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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sigying, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Sigying


    Nov 15, 2012
    So I started bass lessons in April this year because it's always been my dream to be in a band, and I saw it as a gateway in to the music scene and as another option over having to do science.
    Over the months I've basically fallen in love with my bass and with metalcore, gothic metalcore, post-hardcore ect... music. Plus I know some of my friends who also listen to similar stuff want to start a band in the near future. I just found out I've been accepted into VET music next year and I'm excited, but also worried.
    So far I'm just getting into the stage of being able to switch strings (not really well though :/ ) and tremolo pick (really fast), but I know it's not enough to be that great for next year. It's been two months since I taught myself a song (Creatures - Motionless In White) with no aide from anyone. And now I've just hit a blank spot, I can't do anything, even some of the simpler metalcore songs I still can't play, and I'm just worried that I'm going to fail.
    Does anyone know any good practice songs that will help me play the music I hope to play in the future?
  2. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    Take some lessons brother. It will get you where you want to go much faster especially if you hope to be playing in a band soon.

    In order to work songs out you have to have some understanding of how they're constructed or in other words some very basic musical theory and "ear training".

    Without that you'll be lost far more often than found. Trust me. I give lessons to guys just like you and even after just 3 or 4 of them they start to pick a lot more up on their own. Spend a few bucks and get yourself ready and able to learn on your own. Right now it sounds to me like you're not quite there yet.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Relax. What does the bass play? The harmony, the bass line, i.e. chord tones. If and when you ever got a lead break, then you play the melody. The lead break is normally done by the "solo instruments", i.e. electric guitar, keyboard, sax and or horns. Not pulling your chain, but, right now if you took on a lead break, everyone will get up and go for drinks.

    So grab the chord progression for the song. Fake chord or lead sheet music will have that. If you play from lead sheet or fake chord you can have a selection of songs under your fingers in a very short period of time.

    See a chord play it's root. R-R-R-R
    When that gets old add the 5. R-5-R-5.
    When that gets old add the 8. R-5-8-5.
    When that gets old add the correct 3 and 7. Cmaj7 = R-3-5-7 or Cm7 = R-b3-5-b7. Then there is the diminished Cm7b5 = R-b3-b5-b7. http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm

    Root on 1 and then as many chord tones as you can get into your bass line before the music goes off and leaves you.

    Root, five, eight, and the correct 3 and 7 chord tones will play a lot of bass. What chords are used in your music? Get those chord tones into muscle memory. See a chord and your fingers just know what will make a good bass line for that chord. R-3-5-8 is generic for major chords. R-b3-5-8 is generic for minor chords.

    Do you still have your instructor, if not yes, a couple of months with an instructor will save you a lot of time.
  4. Sigying


    Nov 15, 2012
    soulman 969 I'm already getting lessons, but only a half hour one a week. And MalcolmAmos sorry but I still don't understand most music terms, so I don't really have a clue what your saying, sorry
  5. Sigying


    Nov 15, 2012
    Wait just got it, I think. Isn't bass the rhythm that keeps in sync with the bass drum and sometimes the rhythm guitar in the song, and basically the driving force behind the band, it keeps the beat that the rest of the band follows and without it the song would sound, well strange. (yes I sound like an idiot, because I am when it comes to music terms)

    I don't want a lead break, I prefer break downs. AND I can't play a leading instrument ( except for keyboard kind of) anyway, and I'm not interested in playing one of those instruments in a band anyway
  6. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Half an hour once a week is the normal music lesson. Hang in it will take some time for it all to jell.

    Trust your instructor he/she will get you there, if you have let him know what you want. If the two of you are on the same page, relax and enjoy the journey.
  7. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012

    Metalcore is a lot of open strings and such. I don't know that you'll need to have much more than a sense of rhythm to play that kind of stuff at most levels. I've attached something for you to look at, though, so scroll down, open that attachment, and follow along.


    This is a visual representation of the fretboard. I've done this in standard tuning, so the E string (lowest pitch) is on the bottom of each fretboard, and the G string (highest pitch) in on the top.

