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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Kipp Harrington, May 23, 2019.

  1. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Everybody here wss a blockhead once upon a time. Things are only what they are at the time they are those things. The biggest hurdle is getting the bottle to ask these questions in open forum. You just passed that test, my friend.
    Now, I suggest you stop doing yourself (and your musical future) a disservice and get youself a pure music theory book. Not some half-arsed 'for dummies' or 'for bassists' nonsense, but the real thing, published by a proper academic music school. Put down your bass and start reading. As you've already seen, this forum has some pretty knowledgeable, experienced and qualified people who have all the time in the world for those willing to ask genuine questions that need factual answers rather than opinion. We may not always see eye to eye on many things, but when it comes to the facts, we are a goldmine.
    jchrisk1 and lizardking837 like this.
  2. That makes sense. That's usually how I end up learning a complex song. I break it down into several sections and don't move on until I have got the previous section down.

    So, your saying to memorize/learn the notes (in order) that make up the scale and also memorize/learn where those notes are located on the fretboard? And when you said "tomorrow learn the NEXT scale", what exactly do you mean? If I am learning the major scale, it would be the same pattern, just in a different key... hence, different notes then the previous (major) scale I learn the previous day... correct?
  3. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, what @Mushroo said, take smaller bites, you'll do fine, just let one digest a bit before taking another. :D
  5. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Scale notes are the alphabets (for language) that you'll use to building your musical vocabulary. You will need to be able to learn them and apply them to each of the twelve intervals of an octave. This will allow you to get very familiar with the location of the each notes for each scales on the neck and provide you with the necessary vocabulary to play most of what's required in pretty much any circumstances. The rest will be up to you to do what you want in order to build your own vocabulary for improvisation if you want to go exploring this as well.

    Like others have mentioned, go at it at your own pace, do not let this become an obstacle in your mind to go forward with the journey of playing bass. This is an additional tool to help you with the building of your skills.
  6. I always found major scales to be more useful for understanding a key, especially when it comes to (nashville) numbers and transposing. But not that useful for playing.

    But when it comes down to actually playing/improvising, i use other scales more (pentatonic, mixolydian, Dorian, blues, to name a few....)
    Bruiser Stone and B-Lo like this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes, that is EXACTLY right, and a very smart observation: All major scales have the same "pattern" or "formula." So you just start on the "tonic" or "one" (for example the tonic of Bb Major is Bb) and apply the familiar pattern. Hypothetically if there was an imaginary note called "X" you could construct an "X Major scale" by starting on X and then using the familiar pattern.

    And the same is also true for minor scales: There is a minor scale formula that is the same for all minor scales; you just move the pattern around to start from different notes.

    See, I don't think you are actually quite as clueless about music theory as you pretend to be. ;) I think your questions and comments actually show a lot of insight. So don't get frustrated! Be patient with your progress, and if you get overwhelmed, come back around to familiar songs that you know and love.
    lizardking837 and bholder like this.
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, a whole lot of it is that there's quite a bit of very specific terminology to describe the ideas - sounds like the ideas are there, all the theory terms just give us a "common dictionary" for talking about them. Learning the mapping (terms to concepts) isn't that hard, really, it just takes a while to build up enough basic vocabulary to be able to "converse" in it. :)
    lizardking837 and Mushroo like this.
  9. Thanks again, Mushroo. I don't know. This is going to take me a while to just get the major and minor scales/notes down. I will be happy to just get those two down and perhaps learn Minor/Major Pentatonics. Daunting task for me. NOT something I am looking forward to. I will try to stay as positive as I can when learning these. Again, thanks for all the help, kind words, and encouragement.
    bholder likes this.
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    It can seem like work for a while, but it gets easier, things will start "clicking"...
    Door County Bass likes this.
  11. Charlzm

    Charlzm Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Diatonic chords are built from the degrees of the major scale. If you know your major scale in the key of the song, you already know most of the notes that are appropriate for the chords in the song.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  12. I know what you mean. I played guitar for 30+ years and never read a shred of music. Played everything by ear and improvised on my lead lines/solos. Those were mainly "riffs" in certain keys, not scales. Scales have always intimidated me. I pretty much wore out the major Pentatonic scale when I soloed but I threw in a variety of riffs here and there... it's the only scale I took time to learn. The first two years of learning to play the guitar were NOT fun... it was work. However, after the first couple of years I really started enjoying playing. Hope this new journey takes the same route.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    lizardking837 and bholder like this.
  13. This is what I'm talking about... you may as well have been speaking Russian. LOL. "Diatonic", "degrees". What the heck is a Diatonic chord?
  14. Tommyc


    Nov 11, 2015
    Any song you're wanting to learn will have a chord set, a chord progression. The system most commonly used is the tertiary harmony system or the building up of chords in 3rds. Harmonize each scale degree of C major with that in mind and you get c as the chord root. Now add the 3rd in the scale and you arrive at e. Now you have the diad, c and e. Now continuing, add a 3rd to the e. Going up the scale you arrive at g. Now you have formed your tonic triad, c e g. Forming chords in the same manner using the next scale degrees , your next chord the ii is d f a, then e g b, f a c, etc. Forming chords in other keys than C major requires that you observe the flats or sharps of the keys so the next key G major a fifth up from C major will always have its f sharped. You don't have to stop with triads either. 4 note and 5 note chords are built by continuing to add 3rds. So another 3rd may be added to c e g to get C major 7th or c e g b. This is enough at this point as there are some things that are best left for later until you've got a grasp of the major scale. I don't want to confuse you at this point by getting into the dominant 7th which has B flat unexpectedly. Nonetheless these chord tones will make up more of the backbone of your bass lines more than the literal scales themselves as you'll discover. Good Luck!
  15. Clear as mud! LOL.
  16. Make sure you learn the Pentatonic scales, especially the minor keys. Chord tones, I forgot about them, also known as Arpeggios
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    lizardking837 likes this.
  17. :thumbsup:
  18. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I mentioned earlier that "diatonic" means "inside the key signature" or in other words, you don't need to use "accidental" symbols (i.e. sharps/flats/naturals outside the key signature).

    For example in the song "Sunspot Baby" the E, A, and B chords are "diatonic" to E Major, because you don't need any notes outside the E Major key signature. But the E7 chord is "non-diatonic" because it contains D natural, which is "outside" the E Major key signature. Can you hear how the non-diatonic D natural has a "blues" or "honky tonk" sound?

    A really simple way to understand the concept is to visualize a piano keyboard. In the key of C Major, the white keys are "diatonic" and the black keys are "non-diatonic." Does that make any sense, to have a visual metaphor?
  19. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The most impressive use of scales I ever saw was a guitarist in a punk band. It was a bunch of young kids, and at the end of the guitarist's first solo, the guitarist and I looked at each other, and one of us commented "He didn't play a single right note". We laughed, then looked at each other - hey, wait a minute! The more you play, the more the "right" notes "fall under your fingers" - you develop muscle memory that makes it easy to play "right" notes, and hard to play "wrong" ones. Between fighting that muscle memory and the fact that there are only 5 "wrong" notes, the ability to play only wrong notes is actually a very tough skill to master. This guy did it for a whole set!

    Anyway, scales are a way of helping you train that muscle memory. If you practice enough, you'll learn scales (the right notes will eventually fall under your fingers) one way or another; doing it up front helps get you there a bit quicker.
    Charlzm likes this.

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