Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Theory question (Warning: may sound stupid!)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by yawnsie, Feb 9, 2001.


  1. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Now, please bear in mind that I don't know very much about theory before you all jump on me for asking a question that, for one reason or another, probably sounds ridiculous.

    In one of our songs, there's a chord that the guitarist made up, which consists of the notes F A C#. Would I be right in thinking that this chord is F+, or F augmented?

    The guitarist has also decided he'd like me to try a bass solo in the song. The other chords in the solo sequence are A, A7, and F#m7 with a fourth instead of a fifth. (Does anybody know what this would be called.) The F chord above is the last in the sequence. I've tried to work out a blanket scale for this, and I've come up with A mixolydian. Can anyone tell me if I could get away with this, and suggest any other scales that could work?

    Like I say, I'm not very knowledgable about theory, so I'm sorry if this makes me sound like a simpleton. Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    When you say F#m7 with a 4th - do you mean a flattened fifth? This would make it a half-diminished chord and these are quite common in Jazz and would usually imply a Locrian scale.
     
  3. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    It's another one of the guitarist's made up chords - he just barres the guitar at the second fret, so the notes he plays on the guitar are - F#, B, E, A, and C#. I suppose it could be a F# minor 7th sus4, but I'm not sure.
     
  4. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Think chord, NOT key.
    ...in other words, you may not find a "blanket scale/key" for tunes like this. Pick notes in each chord(or maybe notes NOT in the chord) ;) in your attempt to make the transitions.
    The F-A-C# triad looks like an F with a raised 5th; how is the guitarist voicing it? Is the "F" note on the bottom?
    ...if so, is he playing the "F" note on the bottom "E-string"(if so, then that may force you to play an "F").

    What notes are in the "F#m7 with a 4th instead of a 5th" chord? I'm assuming you have F#-A-B-E?
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Thinking about this again, I suppose it doesn't matter what the name of the scale/mode is, you might end up using the same notes. Your blanket scale is starting to look something like : A B Db(C#)E F# and G - which does include all the notes of F# half-diminished - but as JimK says your F in the F+ chord is looking out of place in this sequence and you will have to choose a different scale over that chord or just rememeber that it's F not F#.

    PS I doubt very much that your guitarist could have made up a chord that hasn't been named by somebody before. The Real Book lists about 75 different types of chord!;)
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Cross posts here but I've finally sussed the chord - it's F# Minor 11. Your guitarist is just leaving out the 9th.
     
  7. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    ...actually, that chord has always been one of my favorites(I like to Barre it at the 7th fret); kinda like a lazy man's 9th chord.
    Sometimes, I like playing that kinda voicing using only the guitar's D-G-B-E strings; Barring @the 5th fret would give you a G-C-E-A. THAT looks like an Am7, right? I use that in one of my tunes, though I'm playing an "F" note on the bass. If possible, try playing an "A" & then an "F" to that chord; I dunno, with the "F", the chord spells out to F-G-C-E-A...THAT looks like Fmaj9. Think of this like a pianist; the LEFT hand is playing the "F", the RIGHT hand is playing the "G-C-E-A".
    So, the point to all this rambling is: certain chords are ambiguous. There's also something called slash chords out in the wonderful world of theory(like a G/G#...a G# with a G in the bass, maybe?).
    If your guitarist is voicing the chord with a lotta oomph on his bottom "E" string, YOUR choices may be somewhat limited. If, like Steve Khan, a guitarist voices chords "mainly" on the D-G-B-E strinmgs, that opens up some possiblities for YOU(what note you choose may dictate the chord's name).

    ...have fun, this kinda stuff makes it worthwhile.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Remember that the term "blanket scale " doesn't mean a scale that can be played over an entire progression - it can mean this when the progression is very simple, but in most cases it simply means a scale which defines a common tonality shared by any number of consecutive chords in a progression.

    I believe Bruce has already done this(from your original post, you might have done this also, but just in case..), but the first step toward finding a blanket scale is simply to put together all of the notes in all of the chords and arrange them in order without worrying about which note is the "root" of the scale. Each note of the collection will be colored differently by each chord no matter which note you decide is the root. Later, when you are playing your "collection of notes", you ear will pull you towards the stronger ones and help you define the tonality.

    Perhaps if you could post the chord sequence, someone could make some sense out of the function of the F+ chord.

    P.S. - the only "stupid" theory question is the one that doesn't get asked...
     
