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Help with Bass Encyclomedia

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Champion, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Champion


    Jan 18, 2011
    I got bass encyclomedia book but struggle to understand what those moveable box shapes trying to do. How do I make use of them? Am I suppose to practice playing them? Thanks.
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes practice them. You asked a good question; which ones. This is what you are faced with. See a chord and know which "box" you need to be using - so you fingers just know how to play a bass line over that chord. See a key and know which "box" will produce the scales that will sound good in that key. For example: Key is C major. OK the C major scale is an obvious choice. The C major pentatonic scale will work. Probably the F major pentatonic and the G major pentatonic scale will also work, over the F and G chords. The list goes on......

    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. Place the box's R on a C note,
    4th string 8 fret is one spot you may choose and then play the box's scale degrees. The box's pattern placed the notes
    of the C major scale under your fingers. Want the A natural minor scale place the box's R over an A note 4th string 5th fret - but as this is the major scale pattern to get the natural minor scale you will have to flat the 3, 6 & 7 scale degrees within the box to b3, b6 & b7. You do that by moving the 3, 6 & 7 one fret back toward the nut.

    I envision your book having many different box patterns. That's fine, however, do not let the number intimidate you. I use the major scale pattern as my go to pattern and then adapt it to what I need, i.e. to get that pattern to produce the natural minor scale I just flatted the 3, 6 & 7 scale degrees. If I wanted the chord tones for the Cmaj7 chord I'd use that same box and just use the R-3-5-7 scale degrees as those are the chord tones of the Cmaj7 scale. If I wanted the chord tones for the C7 chord I'd use the R-3-5-b7 scale degrees within the box. Course you have to know that -- I think that is why your book has all those patterns, they give you a box for the major scale then another box for the natural minor scale some more for your chord arpeggios, etc. Then they give you other boxes for taking those scales up the neck so you can look cool. LOL. Nothing wrong with looking cool, but, My major scale box @ the 3rd string 3rd fret gets me the C major scale. Then @ the 4th string 8th fret I can get another C major scale. And if I really want to stretch it I could go to the 15th fret, 3rd string I can get another C major scale. Three is enough IMO. So your original question - by moving the box you can play the same scale all over the neck, utilizing all three octaves of our instrument. BTW or instrument is a three octave instrument. Most songs utilize one plus some of the second octave, very seldom a full two octave, much less three.

    Basic Chords
    • Major Triad = R-3-5
    • Minor Triad = R-b3-5
    • Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5

    7th Chords
    • Maj7 = R-3-5-7
    • Minor 7 = R-b3-5-b7
    • Dominant 7 = R-3-5-b7
    • ½ diminished = R-b3-b5-b7
    • Full diminished = R-b3-b5-bb7

    See a chord and play it's chord tones. As every key will have three major, three minor and one diminished chord it's a good idea to get your major, minor and diminished bass line chord tones into muscle memory so when you see a chord your fingers just know what will work. Now the song may only give you enough room for the root, or root five - adapt and get as many chord tones into your bass line as needed. Root on 1 and a steady groove from the other chord tones plus something to call attention to the chord change will keep you gigging.

    • Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7 Home base
    • Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 Leave out the 4 & 7
    • Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted.
    • Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Leave out the 2 & 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 with a natural 7.
    • Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.
    Let the major scale be your home base then change a few notes and you have something different. No need to memorize a zillion patterns. Let the major scale pattern be your go to pattern - then adapt/adjust from there.

    Generic 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. So R-3-5-3 will fit under any major chord.
    • The b3 is generic to all minor chords. And R-b3-5-8 will fit under any minor chord. Why the 8? Well the 8 is just another root in the next octave.
    • The 7 is generic to all maj7 chords. Yep, R-3-5-7 fits nicely.
    • The b7 is generic to all dominant seventh and minor seventh chords. G7 = R-3-5-b7 or Gm7 = R-b3-5-b7.
    • The 6 is neutral and adds color, help yourself to 6’s. Love the sound of R-3-5-6 with a major chord.
    • 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 & 7 will play a lot of bass.

    Nothing wrong with all those box patterns, but, do not let them intimidate you, they are visual aids, you do not need all of them to play 99% of what you will be doing. Pick two or three patterns, perhaps the major and then the natural minor pattern and learn how to utilize those two on all of your fretboard.

    Want to use the Ionian mode? It's the same as the major scale.
    Want to use the Lydian mode? Major scale and sharp the 4.
    Want to use the Mixolydian mode? Major scale and flat the 7.
    Want to use the Aeolian mode? It's the same as the natural minor scale.
    Want to use the Dorian mode? Natural minor scale and sharp the b6 back to a natural 6.
    Like Phrygian? Natural minor scale with a b2.
    Want to use Locrian? Natural minor scale with a flat 2 and 5.

    Couple of patterns and then change one or two notes....

    Good luck.
  3. WannaJazz

    WannaJazz Supporting Member

    May 7, 2010