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how do you find notes in a key

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bass_not_bass, Feb 11, 2001.

  1. bass_not_bass


    Jan 18, 2001
    alright here's my dillemma. I been playin in a praise band for a few weeks now and i dont know how to play anything but the root note. It gets boring just doing that. How do you manipulate a scale to fit in the song? Should you use a blues scale, or a funk scale(Ok its a laid back church) or what? any help would be appreciated.
  2. Get familiar with Pentatonic scales, major and minor scales, passing tones, and triplets. This will get you started.

    Most praise songs have pretty active basslines. Listen to the CD's, and slowly incorporate them in your playing.

    I'm learning the bassline to "Closer" by Lamar Campbell ... now that one is a MONSTER !!! Check it out if you can.

  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    What's a funk scale?
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Just my opinion, but wouldn't it be easier to think in terms of chords? If you know the chords to the song, you can play the fifth and octave of the chord or be more adventurous and play some of the other notes in the chord and even be more daring and play passing notes not in the chord to move to the next chord or "walk" up or down to the next chord.

    Right now you are just playing roots. It wouldn't be a lot harder to learn the intervals in major and minor chords and other commonly used chords in praise music.

    jason oldsted
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Check out the thread that Gard has posted on the "circle of fifths". If you can play the root of a chord it shows you the notes that are harmonious with all of the chord roots plus a lot of other neat info.

    It looks intimidating till you catch on to it but it's really not very hard to understand.

    You may as well just jump in the boat with the rest of us and start learning some theory. You wont be alone. Recently a lot of interest has been shown by a lot of the members on this subject.

    There is a series of lessons on the Libster website that is geared to the beginner. After checking out a lot of lesson websites, Libster is the best one that I've found. Not only do they tell you what what to do, they even have soundbites that show you what it's supposed to sound like. I recomend it highly.

    Hope this helps, Pkr2
  6. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    There's no quick fix here. Practice. Practice scales and arpeggios. Practice picking off melody lines to stuff already in your head like nursery rhymes and Christmas carols. Pick stuff off the radio and cd's. It's all a matter of repetition and familiarization. Get to work.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    This won't work with every song - a lot of songs have key changes or chords which are not in the main key, for variety - some Jazz songs I know, change key virtually every bar!

    Also if you are just running up and down one scale, the solo or bassline will have no shape. A bassline should follow the root motion of the chords - obviously you don't have to play the root every time, but you need to outline the changes and give some clues to the other players or it will not sound very "solid".

    A solo needs to take account of the chord changes and the function of the notes played in relation to the chords - you can play the same note and it will sound stronger or weaker in relation to different chords. If you don't know which notes work well with which chords, you run the risk of playing a whole solo of "weak" notes which will be just as disastrous as if you had played the wrong scale.
  8. Get yourself a good book on harmony to learn the chords structure, what is their function, how they resolve and a bunch of other things that would too long to explain in a single post.

    Then apply that on the bass, which is a whole other story.

    Good luck!

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