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theory question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by drewphishes, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    One of my bandmates brought an original to practice. Pretty cool. We are a blues band and kinda was surprised.

    At one point in the song he just ramps on the 4 and 5 back and forth for a while (songs in D)

    am i correct in my theory that I could fancy up a bass line for this part in the song with a G lydian or A mixo Lick?

    also what kind of lines sound good over a Sus 4 chord?
    SLO Surfer and DJ Bebop like this.
  2. Correct. And since you have the opportunity of creating your own bass line here, try incorporating the notes that make those chords unique -- the #4 in the G and the b7 in the A. Some inversions should work well also.
    BOOG and DJ Bebop like this.
  3. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    If there is a void during this ramp, yes, someone can add something. What are the other guys doing at this time?
    In other words why is he ramping [vamping] the 4 and 5? Is it background for someone else?

    A vamp for a mode is usually a two chord vamp. The tonic tonal chord, in this case D, and then the chord that has the signature note of the mode you chose. Lydian's signature is a #4 and Mix's is the b7. I do not think that fits with what he is doing. I would just pound roots augmenting what he is doing.

    Interesting what the other guys will add.

    A sus chord is a passing note to the parent chord, i.e. Asus4 wants to go to an A major chord, etc.
    BOOG, DJ Bebop and FatStringer52 like this.
  4. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    hes just going back and forth between the G and the A in sort of a breakdown moment. the other guys are just pounding a steady beat, I wanted to make kind of a fancier line underneath to give it sort of a moving feel
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Chillin' n Grillin' on the Best Coast
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    I suggest Asking your guit player what he wants or what he thinks sounds better.
    BOOG and DJ Bebop like this.
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    You mentioned it's a blues band. Is this tune bluesy?
    are the chords in fact D7, A7 and G7?
    In blues those chords are not exactly diatonic and key is not exactly D major.
    G lydian and A mixolydian might still work over a G7-A7 vamp
    but G7-A7 opens up a lot more possibilities

    either way, use your ear and taste of course
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  7. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Mix and the blues normally fit. Try a D major scale with a b7 and see if it works. If it sounds good it is good. Normally you would be vamping the chords and the electric guitar would be playing Mix.

    I think you are adding more than is necessary.
    Dudaronamous likes this.
  8. vanderbe

    vanderbe Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2006
  9. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    It depends on the chord quality, especially of the G chord. In blues, both of those chords are typically 7th chords, meaning G lydian won't work. You could use G mixolydian over that G7 chord.
    FatStringer52 and SLO Surfer like this.
  10. Ekulati


    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    With decades of playing (which includes a masters in music and college teaching) as a bassist, I would never think of it in the terms you are thinking. IMO, playing the bass, you should think in outlining chords, maybe connecting with non chord tones, but the outlining for sure. This whole idea of "licks" as a bass player is just so off the mark, so out of control, again IMO. Internet learning...

    Anyway, what sounds good UNDER (not over) a sus4? Do you even know what a sus4 is? How it functions? What's its purpose? What is its characteristic aural structure (VERY important in this case)? Hint: don't play any thirds. And emphasize the root, big time.

    Ok, traditionalist rant over...
  11. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    This is a good question posed by @Ekulati

    The 'sus' in sus4 is short for suspended, or suspension. It refers in this case to an interval of a 4th. In the case of sus2, it's the 2nd. Suspension used to mean what it says, i.e. the suspended note was essentially a chord tone from the previous chord carried into the next chord that creates an interval of a 4th from the root of the next chord. So in the case of Dsus4, the 4th is a G. That G might have been the root of a preceding G, m3 of Em, 3rd of Eb, 5th of C, 7th of A7, etc. The use of suspension in this way is not as strictly observed in modern music as in the past, but the term has persisted, especially in the guitar world, even though some of its meaning has been diluted or even lost.
    But regardless, intervals are defined by 2 notes, so to make sure that the suspended note, G, is heard clearly for what it is, a 4th, someone needs to state the root, in this case D, below the G, and that job is well suited to the bass.
  12. As a couple others have mentioned, that G chord might not work with a G Lydian scale. In blues, the 4 chord is often a dominant 7, where a G mixolydian would be the way to go. You’ll have to use your ears, eyes, or ask the composer what the chords qualities actually are in more detail than just “G to A.”
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  13. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    You (the collective we) can do whatever you want. I would record (even if it's just your phone recording) it at the next rehearsal and just play the roots along the vamp. Take that home and run it through the amp aux while you play around with some ideas and season to taste. If it tastes good, eat it.

    edit: I guess my approach from there would be to scribble some notes of your ideas (assuming you have more than one way to approach/play it) and take those to the next rehearsal to see what everybody can agree on.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  14. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    But what if we have Dsus2sus4 chord? :roflmao:

  15. Ekulati


    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Same thing. Always have been such things as double suspensions. BOTH suspended tones then resolve, usually by step downward. But they STILL need to be heard ABOVE a big fat root note. And the bass is best to play that.
  16. Ekulati


    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Same thing. Always have been such things as double suspensions. BOTH suspended tones then resolve, usually by step downward. But they STILL need to be heard ABOVE a big fat root note. And the bass is best to play that.
  17. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Lines that have the notes of the chord, in the style of the tune.

    The OP might have an implicit assumption of the Abersold syllabus "Chord X = Play Scales Y or Z" type of thinking
    This approach has been rejected by players far more knowledgeable than I.

    I take a much less formulaic approach: there are simply Roots, chord tones, and passing tones.
    Roots will always work
    Chord tones will almost always work - but use your ear
    passing tones can be any note , but depend on context and style - use your ear

    The reality is that once you get past the root note level,
    it is the rhythmic vocabulary of the style that will inform what works
    more than any "Chord X = Play Scales Y or Z" approach.
    this is especially true on our instrument, which with drums can define the style.

    If your tune is a blues tune, the lines that sound good over a Sus 4
    are blues lines that have the 4th not the 3rd
    SteveCS likes this.
  18. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    What do you think you would have to do to differentiate your G lydian lick from your A mixolydian lick...while at the same time still conveying that this tune is "in D"?

    Coy/oblique/slightly meta answer: It's not so much about where you are at any given moment, as where you're ultimately going.
    BOOG likes this.
  19. Ekulati


    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Hmm, yeah, kinda sorta. But if you're the LOWEST SOUNDING note, you DON'T want to play the 4th. Why? Because, again, it's defined as a 4th by being "a 4th above" something else, a root (usually but that's another treatise).

    If your note is lowest sounding and you play that 4th, it's no longer a 4th. You've defined a new root.

    Edit: Are we talking about BLUES? C'mon...

    Edit 2: I seriously need to stay away from these theory threads. Back to Band Members Behaving Badly...
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  20. reverendboom


    Dec 10, 2019
    Sonora CA
    I play mostly in a worship setting. It seems to be a favorite thing for several writers to rock back and forth between a D2 D and D4. I have just added bass to my collection of mediocrely played instruments and as I work through finding bass lines I have found that root and fifth with the 2 and 4 played as passing notes works pretty good. Not sure how that would work over a blues tune though. I'm the only person I know that writes Christian blues and no one is playing any of them in worship.

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