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Practising theory

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by peaveyuser, Aug 10, 2007.


  1. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    Montreal,Canada
    well ya I seem to be having a problem trying to learn this stuff. I want to so I can play in a band better and maybe do some solo stuff. So I bought to fairly good books for scales, modes and arpeggios but I never get to actually learning it. I just can't really pay attention and don't know where to start, I don't know I always had a problem paying attention but what happens when I pick up my bass is I usually just start learning songs opposed to what I should be learning, theory. Any tips on how to focus better and where to start? Keep in mind theory is what I lack I've spent time learning technique and am fairly good with finger style (can keep up with a bit of Geddy and Cliff) so turning those scales, modes and arpeggios into somethin good shouldn't be too hard after I know my theory.

    So any tips to help me with my problem would be great.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Get a teacher to crack the whip on you. You'll never do it by yourself. At least not unless you start showing some discipline.
     
  3. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    Montreal,Canada
    ya that help prob is I have no money to pay a teacher. Are there any tips ya guys have for paying attention better? I know there are some bassists who must of had a similiar problem, plus it's not only paying attention it's when to start. What are the best ways to absorb this information and learn how to use them?
     
  4. ThomasG

    ThomasG

    Jul 20, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    I sometimes feel that way, but, I use motivation. Yours may be different ? Also make the scales musical, play them straight as the book illustrates, but then make a bassline, melody, or wicked solo out of those notes only in the scale. Make it fun and musical, and also think about the fun, and rewards you may obtain when you play in front of people.
     
  5. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Don't treat them as separate things, theory seems abstract to you because not seeing in use or using it. Everytime you learn something in your theory book then see where you are already doing it in the bass lines you play already. When you see/hear theory in action and it isn't as abstract.

    If you can get a teacher to help with theory/bass relationship. If you can't get a teacher find another musician wanting to learn theory and talk theory with them especially a keyboard player. Comparing notes with another and trying things with helps things fall in place.
     
  6. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    Montreal,Canada
    hmmm so now I have to find a fellow musician who's willing to help
     
  7. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    Montreal,Canada
    Hey also can someone give me a link to a good online drum machine and also how do you "sing" scales what exactly does that mean?
     
  8. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    Montreal,Canada
    Cmon can anybody help me with my last question?
     
  9. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Go rent the movie The Sound of Music you will be haunted by the major scale Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do :D

    You can't sing Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1???? Can you play a major scale on your bass, well sing a long with it. It just that simple. Sing everything you play, learn the scale degrees and intervals of your bass lines. Pretty soon you will be able to play whatever you hear in your head, or hear someone else play and know what they are playing. You study theory to learn to put labels on those things you hear so you can use them later on.
     
  10. user101

    user101

    Oct 15, 2006
    When i first started practising scales and modes, i thought to myself "this is not musical at all". Everything was so mechanical and it all sounded weird especially the modes. But then you listen to other people playing and realise that the tunes sound familiar and then you start analyzing the notes and find out that their actually just using a mode. Well of course it's not that simple because there are also key centres and progressions etc etc in which i am too inexperienced to eleborate further on. The point is, you'll only find out later on what these scales and arpeggios are good for if you start playing them.

    Here's what i did. I sat down with my scale book and played a different mode everyday. Within 1 week you've heard them all. Then i start over the next week. Do the same with arpeggios of your choice, be it normal triads, sevenths, minors whatever. It's boring to death, but it works.

    As for what people said about making practice musical, i never got that and probably never will. It's still a drag to practice, but it's worth it.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Making practice musical means to play all your exercises and scales like you're playing a song, and put all the emotion you'd put into a song into your scales. It's a huge part of internalizing theory to where it doesn't sound like you're running scales even if you are.
     
  12. Be careful, you might start associating a hatred with it. I'm going to sign up for an applied music course once I ship out to college, but really, I got all my best chops by playing songs I loved and just breaking them down into little theoretical nuggets that I would apply to my other stuff. Fr'instance, when I learned YYZ, I picked up things like chromatics and the 1-5-9 progression and applied it to my own music. At the time, I knew them as straight runs and the diagonal box, respectively, since I had never picked up the lingo (I still don't even know what a mode is, but whatevs). When I tried forced instruction, all it did was make me play mechanically and start hating my bass, which is why I put it down for so long. Hopefully, the course should be a little more encouraging now that I have my style nurtured and my feet on the ground.
     
