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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by I am Domokun, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. Today my teacher told me to try and learn the bassline for "Hey Joe" as homework. Trouble is, I don't know where to start. I really don't know how to play by ear. Any suggestions/tips to help me? I don't want to cheat by looking it up on the net cos I really want to learn how to do it. :crying:
  2. jadesmar


    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    I would start by creating a rough map of the song... something like:
    Verse - Chorus - Verse - Bridge - Chorus. This should be easy to pick out after one (or two listens).

    Then break those down by counting how many bars are in each. Since the song is in 4/4 time, just count to 4 and make a tick or count on your fingers each time you hit the next 1 after 4. So we get something like 16 bar verse, 8 bar chorus, 16 bar verse, 32 bar bridge (guitar solo), 16 bar (double chorus). Or some such, I don't have a copy of the song, but that sounds like a Jimi arrangement.

    Ok, so now try and find the root note at the beginning of each of these bars. This is usually the note on your bass that you can play for an entire bar without sounding "off" (unless the chord changes in the middle). Do all of this on paper, and when this is done, you should have a rough map of the song.

    Now that you have the root note of each bar, and knowing that Jimi played "blues", listen to the underlying rhythm of the song, as outlined by the drums and bass and, knowing that "Hey Joe" is a bluesy song, try some pentatonic and chromatic licks, at some point you should be able to pick out the "underlying riff". Try this riff starting on the "main" note of each bar of the verse and chorus.

    It's a start.
  3. Thanks, that helps. But what does pentatonic and chromatic mean?
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    And when you're all done, tell your teacher that you're not comfortable with assignments when he hasn't yet given you the tools to complete them.

    If you took an auto-body shop class, and they told you to take apart, then reassemble the carburetor, and all you'd done to that point was change a tire, would that be fair?

    Teachers should challenge you, but only once you have the tools to meet that challenge. Otherwise, it's YOUR responsibility to tell that teacher, "Slow down, help me figure this out!"
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I haven't heard this song for a while, so I hope this is correct.

    JIMK where are you?

    It's 3 chords if I recall correctly. The song is essentially a repeated four bar pattern. The first bar is the I chord, the second bar the II chord, the 3rd and 4th bars are the III chord.

    | I | II | III | III |

    The song is in C major.

    For more information on chromatics and the like, click on my user name in this post, then "Visit Jazzbo's Homepage."
  6. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    If I were you, I would just try to figure out anything I could, even if it is just the structure of the song or a little bit of the bass line or whatever, and then bring that to your next lesson and tell your teacher about your difficulties. Then he can help you move on from there, and I'm quite sure your teacher will appreciate your effort as long as you work on it and come up with something, no matter how incomplete, or even if you are totally incorrect.

    Keep trying, and good luck. :)
  7. Well, I brought him a CD with some songs I wanted to learn on it, so he could tab 'em out for me. He didn't get around to Hey Joe, so he told me to try it myself. I have done piano up to grade 4 before I started to learn the bass, but all I really did was learn exam pieces :meh: (which is part of the reason I gave it up), I did barely any theory. My bass teacher thinks that what I learned in piano should be enough to tab out Hey Joe, which is "fairly easy", apparantly.
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    A good teacher would be working with musical notation, not TAB. Unless you mean something else by TAB.
  9. I could probably play by musical notation if I wanted, he showed me where all the notes were on the fretboard, and that to go an octave higher to skip a string and go up two frets, but that's about it so far.
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    This is really important. Any teacher that uses TAB for writing out songs is a real concern. Unless, as Will said, you meant something else.

    But, by the by, how's the song coming?

    And what were the other songs on the disc that you wanted to figure out? Maybe we know some of them!
  11. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    "Hey Joe" (I assume we're talking about the Hendrix version) is one prime example of that practice of ambiguous major-minor tonality, because the chord progression (which is repeated over and over through the tune) clearly states a tonal center of E minor: VI (C) - III (G) - VII (D) - IV (A) - I (E...), which should be minor, but the rhythm guitar clearly plays an E major chord. In fact, there's a little guitar melody at that point which includes the notes E and G natural (E minor).

