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Notes, frets, intervals....Arrrghhh

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Nevermoore, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. Nevermoore


    Nov 6, 2005
    Just started playing bass recently. When I practice my scales and arpeggios I always say the name of the note I'm playing. I'm wondering what is going to be more helpful to me in the long run. Should I be thinking in terms of what notes I'm playing, or what fret I'm playing (i.e., 4th string 3rd fret), or which interval I'm playing (1st, 3rd, 5th etc.). Is one more beneficial than the other or should I just try to get used to thinking in terms of all three?
  2. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    While i may not be the most qualified to comment, i would say to think in both intervals and note names until you know the fretboard, and then just intervals. You should probably avoid thinking in frets, its not necessary and may cause you to turn towards the dark (physical) side (like me :( )
  3. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    You definitely DO NOT want to be thinking in terms of frets. Think in terms of notes or intervals.

    If you think in terms of frets, what do you do when during a gig, you break a string mid song?? Or you have to play a song in a different key??
  4. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    I always think in terms of notes. Years and years of playing trombone has taught me to just buckle down and learn your instrument. Faking it was no fun for me.
  5. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I'm a pattern and position player.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    When I started, I thought in frets. When I went to fretless, I thought in intervals. When I moved onto upright bass, I began to hear notes.
  7. Same here. Although I must say that for covers I learn the patters, my own lines are 'this scale, this degree' or something like that.
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Think in terms of notes or intervals if you understand them. By thinking in terms of frets, you will burden yourself unnecessarily with too much to think of mentally and it will slow down your playing. Plus, the same note can be played on several different frets and strings. You might be missing out on that fact and limit yourself to thinking of a certain fret as being that note. Also many frets represent more than one note, such as A sharp and B flat.

    I might get criticized for this, but I tend to think in scale degrees when I play. When I began to play that way was when I got a lot faster, because I knew what scale degrees a chord had and no matter what chord, I knew where the scale degrees were in that chord.

    I guess it is a pattern, but it is deeper understanding than just a pattern. Scale degrees tell you the content of that pattern. The great advantage is that you can switch keys easily.