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notated ghost notes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by kalo, May 2, 2005.

  1. kalo


    Jul 29, 2003
    Hi all,

    Right now I am learning some Tommy Shannons bass lines to Pride and Joy......

    Okay with that being said I first learned the bass lines by ear...The song is in key of E....

    However, after figuring it out, I cheated and looked at this cool bass book I purchased(by the way this is all music notation and is accurate) to see if I transcribed the part correctly and for the most part I did...

    One thing I noticed is that the open E string is written like this (0) 5 (0) 4 (0) (sorry I had to write it in tab because that is the only way to describe it....

    When I looked in back of the book it say that this open E written like this (0) is to be played as a Ghost Note....

    Question: I though Ghost notes were written with an "X" and would it be wrong to play the open E with out the ghost note effect...I can BARELY hear it on the CD when Tommy is playing it....Thanks, Kalo!
  2. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    First I admire your efforts in trying to play it just as it's on the record. Without seeing the book, I can't comment.

    Remember that there is no such thing as 100% accurate transcriptions. The transcriptionst is omeone like you who is listening to the music and notating what he hears and then presenting it to readers in the easiest way to undertsand without losing to much

    Depending on the mix, a lot of bass lines are hard to hear and ghost notes can be impossible to distinguish from rests muted notes.

    At some point it's "close enough for rock and roll".
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Ghost notes don't have a pitch, so it's quite common to notate them as an X on the note repesenting the string they are played on (the mass of the string does make a difference to the sound, even though you can't tie it down to a specific note).

    I suppose (0) is one way to show this in tab, although personally, I'd probably still use an X instead. Try different ways of approaching it, listen to the record some more and recognise that, ultimately, it's your decision.

    Even when playing covers, I often don't put too much work in trying to sound exactly like the originals for a number of reasons:

    1) I'm not in a tribute band - people have come to hear me and not a clone of Tommy Shannon (or whoever else!).

    2) When you're covering a range of different songs, it's very unlikely you'll be able to replicate all the nuances of the different instruments, amps, effects, strings and playing styles the bassists were using on the originals (even when just working on stuff by one band or even from one album!). Perfection is good but time is limited!

    3) Unless everyone else in the band is also nailing their parts, I think it's more important to play with them rather than ignoring the rest of the band in order to get the bass part exactly right.

    Of course, if you're doing this just for private study, then push forward for as much detail as you can!

  4. kalo


    Jul 29, 2003
    Great advise Wulf!

    In all seriousness when hearing the bassline to Pride and Joy, I can BARELY hear the Ghost Notes.....I play it the way I hear it and it sounds identical to the CD....

    Thanks for everyones input...Kalo!
  5. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    I think it is right to notate a ghost note with an X. Now if it should be an open string or a fretted note it is a matter of the situation IMO.
    Every time I work a tune like "Come on,come" over with my students, I discover new ways to interpret that riff. It is really hard to know EXACTLY how Jaco played every bars. So it is a matter of interpretation and how you feel the line.

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