Need help with (very) basic theory

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by NicJimBass, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson!

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    Hey all,

    I'm currently enrolled in the Player's School in Clearwater, so I can ask someone there tomorrow, but I was hoping to get an answer tonight, so I don't waste any time.

    In ensemble class today, we began very very basic sight reading (which I've never done before). We did something dubbed the quater-tone highway, which is 4 quarter notes every measure (obviously), 2 roots and 2 7ths (I believe). Those notes are repeated for 2 measures, then on to 2 new notes. Following so far? So here's how it goes:

    First 2 measures:
    C-7- CCGG
    2nd 2 measures:
    D-7- DDAA
    G-7- GGDD

    No problems there, I understand that, but after we went through this, it got a bit trickier for me. Now, instead of playing the root notes (in these cases- C,F,D,G) we played the 3rd, 5th and 7th, all at different times. The only thing is, I don't know how to tell a 3rd from a hole in the ground. I did a search but didn't come up with anything I understood. Like I said, this is one reason I'm attending PSOM in the first place, and being that this was the first full day of class, it may still be addressed, but I'd like to be able to practice what I've learned so far and not waste any time. If someone could "de-mistify" the interval thing for me, I'd really appreciate it!!

  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    To find the 3rd, 5th etc.. from the root note, you just count up however many from that note so for example.

    Root Note: G - The 5th would be D (G A B C D)

    Root Note: F - The 3rd would be A (F G A)

    To find the 7th, just remember the note right below the octave, also called the Flat 7th.

    Root Note: E - 7th would be D

    Hope that helps.
  3. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson!

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    I figured I was making it too hard...

    One other question- this doesn't take into account half steps, i.e. F#, D# etc., does it? I remember playing F3/Eb as one of the notes in one of the intervals, so I guess I'm still a bit confused :(.
  4. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    another way to look at is on the neck itself.

    place your middle finger on the root note in this example C go up a string and play with your index E (major 3rd) and then play with the pinky on that same string G the fifth. If you know that pattern you can move it anywhere and get root Maj3rd 5th. You can figure out fingerings for the 6th, 7th, octave and 9th as well.

    Then there is minor which has a different fingering because the 3rd is flat (a half step/one fret lower)

    those are 5ths not 7ths
  5. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    +1 on learning the basic shapes. I'm a firm believer that learning the shapes is a good starting point... then you learn why the shapes work... then you're set
  6. F to Eb is a minor 7th, so that fits in with what you were doing.

    Here's another way of figuring things out:

    A major third (which is what fourstringdrums assumed you were playing) is 4 half steps above the root.

    There is also a minor 3rd, which is 3 half steps above the root.

    A perfect 5th is 7 half steps above the root.

    A minor 7th is 10 half steps above the root (or 3 half steps above the perfect 5th if you prefer).

    Maybe that will help you look at things differently. Notice the patterns on the neck, as mentioned above.
  7. jayarroz


    Jul 10, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    + 1 on the guy above me:smug:

    Put really simple, put your middle finger on G on the E string "third bar on the neck". Now put your first finger on the 2nd bar on the A string, thats the third in Major, which is B. No matter where you are with your middle finger on the root while in Major, the third will be at an angle and a half step back from your middle finger on the next string. To get to your fifth in major, switch out your middle finger with your first, now put that on G. The fifth will always be two more bars up on the next string So if your on G with your first, put your pincky or middle finger two bars up on the next string and your on D now. Or.... If you are on a string and you have one behind it, up towards you. Then the 5th falls directly behind it on the same fret So go to D on the A string "5 Bars up" now just put the same finger on the string behind it while on the same fret and you have A! This is a great way to play latin music, instead of going to the higher 5th dropping down to a lower 5th sound really cool!
  8. E2daGGurl


    May 26, 2008
    Just wanted to say that you may be confused about what a 7th is (and hence, about some other things).

    In your example, I take it that the chord indicated was a C7. Cool. Then, they had you play CCGG, right?

    Well, that G is NOT the 7th. It's 7 frets up from C - 7 halftones up, but that's not what the 7th in the chord stands for (it's almost like they're trying to confuse you - but they're going to teach you that 7th part someday - it's a Bb, not a G).

    Playing I - V (C to G) is basic to so much music - and you're playing two notes in the major C chord, two of the most important notes (C and G). But the G is the 5th note up in the scale of C - but the 7th fret. I was stuck on this for quite awhile, myself

    I didn't look at all of your examples closely - but it's the same with the F7. F is the root (I) and C is the V note of the scale of F (or F7, either one). The seventh of F7 is an Eb.

    So, they're having you play I-I-V-V. On your bass, the IV note is 5 frets up from the root, the V is 7 frets up.

    The other folks gave you really good advice about finding that III. However, if you're not starting from good ole G on the E string (or C on the A string), you can just remember that the III is always 4 frets up from the root. I know this sounds like someone invented a crazy system just to torment you, but it's pretty much based on concepts that make sense to keyboardists (and to all the composers/arrangers who use keyboards).

    A major chord basically consists of the root, its III and its V. On a piano, it's easy to find because you put all five fingers on the white notes, with your thumb on C and your pinkie will be on the V (G). Your middle finger will be on the E (III). Those three notes are called the "major triad," just to be fancy, but technically, any two of those notes can still be considered a C major.

    To play a basic one chord boogie woogie style, you hit R-III-V, which translated into open strings on the bass is Open-4-7.

    They want you to learn to go to F next because it just sounds cool and a lot of music involves some version of C as the first chord/root, then F - which is the IV chord of C (your ring finger would be on it, if you were playing keyboard - your fourth finger).

    Anyway, that was probably too much, but wanted to make sure you didn't think (like I once did) that C7 meant that the G was the 7th - and that the little number next to C referred to which fret to play! Goodness, if only it were that simple.
  9. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson!

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    Thanks for the replies everyone! I think I'm slowly starting to get it. I guess my hang up is just how to know what the note your playing is in relation to the root. I'm taking it that it has mainly to do with what scale your in, and therefore what note you're hitting in relation to the scale, correct? So different scales will have different 3rd's and 5th's and so on, even when the root is the same... am I getting it?
  10. jayarroz


    Jul 10, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Yes the notes will be different in relation to the root, but the hand position is always the same learn your major 1357 arrpegio. No matter where you do that it's a major chord. Each time you move a position yes the notes will move. But its not like piano, the position stays the same for the fingerings.
  11. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Yeah your right, the chords and scales work together like this.

    All the notes are part of the C major scale the red notes are part of the C maj chord.

    C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C

    The chords are every other note of the scale. The scale is also the extended chord because if you played a major chord out to the 13th (CM13) it would look like C-E-G-B-D-F-A (root/I-III-V-VII-IX-XI-XIII) which you can rearrange into in C major scale. So the nine of the chord is also really the second of the scale and the eleventh is also the fourth.

    Also notice that scale contains a bunch of other chords Cmaj C-E-G, Fmaj (F-A-C), Gmaj (G-B-D) as well as A minor (A-C-E) which has a flat 3rd. D minor, E minor, B dim.

    I could continue this all should look through the stickies for a post about scales and chords and read up.

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