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New bassist- what to do?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by cstar, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. cstar


    Dec 21, 2011
    Hello TB's!

    My name is Chris and I am new to the bass (been playing ~ 5 months).

    I would really like to improve my playing- and I realize this is a very open-ended question- but would you suggest I do/play in order to take things to the next level?

    Some info that may be helpful: I know a little music theory but not a whole lot. I can play scales (and I guess my playing technique isn't too bad overall), I can play a few songs, I am taking lessons, and I listen to practically every kind of music. Reggae, Metal, Motown... it's all good and fine by me. I practice as much as I can (I probably average 2 hours of practice a day).

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
  2. I live by this.

    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.

    Major Scale Box.

    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string

    Basic Chords
    Major Triad = R-3-5
    Minor Triad = R-b3-5
    Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5

    7th Chords
    Maj7 = R-3-5-7
    Minor 7 = R-b3-5-b7
    Dominant 7 = R-3-5-b7
    ½ diminished = R-b3-b5-b7
    Full diminished = R-b3-b5-bb7

    Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7
    Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 leave out the 4 & 7
    Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted
    Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Natural minor scale with out the 2 & 6.
    Blues = R-b3-4-b5-5-b7 Minor pentatonic with the b5 blue note added.
    Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor scale with a natural 7.
    Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.

    Major modes
    Ionian same as the Major Scale. R-2-3-4-5-6-7
    Lydian use the major scale and sharp the 4 - yes, it’s that simple.
    Mixolydian use the major scale and flat the 7.

    Minor Modes
    Aeolian same as the Natural Minor scale. R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7.
    Dorian use the Natural Minor scale and sharp the b6 back to a natural 6.
    Phrygian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2.
    Locrian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2 and the 5.

    Generic Notes.
    The root, five and eight are generic and fit most any chord. (R-3-5-8) Remember the diminished has a flatted 5.
    The 3 is generic to all major chords. R-3-5-3
    The b3 is generic to all minor chords. R-b3-5-8
    The 7 is generic to all maj7 chords. R-3-5-7
    The b7 is generic to all dominant seventh and minor seventh chords. R-3-5-b7 or R-b3-5-b7
    The 6 is neutral and adds color, help yourself to 6’s. R-3-5-6
    The 2 and 4 make good passing notes. Don’t linger on them or stop on them, keep them passing.
    In making your bass line help yourself to those notes, just use them correctly.
    Roots, fives, eights and the correct 3 will play a lot of bass.

    Time for Church, will add things when I get back. I'm back.

    Play from fake chord sheet music. Most musicians pass among themselves fake chord sheet music so it makes since you know how to play from it.

    See a C chord - question is what to play over/under that chord. Roots just by them selves is OK, A root-5 is better, R-5-8-5 is a little better and the whole chord tone of R-3-5-"x" is even better than that. What's "x"? If you have 4/4 time you need one more sound to fill out the measure. Kinda left up to you. R-3-5-3 or R-3-5-8 would be good choices.

    One last thing to leave you with. Lyrics need one note per word, i.e. Happy Birthday both hap-py and birth-day will need two notes each now the word to and you only get one note per word. So ---- pay attention to the lyrics and let the lyrics help you with how many notes will be needed. Which note depends on what chord is harmonizing that part of the melody.

    Go to www.studybass.com and ask specific questions here.

    Good luck.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    The above post is useful, but start with your intervals. It'll make a LOT more sense then.

    Learn your intervals, as in a semi-tone away from the root is a minor 2nd, a whole tone from the root is a maj 2nd, etc.

    Once you've learned the intervals, learn how intervals construct a chord, as shown above. Like a Root- Major 3rd - Perfect Fifth = a major chord.

    Sounds like your already off to a good start, you got a teacher.

    Oh and I got an education... I won't be at church if you want to ask any questions....
  4. kr0n


    Feb 4, 2009
    Mechanical finger exercises (Check out Bass Fitness book).
    Scales are fine for this too.

    Ear training (transcribing, ear training software/website).

    Oh and try finding friends to play with. Super important.
  5. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Find someone to play with,. A school, church, formal band or jamming with mom on piano. Having others dependent upon you for support will do as much to force improvement as any method or technique.

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