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

  1. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    I’m 40 with 4 kids and a law practice. I’ve decided bass is a lifelong passion I will pursue in my spare time even if I’m not that great at it or if I never join a band. I love it.

    I have a bad habit of trying to ingest everything at once, then I get overwhelmed, and then I go look up an easy song, read tabs, and make myself feel better for a little while, or I GAS for gear. That’s why I make “blind” listening to songs I like my focus: I’m using what little I know in a practical way that I enjoy, and so my application is rooted in actually making music versus thinking/talking about it. I’m signed up for Scott’s Bass Lessons, and though I don’t sign in everyday, he’s a great reference for watching (again and again) things that are tripping me up.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  2. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002

    Carol Kayes approach here is really the only one that makes sense to me after all these years. Basslines and solos in general outline the harmony and thats what she's showing here.

    I think way too many people get hung up on this scale/that mode approach and it causes confusion, and often times makes no sense.

    take this excerpt from somewhere else for instance:

    "Just a quick question for all the Jerry players out there. Do you find yourself playing over chord shapes or do you find yourself playing modally. Of course it depends on the song, but I feel as if I can focus more on playing with the harmonics between the intervals when I am playing over chord shapes. In other situations I feel as if the music is suited better playing modally and sometimes both. But just seeing if anybody had any opinions on this. Thanks!"

    I've got very little formal training, only what I've gotten from lessons and workshops, but i read that and its a perfect example of someone getting hung up on the whole scale/mode thing.

    Im not saying scales and modes aren't relevant, I just think people spend way too much mental energy on trying to figure out what scale or what mode works with what chord.
  3. “People fear what they don't understand and hate what they can't conquer.”

    ― Andrew Smith

  4. Charlzm

    Charlzm Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    "Diatonic: means "involving only notes proper to the prevailing key without chromatic alteration."

    So, if a song is in C major, all the chords in that song (if it is a diatonic song) will be built from the degrees of the scale.

    "Degree" just refers to step. First degree of a scale is the tonic (root note). Second degree is the second note; in C major, that would be a D.

    Building chords is easy once you know the scale. Say you want to start on the root (the tonic) of the key for your first chord in this song. Take the root note of that chord, then add the 3rd, 5th and 7th (if making a common seventh chord) degrees. This is your C major chord.

    Now, let's say you want to go to the F chord. That's the 4th note of C major (C, D, E, F - 4 scale tones). Your chord will be built from 1 (F), 3 (A), 5 (C) and 7 (E).

    This is really simple stuff; don't let the jargon get in the way!

    Once you know the notes of each chord, you can begin crafting bass lines that reinforce the sound of the chord you're on. Then there's voice leading, which is when you play a note from the current chord that's very close to the note of the next chord that comes in the song. If you know your scales and chord tones, this is a lot easier than if you don't.
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  5. The intervals defined by the major scale define the general name of all intervals and the notes you use to build chords. The relationships can also define chord progressions free from specific key references, allowing for easy transposing.

    When some says a major triad is just the root, the third, and the fifth, the terms “root”, “third”, and “fifth” are defined by the first, third, and fifth note of the major scale.

    When someone says, “Play the same thing a minor third higher” the interval “minor third” is defined by the major scale.

    When someone says, “It’s a simple I - IV - V chord progression” the I, IV, and V are defined by relationships established by the major scale.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  6. Exactly!
  7. Also, knowing your scales will help you out when your singer tells you that he/she would like to do the song in “D” or “G” instead of “E”.
  8. Lydian Augmented
  9. Lydian Augmented
    Lydian Augmented
  10. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    @Kipp Harrington
    I have been playing for over 30 years
    And I am still learning new things about the major scale
    and its still fun for me

    the secret to traveling a long road is enjoying each (very small) step.
    it's only hateful and fearful if you allow your frustration to upset you,
    or the size of what you don't yet know to scare you.

    so start very very small
    heck just pick C major , spend a month figuring it out
    and forget about needing to learn anything else
    write down all the notes
    google some fingerboard charts
    finger it in as many ways as you can make up
    play every other note (every third note, fourth note)
    play it all only on one string (or two)
    go up 3 notes then down two , repeat...
    challenge your self to invent new ways to play those 7 notes
    play it until it's not fun

    then pick another scale
  11. lizardking837


    Jan 28, 2009
    You and me both...
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  12. lizardking837


    Jan 28, 2009
    On the subject, one exercise that's worked really well for me is to make 17 flash cards, one for each note. Every day (especially on days when I have only have about 10 or 15 minutes to play), I'll shuffle the cards and a find each note on the fretboard one by one.

    And to combine this with Mushroo's 'One scale per day' approach whichever note I end on, I play that major scale a few times. Then the a second octave up and down, finally I'll play each triad from each scale position. It's a really good way to make the most out of 10 or 15 minute and in the last week or so it's really helped me retain and grasp theory and how chords are shaped.
  13. JohnnyBottom

    JohnnyBottom Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    New Jersey
    A lot of theory here... Ive played Clarinet, Bass clarinet and Eflat Contra Bass clarinet and had to transpose the sheet music i was reading in real time. ie I think add 3 flats to the score. BUT when it came down to playing bass.. I was taught 2 patterns. A major scale and a minor scale. The bass being a symmetrical instrument we can move those patterns anywhere and play off the same patterns in
    any key/chord depending on where I start. I can alter those patterns easily after I understand the differences in modes or scale types, like harmonic minor, and derive the notes of any scale from those patterns. I never went about memorizing scales, but can groove, sound repetitious or non repetitious , melodic or dissonant and carry the bottom as needed. Granted I lost my sheet reading ability at this point, chord charts are a breeze.
    IamGroot and MalcolmAmos like this.
  14. It’s not fun from the get go. Stressful and frustrating. I’m not that type of player, I guess. Too analytical for me. I’m doomed when it comes to stuff like this. But thanks anyway for trying to encourage me.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  15. 17?
  16. I don’t understand how learning scales can help. Sounds like a waste of time. Repeating scales over and over and you never really use the actual scale in a song... or rarely. Talk about kill joy!
  17. How do you play a song now? When you memorize the song do you understand what the notes are? Like when you play the pattern you memorized do you realize what the notes or chord tones are? Like I'm playing this pattern G to D, G to D, that is a root and a fifth I'm rocking on the one chord? Then there's a chord change and now I'm rocking the C to G, C to G, I'm playing a pattern on the four chord rocking again root and fifth on the four chord? Knowing those things is also a memory aid as well. I know that when I see or play that pattern I know it's a root-fifth pattern and can replicate it every time. :)
    Mushroo likes this.
  18. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    You don't 'use' scales in a song or repertoire; they rather are traditional core tools to practice an instrument. 'Knowing' a scale doesn't mean anything, the key is to play them as beautifully, focused and even as possible in varying rhythm, tempi, phrasings. You practice them to improve your phrasing, learn to understand the notes on your instrument, as in where to find the notes without looking first; play all over the neck with even dynamics, equal speed and clean execution, connect with the instrument, and so forth. Good classical musicians keep practicing the major and minor scales all life long. This could be the (thin) book you need, it outlines the major and classic melodic minor scales in all 12 keys. for. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1562242679/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Good luck!
  19. I understand the notes... I just don’t analyze it to death, like “root/fifth”, “four chord”... chord tones??? I know what notes I’m playing. That’s it.
  20. I just don’t get it. Scales and modes, theory, etc. If knowing a scale doesn’t mean anything, what good is that? This all seems so unnecessary. I’ve written songs on guitar (decent songs) without any knowledge of this stuff. It’s just all so technical and cold.

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