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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by AceBasser, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. AceBasser


    Sep 29, 2011
    I've been playing for about 6 months and love it so much. Everytime I walk past my bass I pick it up and play for an hour or so. (do that many many times a day). I play a lot of covers, and learn them by ear and watching videos. No tabs, but when I try to come up with something of my own my brain just farts and it's pretty frustrating. I can play me scales up to 220bpm and can my scales all over the fretboard but just can't seem to make anything of my own. Any suggestions? :I
  2. Dazzare


    Dec 3, 2011
    What I would do is learn some MUSIC THEORY. Lets not use the word practice(Such a dirty word). No matter what you are doing you are creating music. When I have trouble making music I go out and change my surroundings. Go have a walk about town. Go to a new restaurant. Basically have a new life experience. I wrote one of my best bass lines when I was shaken up from a near miss from a car accident. It was a new life experience....even if it was a near death one =P.
  3. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    6 months is not very long! It sounds like you are already making good progress. Think of playing music as a life-long activity, and something where you will always be learning new stuff.

    That being said, "riffs" that you come up with are just assembled from little bits and pieces of knowledge you've already internalized to the point that you can spin them off without even thinking. You probably just need more time to digest all this new musical information, and make it a part of you. As you get more experienced, that process of internalizing new musical ideas gets accelerated.

    Don't get discouraged! You sound like you are doing great. For one thing, you've gotten this far, have hit some minor obstacles, yet still have your enthusiasm. That is important. In my experience, progress is not a straight line. Sometimes, it seems like you can't make any progress at all. And then one day, it's like a lightbulb goes off in your head, and you can do things that weren't doing before. In other words, progress is not always a steady climb, but sometimes a series of frustrating plateaus, with the occasional exciting jump. Stick with it, it's an exciting time.
  4. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    Sit down with a friend who plays guitar and bounce ideas off each other. Sometimes it is easier to collaborate on original material than to do it by yourself. And it can be more fun and lead more quickly to a performance situation. Good luck and enjoy the ride!
  5. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    Sit back.

    Think simple.

    It is just a little thing that can sound cool.

    If you garbage that up with traffic, it is obscure.

  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    I suggest you learn some blues tunes. Improvise on them.

    Actually, improvise on any of the tunes you know. What if you had to make up a bass line for the song?

    Also, find some guitar chord backing tracks to work with . There's some on YT. Here's a link to TBer Nick's backing track website: http://www.freejamtracks.com/

    Here are some links you may want to check out:
    ~Getting creative
    Where does creativity come from?
    Writing songs

    Creating bass lines
    Target Approach
    Walking bass line examples
    Ed Friedland on walking bass lines
    TB's Ed Fuqua's walking bass line book

    For a jam

    Playing scales

    Playing behind/ahead of the beat
    Playing "in the pocket"
  7. You mention you play a lot of covers. How? You say by ear, are you playing the tune by ear or the bass line by ear? You mentioned scales and running them up the neck. That's fine and must be done to know which notes sound good and which sound bad, plus where these notes are on our fretboard, however........

    I assume sooner or later you want to play with in a band. What will the band expect you to do/furnish? That's what most, IMO, do not understand.

    We provide the beat, the bottom end, the groove and we should call attention to the chord changes coming up.

    All of that deals with playing chord tones one note at a time. OK you know your scales so you know what chords are in each scale. Correct? You also know which chords make the chord progression that will normally be used in the type of music you play. Correct?

    OK if you know the chords being used and the progression they fall into and you understand we play those chord tones one note at a time. At this point running your scales is not going to help you. You should be playing the chord tones that are in the piece of music. Scales will help you with playing the melody, but, the band is not asking you for lead breaks, they have someone else that handles lead breaks. Practice playing the tune at home and when you can play 16 bars of the tune, let the guys know you are ready for solos. But in the mean time back to chord tones.....

    Which ones and when? You can use standard notation that has the bass clef shown or compose the bass line yourself.

    Yes 90% of the time how you play the chord tones are left up to you. You receive some fake chord or lead sheet music, neither of which have the bass clef shown and you are expected to come up with a bass line for the chord name shown.

