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Some reassurance or direction or both

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bobdabilder, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. been playing bass for just over a year now taking lessons the entire time. Moved to bass from guitar with no formal instruction on guitar. My first instructor wanted to teach me any song i wanted to learn. I took him up on one or two but wanted to learn the theory and the "why" as it pertained to playing. found another instructor after 7 months. my new instructor has been teaching me theory and how to apply it on the fretboard. I have learned more in 3 months with instructor b than with instructor a. I am at a point where instructor b wants me to start writing chord progression, licks, etc. I am cool with that. I think playing with other people would speed up my applying the fills (triads, 7th chords, etc) to regular music. (i know less is more sometimes). I practice daily on lesson notes and applying what i've learned to band in a box tracks.
    What is/are my next logical step(s)? how would I go about finding others to jam with? Thank you for the replies. these forums have been a great resource.
  2. Next logical step? Follow your gut, it seems you have the bug. Keep playing every day, start playing with other people. Keep working with your teacher. Lather, rinse, repeat. In 5 years you'll be killing it.
  3. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    +1 to playing with others. Others you consider better than you.
    Are you in school? Start with fellow students who have similar musical tastes.
    Are you over 21? Open mic nights are a good source to find likeminded musicians.
    There's always the CL avenue. You take your chances there.
    Local music store bulletin boards.
    All ages local venues can draw local musicians in too.
    There out there man. Start lookin'.
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Writing chord progressions and understanding why certain chords like to follow certain other chords will help your bass playing a bunch. Little something from www.musictheory.net - Lessons - common chord progressions:

    The I tonic chord can go anywhere in a chord progression it wants to and fit in. However, when you move to the tonic in the middle of a progression you loose any tension you have built up and the verse, phrase, progression resolves and returns to rest. Do you want to resolve? Good question. I normally start a progression with the tonic and then I close the progression back with the I tonic. I very seldom move to the I chord in the middle of a progression. That is just me. Other songwriters do it all the time.

    The ii chord is a sub-dominant chord and it likes to move to a dominant chord.

    The iii chord is minor mediant chord - it being in the middle likes to move somewhere. It normally drags the vi with it.

    The IV chord is also a sub-dominant chord and it too likes to move to a dominant chord. As both of these chords have the same task in life they can sub for each other.

    The V chord is the dominant chord and it wants to move to the I tonic chord. Add a b7 to the chord making a V7 adds tension to the chord and I call the V7 the climax chord, Once you have reached climax any more would be anti-climatic so the V7 wants to resolve to the I tonic RIGHT NOW.

    The vi chord is the relative minor chord in the key. Long story about the vi chord, you normally see it added as a color or flavor chord. I-vi-ii-V7-I. It wants to move to a sub-dominant chord.

    The vii chord is the diminished chord. It is also a dominant chord. Where the V chord likes to move to the I tonic and the V7 wanting to do it right now the vii chord wants to get to the I tonic, but, is in no hurry to do so. So we use the vii a lot to start a turn-a-round, i.e. vii-iii-vi-ii-V7-I.
    So if you want to resolve to the tonic quickly use the V or V7, and if you want to resolve to the tonic in a leasurally manner use the vii.

    OK you have written your chord progression over the verse's lyrics. Your licks can come from the notes of the chord being played over this portion of the song. The active chord's pentatonic will give you three harmonizing notes and two safe passing notes. Write your licks from the chord's pentatonic notes. If you need to add something out side the pentatonic - help yourself. It's OK to go out, just come back in to close the lick.

    Look for jamming sessions. You may have to venture into the next town for this. Start a jamming session at your place - just friends dropping by one night a week. Real live people so you can bounce questions off them. Band in a box or the videos or backing tracks on the Internet is the next choice, but, nothing beats live sessions. BTW jamming sessions are a very safe place - if you are truly trying to get better - the people will bend over backward to help you.

    Good luck.

    P.S. See the next post. It has to do with how to write a song and will give you a deeper understanding how chord progression come into the picture.
  5. I'm in my 40's. Thanks for the reply. Great info.

