just starting with theory

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by my name is me, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. my name is me

    my name is me

    Apr 4, 2002
    I've been playing bass guitar for about 2 months now and lately I have just been learning songs from tab, learning the notes on the neck, and how to read music. I would like to start learning theory. I know nothing about it, all I know is that it is the study of music. I know nothing about scales, chords, or anything for that matter. I was wondering where I should start with theory. I read that learning scales would help a lot so I would like to know what they are and how to do them. I really just need to know whatever a beginner would need to know about theory. Thanks.
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I think it is great that you want to learn theory. As a bassist, a good working knowledge of theory is important. It allows you to create interesting bass lines.

    Where to start is a good question. You did not say how old you are, but if you are still in school, a music theory elective is an easy, inexpensive way to get into it.

    If you haven't done so, try to take a few lessons. Having a guide throught the beginning stages of learning theory is a good idea. There is a great deal of information and having someone who can put in perspective is good.

    Finally, most beginner books go over the rudiments of music theory in terms of scales and chords. Also check out www.bassbooks.com for more bass/theory related books.

    I am currently writing a book for serious beginners (unfortunatley I will not be able to sell it as it will be licensed to someone else) but here is an overview.

    1. Create simple bass lines based on the root of the chords of a song. Take a simple song like a I-IV-V chord progression (read 1,4,5 chord progression). For example C,F,G

    2. Learn the major scale, the intervals and the chord tones of each chord in that major scale. In this case the C major scale and the chord tones for the I chord C - C,E,G; the IV chord F - F,A,C and the V chord G - G,B,D

    3. Develop more intricate bass lines using the chord tones and scale.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  3. lpbassics

    lpbassics Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    don't stop trying!

    sometimes i just don't get theory... but eventually it will 'click' and when you truely understand what you are doing theory is a great ally indeed.
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    That is a really important statement. I've seen it happen hundreds of times, it has happened to me. One thing happens and all of a sudden EVERYTHING makes sense. It is a great feeling (it is also really fun when it happens to one of your students).

    lpbassics, thanks for that perspective

  5. lazybassass


    Jan 23, 2002

    this article really got me started on scales before i got a teacher. theory has been really fun to learn for me due to a good teacher and wanting to learn it. and when that book for serious beginners comes out id definetly pick it up.