Scale Help

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by UzzA, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. UzzA


    Mar 29, 2002
    Hey everyone,
    Can anyone help me incorporate scales into my basslines? I mean i know most of the scales (i usually just play them from the root up then down again) But how can i use this knowledge to help me write basslines? Currently i use appregios to come up with some basslines with my band but i think it limits me as a bassist. Sorry if this question is extremly stupid!

    Any helps great,
  2. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    This is something i also would like to know, so i hope you dont mind if i subscribe ;)
  3. Now I'm no music expert, but when I make up a bassline, I usually use chord appreggios but throw in some stuff from others parts of the scale. In other words, I use just about any note in the scale, but the main focus of my line are the notes that make up the chord.
  4. TJC


    Jun 28, 2002
    Los Angeles
    As I understand it, the 1,3,7 (and sometimes 5) of a scale define the type of chord that you are playing (major, minor, dominant, ...) while the other notes in that scale or mode can add color or 'seasoning' to that chord. Of course it's important that you are always listening to what is going on around you in deciding which color tones to throw in.
  5. UzzA


    Mar 29, 2002
    Ok, now i understand you can use scales to spice up apregiated (sp?) basslines. But what if you dont have any chords to work with and you wanna come up with a line from scratch what do you? Do you just pick random notes from the scale and cross your fingers and hope it sounds good?
  6. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    Don't HOPE it sounds good. Make it so it sounds good and doesn't make your ears bleed 10 gallons of blood.
  7. UzzA


    Mar 29, 2002
    Lol, but seriously when your playing random notes out of scales is there any rules that apply? When i try to improvise on a given scale it seems like i jump around too much............... it just doesnt sound right. Oh well, looks like i need to practice ALOT more. My band keeps on telling me the all my bass lines sound the same. I some what agree, the reason why they sound the same is they play the same chord progressions over and over and................ you get the point. The reason why i ask so much about scales is i learned them and dont know what to do with them. now im needing to look in scales because just playing the root (and the 3rd or 5th leading into the next chord) can be boring somtimes! There are many bassist that just play the straight root but thats just not me. Im hoping learning scales can help me add solos fills and ect. to my basslines. Like i said i guess i need to practise.

    (Warning: Probably half of what i wrote doesnt make any scence)
    Thanks for the help!
  8. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    Intervals 1 3 5 and 7 are strong notes and 2 4 and 6 are passing notes. This should help.
  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    That IMO/IME is no excuse for your lines sounding the same. You can take a I-IV-V pattern in the key of D, and make it sound totally different each and everytime you play it. No offense, but its not the progression its you.

    My advice to you, to help you get out of this rut is to listen to a wide variety of music. Start listening to country, jazz, smooth jazz, r&B, gospel, latin, any and everything possible even the stuff you hate. Start learning some of the grooves by ear. This will help you hear various types of grooves and help you learn to lay down different type bass lines

    Another thing I like to do with scales is, I take a simple song and totally recreate a bass line to it. Its kinda like having a set of chord charts in front of you, since the root motion is outlined, so I just use my knowledge of scales to fill in the blanks. Its also alot of fun for me. But YMMV, and some here may disagree with it being a good practice tool, but it works for me.
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Casanova has some good advice there. I'd also add that besides the actually notes you choose, you might vary the feel. Play some notes softer; play some notes harder. Hold some notes, letting them ring. Play some notes very staccato, with short blasts of sound and muting. Play slides, sliding from one note to the next. Use pull offs and hammer ons. Do some string bending. All these things "decorate" an ordinary bassline and make it stand out from the mundane.

    Another thing you can do is play your usual basslines, but enhance them with fills. I don't know what kind of music your band plays. Some music lends itself to fills better than others, but see what you can do to kick up your bassline with embellishments such as all those mentioned above.

    Another thing is as you want to go from just chord notes to scales, maybe this would be a good time to study theory further. Don't just use major and minor scales, get into pentatonic scales, the blues scale, the whole tone scale and learn what modes are and how and when to use them.
  11. UzzA


    Mar 29, 2002
    Thanks to those who have replied! My band is a ska/reggae band if that helps anyone. Boplicity, about me learning other scales:I know and try to use a variety of scales in my basslines including, minor, major, Minor penatonic, blues, dorian, lydian, the dominant, ect. my problem is'nt learning theory, its using theory to help write bass lines.
  12. David Watts

    David Watts

    Aug 12, 2002
    Go to the talkbass homepage and scroll down to the lessons box. Check out the lesson by chris fitzgerald titled

    Lessons: Bass Line Construction: Target Approach

    This is a great lesson and should give you some quick and easy ideas for changing up the basslines you are currently playing.