I need some advice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by uwillnvme00, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. uwillnvme00


    Jul 5, 2008
    Quick question for anyone who thinks they may be able to help me..

    So i recently bought a 4 String P-Bass in order to help a friend out who wanted me to play some basic bass parts in some music he has composed on guitar. My problem is he does not read Music nor does he read TAB. so when he gave me the music I was to use it is all just the lyrics and he has the Chord he is playing at the time.

    My question is, Is there a method I can use to figuring out what notes I should play with his chords, or is it easier to just record the music and fit notes in where they sound good. All I want to do is figue out a 1/4 note beat that can help him out. Any suggestions?
  2. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Play the roots, nothing else.

    You're going to read all sorts of other crap in this thread and on this forum about "theory" and "scales" and "modes", but the answer is already in your hand: Play the roots of the chords. That is going to sound best.
  3. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    try the root notes of the chords first of all.. then try adding in some chord tones
  4. Mesmerize-16


    Aug 31, 2007
    Root note, fifths, octaves. For major and minor chords, these are all the same:

    - - R -
    o - 5 -
    R - o -
    1 2 3 4 <---fret numbers. replace with 2345, or 5678, etc.

    R: root/octave
    o: note
    5: fifth

    if you already have skills in guitar, you can apply them to bass. if you have piano skills, just know that each fret raises the pitch of the note by a semitone. Hope this helps!
  5. Mesmerize-16


    Aug 31, 2007
    That is a good suggestion for someone who has no musical background at all. The op sounds like he knows his way around. Root, root, root, sounds very boring after a while (about 2 bars, actually).

    To the op, since you actually bought the bass, it might be worth learning a little bit about the theory behind it. It will broaden your horizons as a musician and it provides something else to procrastinate with :D

    Try this. It is one of the most comprehensive online methods (free as well) that I have ever seen. Very simple and easy to follow as well.
  6. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    The last time I checked the root of the chord WAS a chord tone...
  7. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Hmmm, if you're having problems making roots sound interesting perhaps you should blame that on something else other than the note, know what I'm saying?

    But, thanks for illustrating the very point I was making in the first post I wrote.
  8. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Never forget that you're making MUSIC. There's no rules, it's just what sounds good. A lot of times the roots of the chords are what sounds good. A lot of times that's just not what fits the song. A lot of times you can make the harmony more interesting by playing other chord tones instead. A lot of times playing one note over a bunch of different chords can sound good. Again, there are no rules. Experiment.
  9. steve66


    Sep 17, 2005
    North Carolina
    I would record the song and listen to it a few times. Play the chord progression using root notes till you get a feel for the tune then add /remove where you see fit.
  10. uwillnvme00


    Jul 5, 2008
    Thanks everyone for your advice, It will all be helpful over time. I do have Musical background, so I am sure I will pick this up in time, but all my experience is in Brass, Bass is the first string I have picked up and am looking forward to learning.

    I will go ahead and start with using the Root of the chord, for that sounds like the easiest tecnique to pick up in the shortest amount of time, and I will go ahead and fine tune as my skills progress over time. So please forgive me if my questions are pretty basic, but it is difficult to get all of this out of a book. So as far as the root of a Chord, if he is playing an A Chord then I will play an A as well? Should I alternate between a low A and Middle A, or am I missing the point all together.
  11. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    If it is musical, why not? If you're just going to alternate octaves for the heck of it then don't do it.

    Notice how brass music doesn't have ridiculous intervallic leaps? Neither should the bass.
  12. Mesmerize-16


    Aug 31, 2007
    He says he's trying to make a quarter note beat. Now it really depends on the guitar, singing, and rhythm section (if there is one) at this point, but a,a,a,a,g,g,g,g,d,d,d,d doesn't lend that much to the song imo. But as someone else above me said, this is music and there are no rules but what sounds good. There was a bassist famous for playing chromatically (is that a word?) no matter what everyone else was playing, and he sounded fine. Can't think of his name for the life of me, but that's not the point.

    Anyways, that bit about roots is true. The only bit you can do there really is some sort of unusual rhythm or alternate octaves...
  13. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    I don't think the song in question need to be over-complicated since the original poster stated that he wanted to play some quarter notes behind his friend's guitar and vocal part.

    No one ever got fired for playing the roots. The point is to add to the song, not feature the bass player.
  14. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I see that you're a member as of July 2008. Welcome to Talk Bass.

    I encounter lyric/chord sheets all the time at church. I don't know many of the songs we play, yet I rock them each Sunday we play.

    My method (which may or not work for you) is to write the duration each chord is held next to the chord. If it's held for 4 beats, I write a whole note next to the chord name. If it's held for two beats, I write a half note next to the chord name. Usually, it's a whole note or a half note. Sometimes it's a dotted quarter followed by an eighth note tied to a half note. Rarely, it's a dotted half note followed by a quarter note.

    Stick to the root until you feel comfortable incorporating the 5th of the chord. You can do a lot with those two notes.

    I tend to think of using other notes when it comes to connecting chords. A lot of the time, the 5th will work. Other times, the 3rd will work. Sometimes I approach the next chord by a whole step above (if it works).

    Use your ear and your experience. You'll do fine. If you don't feel it and hear it, don't play it.

    Peace and music,
  15. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Here is a Hypothetical...

    Guy goes for an audition with let's say...uh Miles Davies (he's dead now, I know but just for the sake of argument, I'm sure it would give Marcus Miller good laugh). Mr Davis calls out a progression D7, G9, C6.. Dude on bass plays the notes DDDD,GGGG,CCCCCCCC. In his mind the guy is thinking "This will get me the gig for sure, because no-one ever got fired for playing root notes"
  16. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    Did he play that for all 17 songs in the audition?
  17. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Well he only had an hour to learn them.
  18. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Go ahead and poke fun at me, but you guys should re-read the OP and look at the specification that was given:

    and then:
    It looks like you are all so insecure in your own musicianship that you are above playing roots, quarter notes, supporting the song and seeing the obvious answer that you would rather stroke yourselves with your own "virtuosity".
  19. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Gee, I must be the first garage band virtuoso, playing "Smoke on the Water" with backing tracks on my Macbook.
  20. E2daGGurl


    May 26, 2008
    Just for grins, remember that a 9th is one whole tone (two frets) above the Root, and a 7th (as in G7 not Gmaj7) is one whole tone (two frets) below the root. So voila. Two-thirds of the hypothetical audition figured out - at least tonewise. I'm pretty sure I got that right.

    A sixth is 3 frets below the root, I believe.

    Of course, knowing the components of the major and minor chords would be assumed, if one were auditioning for Miles. But for the rest of us, we can easily throw in a 7th or a 9th - or a minor (3 frets UP from the root gives a little minor chord).

    I think, I hope, I hope (this is making me nervous, using the numbers and frets).