I Need Some Advice!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MMSterling, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. MMSterling

    MMSterling Guest

    Feb 19, 2004
    Leicester, England
    I have been trying really hard over the last year of my playing to learn theory. It occured to me I can slap/tap whatever, and yet still knew next to know theory, and kinda of wrote lines by ear.

    I know some basic theory like the Major Scale, and I know all the mode shapes etc, but I need your help!!!

    1.) First of all need some great website links to learn theory, but in particular applied to the bass, and how to incorperate this theory into your lines!

    2.) Whats the best order of learning bass/music theory, starting from the beggining assuming I know none already!

    3.) Whats the best way of applying all this theory to my lines/solo's etc. So rather than "I can play a G Mixolydian", I'd like to be able to say "Here's how I can apply the modes to my solo's/progressions/lines etc

    Hope that all makes sense lol I babbled a bit!

    Anyway all help will be greatly apreciated greatly. Technically I'm a sound player, theory is my major weak point, time to knuckle down!

  2. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Each theory book will have a slightly different approach to the way it teaches theory, but they generally start with the simplest building blocks and move on to the more complex.

    Typically they will start with a major scale and show how the minor scale is derived from that. They will show the intervals in a major scale. The intervals are important because they then help you understand how chords are formed from the simplest to most complex.

    They will introduce the Circle of Fifths which is a clear model to envisage the twelve major scales and their corresponding minor scales and which ones have how many sharps or flats whichever the case may be.

    They will show other scales, such as the blues scales, pentatonic scales, other minor scales and modes.

    They show how to harmonize the major scale, building a chord on each scale degree.

    Then they will discuss chord progressions and the 12-bar blues pattern. Most theory books also include a chapter or so on reading music. Most actually strat with that aspect because it will be essentail to read music in order to understand all the concepts that follow as they are often illustrated with standard notation. Few theory books have tablature.

    Where many theory books fall down is that they present an enormous amount of detailed information, but are not so good at explaining how it is to be used. It is better to have a theory book written for bass, not because the theory is different. It isn't. A chord is a chord and a scale is a scale.

    What a bass theory book does is offer more guidance to bass players on what to do with the theory---how to make basslines with it. Still, if you could possibly get a teacher to help you understand theory and how to apply it, that would be much better.
  4. MMSterling

    MMSterling Guest

    Feb 19, 2004
    Leicester, England
    Thanks! If anyone has anymore to add to the two above posts feel free to do so!

  5. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'm a music major at Northern Michigan University. As such, i've studyed music theory for 5 semesters. I've had friends who've picked up bass and asked me to explain to them "music theory". I usually say, "for starters, learn all your scales. They're the foundation of music." Both of us usually dont have time for me to relate to them the 2 years of music education i've recived. Though I will say, that the best way to fully understand music is to understand it on paper w/o your instrument, and then apply it. It may be harder, but that way allows you to fully comprehend it and apply it to anything. I will admit that if i have to figure things out on the fly I do it on a fingerboard in my head, but i can still do it on paper. Also there's a difference between the functional harmony of art music that i've learned and the more modern jazz type theory though they are basically the same but presented differently.

    Having said all that. I would suggest not only getting books but a good instructor and even taking some college courses. That is a bit more than you probabally need but i've loved every second of it and only want to learn more. For example, you're probabally not going to need to know how to compose 12 tone harmony and set up a tone matrix but it's kinda cool, and you dont need to study counterpoint, but again i think its cool and can be applied to modern music and bass playing.

    Travis Burleson