1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Some questions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Garrett Mireles, Jun 26, 2003.

  1. I'm writing a piece where I have a rhythm bass going, and the lead bass comes in and takes over, but following the same progressions, and I'm starting to have all these questions.

    1) When you look at a tab, and it says E5 at the top, does this mean the notes being used are E and B? Makes sense, for powerchords or whatever.

    2) So I was going to start writing the lead bass lines, and the first section was in the key of A.

    How many A scales are there? Is it just Aelion *sp*, or whatever the mode for A is? That can't be right, I'm confused over here, lol. Any help is mucho appreciado.

    I printed Chapter 2 of Wheats bassbook, if anybody wants to use that as a reference. I also have Chuck Rainey's "Guide to Electric Bass" or something, but I hate that book. He doesn't explain anything.

    3) This one should go in Technique, I'll just stick in here for personal ease of reading.

    How do you play artificial harmonics at the 24th fret?
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    1) E5 means a fifth chord, same as a power chord. Root-fifth-octave. Great thing about this is that it give you alot of freedom for lead lines, since no tonality such as a minor,major,dominant 7th, etc. is explicit in the chord.

    2) I'll try to explain this, but I may need some people to chime in for clarification. There are 7 modes to a major scale. I'll use C major as an example.
    --1) Ionian is the first mode, no sharps or flats. Same as the Major scale
    --2) Dorian has a flatted 3rd and 7th. It has the same notes as a C major scale, but has D as the root. It starts to get a little tricky here. The notes of a D major scale are D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D. If you flatten the 3rd and 7th interval, you have D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D. Those are the same notes as the C major scale, except you start and end at the D (root).
    --3) Phrygian has a flatted 2,3,6,7. Take an E-major scale and flat the 2,3,6,7 and you have the C major scale or E Phrygian mode.
    --4) Lydian has a sharp 5th. Take a F major scale and sharp the five, and you have the C major scale again. Starting to see the trend?
    --5) Mixolydian has a flat 7th. Can you guess what major scale is altered to come up with the same notes as the C major? If guessed G you are right.
    --6) Aeolian has a flat 3,6,7. Same intervals as a minor scale. Yup, if you flat the 3,6,7 of the A major you have the same tones of a C.
    --7) Locrian has a flat 2,3,6,7 and a sharp 5.

    Scales are major,minor,augmented, and diminished. (Western Music). There's tons of scales out there like the Kyoto scale from Japan or the Gypsy Minor scale or whatever. A scale and a mode are different but related. C major has the same notes of A minor or G Mixolydian.

    3) To play an artificial harmonic on a note fretted on the 24th fret you need to create the artifical harmonic or "pinch" somewhere between the bridge and neck pickup, depending on the bass. It's a trial and error thing for me. I'm sure someone on TB can explain the physics here, but I won't so as to not confuse you (or myself). The "pinch" is when you mute the string with you thumb or index finger, pluck it and then unmute it so that the harmonic sounds. If I misunderstood your question, let me know and I'll try to help.
    Hope this helps.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    There are many A scales. I assume the key you are referring to is A Major. The Aeolian mode of A major is actually F# Aeolian, not A Aeolian. To further muddy the waters for you, A Aeolian is the Aeolian mode of C Major.

    I'll simplify what Jive 1 generously took his time to write out for you. Let's assume , for the sake of maximum simplication, that we are listing the modes in order of C Major, because there are no sharps or flats in C Major.

    C Major
    D Dorian
    E Phrygian
    F Lydian
    G Mixolydian
    A Aeolian
    B Locrian

    The modes in order for A Major are:

    A Major
    B Dorian
    C# Phrygian
    D Lydian
    E Mixolydian
    F# Aeolian
    G# Locrian

    Jive 1 has given you the formulas above for playing each mode. But back to your question, there are many A scales, such as A pentatonic scales, the A blues scale, and even jazzy scales such as the A Bebop Locrian natural 2.

    But maybe to make your task easier, you should concentrate on chords first, rather than get involved in modes, unless, of course, you feel you do understand them, how they are used and how they are constructed.

    Wheat's bass book is quite a good web site. You might also check the excellent lessons Jazzbo has posted here. His explanations are very clear and helpful.