  9. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Well, here we go. This is the chord sequence, and what chords the guitarist plays, so you can all get an idea of how each chord is voiced:

    A x02220
    A7 302020
    F#m11 222222
    F+ (?) xx322x

    That goes in descending order, so what I'm playing at the moment is just A, G, F#, F, and another G back up to the start of the progression. At the end of this sequence, the guitarist plays the F and G barre chords, and the whole thing resolves with an A chord.

    And Bruce, Jim, and Chris, I really appreciate this. Hopefully I'll be able to remember this and pretend I know what I'm doing!
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't know what tempo/style this progression is going to be in, but I just soloed a couple of choruses through it on the piano, and to my ears, the A mixolydian blanket scale is the way to go, provided the F# is changed to an F natural while blowing over the F+ chord.

    I liked the sound of approaching the F on this chord from the A above, and resolving to the E directly below (with or without ornaments). I think of situations like the one with this F#/F thing as (be prepared to laugh your *ss of at the term, but...)"toggle tones" since all that is required is changing one or two notes of the scale rather than thinking of a whole new one. And please, if anybody can come up with a better descriptive for this kind of situation, please share it... I think the term "toggle tone" is dorky as hell, but can't think of anything that describes the phenomenon better.
     
  11. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Chris-
    Toggle Tones works for me. "Accidentals" are what I usually call 'em. :D

    Yawnsie-
    Looking at your guitarist's choices/voicings..see, that's what I'm yammering about. ;)
    I would play the sequence as such-
    1)Amaj= xx222O Bass plays "A"
    2)A7= xx2O2O Bass plays "G"
    3)F#m7= xx2222 Bass plays "F#"
    4)F+= xx3221 Bass plays "F"

    Granted, I haven't tried playing this; in my head, though, & going by what I'm SEEING, your guitarist has some chords voiced on the heavy bottom strings & some that omit those strings...is there a consistency in tone or timbre? Is it a distorted tone(so that it sounds "OK")? Or is he like a guitarist I used to play with where EVERYTHING had an open "E" drone 'cause of "sloppy" muting? :D

    Yeah, BTW, is it a chord per bar? 2 chords/bar...?
     
  12. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    TX
    Ugh.....this kinda stuff makes me feel like an idiot.
     
  13. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    "Toggle tones"... well, at least I won't forget that! :)

    Chris, it's good to see that you came up with the same scale as I did - at least I'm doing something right. I'll try to remember to go to the F at the end of the sequence. I like the descending thing that's going on in the song anyway, so I do want to work that into a solo - going back to the first at the beginning of every chord.

    Jim, the chords change at the beginning of each bar, and the tempo is roughly about 90 - 100 bpm in 4/4. The guitarist voices the chords how I posted them, so on their own they do sound quite inconsistent in timbre. I'll suggest to him trying to play it on the 4 higher strings, but he has the same problem as your guitarist. :D The song is our closing one, and it's basically an excuse to experiment a little - the drummer does his Keith Moon, trying to play the entire kit at once, and our lead player does what lead players generally do. The sequence lasts for about 48 bars at the end of the songs, and the lead player will probably either harmonise what I'm playing when I get my few bars, or play the descending A to F notes, so the rhythm player should get drowned out anyway! ;)

    And don't worry Hunter, you're not the only one...

     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm not sure what you mean by "going back to the first at the beginning of every chord". Can you elaborate?
     
  15. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Sorry, my lack of knowledge letting me down again. What I meant was the tonic (at least I think that's what it's called) - A for the A chord, G for A7 (Though I suppose that would make it A/G, one of those "slash chords"), F# for the F#m11, and so on.
     
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That's what I thought you meant, but I wasn't sure. But the whole point of using "blanket scales" is that you don't need to be tied to the root when you use them. Going back to the root each time won't hurt anything, but it might be more interesting if you tried to focus on some scalar connections of "common tones" within the chords. For instance, in your progression, the tones "A" and "C#" remain constant throughout all four chords. If you are so inclined, try to accent some of these chord tones as the progression goes by, and you might find that your solo sounds richer melodically than if you stick to the root. For example, if you play the following tones as long tones when the chord changes and then noodle around a bit to get to the next one, you'll get a strong melodic line:

    Note:..C#...(noodle)..E..(noodle)...C#..(noodle).A.Fed..C#
    Chord: Ama..........Ama/G..........F#mi.............F+.....Ama

    Hope that makes some kinda sense.