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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by lawboy, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. lawboy


    Oct 13, 2013
    Howdy y'all ! Im a 50 year guitar player (rhythm, lead) who has decided to switch to bass. My fingers just don't move as fast as they did 20 years ago. Talking to a few bass players I know, they keep telling me I have to stop thinking like a guitar player and start thinking like a bass player. When I ask what they mean, they just grin.

    So what are some of the pitfalls I need to avoid as I make this switch?
  2. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    Don't pretend that you're Jaco reborn.
  3. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Say you're on a team that's building a house. Suppose your job is to paint, decorate, and otherwise be in charge of making things look nice. You're a guitar player.

    Now suppose your job is to build the foundation, make sure everything is solid, safe, and secure, and generally see to the structural integrity of the building. Now you are a bass player.

    They are both important, but they are very different mentalities.
  4. Make butts shake, as opposed to jaws drop
  5. NooN3000


    Feb 22, 2013
    +1 lol
  6. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I had someone ask me a similar question not too long ago. I answered this way: "As corny as it may sound, think of a song as a living, breathing thing. The vocals, keys and guitars give it personality. The drums give it a heartbeat. The bass links everything together. A bass player not only has to have an excellent sense of timing, they also have to make sure that everything they play is in the correct key. It's not as easy as it appears to be".
  7. bggeezer

    bggeezer Guest

    May 25, 2001
    Bass is not an easier instrument to play than a guitar. It's a completely different discipline.
    If you are taking up bass BECAUSE your fingers do not move as quickly as they did 20 years ago, you are in for a shock.
  8. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Welcome to TB!
    Tal Wilkenfeld made the switch from guitar early-to her credit! :D I wasn't quite as lucky.

    It would be good for you to realize the difference between reaching between notes, and doing any damage to your wrist, etc. Do reasonable stretching exercices with the hands before playing, and don't overreach if it seems to far, or almost painful. Your reach will get better with practice.

    Take some of those songs that you've enjoyed playing on guitar, and start learning the bass part, instead. You're in the right part of the forum for advice on this topic. If you have time, visit the TB archives for some of the many suggestions that have come up in the past.
  9. atomicdog


    Jun 18, 2011
    Don't listen to any of these mooks on TB, especially me. That said, there ain't no right or wrong. Be the next Jaco. Groove like James J. Whatever. Do yourself a favor and check out Ronnie Wood on bass on the Jeff Beck album Truth, a good example of how a guitar player can stretch on bass.
  10. I do not think anyone has told you what the difference is.

    Until you start getting lead breaks, which will be several years down the road, you play the notes of the active chord in the song. One note at a time. That's the difference.

    Which notes? Start with the root note, if you have room bring in the 5 (R-5-R-5) Still have room the 8 is always a safe note. (R-5-8-5). That one generic R-5-8-5 will let you play a lot of bass. Later on you will want to bring in the correct 3 and 7 into your bass line.

    I use the major scale box pattern and fake chord sheet music. Practice the following chord tone patterns the same way you did your major scale on the 6 string guitar. For example; Dm chord coming up and your fingers know what notes (or scale degrees) make up the Dm chord. Once you have that in muscle memory all you have to tackle is how many of those chord tones will be needed in this specific song.

    Major Scale Box.
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    The Cmaj7 chord is coming up. Place the box's R over a C note on the 3rd or 4th string of your fretboard then play the chord spelling of a Cmaj7 chord. That is the R-3-5-7 scale degrees of the C major scale. Start with just the root note and then bring in as many other chord tones as the music will allow before it goes off and leaves you.

    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
    Place the box's R over the Root note of the chord you want to play over.
    Any note's 3rd is up a string and back one fret.
    Any note's 5th is up a string and over two frets.
    Any note's 7 is up two strings and over one fret.

    I catch the b3 next fret from the 2 and the b7 is up two strings, same fret as the root.

    Something that gets overlooked; Your basic chords are made of the root, three, five and seven notes in the roots scale. Find the root and the 3 is always up a string and back one fret. The 5 is up a string and over two frets and the 7 is up another string and over one fret. The b3 is one fret over from the 2 and the b7 is right over the 4. Always in the same spot. So find the root and the rest is just knowing how to find the other chord tones. Using this method you can "see" chords all over your fretboard.

    Now that is the difference in the way a bass player thinks. Will take a little getting used to, but, the box pattern, fake chord sheet music, and knowing how you can get to the first 7 notes of any scale take a lot of the stress out my life. If this makes since, help yourself.

    www.studybass.com will be a friend.
    Be sure to spend some time here. http://www.studybass.com/study-guide/
    I think this may turn on a light bulb. http://www.studybass.com/lessons/common-bass-patterns/common-patterns-summary/
    Be sure to check out the exercises at the end of each section. http://www.studybass.com/lessons/common-bass-patterns/common-patterns-summary/exercises/

    Have fun.

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