    Oh, I also have Chuck Rainey's book, Book 2...Playing Concepts and Dexterity. I can see where that book might not be very helpful to you. There are so many other books that do a better job of answering questions such as you have. His book is excellent for reading and fingering exercises and for developing technique.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The principle of artifical harmonics is very simple - you are just subdividing the "working" string length.

    So the reason you get a natural harmonic at the 12th fret an octave above the fretted note is that you are dividing the string into 2.

    With artificial harmonics you are just doing the same thing, but shifting the whole thing up.

    So - if you fret a note at the 12 fret at the same time as resting your thumb or finger on the string, over the 24th fret - then you have effectiveley subdivided the working string length as you did with the 12th fret natural harmonic - but have created a new "node".

    So - if you wanted to play an artifical harmonic higher than the frets you have - just look at the ditance between where you are fretting with your left hand and the bridge - resting your thumb (a la Jaco ) or finger(like a guitarist) halfway between where you are holding down the string and the bridge will give you an octave higher - 3/4 of the way will give you another octave higher, etc.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Thanks Bruce, it's a very clear explanation.

    On the bad side, now I am thinking about the possibilities for all kinds of semitones and junk on my fretless through artificial harmonics. Don't you know I need to practice my reading?!
  6. Lol that's exactly what I was going to say. You beat me to it so..

    I think what he means by "working section" is the length of the string that is vibrating/making sound...so subdividing probably means dividing it up, hence the whole pinch thing.

    Trial and error for AH's..figures..I hate the damn things but they sound too cool to be left alone :D

    Thanks alot guys, I'll print this topic.
  7. Sorry to be a nuisance, I'm probably wrong :rolleyes:
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Locrain has a flat 2,3,5,6, and 7. No raised 5th degree.
  9. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    You guys are right. It's a sharp 4, not 5. I know that was right, but my brain farted. A sharp five would make for an augmented something. I guess that's the good thing about these boards. Makes you articulate stuff that you have in your head. Unfortunately, other people seem to explain it better than me.

    Sorry for the confusion
  10. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    But in the case of Locrian, it's a flat 5, not a sharp 4.
  11. Yeah I'm a metalhead, so I have a pretty good grasp on chords and how to use them.

    I was wondering, if you were to play (in C maj)...say..G mix, it would look like:


    I've heard people saying things like A phrygian, mixing the notes and modes up. So if you were to play B mix, would it look like:


    ..? Does it follow the same pattern, or am I wrong again?
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes it follows the same pattern.

    But, may I suggest that you're taking the wrong approach here. Don't think of it as fret numbers, think of it as notes. It's far more helpful.

    B Mixolydian is : B C# D# E F# G# A (B).

    May I suggest you don't think of it as:


    But rather, you think of the note names. It really is far more helpful. It means you've got something generic that you can play anywhere on the neck, and indeed on any instrument. It also gives you something that allows you to communicate with other musicians.

    Posting bass tabs might fly here, in the company of bassists (though to be honest, it's not helping us, and it's not helping you...), but not with people who don't play bass.
  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Ha, yeah, that one got me too :D
    The vast majority of metal is made up of power chords which dont even have a tonality!

    Listen to the mole, he speaketh the truth!!

    Perhaps a good way of bridging the gap between thinking in terms of fret numbers and actual notes is to start thinking in terms of intervals.

    So for example:

    major = t-t-s-t-t-t-s
    mixolydian = t-t-s-t-t-s-t
    aeolian = t-s-t-t-s-t-t

    For me, this is helps me think in more musical terms, i.e. in terms of 3rds, 5ths, 7ths etc, rather than fret patterns - it is in effect a step closer to thinking of the actual note names.
    For exmaple you know that G mix is the 5th mode of C major, you know that the chord tones of G7 are GBDF.. easy in the key of C obviously... that's where the cirlce of 5ths comes in :)

    Remembering the order in which notes are used in chords is invaluable too CEGBDFA - this combined with the major modes as per in a post above, is just so needed...

