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Learning a song..maybe a new approach...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by gkella, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. I was working on a song today.
    Learning from tablature.
    Was having a bit of difficulty getting the repeated riff down.
    Especially getting it up to speed.
    I have been a bluegrass banjo player for the past 40 years.
    It suddenly dawned on me to try something a great banjo player once taught me.
    Forget about your fretting hand. Play the passage open.
    Take a measure or two from the song and just concentrate on the picking / plucking pattern.
    Amazing how fast my speed picked up after I developed the muscle memory in my right hand.
    Wondering if this is a practice technique that common with bass guitar.
  2. I traded my banjo in on my first bass.... Understand patterns on both.

    I never use tabs on the bass, did on the banjo. I'm handed fake chord sheet music by the director, this has the chord name and lyrics shown. So I play notes of the harmonizing chord to the beat of the drummer's kick drum. Why? The drummer and I are the rhythm section. The drummer sets the beat and I'm to call attention to the root note and fall into a groove with his kick drum with the other stuff I do.

    What other stuff? Which notes? Good question. But, it normally starts with the root and that could be just roots to the beat for this song, however, the correct answer is notes of the specific chord. In the real world it normally deals with roots & fives - root on the first beat and the five on the 3rd beat or R-5-8-5 as that is about as generic as you can get and works with both major and minor chords. Of course 4/4 time. Here is some stuff you need to get into muscle memory:

    See a chord and your fingers are already going to the root. Now what you do after that root depends on your skill level.
    Specific "spellings" for what we want:
    Major chord = R-3-5
    Minor chord = R-b3-5
    Diminished chord = R-b3-b5
    Maj7 chord = R-3-5-7
    Dominant 7 chord = R-3-5-b7
    m7 chord = R-b3-5-b7
    m7b5 = R-b3-b5-b7

    Major pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6
    Minor pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7
    Major scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7
    Minor scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7​

    This is the major scale box you will need to do all that. Get the major scale box into muscle memory and then see a chord or scale and use the "spelling" for that chord or scale. Here is the box.

    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
    This pattern repeats itself up and down the
    entire fretboard. F scale at 4th string 1st fret,
    G at the 3rd fret, A at the 5th fret, B at the 7th,
    and C at the 8th. Yes D at the 10th and E at the
    12th. The flat keys are fall inside those, Bb is
    one fret back to the nut from the B, etc. Once
    you place the box's R the rest of the notes you will
    need can be found within the box - R-3-5-b7 for
    a dominant seven chord, etc. ---- Yes the finger rolls
    get specific, however, just plain ole roots will play a
    lot of bass...

    Run this pattern in all 12 keys a zillion times. Yep you are going to have to train your fingers to work a little differently...
    EDIT - After some thought your banjo finger rolls may have been accomplishing a R-3-6-8 or something like that, did not understand what finger rolls were accomplishing back then, I just did what the tab told me to do. But, music is music and certain notes do go together. I leave this to you to look into, as my banjo is long gone. My point - your finger rolls may have a place in bass also.

    If you are playing from fake chord which has the chord name shown find that chord in first position, first 5 frets of your fretboard. OK that's your root need a 5 - where are fives - look at the box - they are up a string and over two frets. Not a step for a stepper. Where is the 8? Right over the 5. You are on your way...


    Have fun, and welcome to the bottom end.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    Mnjoe and Mushroo like this.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Oddly likes this.

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