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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tiberya, May 14, 2011.

  1. Tiberya


    May 2, 2010
    hey there !

    at this moment i have no knowledge of scales and how they are formed and for what reason
    however i want to understand how they work and how they look and sound
    so i can start messing around with them
    also my music theory is non existing i also want to learn that
    i do have the book from Hal Leonard called the bass method
    but when i try to work with that book i am completely lost
    if you guys could give me some pointers that would be helping me greatly
    i did look at the topic : Introduction to Scale and Chord Theory but i find myself lost there as well
    so at this moment im lost
  2. Basshoofd


    Jan 14, 2009
    Take a look at studybass.com
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  4. avengeance


    May 11, 2011
    music theory and bass guitar for dummies?? I currently own the Hal Leonard Bass Edition with all 3 books and the Music Theory for dummies is great really breaks the material down for you.
  5. Studybass.com has helped me out immensely. Good explanations of how and why things work with lots of exercises. Bass guitar for dummies is a good accompaniment to it.
  6. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    +1 Studybass.com

    Bass Guitar for Dummies is a good supplemental reference. If you're shopping 'used' on Amazon<hint>, make sure that the CD is included...
    (some of those on Amazon are missing the CD).
  7. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    The initial key for me was learning chord structure. Knowing that and a fake chord sheet you can play just about anything.
  8. Yes! Fake Chord sheet music and knowing what notes to play under the chords shown on the sheet music is where I recommend you spend your time.

    Scales are primarily for melody and letting us understand how to move around our fretboard. Plus scales help our ears recognize the good notes from the bad notes, however, until you start getting some lead solo breaks chord tones and arpeggios will do you the most good. YouTube - 'How to practice Arpeggios' Pt 1 - BASS LESSON with Scott Devine Don't let the black glove throw you. Scott has a skin condition and must use it. Notice all the help on the right hand side of the screen.

    Yes also to studybass.com and Bass guitar for dummies.

    Here are some things I found useful.

    How to read and use fake chord sheet music. Easy Guitar Songs To Learn The 6 string guitar guys strum the chord we play the notes of the chord (arpeggios) one note at a time. How many of the notes of the chord? As many as needed. Roots just by themselves right at first, then roots and fives (R-5-R-5) then see a chord name and you decide what bass line would best fit this song. Perhaps the root five or how about R-5-8-5 or R-3-5-6, it's your bass line you decide. Roots and fives get the job done anything beyond that is gravy. If you like gravy help yourself.

    Here is something to print and save as reference material.

    Have fun.
  9. guitar<bass


    Oct 25, 2005
    I have put countless hours into my bass. I love it as I have all the others I've owned. I've finally put everything on hold to learn some theory and train my ear.
    And so far.. nothing about this "clicks".
    I think that a chord is what you get when every note in a scale is played simultaneously.
    But, if chord charts are only finger-positioning guides, then why would they pertain to a certain note? Especially since everyone seems to say they can be played anywhere on the neck.. Wouldn't that make it redundant to call it a C if you can play the same series of notes anywhere? Allowing for C to be the root note of a scale but just a few half steps down the C is now the 5th note of the scale.. I'm heading back to studybass.com.. Bass guitar for dummies never made sense of it for me either..btw..
  10. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    a C major scale has 7 notes as do many scales ...you can refer to them numerically as well;

    C D E F G A B
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    a C major chord is constructed in thirds from this scale ...meaning you take every 2nd note - C E G - 1, 3rd, 5th

    if you add one more note to the chord by skipping the A and going to the B ...you get a 4 note chords ...jazz style etc ..C E G B = 1 3rd 5th 7th = Cmajor7

    for every note in the major scale there is an accosiated chord - all these chords can be derived by using the same principle - you take every other note--

    so the 2nd chord in a C major scale would start with D - skip the E take the F - skip the G take the A ( D F A)

    D is the root , F is a minor 3rd in relation to the D root and A is a perfect 5th - this spells a Dminor chord

    you actually should start your theory with interval recognition = how to name the distance between two notes!

    if we go thru the entire process we find the chords that go with the C major scale are C maj, Dmin, Emin, F maj, Gmaj, Amin, Bdim - i'm referring to 3 note chords here (triads)

    we also call these chords by number like we did with the scale C maj -1 Dmin = 2 Emin = 3 Fmaj = 4 Gmaj = 5 Amin = 6 Bdim = 7

    if a pop/country/rock song is in the key of Cmajor = you may find generous use of the Cmaj, F maj, Gmaj and maybe Amin

    so the most popular chords in a key for western music are the 1, 4 , 5, and 6 ......the 6 chord or Amin is referring to as the relative minor in the key of C major!
  11. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    here are the intervals contained in a major scale as they relate to the root C

    C-D = major 2nd
    C-E = major 3rd
    C-F = perfect 4th
    C-G = perfect 5th
    C-A= major 6th
    C- B = major 7th

    there are intervals outside the realm of the major scale that you can name as well as they relate to C

    C-Db = minor 2nd
    C-Eb = minor 3rd
    C-Gb= tritone or diminshed 5th
    C- Ab = minor 6th
    C- Bb = minor 7th

    in order to fully understand music theory you must start here and memorize/study these relationships from one note to another ...and ofcourse these relationships hold true for all notes in other keys ....
  12. No a chord is what you get when every other note in the scale is played. Simultaneously in a strum as the rhythm guys do or each note of the chord individually as we do.
    C scale is C, D, E, F, G, A, B
    C chord has the C, E, G notes in it. The Cmaj7 chord would have the C, E, G, B notes in it.
    Next chord starting on the D has the D, F, A notes in it. That will be the Dm7 chord with the D, F, A, C notes in it. --- confusion -- It's a minor chord because the D major scale has a F# note in it and we need just the F so in lowering the F# to a F we flatted the 3rd interval, which makes the chord minor. Hang in help is coming ......
    Go to post # 2 on the following thread and see if some of that will help. You need to start at the beginning and take it in steps, that post takes you through 6 steps - take them one at a time. Music theory? - iBreatheMusic Forums Getting theory help from a forum is suspect at best because one answer will come from left field and another will come from right field, both correct, but both only telling part of the story. Perhaps this thread can help. Hope so. Print it off, find an easy chair and spend 30 minutes a day for the next week or so and see where it takes you. Yes ask specific questions someone will help.