    My band has a new track with a verse four chord progression (I cant remember it now), but I came up with a framework to improvise a bass line with the root of F over every chord by using the different modes of the major scale.
    It's good because there are numerous options, for example, you could use any of three modes (possibley four, depending on whether anyone else voices a perfect 5th?) with a minor chord, meaning your modal line could be very different depending on your choice.. modes are KewL!!! :D
  14. OHH!! YOU DID NOT JUST SAY THAT!!OMG! Layin the smack down!


    Nah I know songs that make use of 5ths,6ths, 3rds, etc, not just powerchords.


  15. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Your question, how to make good lines, was asked and answered. Now you say you don't want to put in the work to create good lines. You've been given the map, but you apparently think it's too far to travel, or not worth the trip.

    Enjoy where you are, becuase without walking down the path laid before you, there is where you will stay.
  16. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Okey dokey Garrett...

    Then think of it in some visual way - maybe in the form of notes on the piano keyboard, whatever works. The point is to think of it in some way that relates to what notes you're playing - not to where you're playing them. Because where you're playing them is meaningless if you want to play it elsewhere on the neck, or if you want to play it on another instrument, or if you want to talk to other musicians about it.

    Well you're gonna find it difficult communicating with other musicians then. Because that's the language we speak.

    I disagree. I'm a musician, not a trained monkey, you see.

    That's because you haven't internalized the relationship between notes and fret positions yet.

    a) They're not here, they're in the band you haven't joined yet, or the jam session you haven't sat in on yet.

    b) They are here, and they do play bass, but they're musicians, and they'd rather communicate in terms that relate directly to the music than ones that relate specifically to one particular way of playing one particular tune in one particular key on one particular kind of bass.

    I see. So are you really just trying to say "I'm not going to be great musician"?

    Not at all, when you understand it and use it in a way that is beneficial to you.

    It might over complicate things when you don't know it, and don't want to put in the effort to learn it.
  17. Pardon my french, but where the hell did you get that from? I just said I learn better with visuals.

    Anyway this'll wind up in some stupid argument by the next page, so I'll just say "thanks alot guys". :bassist:
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I got it from pearls of wisdom like this:

    If you want patterns, you'll forever be spewing mindless patterns, instead of making music which comes from your knowledge of how to play what you hear in your head. Remember, theory came after great sounds - but knowledge of theory will help you make those great sounds when you want to. You'll know what things sound great, and more importantly, why they sound great.

    But it takes work. Work apparently you don't want to do because it "overcomplicates things".
  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I knew that would provoke a reaction! Note I did say "the vast majority of metal", not "all metal".
    Just because I know a bit of theory doesn't mean I don't like to rock! :)

    Molemonkey, Monkeymole, Molemonkeyman???

    You're pushing it too far out there moley I'm lost...

    Garrett, check this..
    I've been playing 13 years and took about a ten predominantly theory lessons from 18 months ago.
    I'm not taking any at the moment because I know what I need to learn and I just need to knuckle down and use/practice using the theory I've learnt to-date to get it into my head.
    I play with 3 completely different bands. All three contain some highly talented and professional players.

    1) I wouldn't be able to be in the bands I'm in without the theory I know

    2) My musicianship has grown ten fold in the past year, since learning and applying some basic theory. I'm not showing off, I feel it, I feel like a better musician, I play with better musicians and I really am starting to understand music that much better... still along way to go mind... like the rest of my life :)

    3) I am now able to learn chord progressions much much quicker and have what seems like almost infinite number of ways to approach how play them

    4) I can communicate with other musicians easily!!!!

    Honestly, it's the bet thing I ever did...
  20. Alright, apparently I got the wrong message accross with my earlier post ;)

    I meant I honestly hate music theory, but I'm still going to learn it anyway, I know it's required.

    I don't blame you, there are alot of crap bands out there that wouldn't know a scale if it bit them in the ass.

    No no, re-read my post. I said "But it's necessary." It's like school, you hate the work but you know that ya gotta learn the material.

    Ok I'm sending you a message.. C# Bb D E F A#


    Alright I'm tracking. I realized late last night that if I were to take up another instrument (have a keyboard in my room..tempted to bust out some Bach if I can find the sheet music) I'd have to learn theory all over again if I didn't know the note names, simply the "shapes on the fretboard".

    Maybe I'm just making this theory thing harder than it really is.