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Getting started in the Paper side of Music

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by StonedLikeSloth, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. StonedLikeSloth


    Feb 27, 2010
    I have been playing for about 6 years, in about 5 different bands, done about 30 shows, I sing and play bass. But I have never learned anything other than just sitting down, listening to a song, and playing it and completely teaching myself. I play in a few jam bands, I can move up and down the neck, play in key, and jam like a mother ****er. But I only know 2 scales (barely), and I really just know in my head what sounds good, and that's how I play 99% of the time. I write almost all of the music for both bands, lyrics and bass lines(just basic chord patterns, that everyone can follow, and I write a basic bassline). I want to know where to start, to learn scales (I have read pacmans guide to practicing scales, but where is a good source for scales to begin with, since I don't know them) I have great rhythm and most everyone I play with always compliments my playing. I just want to learn the other side of music if you know what I mean. I am good, but I want to be great. I am a very dedicated musician, I want to go to school for music, and try to live the dream of becoming a musician. What's the point of life if I can't do what I love? :bassist:

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated, sorry for not being very thorough in my explanation, but I couldn't think of any other way to state it. I have been lurking for a month or so, glad to officially be a poster! Thanks!
  2. Learning scale patterns is a piece of cake, learning how to make music from them is another story. Best advise I can give - with your experience and your innate skill level - get with a good instructor. Chore is finding a good one. Ask bass musicians in your area who they use.

    With your experience a good instructor can have you using scale in a very short period of time.

    Good luck.
  3. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Learn as we say over here, to 'read like a raven', to play written music (of average difficulty) on sight or at least to play from music notation after some study. Or you'll never really make it. All theory starts with reading music.
  4. StonedLikeSloth


    Feb 27, 2010
    I know that. I just need to know HOW to learn to read music, HOW to learn music theory, HOW to learn scales and chords, etc... What are good ways to go about doing this?
  5. OK how to learn to read standard notation and how to learn theory can be done with out a teacher. A thirty minute lesson with a teacher usually revolves around other things beyond reading and theory.

    Reading. Two stages -- stage one - learn to recognize the note and be able to verbalize it's name. Flash cards are good for this. There are software programs you can find on the Internet, however, flash cards cost $5 and can go with you anywhere -- utilize those spare moments to get some study in. When you can flash a card and say it's name in the same time you can say your name then - and only then are you ready to start playing from standard notation. Stage two - start reading and playing your bass. That's going to take some time. And you have to allow time each day or rust develops. It's not an over night thing. Here are a couple of sites that can help with how to read standard notation for your bass http://www.cyberfretbass.com/reading/open-strings/standard/index.php and then www.studybass.com

    Theory - is best done by yourself, you and the reference material, in a quite room. Ask questions on this forum. Theory needs to be learned in a specific order. Major scale and how it is constructed is the first thing to understand, i.e. why some scales have sharps, some have flats and what specific flats are in each scale. Here is a post that follows that order. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11975 The Articles on that forum are great. Print off some and read those in your spare time. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/browse/index.php?ltr=A

    Scale -- Find some patterns you like and then practice them. This too comes in stages. First get your fingers running the scale pattern and your ear recognizing the sound of in key notes and out of key notes. Major scale and the natural minor scale. The major and minor pentatonic scale, and what the heck the blues scale. The pattern will be generic -- that same pattern will play any scale, you just place it correctly and the notes of that scale are waiting on you.

    Here are scale patterns for 6 string guitar ignore the top two strings and you have scale patterns for your 4 string bass. http://www.cyberfret.com/scales/basic/print.html You are interested in the 3, 4, 5 and 6 strings in the graph. The red dot is the root note. Place the red dot on the 4th string 3rd fret of your 4 string bass fretboard and you have the notes of the G scale waiting on you. Why 4th string 3rd fret? ? Well 4th string 3rd fret is a G note, simple as that. Place the red dot on the 4th string 5th fret and the A scale notes are waiting on you. Those numbers are your fingers 1 = index, 2 = middle 3 = ring and 4 = little finger. Pattern takes place over 4 frets and you have 4 fingers. Kinda important you play with the correct finger.

    Run your scales till your fingers can do them in your sleep. Then -- we will talk about making music from them. That's stage two. You'll be ready for that in a couple of months.