    That's "the sound of rock' n' roll": Minor melodies over major chords. Take a classic like "Jailhouse Rock", for instance, and that's what you'll find. You can sing a major melody over the chord progression and it will sound OK, but not as rock and roll. Listen to the music of Led Zeppelin, Rush, Aerosmith, (you name it), and the same approach is used very often. That can also be thought as if the basic chords are major chords with dominant seventh and augmented ninth added. For "Hey Joe", the tonal center of the song can be an E7(#9) chord: E-G#-B-D-Fx (F double sharp, sounds the same as G natural). This is called a "broken third" effect, because it sounds as if the chord has both thirds, major (G#) and minor (G natural).

    The thing for me is, I know the theory behind that, I know it's a very, very common practice, but I'd like to know if, as a practice, it has an special name. How do you call that? (e.g.: Playing a succession of semitones is called a "chromatism") That's a question I've had from a long time. Thank you in advance if someone has an answer for this.

    P.S.: And don't forget the coolest part of "Hey Joe": The walking bassline section! :cool:
  12. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I think the technique you are talking about is refered to as "modal borrowing", i.e. you "borrow" a key from a related mode.

    Example: Say your progression is in E: I-IV-V7-I. Now lets say for spice you want to play I-iv-V7-I. You "borrowed" the minor IV chord from the realtive minor mode (aeolian). This is a simplified example, in practice you find modal borrowing used to create all sorts of neat sounding stuff.

    A simillar technique is called "non-essential chromaticisim", which is basically chromaticly altering a note to change the flavor of a chord (one example is the use of the raise 7 in the harmonic minor scale: this creates a major V where you SHOULD have a minor chord, it was used so commonly it became integrated into tonal theory as a special version of the minor scale).

    This is how you create so called "secondary dominant" or "secondary leading tone" chords.
  13. I've underlined all the things I don't understand. More help? :meh:
  14. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    OK (I'll try to do my best). For the first one:

    Let's compare the E major scale with E minor (natural or aeolian) scale. Chords for each grade are:

    (E Major) I: E - II: F#m - III: G#m - IV: A - V: B - VI: C#m - VII: D#dim.

    (E minor-natural or aeolian) I: Em - II: F#dim - III: G - IV: Am - V: Bm - VI: C - VII: D.

    As you can see, the chords used in "Hey Joe" (C, G, D, A) are present in the E minor scale, with the exception of the fourth grade (A major), which is taken from the melodic minor scale (still a minor tonality, anyway). Chords from the major scale are totally different, so the chord progression in HJ suggest a minor tonality. But when the tonic appears, it is not minor, but major. That's the ambiguity I'm talking about. Your ear is moving into a minor environment, but when the tonality appears... blam! Something different is heard.

    For the second question, I think it's better understood using a keyboard. Play these notes from low to high simultaneously: E-G#-B-D-G natural. Which grades are these in the E major scale?: I, III, V, flatted (dominant) seventh and...??? How can be G# and G natural together in one chord? That's because the G natural is not the real name of that sound. It is a double sharped F (Fx). Why? The second grade of the E major scale is F#. If you continue spelling grades after the octave, you'll see that the second grade is also the ninth (one grade after the octave), so F# may be understood as a ninth "grade". If you raise that sound by another semitone, you get a double sharped F, which sounds the same as G natural. That's the way you can get a chord with both thirds (major and major): Using the augmentd ninth. Be aware that it only works placing the notes the way I told you. If you put the G natural (Fx) and G# separated by a semitone, it sounds horrible. It doesn't work either if you put the G natural below the G# (I mean, G# in the next octave). You must respect the order of the sounds in the chord: I, III, V, b7 and augmented 9. The third of the chord MUST be below the augmented ninth.

    I hope this make things clearer. Please don't hesitate to ask if still in doubt.

    P.S.: Thank you for your explanation, Tash! :)
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I once asked someone why this was, I remember they told me that the half-step interval between a major and minor 3rd sounds pleasing to the ear.