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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by faiz0802, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. faiz0802


    Mar 24, 2009
    London, UK
    The past few weeks, I've been working on a very simple groove in 4/4, working with a drum machine and improvising as I go along. It's in the key of C Major, so I know I can dodge the accidentals. Once I was done composing a considerable part of my piece that I was satisfied with, I realized that not keeping the accidentals led me down a path that disabled me from incorporating a lot of triads and chords(I play the notes played one at a time and let them ring), and another thing that worried me was that I would be totally handicapped if I recorded with another instrumentalist and they preferred playing in a different key.

    I found a solution to this I think, but I'm not entirely sure if it's the best idea, or the most feasible, or if things could be made simpler. What I did was play the same bassline in a 4x4 cage of the C major scale, which goes 1-2-4(fingers) on E4(using 2 as the root), 1-2-4 on A3, 1-3-4 on D2 and 1-3-4 on G1. Now using the shape of the finger fret pattern I got in the key of C, will I be right in just moving the same pattern across the fretboard and playing the same shape in a cage of say, E major to see the exact transposition of the notes?

    Another option I had was to just see the difference in intervals between the notes and apply the same intervals. The present bassline I play starts with a C, so would I be right in using an E to start and applying the same difference of intervals that I got in the key of C Major to the E note and all the notes that follow respectively. Would I transpose the key correctly here as well?

    The second doubt I had was in the use of harmonics. While playing the bassline, I played a certain note, lets say a B, and allowed it to ring and played its harmonic on it. I applied the same concept on triads and got some very interesting and promising results, but the thing is, I noticed that I had no idea about the harmonic for A# or D#. Am I missing out on something here? If I'm not, could someone enlighten me as to why those two are acting so pricey and not showing up(theory humor, please tolerate).

    Finally, I've been very interested in the use of Carnatic/Hindustani(Indian Classical) scales in my playing. Kind of on the lines of Prasanna or like Marcus Miller did in Blast. Does anyone here have any links to any sites that could help me out in that regard, in any way?

    Sorry if I made this too long, but no point in saying it if you can't say it all. Thanks.
  2. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    Hi friend, a couple thoughts- one is, yeah you can use the same 'patterns' so long as you have enough strings to work with. Maybe you would enjoy a 6 string bass that you could move your 'riff stencils' around on more freely. Another thought is, why avoid accidentals? Especially if you are visualizing these as geometric relationships, the specific note values are irrelevant. By the way, if anything, C Major is one of the less common keys I play in, and no doubt many share that situation.

    For harmonics (wikipedia has a nice article on this), have you tried the 'pinched' method more towards the bridge, as popularized by Jaco? You might find it more flexible.

    For microtonal colors, I think a fretless bass could be useful to you.
  3. faiz0802


    Mar 24, 2009
    London, UK
    Thanks for the advice my friend, but you get me wrong, I have nothing against accidentals, I love them like any other note, I am just working with the C major scale at this point because I'm quicker at it because I know where all the naturals are. Plus I hate confining myself to one key.

    I have used the Jaco method, I pan my sound to the bridge pickup and play, but then again, I haven't been able to get the A# or D# by using natural harmonics. Maybe using pinch harmonics would be more suitable in such a situation.

    As for the microtones, I'll think about it. There are quite a few ragas that don't nivolve microtone, the Bilawal Raga for instance, is the C Major scale in western music, so i think I'll look into that. I just wanted to use the technique Veena and Sitar players use in their playing, a lot of sliding here and there. was just curious if there was some website out there that I could look into.

    End of the day, most of my doubts have been taken care of, so thanks once again. Cheers.
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    You can't get them on a standard tuned 4-string bass, so you must use artificial harmonics. Basically, those notes should be either the root, major third, perfect fifth or minor seventh of any of the open strings, but it is not like that. You can get the A# using natural harmonics on a 6-string bass playing the seventh harmonic of the high C string (Minor seventh from the root: You'll get a Bb). For the D#, you can get it from the low B string of a 5 or 6-string bass by playing the fifth harmonic (Major third from the root: D#).

    Hope this helps.
  5. faiz0802


    Mar 24, 2009
    London, UK
    Oh yes, more strings. I hadn't thought of it that way. Thank you. :)

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