    Have fun.
  6. reading .....start with a method,remember to always count,and i try to position myself so i cannot see the neck.....then i have to listen for the correct notes.....theory,i would recommend a teacher,not necessarily a bass teacher,but a music teacher.......there are lots of piano teachers that can teach you theory....in lieu of a teacher get one of the better methods,and learn the chord tones and inversions
  7. younggun


    Jul 19, 2008
    San Antonio
    I was in much the same boat as you about a year ago, really wanting to systematically approach reading and theory. Searched around and luckily found a great teacher. My best advice is to do that...find a good teacher. The most important thing, IMO, is to find someone with a methodology. Someone with an approach that systematically builds concepts.
    Lacking that, here is what my teacher got me started with material-wise.
    For scales:
    "Mel Bay's Complete Book Of Bass Technique" by Bernard "Bunny" Brunel
    unfortunately its out of print (and getting expensive when you do find it), but its a very comprehensive book for scales and modes.
    Next, for technique and reading practice he got me started with Cello Etudes by Dotzauer "113 Studies" you can find it pretty easy.
    For more in depth Theory dealing with chords and scales:
    "Patterns For Jazz" for Bass Clef by Coker, Casale, Campbell, and Greene.
    Then there is the brilliant book by John Patitucci:
    "60 Melodic Etudes For Acoustic and Electric Bass", great exercises in every scale and mode. Plus they sound cool :)

    Good luck.
  8. i highly recommend mark levines "jazz theory book" its a bit of a thick read but its thorough, if you don't understand something ask it here
  9. Steady Eddie

    Steady Eddie

    Jul 27, 2009
    Wow, you seem like a great natural musician.

    Going to music school sounds like a good idea and I would think the place to start is to find out what are the entry requirements. Probably you will need to pass a theory exam so look at the syllabus for that and get any required books.

    One book I've used to get started is 'Theory for the Contemporary Bassist'. This is a slim volume and inexpensive but contains a load of material.

    If I could give only one piece of advice it would be to take your time. Learning theory is not just about mastering facts but actually absorbing them so that you do become the total musician you want to be.

    Good Luck!
  10. AMp'D.2play


    Feb 12, 2010
    I've seen this distinction mentioned here a few times. I don't understand the difference. Playing written music? Playing from music notation? As a beginner, they'd mean the same thing to me (bass clef, measures, notes, time & key signatures, etc.), but obviously in the context used, they don't. :confused:
  11. younggun


    Jul 19, 2008
    San Antonio
    Sight reading means to play the music on your instrument as you are reading it (for the first time). Think of it like standing up in front of class and reading from a text book you've never seen before. Its an "on the fly thing".
    Playing from notation refers to being able to figure out a piece by reading the music (slowly and methodically), but not necessarily being able to play it at the same time at tempo. You basically memorize it, and then play through it (of course you are usually still using the music for reference as you play). Reading the music, memorizing, then playing eventually leads to being able to sight read. Your instrument becomes your voice in the same way you use your voice when reading a book out loud.
    I think that's the distinction folks are making...hope that helps.
  12. younggun


    Jul 19, 2008
    San Antonio
    +1 on that book too. It does cover a LOT of material, very comprehensively.
  13. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
  14. The Lowe Down

    The Lowe Down

    Feb 28, 2010
    Isanti, MN
    Getting good at sight reading I the tough one. The only way to ge good at that is to do a lot of it. In high school and college jazz ensembles, we would sight read a peice at least once a week. You give yourself 5-10 minutes to scan for key changes, meter changes, any funky pasages (I primarily played bone so this was slightly more applicable) and you would scan chord changes for progressions. Then you just do it. It is very much like public speaking. The more you do the better you get at it, but it really can't entirely be practiced.
  15. CoffeeJanitor


    Jun 4, 2009
    good teacher
  16. StonedLikeSloth


    Feb 27, 2010
    Well to start off, I made flash cards. I drew every note from my open E string all the way to the C on my G string. I drew out the note as it would appear on a sheet music piece on one side, then wrote out the note (example "A#") and then what fret that note is on my bass, on the other side. I will show pictures later, but I am going to keep these close all the time, and quiz myself on the notes. Seems a good way to start.
  17. younggun


    Jul 19, 2008
    San Antonio
    If you've got an ipod or touch phone there are apps out there for note training also. They pretty much work just like flash cards.
  18. IdealWay


    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    "Note Reading Studies for Bass" by Arnold Evans
  19. StonedLikeSloth


    Feb 27, 2010
    So now I have pretty much all the notes memorized on both my fretboard, and when reading music. I have been practicing site reading music, and I feel like I have made a lot of progress so far. Where is a good place to get sheet music? And whats the next step to take from here?
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