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Learning the 6 string Bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by steve2, Jul 22, 2007.


  1. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    I just got a new 6 string this weekend and right now I am lost when trying to use the 6th string. I really want to learn possibly some chord type playing technique. I really cannot find much info on the 6 string bass. I am going to order John Myung's Progressive bass concepts book and video. I have neaver really figured the chords out of a scale. I assume that is a good start. Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. Zebra

    Zebra

    Jun 26, 2005
    The patterns that you use on a four string still apply the same way to the 6 string. I think you're on the right track, and some theory would help a lot. I believe there are some chord finder programs online, but I don't know the links....
     
  3. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Bass in general you want to keep chords simple in general open voicings. Close voicing get muddy fast especially if the bass doesen't have a very defined sound.

    With 6-string bass there isn't a lot of material which is good in long run. Most your 4-string knowledge is easy to expand since the two extra strings are usually tunes in 4ths like rest of the bass. So with a little thought you can extend fingering patterns for your scales, modes, and arpeggios.

    Now for chords I would recomend figuring out your Maj7, Mi7, 7th chords in open voicings. I suggest working out fingering with the 3rd and 7th of all the chords on your G and C string. Then a set of voicing with Root on B string, E string, A string. Those open voices depending on the bass should work anywhere on the bass. Also if you work them out with root on the B, E, and A, you should be able to play songs without jumping all over the neck. Now practice tunes you know or Real Book tunes to practice. Another good thing about those voicing is if you want to get into chord melody on bass the root is easy to move around to create a bass line. So you set to use chords in tunes or record your own practice tapes to jam with.

    Once confidnt in that and have an extra ten minute work voicing for 5-string bass. This time 3rd and 7th on the D and G string and roots on B, E, and A strings.

    Once you have worked thru that you can write your own book on Bass Chord Fingerings.
     
  4. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    Thanks DocBop on the info. By reading your detailed information I can tell you have a lot of knowlege. Even though my bass playing has been for many years my music theory knowlege is very little. Several years ago I went to a teacher to learn some music theory and he told me I was a pattern player and I need to learn why and what I was doing. I could play but I really did not know what I was playing. He said I was probably better than he was I just did not know what I was doing.

    With the added C it was very easy continueing scales. My problem I have never done any chords on the bass and the idea was to be able to pick out some harmony utilizing the bottom 3 strings. Such as a finger style guitarest would do. Or at least that was an idea.

    I understand a lot what you are talking about but not clearly. I will be doing some studying and perhaps in the long run figuring things out on my own with your advice will be better for me.


    Thanks
     
  5. owensea777

    owensea777 Banned

    Jun 16, 2007
  6. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    That is a sweet program. Thanks One question to DocBop's statement.
    "Now for chords I would recomend figuring out your Maj7, Mi7, 7th chords in open voicings". the 7th is that a reference to diminisihed or dominant 7th

    Thanks
     
  7. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I should of been clearer, but typically 7th means dominant. If dim or aug then that would be noted.

    Chord symbols is a topic unto itself. My friend was classical performance grad in collage and sees my chord chards and freaks out. She accuses me of making this stuff up, but I show her some of my fake books and Jazz books and she walks away shaking her head. Especially the triangle for major7 and circle with slash for min7b5. A lot of that is well known now, but when I was in school in the 70's some of that was considered East Coast or Berklee symbols and I was in school on West Coast so some teachers would get ticked.

    The fun of music no matter what you say or do someone will have a comment on it. :D
     
  8. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    Thanks
    .
     
  9. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Real simple the two notes that define a chord are the 3rd and the 7th. So the voicings I gave have you put the 3rd and 7th up high for clairity. Then I leave out the 5th and add the root on one of the low string. That produces a very full sounding chord. So for an example lets do a C Ma7 chord. The C major 7 is spelled C, E, G, B. We will leave out the 5th G. For ease of fingering we will do this above the 12th fret.

    So first find a spot where the 3rd and 7th are close together. 16th fret we can put the 3rd E on the C-string at the 16th fret. The major 7th B is right below it on the G-string at 16th fret. You can bar that with your little finger. Now for the root we drop down to the B-string and with our index finger play the root C on the 13th fret. Nice full sounding C Ma7 chord.

    Okay fun part. Take that same chord and make a dominant 7th out of it. Drop the major 7th down a half-step to Bb. So litttle finger on the C-string 16th fret. Ring finger now on G-string 15th fret for the b7 and index finger still on B-string 13th fret. Okay lets get one more chord out of that let do a Cmi7. Short explaination use your little finger to bar the C and G string at the 15th fret and still index finger on B-string 13th fret. You have a Cmi7. See just a touch of theory to spell the chords and moving notes a half-step you have three chord voicings. Also that fingering is a STRETCH but can be done at the 1st fret for real big sounding CMa7th.

    Now your turn. Do a FMa7 chord with root on E-string 13th fret. One hint the 3rd and 7th will switch what string they are on compared to the CMa7.
     
  10. TheBassBetween

    TheBassBetween

    Jun 25, 2005
    Dear lord Doc, just write a book already!
     
  11. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    So the Fmaj 7th is F,A,C,E. We leave out the 5th which is C. One way perhaps on the FMaj7th would maybe be the root on the 13th fret on the e string. chord the g string on 14 and c on 16th. However you mentioned to use the root on the 13th B (C)
     
  12. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    That is actually what John Myung starts out the Solar Groove demo I seen on you tube G14th C16th. FYIW
     
  13. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    You got it right, I fixed my typo about the B-string.

    Now you can work through the 7th and mi7th you understand the process. Now you know how to create chord voicing you will always have what you need, instead of memorizing a bunch of diagrams. Plus it will if in a band with a piano holding down roots you can start leaving the root out and replace with the 9th or build altered chords. You have options now.
     
  14. steve2

    steve2

    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    Thanks so much. I think we have a small break through on my new 6 string bass.
     

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