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Hi im New to Bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Stubs74, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Stubs74


    Dec 28, 2013
    Hi everyone this is my 1st post on here. Ive been playing guitar for a couple of years and thought i would give bass a go.Thinking i was just going to muck around and not take the bass serious ive actually found myself enjoying it as much if not more as playing the guitar.
    I try and get creative now and again and record basic rythm patterns with my guitar.I would really love to add a nice simple bass track to go along with my rythm guitar playing. Where do i start? Say im playing a bar of each G - D - C with my guitar.
    Hope someone can help
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    As you are coming over from the 6 string guitar I'm going to take you quickly into how to play your bass from some fake chord sheet music which I assume you already know how to use. We do not strum, however, play the notes of the chord one note at a time. With that in mind....... See a chord, play it's notes one note at a time to the beat of the song. Problem is some songs do not leave us enough room for all the chord notes, and then some songs give us way to much room and we are searching for things to throw into our bass lines. OK that out of the way let's get started.

    1) As your progression of G-D-C has all major chords they will have a 1-3-5 chord tone (scale degrees) in their make up - which we sometime call the "spelling" of the chord. I'll leave you something on this later in the post. So the notes 1-3-5 + something will make a pretty good 4/4 time bass line. For example; R-3-5-3 or R-3-5-6, or R-3-5-7 for the maj7 chord and R-3-5-b7 for the dominant seven chord or the king of generic major bass lines R-3-5-8. Keep reading.

    2) let's start with just roots. When the G chord is active sound one G note per beat. A 4/4 time signature gets four 1/4 notes per measure or 4 G notes per measure (barre). When the D chord comes active pound out 4 D notes and yep, when the C chord comes active pound out 4 C notes. As mentioned, we do not strum our bass - until much later - instead play the chord's notes one note at a time. Arpeggios will be a friend. For that matter so will the pentatonic scale - three chord tones and two safe passing notes.

    3) Your progression of G - D - C is called the I - V - IV chord progression, I'm sure you already know this from your 6 string guitar days.

    4) Find the I chord's root note - on your 4th string. Now from that root note..........
    The ii chord's root note is always same string over two frets toward the sound hole.
    The iii chord's root note is always up a string and back one fret. The b3 is on the 4th string right after the 2.
    The IV chord's root note is always up a string same fret.
    The V chord's root note is always up a string and over two frets.
    The vi chord's root note is always up two strings and back one fret. Over the 3.
    The vii chord's root note is always up strings and over one fret. The b7 is over the 4.
    Now that sounds complicated, not a step for a stepper. Put it to memory. If you are a visual learner look at the pattern listed below.

    Most of us at first use the Major scale box pattern which I outlined for you above. Here is what it looks like in graphic form. Place the root and the other chord tones await within the box.

    Major Scale Box.

    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string

    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 is what we do.

    Root on the first beat. Need more grab a 5 on the 3rd beat. Still have room for more put something on the 2 and 4 beat. R-3-5-8 is a generic bass line for any major chord. R-b3-5-b7 is a generic bass line for all minor chords. C chord coming up, yep if you have room R-3-5-8 will fit. Dm7 chord coming up; the R-b3-5-b7 will work if you have room for all four notes before the song goes off and leaves you. Ed Friedland's book Building Walking Bass Lines will be of help with all this R-3-5 stuff. Scott Devine's video may throw some light in the tunnel. . Looks like studybass.com is in the process of re-making itself. Check back I'm sure the new will be well worth your time.

    I've given you enough to keep you busy for six months. Copy this and put it somewhere, eat this monster one bite at a time.

    Have fun.
  3. Stubs74


    Dec 28, 2013
    Thats a massive help. It all makes sense i just need to get used to running up and down the scales on 4 strings instead of 6 like im used to. Ive got a book of bass chords showing the route notes and all the intervals so i will get practicing them now i know how im supposed to play them. I thought it would be strange to strum a bass so i didnt learn any of the chords until i new the correct way to actually play them.
    Thanks Malcolm for all the information.
  4. DannyBob


    Aug 28, 2013
    THIS! Wow, what a lot of effort man!
  5. Stubs74


    Dec 28, 2013
    A lot of my friends play a lot of heavy rock using mainly power chords.So when they are playing a power chord i just need to know what the root is and alternate between picking the root and the 5th note of the scale.And maybe the 8th aswell? Is that correct?
  6. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes a root-five would work nicely. And if you have room the 8, which is just another root in the next octave, would add a little something more.

    You got it - go have fun. :bassist:
  7. Stubs74


    Dec 28, 2013
    Thanks Malcolm im sure i will be back very soon with another question.