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No teacher, but I want a strict plan

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mahumadi, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Mahumadi

    Mahumadi Banned

    Apr 19, 2009
    North Eastern PA
    I just joined a rock band that gigs and is going to the studio. The thing is that I have:

    a) never been in a band
    b) never gigged
    c) never recorded

    I have been playing for 2 years and had instruction for a 2 months. I know the major scale and how to construct chords from it. I know the theory behind the circle of fifths, but do not have it memorized. My ear is pretty bad and I am not that great at matching pitches with my voice. I pick with 3 fingers alternating 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2-1, but I have a tough time picking in order when moving to lower or higher strings.

    I know most of this will get better with time playing in the band, but I want a schedule to follow when im not practicing the band material

    I want to incorporate solfege, learn to read standard notation (which im sure will be the most helpful).

    I remember my instructor telling me that there are only 4 (I think he said 4..) scales that anyone needs to know.

    Can anyone who has the same philosophy/feeling explain which I should know? All I know is the major and the 1-2-3b-4-5-6-7b-8 one (i think its pentatonic minor?

    Any suggestions?
  2. The scales you need to know:
    Natural Minor (1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7 - 8)
    Harmonic Minor (1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - 7 - 8)
    Melodic Minor (1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - b7 - b6 - 5 - 4 - b3 - 2 - 1)*

    *The scale is different ascending vs. descending.

    The scales you should know (only because they can provide quick and simple lines)
    Pentantonic Minor (1 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7 - 8)
    Pentatonic Major (1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6 - 8)

    The pentatonic scales are really just shortcuts to writing simple lines that aren't very "musically complex." However, if you use them right, you can actually create a nice line.

    As far as your ear goes, that gets better with time, don't beat yourself up with it.
  3. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    In the absence of a good teacher, I think the one practice technique with the most impact is transcribing bass lines and solos.

    If necessary, invest in "The Amazing Slow Downer" software. You can slow down any mp3 without changing the pitch, and figure out each note.

    Pick lines and tunes/solos you really like, figure out how to play them, then transcribe it to paper. That will improve your all-around skill set quite efficiently.

    As far as learning scales... you might want to focus on arpeggios instead, starting with:
    major 7 (1,3,5,7)
    dominant 7 (1,3,5,b7)
    minor 7 (1,b3,5,b7)

    Practice these up and down the neck, around circle 5, changing the order of the notes. I think that will make your practice time more musical vs. playing scales.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    honestly, unless there's some sort of financial hardship going on (believe me, i can relate), i would take lessons for the agenda you've set out for yourself.
  5. They must like you - as a person. I'm amazed, with no gigging experience, that they ask you to join them. So you need to reward that. Yes get with an instructor right away.

    Get their music and practice what they play. Let your new instructor give you the plan.
  6. my advice would be to listen to all the songs you need to know many many times before you attempt to play them. The more they are in your head the easier it will be to actually play on a bass. Its a waste of time to play bass to songs you first off dont know and dont know on bass either.

    Then train your ear by playing whole notes for each chord change until you get them and add the fill in parts as you get more and more comfortable.

    i would also like to agree with jimmy that even if its only for a couple months take some lessons. You would be amazed at the difference a good teacher can make in a short term goal situation. and your new band would likely be impressed by your desire to improve and fit with them.

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