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Intermediate player looking for lessons

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by GenghisKhan, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. GenghisKhan


    Dec 29, 2019
    Berklee Jazz Bass:Hi. I'm a self-taught player who's been playing for about 15 years now. Throughout this time, I've only really been learning songs, techniques, etc., however, and barely any theory.

    I do know some basic theory: I know where the notes on the fretboard are; I've been practicing major and minor scale patterns; and I know what constitutes a major, minor and 7th chord.

    What I want to know are things like:
    • Which notes, besides the root, 3rd, 5th and octave, can I play when the guitar or piano plays a chord
    • How to get comfortable playing scales horizontally
    • How to improvise based on theory as opposed to "what sounds good"/ear
    • Arpeggios specifically on bass
    • How to write melodies
    • Phrasing
    • Chord progressions
    • How to get better at knowing which notes are sharp and flat in scales (FCGDAEB/BEADGCF)
    • How to practice knowing how many sharps or flats are in specific scales (is there a wording like Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battles / Good Boy Deserves Fudge Always / All Cows Eat Grass?)
    I know I could Google these things, but I want structure -- a curriculum telling me where to start and where to go from there.

    I tried Scott's Bass Lessons, but it's too expensive and it could be better when it comes to structure/curriculum. I know he's more focused on his website than he is on YouTube, but I can't stand him on YouTube. I want something that gets to the point. I don't know want to hear your story about being late to a gig.

    Fender Play is 50% off right now, but it seems geared towards new players and towards learning songs.

    I recently bought Ray Brown's Bass Method, which I've been going through, but I'm looking for more.

  2. One thing that will help you learn is...

    Piano lessons.

    While I took music theory in HS, taking group piano lessons at a local community college was huge in terms of learning theory, scales, and chords.

    If you can’t figure out where to find decent lessons, get Alfred’s Group Piano method and find yourself an affordable electronic piano with weighted keys.

    Learning to play some piano will make you a better bassist, much like learning a foreign language actually helps you get better at the grammar of your native tongue.
  3. GenghisKhan


    Dec 29, 2019
    Thanks for your response. Which 'Alfred's Group Piano Method' book are you referring to? There are a number of them ranging from $18 to $150 on Amazon Canada: Amazon.ca: Alfred’s Group Piano method


  4. Sign up for a free membership here: Talkingbass

    After signing up, login and select Free Lesson Map.

    Expand the Music Theory for Bass category.

    Start with Intervals Part 1 and progressively work thru the lessons, not moving on until you have a very firm grasp on the material presented in each lesson.

    There is also another section called Scales & Arpeggios, but personally I would work thru the theory section and within that most, if not all, of your questions will be answered.

    Best of luck . . .
    herbygardener and Malcolm35 like this.
  5. You want book 1. I would suggest you get the “plastic comb” edition so that you can actually open it flat. It’s a pretty fat book.
    Malcolm35 likes this.
  6. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Well the ones that sound good. If you are playing notes of the chord you could add the 8, and then the chord notes in this new octave, i.e. a two octave box patters.
    The two octave pattern will help here. Move up the neck; G at the 3rd fret. C at the 8th fret. Everything clicked for me when I started running the major scale box pattern up and down my fretboard. Here is the box, just in case...
    Major scale box showing scale degree
    numbers and the root note on the 4th string.
    G~|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E~|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    Want to run the G major scale? Put the box's R over the G at the 3rd fret and then use the major scale's spelling. It is R-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Want the D major scale? Find a D note on the E or A string and put the box's R over it. Then play the spelling for what you want. The Dm scale's spelling is R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7. Place the root and play the spelling found within the box. Piece of cake.

    Read some theory every day for the next six month. Theory builds on itself. After reading something you have read for the third time the light finally came on.
    Treat them like little scales and run them up and down your fretboard. But, more important know why the notes are there, i.e. major arpeggio will have a natural 3rd, minor arpeggio will have a flatted 3rd. Cm7b5 = R-b3-b5-b7.
    I start with the story being told. Do you have a story worth telling? If so four line verses. Four verses plus a chorus will do it. Use one of your ole tried and true chord progressions you like. Place the chords in your four line verse. I like to have a V-I in the first or second line and then another in the 4th line. The ole I-IV-V-I will write a zillion songs. The key is to have something worth telling. If the songwriter has placed the chords and we play notes of the chord in our melody we get harmony. That's a good thing. Now you can start with the melody and then find chords that have some of the melody notes in their makeup --- I place the chords, and let them help me with a melody. Which way is up to you.
    Yes the song needs to breath. Work with your lyrics here.
    In a nut shell:
    • The I chord can go any where it wants to as it is the tonal center of the progression. However, every time you go to the I you have lost all the tension you have built up. Tension is a good thing.
    • The ii chord likes to go to a dominant chord. Let it.
    • The iii chord likes to lead somewhere, like in a turn-a-round iii-vi-ii-V7-I.
    • The IV chord likes to go to a dominant chord. The ii and IV want the same thing so they can sub for each other.
    • The V chord wants to go to the I tonic chord.
    • The vi chord wants to go to a sub-dominant chord (ii or IV). The vi is a netural chord - if used in a major progression.
    • The vii chord is a dominant chord like the V, however is in no hurry to resolve back to the I chord. So is used as a take off, or lead somewhere chord, vii-iii-vi-ii-V-I.

    Yes I use the following. Make your own. See God Destroy All Earth By F#irey C#aos. Is the order of the scales that have sharps in them. The C scale has no sharps or flats. The G scale has one. The D scale has two.

    Fat cats go down alleys eating birds is the order of the sharps. C has none, G has one the F#, D has two the F# it kept plus a new C#.
    Flats follow the Farmer Brown Eats Apple Dumplins Greasly Cooked limrick.

    I know I could Google these things, but I want structure -- a curriculum telling me where to start and where to go from there.

    Every thing you asked about can be found in http://www.lifesmith.com/VHS Web/Music Theory - Basic Level.pdf

    For lessons I like Mark's Talking Bass and the book Bass Guitar for Dummies.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  7. Here's a lesson I just did on Ethiopian scales if you're interested. Could give you something new to work on.
    Totally free PDF with notation/tabs of this lesson by responding as well as recurring free PDF lessons-https://www.jeffdingler.com/contact
    FatStringer52 likes this.

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