    Fig.1 has a bunch of squares on it with numbers inside. If you play the locations of these numbers in ascending sequence (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1), then you get an A major scale. I know, it should be 8 at the end, but we call it 1 because of how our ear and music works. Try playing around with this pattern for a while, make some melodies, break the numeric sequence (ex. 1 2 5 3 4 6 5...), improvise a bit. Try making musical "sentences" by ending your phrases on certain notes, and end your "paragraph" on 1.

    These numbers have significance in how music works. I don't want to overload you with information right now, but you should get used to the idea that a major scale has seven notes, and that each one of those notes has a specific function (hence why we give them numbers).

    Fig.2 is an extension of the major scale pattern in Fig.1. If you look at what I've done here, I've merely extended the same scale by one note in either direction. Try running up the scale, from 1 to 1, then go to the high 2. After that, go back down the scale, all the way to where you started, but go down to the low 7, then back to 1. You can kind of get an idea of how this scale stuff works: 1 is a sort of center of gravity, so the closer you get to 1, the greater the pull. These 'scale degrees' (a fancy name for the numbers we've been talking about) can occur in different octaves, as you've already seen with 1 being at the bottom of our scale, as well as the top. On the bass, the same note can be in the same octave on different parts of the fretboard, as you can see with the two 2's on the top of the scale. I leave it up to you which you want to use.

    Fig.3 is an alteration of the scale we've been looking at. Instead of A major, we now have A minor. What's going on here is that we've lowered a few notes by a fret. The numbers themselves don't change: the third note of the scale is still the third note. However, we've put this funny symbol in front of it: ♭

    "♭", pronounced "flat", indicates that the note is one half-step lower than your reference point. Compare the 3, 6, and 7 from the previous examples with ♭3, ♭6, and ♭7 from Fig.3. Try playing around with this new scale. Notice how different it sounds from the A major scale we were looking at before.

    ("#", pronounced "sharp", is the opposite: it raises a scale degree's value by a half-step. You'll usually see #4 or #5.)

    Fig.4 demonstrates a moving of the notes from Fig.3 so that they're a little closer and easier to play.

    Fig.5 is yet another change of the scale degrees. Observe that this is the same thing as in Fig.4, but with 7 instead of ♭7. This is called the harmonic minor scale. Play around with this scale a bit. Hear the quality of the intervallic relationships, especially when moving between ♭6 and 7.


    Now you should have some tools to help you understand your instrument. If you go back to MalcolmAmos' post, you can try what he's talking about. Just substitute his "R" for my "1", and you're good to go. If you do something like 1 3 5 7, you can find that according to the information in Fig.1. For 1 ♭3 5 ♭7, that information is in Fig.4. 1 3 5 ♭7 and 1 ♭3 ♭5 ♭7, I don't have here, but I think you can figure those two out. Technically, all of these patterns exist in the material I've provided (2 4 6 1 is the same thing as 1 ♭3 5 ♭7, if you want to try it out. And 5 7 2 4 is 1 3 5 ♭7.), but like I said, I don't want to overload you with information.

    The other thing: these patterns are completely transposable. You can move them up and down the fretboard to get into different keys.

    Attached Files:

  8. I am a huge advocate of music theory and learning and understanding why you're playing.

    But for now, forget that.

    The first thing you need to do is play with a drummer or a guitarist, who are playing whatever you want to be playing. Also, play with a metronome. Learn a common chord progression for your type of music and play it to a metronome. Quarter notes, 8th notes, 16ths. For most of those types of bands, all you need to do is follow the guitar and play in rhythm.

    Once you can do that well enough to get the gig, start understanding why. What is a 16th note? A triplet? Why is your bass tuned to certain notes and what notes do the frets produce? How do you know what to play when the guitarist is playing a C# diminished scale?
  9. Sigying


    Nov 15, 2012
    Bainbridge, thanks. So far my teacher has taught me the figure 4 one, so now I think I'll try the other ones.

