(Say what?) Do you know what to play over a F#m7b5 chord?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by wld3, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    This hypothetical question was put forward in another thread - one that I was not a participant in but that I read (obviously.)

    It brought to mind (again) a fact that concerns me. Namely, that I have no ******* idea what I would say or do if someone asked me a question like that.

    Admittedly, I'm a novice, but whenever people go off talking about chords and keys and theory I am just baffled because it seems so foreign to me.

    How much should it concern me, as a beginning bass player, that I have virtually no formal music training on any instrument prior to now?

    I'm not whining. I'll be learning these things over time. Sometimes it just seems a bit overwhelming when I consider all that I have to learn.

  2. primitiveworker


    May 11, 2008
    I'm too am new to bass, but in my first lesson a few months ago I let my teacher know that my near-term goal is to be able to jam with strangers. So the subsequent lessons have been really light on mechanical technique and heavy on theory.

    I'm pleased with the way it's working out--epiphany after epiphany. It keeps me interested in the instrument, and the technique seems to take care of itself as a matter of course.

    Demystifying music can only be good for you, I imagine.
    Wookieeboy and bolophonic like this.
  3. When in doubt, play the root.
  4. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    zac2944 likes this.
  5. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    The most obvious is the scale from which the chord is derived . . . G major. So you would play the 7th mode of the G major scale. There are a few others but they add different tensions. For now just try the notes from the G major scale.
    Jazz Ad, bassie12 and Clef_de_fa like this.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ya, start with major and minor, then worry about chords like that once you've mastered the simple stuff.

    BTW, the notes are F#-A-C-E in that chord, but it's really situation dependent what notes you'd play.
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Music Theory for Dummies is a good place to start.
  8. jayarroz


    Jul 10, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    this is very simple..... It's a F# minor 7 chord with the 5th flatted. The arpegio would be F# A C E. Your major chord would be F# A# C# F. But in a minor 7 you flat the 1 3 & 7. With the flat 5 you flat the 5th also ...so you have 1 b3 b5 b7. F# Locrian falls in to G Major. In the key of F# the locrian mode would give you 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7. F# has 6 #'s FCGDAE. But apply this to the rule of locrian and all those sharps become flats except for the 1 F# !;)
    zac2944 likes this.
  9. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    You talking chord tones for base of a line take your favorite F#mi7 arp and flat the 5th. Learn to use what you know already it really opens your thinking and playing up on many levels.

    Then if you're talking about soloing or fills the scale/mode used these days is Locrian #2. Again take your favorite Locrian mode fingering pattern and raise the b2 to a natural 2. Locrian #2 is the 6th mode of Melodic Minor so play an A Melodic Minor to get an F# Locrian #2.
    JollySpudd likes this.
  10. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008

    This is what I hear...


    Attached Files:

    JollySpudd likes this.
  11. Or this:


  12. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Haha, that was my question.. :) I've been away a few days so I didn't see this thread earlier.

    The point with that question was to evaluate how well the person being auditioned knows his chords, or simply to see how well educated (or self-educated) he is.

    The chord I presented, F#m7b5, fits nicely in for instance this chord progression:

    Em, F#m7b5, B7, Em

    If a bassists played the perfect 5th in a bassline over this chord, I'd probably not hire that one.... Instead, play the tritonus or flatted 5 and you're fine... :)
  13. jayarroz


    Jul 10, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    yah like cruise ship auditions, there so simple and slow bass lines. But then you screw them up!
  14. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I'd experiment with

    F# A C E G# B D# while ascending
    F# E D C B (maybe Bb) A G while descending
    or some combination thereof. Would depend on the melody as well.

    of course, after I lost the gig for that you'd probably take my place and play F# A C E G B D up & down all the way to the bank.:D
  15. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    Going back to the question in the original post:

    You should be concerned insofar as to think: "I'd better get to work on this." Theory is useful both as a guide to what might sound good at a given point in a song and to help you guess what might come next when you're jamming or playing along with music you don't have sheets or tabs for.

    That you don't instantaneously associate F#m7b5 with a particular set of notes is of little concern right now. When you're starting out you'll get far by just understanding the major scale and how to play that in any key. Then the regular major and minor chords that are most often used in a song, and how these are transposed for different keys. That will get you very far.
  16. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    Thanks for that. :smug:

    I appreciate the thoughts guys. I'm eager to learn and sort of just jumped in and starting looking at lots of material and it just became a bit overwhelming.

    For now, I'll stick with following Ed Friedland's lead through his book/DVD instruction and add to that by undertaking to study additional information, such as on music theory, from one source at a time.

    Oh, and I didn't miss this...
    ;) :bassist:

  17. "whenever people go off talking about chords and keys and theory I am just baffled"

    Can you play a Major scale yet? There is a lot of basic theory right there.

    You just have to break it down.
    CatSquare likes this.
  18. no you don't
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  19. jayarroz


    Jul 10, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    ooops yah...you can't flat the 1 !!! Wrote to fast:) sorrrrrry

    flat the 3 & 7 in minor7 arrp.
  20. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Yorktown, VA
    I'd say play any of the arpeggio (1 b3 b5 b7) or play F# locrian.

    Then again I don't know what the hell I'm doing.