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ignorance is bliss? If learning the building blocks of music makes you not want to play, maybe you just don't want to play.
     
  14. Scalestein

    Scalestein

    Dec 6, 2005
    ehh I hear this type of thing alot. I think it is similar to a naturally good basketball player who doesn't want to be coached on proper form or strategy because it'll 'cramp his style'. A great natural jump shot will take you pretty far, far enough for most people, but without working on proper form and mechanics you'll have trouble when an 'off day' hits and end up in slumps and such. If you know proper form you can fall back on it when your natural talent is lacking.

    natural playing and playing without knowledge of theory is fine, but to get off the driveway courts and into the hardwood arenas you'll need to know some theory to progress and analyze yourself. Theory and natural playing are one in the same and work together to make one a better player. For some reason people think they are mutually exclusive which couldn't be further from the truth
     
  15. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    Google this:
    A Jazz Improvisation Primer, by Marc Sabatella

    I downloaded it 10 years back an learned more theory from that than my music theory class taught me in a year.
     
  16. jsbass

    jsbass

    Sep 3, 2006
    WI
    If you want to learn theory, thats great, but in my opinion theory isn't all that important. If you can play, you can play. A lot of learning is done by ear. Theory is mostly just knowing 'why' something works. As long as you know the basics of theory (major and minor scale construction, circle of fifths and what not) you should be fine. Don't learn by tabs, though. Thats one of the worst things you can do is be dependent on tabs. Try to learn everything for yourself by ear and notate it in a way that works for you. This is what has worked best for me and how I make the most progress. Sure, I can read basic sheet music and have basic theory, but it's a very well developed musical ear that will get you further than any theory buff.
     
  17. Learning theory only adds to your tool kit of things you can use to construct and de-construct music. Having a strong grasp of music theory won't hurt you. Not knowing it won't stop you from being able to be a fine musician. Thinking that "theory" is the "magical key to the musical universe" is misguided. Thinking that understanding it will some how detract from or pervert your "pure, naive, inner-child musician" is equally wrong-headed.

    If you are serious about wanting to learn, get a teacher. Save some bucks - get a part-time job - barter - whatever it takes. Sure, you can teach your self some things, but if you want a more reliable means to an end, a good teacher it the way to go.

    Excuse (A) + Excuse (B) * Excuse (C) = puhleeze.

    Get a teacher. And when you do get a teacher, pay attention - do your homework, take it seriously and you will move forward.
     
  18. I made some videos on playing over minor, major scales and pentatonic scales maybe you'll get some ideas.
    Major:


    The thing is - Always try to get some music out of your exercises and put it to use next time at your band rehersal , making small major scale fills in the major songs and minor ....
    Learn simple triads, the intervals, small motifs you can apply to most songs..
     
  19. user101

    user101

    Oct 15, 2006
    there will always be 2 opinions on this whole theory vs ear thing. In my own experience, the whole ear thing was going great until i stumbled upon jazz. Although i could listen and reproduce what i was listening to, i could never improvise my own lines. It always ended up being....well not jazzy. So theory does play a key role there.

    As for the teacher bit, i guess if you're looking to go pro and make a living out of bass then it's a must. I know Jaco didn't have a teacher. But you're not Jaco (no offense to anyone:smug: ). And even if you were, having a teacher would double your potential in half the time at most. I myself am self taught. And it's enough for me as it's only a hobby. So nobodys going to care how good i get except for me.
     
  20. elpelotero

    elpelotero

    Jun 16, 2006
    I would recommend learning the scales and arpeggios, but consequently studying your favorite songs and/or classical compositions (mainly Bach). See how you can pick out the scales they use in their works. You basically have to learn a line of the song and then say "he seems to be following this scale."

    For example, I can see how Kirk Hammett uses the minor scale in some of his solos. Granted, I can't for the life of me come up with solos like he does even though I know the minor scale. But it opens up your eyes to think towards that direction
     

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