    And oniman7 lucky my friend who restarted guitar around the same time I started bass is looking to start playing with people next year after he gets the hang of it again hahahaha
  10. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    Welcome. Try making your own, too! See if you can figure these out, and pick out some sounds that you like:

    1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
    1 2 3 4 5 6 ♭7
    1 2 ♭3 4 5 6 ♭7
    1 ♭2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7
    1 ♭2 ♭3 4 ♭5 ♭6 ♭7
    1 2 ♭3 4 5 6 7

    Some more exotic ones:

    1 2 ♭3 #4 5 ♭6 7
    1 ♭2 3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7
    1 ♭2 ♭3 3 #4 5 6 ♭7
    1 2 3 #4 #5 ♭7

    And, since you're interested in 'core, you'll run into this eventually:

    1 ♭3 ♭5 6 1
    (6 is technically ♭♭7 here, but you'll find that out later.)
  11. Sigying


    Nov 15, 2012
    Thanks for the others I'll try! I'm getting a little confused now though hahaha this sounds stupid but do the numbers represent the frets, or the order you play them in? As I said earlier I'm new to a lot of music terms hahahaha
  12. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    This may help. I can understand your confusion. Those boxes have dots, the following box has numbers.
    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.
    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    That box played in this order R-2-3-4-5-6-7 are the seven notes of the major scale. Then 8-2-3-4 start another octave of that scale. Your bass is a three octave instrument. Right now just worry with one octave.

    Bainbridge's numbers are the scale degrees, for one octave to several other scales. For example:

    1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 This is the Lydian mode.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 ♭7 This is the Mixolydian mode.
    1 2 ♭3 4 5 6 ♭7 This is the Dorian mode.
    1 ♭2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7 This is the Phrygian mode.
    1 ♭2 ♭3 4 ♭5 ♭6 ♭7 This is the Locrian mode
    1 2 ♭3 4 5 6 7 This is the melodic scale.

    Some more exotic ones:

    1 2 ♭3 #4 5 ♭6 7 Don't recognize this one.
    1 ♭2 3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7 This is the natural minor scale AKA the Aeolian mode.
    1 ♭2 ♭3 3 #4 5 6 ♭7 These last two - I do not recognize.
    1 2 3 #4 #5 ♭7

    Put the 1 or R on the E string 5th fret and the A major scale await you. When you change the numbers, b2, b3, #4, etc. you have changed the scale to some other A scale. Substitute the b3, b6 & b7 and you now have the A natural minor / Aeolian mode. Start that on the E string 3rd fret and you have the G major scale awaiting you. Why? What note is on the E string 3rd fret? Yep, it's a G note. Same box - will get you all of those scales, just change some notes to sharps or flats. I threw out all my patterns showing dots and now only use the major scale box pattern showing note numbers (scale degrees) and adjust that one pattern for what ever I need.

    We do scales at this stage of our training to get our fingers used to moving on the fretboard and our ear needs training so it knows a good sounding note from a bad sounding note.

    How does this help you play songs. It helps your fingers and ears get used to playing music. Scales are a tool we have to get in our bag of tricks. To play a tune you will not be running a scale, running a scale sounds like a scale exercise, but, to play the tune you first have to know how to run your scales. It a chicken or egg thing.

    We've taken you a little beyond where you need to be. All the information has been good stuff. Print it off and keep it, you will use it all --- later.

    For now do what your instructor has you doing. Practice that.

    It's a journey.
  13. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    They aren't fret numbers. You can ignore the numbers within those markers and still get the same sound, because those markers are a graphic representation of where you put your fingers. The numbers themselves are an analysis of what's going on. Note that this is different from tablature.

    In order:

    Hungarian Minor - I don't like this name. It's harmonic minor with a #4 to me.
    Phrygian Dominant - Not natural minor. Fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale.
    Diminished Octatonic - Also known as the Half/Whole Scale, Diminished Scale, Octatonic Scale, etc.. Has 8 notes instead of 7.
    Whole Tone Scale - Made entirely of major seconds. Has 6 notes instead of 7.
  14. Sigying


    Nov 15, 2012
    Thanks for all the information, I really hope all this can help me get past the beginner stage a lot faster. I'll probably be practicing and repeating these for weeks hahahaha
  15. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    If you look at the stuff I posted, make sure to cement the names of the scale degrees in your head. It will make it a lot easier to understand, learn, and communicate everything from here out if you know that a certain melodic pattern is ♭3 2 1, or 1 3 #4, or 5 3 1.

    For example, try applying this pattern to the notes in Fig.1: 1 5 4 3 2 8 5
    (I'm using '8' as the higher '1'.)