    So --- how to make bass lines and then how to play bass lines should be next on your list of things to do. See a Cmaj7 chord and your fingers know automatically what bass line fits and works best for this specific song. With a Cmaj7 chord R-3-5-7 will work, but, with this song you may only need the root, or just the R-5. Then again R-5-8-5 may work best. How to make bass lines should be part of your life right now.

    Online Bass Lessons at StudyBass.com. The books Bass Guitar for Dummies and Ed's Building Walking Bass Lines have this information.

    Here is an example of a generic bass line being used.
    Norah Jones - Cold Cold Heart - YouTube
    Knowing that a static generic bass line and which one, works with this song - that is where you should be spending your time. Of course IMO.
    Here are the chords used in Cold, Cold, Heart.
    Hank Williams, Cold Cold Heart Tabs, Chords, Lyrics
    First chord used is the D then A7 then G - just three chords, not a step for a stepper.

    Good luck.
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Six months is a very short time. Take all the good advice given here, and add two more ingredients....time and patience. The "Study Bass" site that Malcolm linked is excellent. Here, it deals with chord tones.

    Chord Tones Are Primary

    Best of luck with it. :)
  9. AceBasser


    Sep 29, 2011
    Thanks everyone. Lots of
    Good advise here. Ive been looking for some backing tracks so thank you for that as well.
  10. Its Christmas Eve, here is a gift. Use as much as you need.

    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.

    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string 

    Want the C major scale - move the R over a C note on your fretboard - play the pattern and the C major scale notes await you. Want a bass line under the C major chord - move the R over a C note and play the R-3-5 chord tones. Song is using the I IV V chord progression. In C this would be the C, F and G chords. Find a C on the 3rd string, where is the F and where is the G? Yep, piece of cake. That was the WOW that let me see the big picture.

    Basic Chords
    • Major Triad = R-3-5 aka C
    • Minor Triad = R-b3-5 aka Cm
    • Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5 aka Cdim or C with a little circle with a strike through in the circle.

    7th Chords
    • Maj7 = R-3-5-7 aka Cmaj7
    • Minor 7 = R-b3-5-b7 aka Cm7
    • Dominant 7 = R-3-5-b7 aka C7
    • ½ diminished = R-b3-b5-b7 aka Cm7b5
    • Full diminished = R-b3-b5-bb7 C circle - that I can not do on the computer - little circle with no strike through.
    Scales; The Major scale pattern is home for Major Scales and the Natural Minor scale pattern is home for the minor scales.
    • Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7
    • Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 Just leave out the 4 & 7.
    • Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 The major scale with a flatted 3, 6 and 7.
    • Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Natural minor scale with out the 2 and 6.
    • Blues = R-b3-4-b5-5-b7 Minor pentatonic with the blue note (b5) added.
    • Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor scale with a natural 7.
    • Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3. Or if you like, the Natural Minor scale with a natural 6 and 7.
    Major modes
    • Ionian same as the Major Scale.
    • Lydian use the major scale and sharp the 4 - yes, it’s that simple.
    • Mixolydian use the major scale and flat the 7.
    Minor Modes
    • Aeolian same as the Natural Minor scale.
    • Dorian use the Natural Minor scale and sharp the b6 back to a natural 6.
    • Phrygian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2.
    • Locrian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2 and the 5.
    Generic Notes, i.e. notes for your bass line.
    • The root, five and eight are generic and fit most any chord. Remember the diminished has a flatted 5.
    • The 3 is generic to all major chords. R-3-5-8 will work. Assuming 4/4 time thus 4 notes.
    • The b3 is generic to all minor chords. R-b3-5-8 will work.
    • The 7 is generic to all maj7 chords. R-3-5-7 will work.
    • The b7 is generic to all dominant seventh and minor seventh chords. R-3-5-b7 for C7 and R-b3-5-b7 for Cm7.
    • The 6 is neutral and adds color, help yourself to 6’s. R-3-5-6 for C6 - love that sound.
    • The 2 and 4 make good passing notes. Don’t linger on them or stop on them, keep them passing.
    • In making your bass line help yourself to those notes, just use them correctly.
    • Roots, fives, eights and the correct 3 and 7 will play a lot of bass.

    Now what you did with your scales - getting the patterns into muscle memory - do the same with chord tones. Once they are in muscle memory, then we can get into how to use all this in your songs.

    Seasons greetings.
  11. AceBasser


    Sep 29, 2011
    Wow thank you! That is a lot of information. Happy holidays to you!

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