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"Smoothing" it out and other quasi-theoretical questions.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by alex-hi78, Dec 8, 2001.

  1. alex-hi78

    alex-hi78 banned.

    Jun 11, 2001
    Honolulu, Hawai`i

    I was practicing my bass the other night when I noticed that note for note, I was matching what I was playing with what I was hearing. It wasn't as smooth though (I make up my own words as I go along). By smooth I mean a nice connection between notes. "Timing" may be a better word, but the point is if I played and a profession played, you'd certainly know who was who. Can anyone give me some suggestions on smoothing out the music?

    Two more questions, both of which will seem as abstract as my first one. I've been trying to learn a song for a week and a half now, and all I've managed to get is 4 notes: D#-(up one 8va-D#)-(back to regular)A#-G#. Sorry about not using flats, but they totally screw me up... it's from my piano lessons as a child being all in sharps. Either way, I've used most if not all the tricks in my trick bad. I can't find anyone that knows the chords (which may not be a cure-all... next question goes into that). I don't really have enough notes to even try to figure what key it's in; I'm thinking maybe B major (B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A-b). I don't have enough to try to figure a pattern because those four notes are in the intro! Believe it or not, I am usually this methodical when trying to deciper a bass line. Anyone got any suggestions for this one?

    Last question, and this is even more abstract. My friend was playing the ukulele and I was on the bass. The chords for the first verse go like this:

    C Em F C
    F C G Am F
    C Em F C
    F C G Am F

    The bridge goes like this:

    F C Em F
    F G Am F
    C Em F C F C
    E7 Am F G C
    G C
    G C
    F C F C
    F C Dm7 G

    (I suppose if you have access to a piano, keyboard or guitar you could play these.)

    In the bridge, with the exception of Em, I can play the root of the chord and the chords and roots harmonize. In the verses and the bridge, though, with Em, I was forced to play G as opposed E. I can't figure the reason for this. E under Em didn't fit in in this song. In other songs, it fits. I checked hy homemade "bass book" and saw that Em was E-G-B, but neither E or B made the song "work".

    This is just one of those things that I'd like demystified.

    If you can help, and if those questions aren't too abstract, thanks!
  2. Aloha, fellow island TBer!

    I can speak to your last question here, but I'm afraid I can't rely help with the first two. As you pointed out, the Em triad is E G and B. Playing the third (G) instead of the root (E) is an inversion of the triad. An inversion is simply playing a chord tone other than the root at the bottom of the triad. Such as:

    1st Inversion: R - 3rd - 5th
    2nd Inversion: 3rd - 5th - R
    3rd Inversion: 5th - R - 3rd

    (you more learned and experienced guys, please correct me if I am wrong here).

    Anyway, if the inversion makes the song work, run with it. :)
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I visited Hawaii in Oct of '69. I'm due to go back, right?

    One possibility-
    Your D#-A#-G# progression; how 'bout Eb-Bb-Ab?

    That could be Ab major...a V7-ii-I progression?

    Oh, yeah-
    As far as playing non-Roots under the chords.
    That's part of the bassist's responsibilty & power(& fun). One reason I like guitarist Steve Khan's playing so much; he usually voices his chords with the instrument's high strings(the D-G-B-E)...this can lead to some very ambiguous 'chords'. This practice allows the bassist(in this case, Anthony Jackson)alotta 'freedom'.
    Have your guitarist friend voice this chord-
    Barre @the 5th fret all 4 notes found on the D-G-B-E strings(notes = G-C-E-A). Those notes, G-C-E-A, look like an Am7, right? Anyway, play your Low A against that chord...play a low F against that chord. Experiment with other tones; which ones sound 'good' to you?
  4. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Well, G major is the relative major to E minor.. depending on what kind of voicing the uke player is using, the Em might sound a lot more like a G chord. For example, if he's playing a triad of some sort, like:

    G - B - E

    it would sound like the chord that you were playing was supposed to be a G major, which is also why laying on an E at the bottom of it is going to sound a bit odd as you'd be hanging on the 6th of the chord.

    E minor: E F# G A B C D E
    G major: G A B C D E F# G
  5. alex-hi78

    alex-hi78 banned.

    Jun 11, 2001
    Honolulu, Hawai`i
    I FINALLY found the chords to that song I was looking for. I'm pretty sure the intro was right, but of all the chords, I only got one right, and it was D#. I guess one isn't so bad when you consider the amount of time I have been playing.

    I think I understand you all's point about my Em/G quagmire. Thanks for the little bit of theory!

    Off-topic: JimK, if you want to visit Hawaii, now's a good time... everything for tourists is cheap. The state is beating itself stupid trying to get people to come visit. Even Hawaiian Airlines has "new low fares" to fly out from the west coast.
  6. You may get it right or you may not, but you are doing yourself a huge favor of trying to figure out the songs like you are. Nothing against tabs (for now) but in a couple of years this will be second nature to you, you will be able to hear a song on the radio and instantly hear what the bassist is playing. I know it's a struggle now but in the long run this way of learning is going to pay off greatly;)

    The way that usally works for me is to figure out what key there playing in first off. Then go from there.... is he playing 1,3,5,6,b7 1,2,4,6 Whatever once you get the key it's alot easier to hear the steps he's taking.
  7. alex-hi78

    alex-hi78 banned.

    Jun 11, 2001
    Honolulu, Hawai`i
    That's what I normally try to do if I can get enough notes to figure out the scale. For this particular one, I think the scale was B Major. I just had a hard time getting all the roots

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