  6. That is very helpful. The best part is that it makes sense to me! Thank you.

  7. Definitely have the bug. I'm slow and steady so I don't burn out. I don't like doing things I'm not good at and this has become theraputic....

  8. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Post continued from the one I did above:

    The following is a basic format you could use to write any song. Use as much of this as you need.
    Decide on a scale. Yes just one. I sing in D if this is going to be my song I'd write it with D scale notes for the melody and chords from the key of D will give me the harmony. If you do not have any vocalist in mind C is easy - no sharps or flats. OK I want to write a Pop, Rock or Country song so Major scale and major chords will be a good starting point.

    • Decide on a chord progression. Yes one of the cookie cutter progressions will be fine to get started. You can flesh it out later. Since this is my song I'd use a I IV V7 I or D, G, A7, D progression.

    • Now the rest is chicken or egg. I chose lyrics, chords then melody. You may want to go melody then chords and leave lyrics for last. It's your song do it the way you want. The order you take does not matter all that much. However, you should touch on everything that follows. I'll give the lyrics first method.

    • Get the story into verse format. Four line verse is a good format. You will need three verses and a chorus. Chorus is the hook, what you want them singing tomorrow. Rhyme or not up to you. If you are writing an instrumental piece you of course will not have lyrics to anchor your verses, etc. The repeating head (tune) is your anchor now.

    • Place your cookie cutter progression over the lyric words. This is my first draft approach. Start the verse with the I chord - you are at rest to start so the I tonic chord makes since. To get some interest into the chord progression we need to get some tension into the progression so move to the IV chord near the ending of the first line. Continue with the IV into the second line and near the end of the second line bring in the V7 chord. This increases the tension and acts as a climax. Since we have reached climax quickly end the 2nd line with the I chord. You moved the first two lines from I (rest) to IV (tension) to V7 (climax) and then resolved back to the I chord and rest. Repeat this for the 3rd and 4th line. I like to get two V-I cadences into my four line verse. Might as well use that same format for the other verses and what the heck use it for the chorus - remember you are doing a first draft.

    Verse format -- one way -- first two lines bring up a thought then the 3rd and 4th line of the verse react to what was said in the first two lines and then bring that thought to a close so verse number two can bring up another thought.

    • Play that progression and move the chords around to where they match the lyric words. Move them a little one way or the other - your ear will tell you.

    • Now it's melody time. I go to the keyboard for this - at any rate - one melody note per lyric word syllable. Ma-ry and Lit-tle will take two melody notes each. One note per lyric word syllable is a great help when writing melody.

    • Which notes. Chord tones. The chord's pentatonic will give you three chord tones for harmony and two safe passing notes for color - more than enough to build a melody that will harmonize with the chords you are using. Yes your melody notes and your chord notes should share like notes - when they do you harmonize both the melody and the chord line. I find knowing the progression first then finding melody notes from within the chords lets me keep the chord progression's journey from rest, tension, climax, resolution and return to rest the verse should travel intact. Now I only have to find harmonizing notes for my melody from the active chord or it's pentatonic. Here is what I do. Recite a lyric phrase and see what chord tone notes sounds best over that phrase. Here is Mary Had A Little Lamb in C; notice it's one melody note per lyric word syllable:

    C.....................................Dm.......... .....C
    Ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb.... Lit-tle lamb... lit-tle lamb.
    E...D...C...D.E..E...E..........D...D..D........E. .G...G

    • That will get you a lead sheet, treble clef, chords and lyrics. A bass clef would be nice or just leave it as a lead sheet and let the bassist compose the bass line - how the chord tones are played - as he/she feels best.
    Sit back open a bottle of your favorite beverage and start on fleshing out your first draft.

    That is just about all that is necessary to write a simple song. Is there more? Of course.
  9. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    Wow, ton of info there. I bet I could come back to this thread every month for a year, and still be learning new things.

    Thank you very much for sharing that!

  10. Are you comfortable with Chord tones and extensions and not just starting from the root? I'd really get that under my fingers before I do deep dive into theory.