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Note Choice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rico509, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Rico509


    Feb 22, 2009
    So I did a search and didn't really help me all that much. I am going through Leonard's book and I am starting to get to the point where I have more than one choice of which note to play (open A or fifth fret E). On the sheet music how can I tell which one is suppose to be played? I get that they are the same pitch with different tones, but how do I tell which one is supposed to be played?
  2. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    I try to play stopped (fretted) notes whenever I can. It keeps the tone more consistent and I have more control of the note.

    There isn't a rule. Whatever works for the situation.
  3. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    It depends what sound you want. Neither will 'sound bad', but the one might just give that particular somg more of a nice 'flavour' than the other. Or you might go down the one time and up the next when you reach the same spot. Play it and decide what sounds best to your ear - or (if applicable) ask you band leader what he/she wants.
  4. also depends on where the bassline is heading next, or where it's just been. If it is more convenient/efficient to play an open string, play and open one. Sometimes you might not be able to get to say fifth fret on the A to play a D, or 10th fret on the E for that matter. It's important to be able to do both so you can choose which is best for the situation.
  5. You sound like you have a pretty mechanical approach to this, it's music, it's meant to sound good.

    Open strings ring a lot more they have more zing and more sutain.

    Fretted notes sound more punchy and bassy.

    What is going to sound good in that particular passage in the song?

    it's up to you, play what fits the song.
  6. It might sound mechanical, but if it stops me getting an RSI then it's all good. I was merely suggesting an economical alternative. Ofcourse there are tone differences, but there are tone differences between chosing between the same note on different strings anywhere on the neck, if for instance you play an open G, fretted G on the D string @ V, a fretted G on the A @ X, and a fretted G on the E @ XV they all sound completely different. Yes there is a matter of choice between sound, but there is also a logical position to play a note as well. For instance if you approach it with an upright bass hat on then you'll start thinking that you can't physically reach a note in a certain position, so you might need to play an open string. A great example would be the bass melody in So What, which can be played in a number of positions with open and/or closed notes. You can start on an open D (or a fretted D fret V/A string) and move to a fretted G fret V, playing the melody in fifth position. Alternatively you could use the open notes D & G, playing the rest of the melody starting in II and shifting up the G string. Each has a different tone, but it is easier (for me anyway) to play the entire melody in one position. This also means when I play it on an upright I don't have to move my hand quite so much and hold a better intonation between the notes, rather than having to shift position.

    But like you said, the genre, style in which you are playing, physical sound of your instrument, and other things come into it as well. If you know you have a deadspot on the G, then you might try and avoid that. Or if you know that it will sound better played entirely on one string then that could also be better.

    Hope there are some useful tips there.

    let us know how you get on, or if we've confused you too much.
  7. Rico509


    Feb 22, 2009
    So there isn't a rule that tells you which note to play it is all a matter of what sounds best to me or which is most convenient to play. If that is true should I spend the time and learn where all the notes are before moving on to the scales which are coming up in the book pretty soon?
  8. lowend219


    Sep 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA

    I'm not familiar with the book, but in my experience the notes on the neck will fall into place as you learn scales and read through charts and lead sheets. if you practice your scales in different positions and say the notes out loud as you play them, you will start to memorize the note positions.
  9. derekd


    Feb 16, 2009
    This would be my suggestion/thought process too. For me, it is about the smoothness of voice leading. Going from an open string to a higher register may prove a bit too jarring if it is, say a ballad. YMMV
  10. Rico509


    Feb 22, 2009
    I guess I should say that I am teaching myself, I get insomnia several times a week and after several years of staying up I finally decided to do something worth while. I asked about learning where all the notes are because I like to have a solid foundation before getting into the deep end, it is just how I learn I like to know the why and not just the how. I guess that comes from me being a teacher, but whatever. So if I just work through the scales I will eventually learn where all the notes are at the same time. Two birds one stone.
  11. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    True, BUT - you should not be 'imprisoned' by a particular scale structure (book-scales usually endorse playing in pockets, but you sometimes might want to play outside of the pocket).

    Example: sometimes when playing a mojor scale, I find it more desirable to play the VI two frets to the right of the V instead of moving to the left on a higher string. If you don't know where the notes are, that won't be an option for you. If you're in a hurry to learn the scales, why not do them in tandem?
  12. Yes. Spend the time to learn the fretboard.

    Does the book you're using recommend fingering? If so I would just go with that, for now. As you play more you will eventually be able to play the note wherever it exists. Personally I prefer to avoid open notes. That way it is really easy to transpose to different keys. But all that is for later.

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