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No music training at all..

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by AlphaMale, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    I have no music training at all. I just know how to play bass, kinda.
    I wanted to know what can I use a scale for?
    And what should else can I learn from training and classes that I can't learn from playing?
    The first question is the most important. I'm sorry if this question has been answered many times over.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

  3. What can you learn from training and classes? The answer to your first question. You can learn what everyone else knows about music instead of only knowing what you can figure out yourself.

    That (excellent) thread may be difficult to jump right into if you have absolutely no knowledge, so I'll try to give you a concise start.

    A scale is a pattern of notes. All music I know of uses scales. If you know a scale then whenever you want its sound you can use it, and be a good portion of the way toward whatever tonality you're going for. Certainly all styles of music have many other important components, but nothing beats a scale for getting started.

    Scales also provide an easy way to think about harmony without using fractions. You can learn chord progressions and how a given note/scale will sound with a given chord just by learning note names and scale degrees.
  4. http://www.thelibster.com/bass/

    This is a most useful site, I find. It starts with naming notes on the fingerboard. Feel free to ask questions if you can't seem to use the search button...

  5. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    Thank you all I really apperciate it these sites seem like their going to help along with teh rest of the information you guys gave me. I appreciate you guys taking out your time to help me with these questions. I feel very welcomedi nto the forum. Thanks Sean, Lemur, and Jazz Ad
    I'll let you know if I have any further questions.
  6. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User

    Dec 13, 2004
    Phoenix AZ area
    okay, i used to be like you, so i am gonna simplify things even more for ya!

    music is a language. when everyone plays together, it is important they all speak the same language.

    when a band gets together to play a song (I will stick with jazz/blues here -- sometimes rock can get out there), all the players follow a roadmap called chord changes. chords are groups of notes that melodically fit together. chords are set up over bars (4/4 time usually). everyone is playing the same bars at the same time, following the same chords (as in using similar/same notes in each bar) in the same time. Thus, everything fits. You don't end up with sounds and notes that are dis-harmonious to the ears.

    so when a blues band, or a jazz band leader says lets play XXX in Bb, everyone knows by the first note (Bb) of the first chord in the first bar what the standard progression of chords will be of the (usually) 16 bars. The bass player may (or may not depending on the band) be able to move around the notes in the chord, or may just play a "walking" beat up and down the chord notes in each bar. either way, he won;t get lost cause he always knows where he has to be.

    If you are going to start out learning chords & progressions, start with the blues. Not only did jazz & rock start there, but it is the easiest form of progression to follow.

    you may also want to look at the various materials at: http://www.jameyaebersold.com/jazzhandbook/Default.htm
  7. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    Cool Thanks. That was really important for me to know that Drums and Bass.
    But I couldn't find what to do with the scale once I've learned it. How can I incorporate it into a riff.
  8. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User

    Dec 13, 2004
    Phoenix AZ area
    darn -- i had a great relpy here and accidentally blew it away. oh well...

    Your "riff" is yours. what i mean by that is, you have to create it while staying within the "rules" of the chord.

    Let's go back to a simple blues progression over twelve bars (cause I like to keep it simple):

    C7 F7 C7 C7
    F7 F7 C7 C7
    G7 F7 C7 G7

    In each of those bars, your walking bass line would (usually) be the following notes -- (1,3,5,3 in C7 or C,E,G,E). In F7 it is F,A,C,A etc etc.

    Okay, so we got that right? So now how about the riff?

    Well, in blues if you riff off like you want, no one plays with you because blues tends to be pretty structured. In jazz, however, you can "move around" a bit.

    And that (at least in jazz) is where your "riff" comes in. See, you actually have more tones than the 1,3,5,3 quater note walk. You have ALL the ther notes. But within reason.

    The idea is to stick to the chord notes for the majority of the notes you play, but you can also play the notes in between if you don;t go overboard with it. Then again, there are some "rules" as to which extra notes you play on the way up, and which on the way down (though even those get broken).

