i don't think that many motown bassist were into slapping. they mostly played 8th and 16th.but like i say the more you know, the better you will be as a musician, and not just a bass player. :smug:
  3. NNbassest


    Nov 4, 2004
    thank you
  4. To question #1, TAB is okay, but standard notation is very handy. I recommend you learn it as well. You don't need a teacher to do so. There are plenty of tutorials online, and plenty of practice material as well.
  5. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hmmmm just depends on what you want to do with your bass playing life! If you just want to cover green day songs and stuff like that in a small local club then i would say noo you dont have to learn to read music! But if you want to play in a jazz band then i would say it might be a good idea! I have played bass for 21 years now iand i didnt learn to read music for about the first 6 years. Then i hit a bump in the road, i started liking jazz :eyebrow: So since then i have tried to cram as much info in my head and hands as i could. More than what you think you should know you must relize that a whole lot of things will change over the years of playing! Youre taste first of all will probably change , then you r in trouble.

    Ohhh by the way i wasnt slamming green day up above! Just making a point. So no need to bleed me for that.
  6. NNbassest


    Nov 4, 2004
    yerah yall, thanks. im into a bit of everything tho. mainly motown beats n stuff. and im in a punkish/rock band so yeah. but i play more motown on my Fender then anytihng else.
  7. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Start off with asking yourself what you want to do with bass playing. Then, those answers will become evident. You don't have to slap if you don't want to, but don't expect to play any 70s funk with them in it. Simple as that. Knowing how to read is also dictated by what you want to do with music.
  8. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Tab's greatest limitations are:

    1) Limited rhythmic information. It's not enough to know what notes- you have to know when to play them. Some tab includes rhythmic info, but it's very rare on the net.

    2) You learn the fingering the tabber wrote. Which may or may not be correct, and which may or may not be the best way to approach a part.

    3) Instead of thinking about the intervals you're playing and what function every note has in a part, you're thinking about the mechanics. Too much emphasis on "how" and not enough emphasis on "why".

    Now, tab can be very useful for figuring out tricky fingerings, if the tab is from a good source. And tab is very friendly to certain guitar/bass techniques that standard notation can only approximate.

    So learn both.

    And don't worry about slapping. If you don't feel it, don't play it.
  9. kroth


    Apr 6, 2003
    Many great players don't read music at all. It all depends on what you do. If you want to be a session cat, reading is a must. If writing tunes with your friends is where you're at reading isn't as big an issue. As for slapping, some of the funkiest lines ever were played finger-style. James jameson never slapped. Neither did Jaco, or Duck Dunn. It is a cool thing to do , but not a necessity. Learn it , use it if you like, but don't think that you must slap to be funky.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think the Tabs vs Notation thing, is a false dichotomy - so there certainly were Great Players who didn't read music - but there have been none at all who relied on Tabs!! :meh:

    What they did all have, were great ears - so Hendrix may not have read music, but he could hear a tune once and play it back exactly as written - so the story goes that he heard the Beatles Sgt Pepper album once and had the tunes in his set, the same day!!

    It's really a case of getting the job done - if you can play anything, instantly by ear, then you can get by without reading music - this can be a far more valuable skill than reading. Of course, if you want to play sessions or music that is original, complex, unusual etc. - then reading will be a "must"!!
  11. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    There's absolutely no slapping on any Motown record from their classic period.

    As to tabs, any way you learn to play is valid, but ultimatly you're playing notes, not numbers on lines. You're learning a false language that is not the one other musicians communicate with. You don't necessarily need to learn to read music, but the more you think of notes rather than numbers or positions, the better off you'll be in the long run.
  12. NNbassest


    Nov 4, 2004
    thanks for all the help yall...ill keep it all in mind
  13. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Tabs can be useful, but learning standard notation is a must if you want to have a bass career (session stuff and similar things). Slap is something you develop over time. There's no rush to learn how to do it. Hell, some of the old-timers here still can't do it. They're still great players. Look at munki, he can't slap at all but he can lay down a groove (just kidding Mike ;) )
  14. Kevjmyers


    Dec 10, 2004
    Boulder. CO
    Remember when playing funk that while the notes are important, the RESTS are more crucial. Learning to read music is important but its the rests that a lot of people have trouble deciphering accurately. Its not easy which is why a lot of people who play don't read. The easy way out is tablature and over the long haul will be detrimental to your overall musicianship.

    Tab is ok to create excitement in discovering a riff or line to a fave tune in your extremely early years (months?) of playing, to pique interest. But thats it!
  15. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I have played 1 year and i can only read tablature and the Tones, not notes. Like i know where a E, C, bB etc is but nothing more.
    I dont have any plans to learn notes, i've tried and forgot what i learned, it's tooo boring.

  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    And we should be interested in this......or see this as good advice? :meh:
  17. +1 on the limitations of tab. I would go further, though, and say that vanishingly few, if any, musicians ever really *need* to know tab to do their gig, but many do need to know standard notation to do their gig. This isn't to say that tab doesn't have it's uses, just that it's not in any sense a musician's necessity IMHO.

    Actually, I'm not even sure the concept of "learning" tab is very meaningful. It's basically just instructions of where to put your fingers. It's always seemed to me intuitively obvious what you do with tab, sorta like following the instructions on putting together an IKEA couch. I'm not sure that learning is involved to the same extent that it is with learning standard notation. It just seems to me that once you get the visual conventions of tab, you "know" it.

    That's not, in itself, a bad thing, and this is not a putdown. I'm not saying tab users are dumb or bad or anything noxious like that. My argument would simply be, if a learner appears to have an issue with whether to spend his/her time on learning tab or standard notation, the better answer would *always* be IMO to learn standard, not only for the reasons you mentioned, not only because of the inherent and potential advantages of knowing standard notation, but also because learning tab is, by comparison, easy and takes hardly any time--relatively speaking, a trivial task.

    Of course, the issue of whether the learner is going to learn *any* kind of written musical representation at all is another question. I tend to go along with what Bruce said--it's about getting the job done, and if someone can do that consistently and well, in his/her chosen context, without reading music, well then, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. But as I imagine you'd agree, learning to read standard notation can never, ever, EVER, hurt, and can very often help.
  18. Not meaning to be harsh, but if what you say is the case, you probably don't have the necessary experience to advise NNBassest on his question.
  19. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I've gotten a lot of gigs becuase I could sight read music. It is a marketable musical skill

    Traditional music notation has been around for hundreds of years. It is the most efficient way to convey music to be played.

    I detest tab becuase I'm forced to follow somone else's fingerings which may be very difefrent from how I would approach the fingering on a song.

    I also detest slap playing. In the 80s everyone was slapping and popping. To me it's just ANOTHER tool in the bassist's arsenal not the ONLY tool.

    There was lots of great motown and funk playing before Larry Graham invented (or at least popularized) the slap/pop.

    There is a great bass book called "Standing In The Shadows of Motown" by Dr. Licks (Alan Slutsky) . It's a biography of bass guru James Jamerson with transcriptions to classic Motown tunes.

    Jamerson gets funky but always played right hand with one finger. It's also a great example of the virtue of tab as the trascriptions represent not only teh notes but the fingerings he used which is essential.
  20. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    i see playing the bass as a learning thing! You should alwasy be learning new things and trying to cram as much info as possible all the time! I think if you dont learn how to read music you might later on be missing some very important things! I have taught bass and music in generall for about 6 years now. Sure you can play in youre local band without knowing how to read music but i bet later on down the road as with alot of musicians you will say to youreself man i wish i learned how to read music! You will find that alot of things will change the longer you play music! I think most players here that have played for many years will agree with me on that!