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Scales to know?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ninefoldbass, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. ninefoldbass

    ninefoldbass Guest

    Feb 26, 2003
    hmm.. i realized today, that root notes are boring, and i havent learned anything else (not being taught... sucks...). okay, so i play in a rock/metalish/punkish kinda somthing like that band.. and i wanna spice up my bass lines.. so i dont fall asleep playing roots anymore.. what do i need to know?.. im sure a lot of you kinda know what i mean.. HELP!..
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Learn 'em all...can't hurt.

    obviously major/minor scales are going to be the most important/used

    pentatonics and blues scales are going to be useful for soloing in many situations

    Learning the major modes are very useful, for soloing.

    ....just learn 'em all...how long can it take?
  3. ninefoldbass

    ninefoldbass Guest

    Feb 26, 2003
    yeah, i suppose that would help me. haha.. all that time.. :eek:
  4. Besides for soloing, modes can add an interesting "flavor" to your songs. Plus, as degrees of a major/minor scale, modes help you thouroughly learn your scales. I recommend learning all you can, but be careful, theory can also cause their own sort of ruts. I've been guilty of taking my theory too seriously, and letting my creativity suffer for it. A well-balanced practice minimizes that, theory to practicing other peoples songs (it's amazing how people come up with inspiring stuff that I would never think of) to improvising, ect.

    What would be a good use of scales would be to analyze a song with an interesting bass line. Work out the key signature, then what intervals are played within what chord structure to give that bass line it's life. That way you get a practical insight into how a scale is applied. (just a random rant on my part)
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    and remember www.musictheory.net is a GREAT GREAT GREAT resource to learn loads of basic-intermediate theory;)
  6. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Here are some thoughts on this:

    If your band does ANY changes at all here is a strategy:

    Lets say the band is playing in the root chord E
    and you are playing the root note E as well.

    Then the band drops down to a D and you drop down to D as well.

    Then the next change is to an A for the band, but you drop only 1 half step to a C#.

    A couple of things happen here. You have signalled
    a drop with the band, but you are now playing a third above the root note A. You are now playing
    in HARMONY with the other players, which creates
    an interesting texture on the bass line. :D The resolution then comes when the band comes back to the E, you have a choice of the root E, the third
    C# or the fifth B. Often bass players will touch the E on the first beat to establish the chord for the band and then do whatever is the good riff and resolve again onto the E in the next measures.

    If the band plays only in E [ we have all been there once, haven't we ....? ] the you actually have much greater lattitude, if you choose to use it.
    This is where scale knowledge pays off. You cannot be a musician without knowing scales.

    Music is really made up of only 3 elements, rhythm,
    melody and harmony. Scales are required to create the latter 2.

    Playing the root notes only means you have used rhythm, and you are producing a tone, so there is melody. But harmony is not produced until you interweave scale tones into the fabric of the music.

    Hope that motivates you to study your music a bit.
  7. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Even if it takes some work, it really is worth your time to learn all of the scales and music theroy that you can. It really can change the way that you aproach your music.
  8. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    getting a concept,and making things easy is the only way to go. Chords are grouped in families.There are 9 families. Each family is usually 7 notes stacked on top of each other.Which 7 notes? it depends on the family,but those chords are just scales that have had their notes piled up vertically. You will never play a chord that doesn't have the scale that goes with it.Every song uses several of those chord families.Sometimes only four notes of the chord family,sometimes five,or 6 .You know,like G7,ot G9,Or G11-there all the same family.Each family has a special job or function in a song.Since there are only 3 chord functions,then that chord family has to function as one of the three. The three funtions are two, and Five ,and one.Yoiu know how you usually go from a B7(a five chord) back to a one chord-E. Those major,minor scales,their modes and restrictions,like a pentatonic or a blues scale are some of the twenty scales that go with one of the 9 chord families. Knowing the distance between each note of a scale,chord or chord in a progression just by hearing it is where the work lies.Remeber,it a language,like German-You have to understand it to speak it.
  9. sigterm

    sigterm Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2003
    Atlanta G of A
    i dont know what level youre at, but for what you play, learn the pentatonic and major first. i think the pentatonic is the most popular in those genres and the most useful in them also. imo.