Let's say that I ate the forbidden fruit:

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Kickin'Fruit, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. and I have knowledge of the scales of the 12 pitches up and down the fretboard. And lets say I memorized intervals, their respective inverses and I know the modes. What does this do for me? How do I use this knowledge to make music? I'm not saying I'm there yet, but I see a lot of lessons and people telling me to learn the scales. Learn the intervals. Make triads. Practice, Practice, Practice.

    What isn't clear is where these all fit into the process of music making and their relationship to a band setting. Am I missing a key element here? I'm thinking I don't know about the relationship between them and whatever it's related to. Still with me? How do I know what to play when, and how? I know about time (4/4 means 4 beats per measuire, whoopdie doo).

    Do all songs follow patterns? Do artists stay in modes? That just seems too simple.

    I know there isn't a cut and dry answer to this, but I feel like there is a question forming and I don't know how to ask it. I'm going to sign up for lessons today so maybe it'll be clear then, but I just want to be ready, yanno? Wasting my time learning stuff (scales) I can learn on my own is going to be a waste of money too, I want to know how to use it.
  2. well it can help you make lines, by not playing sounds which sound like poo poo
  3. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    I played bass for 20+ years hardly knowing a single thing about theory outside of the basic scales (Major, Pentatonic Minor) and the Root, 5th octave thing.. I wasn't until I dived into theory, the Circle of 5ths, and the relation to Major's and Relative Minors, etc.. that I truly reached "MY" potential as a musician. I only wish I payed more attention to it earlier.. I may have made it to the pro's ;) who knows?? I certainly could play fast and consistent, but I couldn't understand how to make it all gel better, or how to find ALTERNATIVE ways to make it sound better until now.

  4. Right, so hmm, maybe just talking about this helped me understand it a little. Is it perfectly acceptable for me to create a song inside a scale?

    I'm just waiting to find all the _rules_ to music.

    Like: Don't go out of the key; don't mix scales etc.
  5. Phew. I thought you were going to say you slept with your best friends wife or something ....
  6. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Just knowing those things isn't going to do anything for you. Like my old Jazz Improv teacher would say to students who didn't practice. Ya know it like [email protected]#kin' you can read all the books about it your want, but it don't mean S#!T until you do it. You need to take the ideas you're learning and try to make music with them. If you can just sit and take of few notes from a scale and make music then time to do some transcribing.

    Do the reverse take some song or bassline you already know and figure out what scale it fits. Does it use triads. What are the chords in relation to the scale. I-IV-V or ???

    What you've done is learned some rules, but you haven't learned to play the game.
  7. That's why I'm trying to take it all in now, while I'm just starting out. I want to have a good foundation for making music in the future. I've learned a lot of information from this site, but sometimes when I think I'm about to read something to make it all click, it takes a hard right turn to something else and leave me feeling aloof. That's why I read things about 3 times and try to absorb it all. Taking notes and taking advice. I'm serious about all of this. I think it's fascinating.
  8. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL

    your ear will help you there... But most scales exist with in the Major scale, or minor scale.. they're just modified, such as the Dominant 7th scale (a major with one change) or the Pentatonic Minor (a minor, with only 5 notes).. etc.. There are a great many scales that are used in Middle Eastern, Chinese, African music etc that are totally different to the Western Major scale, but they may not sound good to us, but they do sound good to those natives.

    Don't get too hung up on theory, mix it in with your learning, bit by bit it will come together.. AT A MINIMUM however, learn the Major, Minor, Pentatonic, and Dominant Major Scale cold.. this way you can use them as tools in writing bass lines.

    Later, you can learn your circle of 5ths, and Roots... and relative minors.. then you'll have 90% of all you'll ever need.
  9. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Knowing a lot of theory is very helpful for making walking jazz lines, and if you're improvising you'll have a much easier time if you know what scales and arpeggios fit the current chord progressions. That and also if you know the rules, you'll be more effective at "breaking" them. Even in rock music, if you want to make things sound more interesting by inverting chords by playing a bass note that is not the root of the chord being played.

    And then of course you could get into the whole compostition thing with theory.
  10. Awesome analogy. What I'm wondering is if every song I go to transcribe follows these rules. If they didn't follow the rules would it sound like crap? I can write whatever I want, but if it does follow the rules it might still sound boring or crappy.

    I think I have an analogy for myself:

    Music is an artform and like Art, you can have complimentary colors all over the page, but just because you have all the components of a work of art, it doesn't make it a masterpiece.
  11. dont think of them as rules, but more as guidelines
  12. Would you argue against the idea that theory is the first place to start and that once I do learn all of the above, I'll have all the tools to continue from there? I'm having a hard time at the moment designating what I need to learn and how much. Lately, I've been sitting down with my bass just kind of working out what scales I already know, a few songs I already know (by tabs), and then just noodling around, I've tried to transcribe some songs, but get stuck and think I don't know what I need to get it down.

    If I had an agenda of what to study/practice and then practiced it until I didn't screw it up, I would feel like I was making more progress. i.e. scales.
  13. my advice would learn how to play then learn what to play, i.e technique then theory

  14. Alright, I think a lesson would clear that up in a jiffy, then I can always go back and learn more about more.
  15. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    in an ideal world, if one had the patience, one would take a piano class and music theory class.. then transition to bass.. this would lay the ground work for your learning the bass better IMHO. But I don't know about you, but I'd rather do it the way most of us do.. learn the bass by trial and error, and at the same time pick up a good book on theory, and take a few lessons from a music teacher.. not so much a "Bass teacher"..

    Also, remember, there are no hard rules.. Chromatic scales are proof of this.. they're not just do ray me fa so, etc.. they're the entire spectrum of notes, and many master of the bass, including my personal bass hero James Jamerson could use Chromatics in ways most can't, because as a trained jazz musician, he could understand the rules well enough to break them and sound good.
  16. Grammar is to the written language as music theory is to the music language. What's the common factor? Language. What is the purpose of a language? To communicate.

    So - if you want to be a successful author and write material that communicates with the world on a high level, it is in your best interest to master the rules of grammar. Same is true with music.

    This is not to say that you cannot communicate using either the written word or music on a high level without mastering these rules (guidelines) - but it sure doesn't hurt. And I believe many will agree that mastery of these things does help. You can't know how much they help until you start using them. Once you start using them the inevitable byproduct is that you realize there is always more to learn.

    A noun is a person, place or thing.
    And so he unpacked his adjectives.
    Conjunction junction, what's your function?
  17. Knowing all that is only a part of being able to play well. It won't make you creative, but it will give you some idea of what's going on so you'll never be guessing, as well as making it easier to remember songs. It's easy to forget that you need to play the third fret, but it's a lot harder to forget that you're playing a G, the root of the scale, at the third fret, which is a fifth below the previous note, and is part of an ongoing G minor arpeggio, and whatever other context might be associated with that note all at once. Plus if you have a good picture of the piece as notated in your mind, that will help you remember too.
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