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theory, sightreading and the fretboard

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by bassandlax, Jan 21, 2002.

  1. bassandlax


    Dec 31, 2001
    Raleigh, NC
    hey michael,

    i have a couple of questions as reciently i am getting serious about playing and practicing the bass. I had played the guitar for about 4 years before i switched to bass, so I have a decient but minimal knowladge of theory... it was enough to sustain me in the past... but now i crave more. I reciently got a book called "Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Bass Book" it is introducing me to sightreading and giving me a further knowladge of theory. i think it is setting me on the right track.. the only thing is that it demands that i do some pretty daunting things... for instance it says that i should memorize all the major scales and their number of #s and bs. And i think this is good.. but it is telling me to do it before i advance... and i think it will take me quite a while to do that. So my basic question was is there a way to better memorize the fretboard and scales. And my other question is, "is the daunting task of learning to read sheet music in all the positions worth it?". Cause im thinking that these two tasks combined are gonna take me quite a while (several months - several years).
    any advice you guys have would be great.
    thanks in advance mike (and anyone else who responds)

  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    First of all, there is not "end" to the study of music. We learn every day. Don't look at it as a "year of work" but rather as a "lifetime of exploration".

    The best paying gigs, that I get, always involve some sort of reading, whether it be actual notes or chord charts

    The wonderful thing about a bass is its symmetry. Once you can play a scale or a pattern, you can move it around to suit your key. Although, at some point you should know all the keys, You should start with the keys that are used most often: C,G,D,A,E, and F,Bb and Eb for jazz.

    There are tips to reading that go past note identification. Bassically find a scale that works for the range and key of the music and play the patterns (up scales, down scales, up or down arpeggios, etc).

    One of the bass players real strengths is the ability to create a bass line from a chord progression. The more theory you know the cooler the bass lines you can create.

    Hope this helps

  3. bassandlax


    Dec 31, 2001
    Raleigh, NC
    thanks mike

    that really helped, im pickin it up pretty quick i think. im on the 2nd and third positions... the memorizing the notes on all the positions are the hardest part for me.
    and i think i know what u mean about making bass lines to chords... cause when i jam with my friends on blues and jazz i usually just end up playing 12 bar blues with penatonics... and it is getting old... i hope that my learning more theory will make me a more diverse, creative and better sounding bassist

    once again,


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