    In the end, your "riff" really becomes a lot about your taste and your knowledge. lots of times (probably most) it won't be about how fast you are, or how many notes you play, it will be about which notes you play, and their length, and the intervals (# of notes in between) you play.

    okay okay, so you got all that and now you want to know about rock, right? you wanna make that bass cry and sing, huh?

    can't help ya there. and not cause i don;t want to, either.

    rock follows the same general rules as blues or jazz (which is why you should start with blues/jazz if you want to have a clue), but like a jazz riff, you can "move around" even more. and unlike a blues/jazz song, rock can vary a lot in chord progression, length etc.

    to really get a clue for getting your own rock riffs, get a score book of a compilation bass tab book of rock songs you really like. follow the chords, and see how the band/bass player put the main line together, and how and when he goes off into riffs or solos. rock varies so much, i can;t give you a clue as to what the progressions would be or how to contruct what you may hear in your head.

    This help you more?
  9. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    I think I get it. In a genre like Jazz, whenever someone plays a chord, I play one of the notes in the chord. This will be one of the notes in the riff. The next chord they play I choose another note from the new chord, and so on and so on. I see this kinda makes sense. So chords can help me know which riff to make? So do I really need to learn scales then?
  10. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User

    Dec 13, 2004
    Phoenix AZ area
    Lets start with your last question first. Do you need to learn scales? Yes and no. You really need to learn the chords for the scales. The beauty of a bass (and other guitars) is that the fretboard is set up in such a way as to allow you to play the same finger pattern over and over again as you move thru the chords. (Finger patterns change depending on the scale in question -- Major, Minor, etc) In the example above, there are several places on the fretboard (especially if you play a 5 string like i now do) where the G,C and F notes are "stacked" on the fretboard. Thus, if you were playing a walking blues of 1,3,5,3 on C, you just move up a strong to F. Your fingers move the same way again. Later you move down to G, etc.

    And while playing the chords in a stacked grouping is the easiest and fastest way to learn, you could move around. for example, i get a whole new feel if I get off the 3rd fret G,C,F and play F on the 6th fret (low B string) and G & C on the 8th fret.

    so really, you don;t just play one note (unless that is all you want to play), you play several. But they tend to be chord notes (1,3,5,etc) as you walk along. If are playing with a band, you will typically (not always) play the first note of the chord in each bar as you move from bar to bar. But that doesn't mean you always play up and down, you could start at a high C and play four notes down if you wanted. Or maybe 1,1,3,3. or 1,3,7,8 (remember that 8 is really the same as one, as it is the same note but only one octave higher). Or 8,3,5,3 or ....

    Now if you are just beginning, and can't keep the pace, then you pretty much MUST play the root note of each chord for each bar, or you are gonna sound lost.

    edit. go to amazon and check out a book called The Chord Wheel. or see... http://www.chordwheel.com/
    i think this will help you a lot.
  11. It's kind of the other way around. You don't put a scale into a riff so much as a riff comes from a scale. Since a scale is just a bunch of notes, you can't help but pick the notes for your riffs from some scale or another. Being able to consider what you're playing from a higher level than what your fingers are doing is very valuable, in my opinion. Knowing scales and what they sound like is part of being able to do that, as is knowing chords and arpeggios.
  12. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004

    it makes so much sense to say that studying music theory is the way to go... but finding things out for yourself through experimentation and listening and deconstructing other peoples work can give you an insight that you wont get from a book. I know people that can sight read and play the piece well but cannot experiment and improvise....no spark whatsoever!
  13. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User

    Dec 13, 2004
    Phoenix AZ area
    ja! and the real problem is at the beginning, when you want to play what you think you hear in your head, it is so hard to translate into playing ability. i think that is one reason why a lot of people start music and later drop it. they want to fly before they can crawl.

    it is important to get a real sense of accomplishment early on before the drudery of practice or frustration of not knowing what to do set in. for some this takes only a couple of weeks. this is why (from personal experience) i stress chord patterns as the start. you can be playing a blues or jazz tune in chord patterns, to time and with good tone, well before the frustration factor sets in. that sense of accomlishment helps you move along even further in wanting to do more.

    years ago i tried sax, and was so lost, i would just practice scales and try to play from fake books without understanding what i was doing. in drums, you really have no chords, so that takes away that part of the learning frustration point. now with bass, i got a clue early on for the importance of chords as the building blocks for everything else. No chords = no clues.

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