    Good luck.
  13. guitar<bass


    Oct 25, 2005
    This is my favorite website. Period. I cannot begin to thank you guys enough. When I get off work I will study these words and hope to finally begin to understand all of this!!! :)
  14. Tiberya


    May 2, 2010
    hey guys thank you for the input so far

    but to be honest this stuff goes way over my head
    is there a way that you guys can simplify it ?
    or maybe this stuff is not ment to be
  15. This book is frequently recommended here:

    Edly's Music Theory for Practical People
  16. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    many theory things become much clearer when looked at on a piano keyboard, or notated on the staff. I suggest , as you learn scales, tale the time to see what they look like both ways, in addition to how the patterns fall on the neck of the bass.
  17. Yes you eat this elephant one bite at a time. It does not come over night, but, you have to start somewhere. Theory is theory pick something and start on page one.
  18. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Start with chord tones!!
  19. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    It's a common problem for people who try to put it all together at one time. It's not really hard, but it is critical that you have structure and a process to get to where this makes sense. I think there's a definite progression of knowledge where each level builds upon the previous one. Here's what I think that progression is from an earlier post of mine (with thanks to mambo4 for creating the framework)...

    Theory can seem like a quagmire to those who are starting out, and it's often difficult to know just how important a particular aspect of it is. I will say that learning how chords are built from scales is the most important aspect of theory. It is far more useful to understand chord construction than to memorize all those "Scales A and B go with chord X" formulas.

    I'd say the logical progression learning music theory is this:

    1.) Learn the major scale, and how it's constructed
    2.) Learn how basic chords are built from the major scale- e.g Major is 1,3,5, minor is 1,b3, 5, etc.
    3.) Learn how to harmonize the notes of any diatonic major scale by building chords / stacking thirds.
    4.) Learn arppegios/chord tones
    5.) Learn to look at common chord progressions as "numerals" (eg, I-IV-V ect) to understand how the chords relate to the song's key.
    6.) Learn the Natural Minor scale (a/k/a Aeolian mode) and the dominant scale (a/k/a Mixolydian); And learn how these relate to the major scale (i.e.; its the V and vi mode)
    7.) Understand how other 4 modes of the major scale are derived (less important to memorize these other modes at first)
    8.) Dive back into modes for more detailed ideas about what "goes" with what chord.

    Bass playing is basically a matter of knowing what to play over various chords. It may seem daunting at first, but my practical experience (bass in pop/rock) has been that I mostly use Major, Minor, and Dominant 7 related bassline patterns, usually based on chord tones and pentatonics. Even if you're playing some guitar oriented riff-rock, each riff is going to imply a chord of some kind.

    85%+ of the time, you will be going from root note to root note as the chords change. The trick is learning how to do it with a groove and feel that is stylistically appropriate to the song. The best way to reach stylistic understanding is to learn songs you like and pick them apart to see how the bassline relates to the chords. I cannot emphasize this idea enough: The answer to this common question is to LEARN AND ANALYZE BASS LINES BY THE MASTERS. Once you undertand what Jamerson (for example) did with a particular set of changes, these ideas become added to your tool set, to use, change, blend and create your own voice.

    I highly recommend Edley's Music Theory for Practical People as well.
    Play, Learn, Music, theory, instruction, books, piano

    AND The first thing is to OWN the diatonic major scale. That's a LOT more than just being able to finger the scale. Memorize two things first: First, the formula for a major scale (that is whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step, whole-step, half-step) and second, econd, the key of C has no sharps or flats. Now from that you can derive the notes in all the other major keys. How? Apply the formula.

    Key of C is C D E F G A B C (second point- it's got no sharps nor flats). Therefore there's a half-step between E & F and another half-step between B & C. All the others have a whole-step (that's the first thing you memorized). So how do I do this for the key of G?

    1. Write out the letters in order from G to G- you get G A B C D E F.
    2. G to A is a whole step, and that fits the formula
    3. A to B is a whole step and that fits the formula
    4. B to C is a half step, and that fits the formula
    5. C to D is a whole step, and that fits the formula
    6 D to E is a whole step, and that fits the formula
    7. E to F is a half step; BUT that does NOT fit the formula because the formula says we need a whole step here. So, instead of F we use the next note which is F#. That gives us the whole step we need.
    8. F# to G is a half step, and that fits the formula.

    Repeat that process on your own for all the other keys. Go up a fifth each time (I started at the key of C then went to the key of G, the next one is the fifth note of the G scale which is D). Continue that until you get to the key of C# (if you do it right, all 7 notes will be sharped). Then go back to the key of C and repeat the process starting with F then go by fourhts (F then Bb then Eb etc.).

    Then take the key of G and find it on the neck. Ignore any scale book, figure this out for yourself. Make sure you know what each note is- so when you're playing the G major scale you know when you're playing the F#, when you're playing the E, etc.


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