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theory workbooks

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by XbassplayerX, Jun 20, 2005.


  1. XbassplayerX

    XbassplayerX

    Feb 12, 2005
    My bass teacher has been teaching me theory for almost a year and I'm still not getting it. Every once in a while I understand tiny bits and pices but I'm not where I should be for learning it for a year. He has tried to explain it in different ways but it's just not working. Is their some sort of theory workbooks that I can do? I'm pretty upset, I really dont know why Im not understanding this...
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Try "Theory and Musicianship." There's a series of workbooks, and they worked very nicely to explain theory.
     
  3. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    It takes time. Some learn quicker than others. Beieve me when I say I fall into the "others" catagory :). I have been playing for 11 years and I figure I still have about 100 years of learning to go.

    Just be patient. One day everything will click.

    Do you think your teacher is moving too fast? Have you tried a different teacher? My very first teacher was really good, but his style of teaching didn't work for me. My most recent teacher, however, was excellent. He figured out where I was and where I wanted to be. The lessons he prepared made sense and moved at a good pace for my learning style.
     
  4. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Try Scales for Jazz Improvisation by Dan Haerle. This book is amazing!
     
  5. XbassplayerX

    XbassplayerX

    Feb 12, 2005
    I've tried a different teacher but it only got worst. I understand it for the time I'm it there but as soon as I walk out the door, I have no memory of what he said. I have trouble listening and remembering info when people talk and when I read stuff, I just forget it all in minutes. The only thing I can learn fast are songs, I can learn thoes way faster than anyone i've met. Like in school, the only way I can obtain material is by doing work sheets and filling things out.
    He mentioned that he went through the same thing and he had done some work books while he was learning, so I thought that would be a great idea if I tried that.
     
  6. XbassplayerX

    XbassplayerX

    Feb 12, 2005
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh yeah, I forgot that I learned it at piano lessons when I was a kid ;)

    Most of the info in there isn't instrument-specific, but there's a lot of it in treble clef, so if you don't know how to read treble clef, you're going to learn it with this book. But as long as you know all the note locations on a bass or guitar, it should work OK. Theory is theory no matter what instrument it is. Can't say it will work perfectly for bass, though.
     
  8. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I'm just curious, where are you getting lost? What sort of things did the teacher cover that you don't understand?

    Do you know how to read the pitches in Treble and Bass Clef?

    Do you know what intervals are?

    How about a major scale?

    Do you know what major, minor, diminished, and augmented chords are?

    Do you undertand time signatures like 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4?

    Are you familiar with whole-notes, half-notes, quarter-notes, and eighth-notes?

    Did these areas of music theory confuse you, or are you beyond this stuff?

    Did diatonic harmony throw you? Or was it chord progressions? Was it part writing or voice leading?

    I'm just throwing things out here. What are you having trouble with?

    If you're not sure what you know and what you don't know, go here: http://www.musictheory.net. There are a bunch of free interactive theory lessons and trainers that you can download. I use it with my middle school music students. Music theory is the same for ANY instrument. Don't think of it as bass theory, or piano theory... It's just theory. You can apply it to your instrument later. :)

    Joe
     
  9. XbassplayerX

    XbassplayerX

    Feb 12, 2005
    Do you know how to read the pitches in Treble and Bass Clef?

    I can in bass but not treble

    Do you know what intervals are?

    yes, but im having a lot of trouble remembering them

    How about a major scale?

    yes

    Do you know what major, minor, diminished, and augmented chords are?

    He taught me but im lost there

    Do you undertand time signatures like 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4?

    yes

    Are you familiar with whole-notes, half-notes, quarter-notes, and eighth-notes?

    yes

    Did these areas of music theory confuse you, or are you beyond this stuff?

    well im having trouble with chords, key changes, what notes are in the keys, memorizing modes, etc.

    Did diatonic harmony throw you? Or was it chord progressions? Was it part writing or voice leading?

    chord progressions i'm having some trouble with, the others ive never heard of

    I'm just throwing things out here. What are you having trouble with?

    chords, keys, notes are in the keys, modes, intervals, etc. Ive been playing for 2 years, im in the school band and a rock band, but I still have trouble with the notes on the fretboard. I know the notes around the 1st fret and 5th, and i know that at the 12 its an octave, but i just can remember what the notes are in between thoes frets. When i jam I just go to the frets that sound good lol, i mean i don't know. i just feel like i dont understand it enough, i have parts but not the whole picture of certain subjects
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'll tell you, I doubt I'd understand theory if I didn't know how to play piano. I'm no great shakes at piano by any means, but learning the keyboard made all this theory stuff come to me almost immediately when I could see how the notes laid out on it. Guitar and bass are more linear, meaning one fret pretty much looks like the next, whereas you can see the differences and relationships of notes on the keyboard. So if you really want to get good at theory, learn to play a keyboard a little.
     
  11. XbassplayerX

    XbassplayerX

    Feb 12, 2005
    i actually played piano for almost 6 years, but ive forgotten everything. but I'll definatly take learning how to play again into concideration
     
  12. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Bring a recorder and record your lessons. I'm sure the teacher won't mind and it'll bring you back to the mindset you had during the lesson.

    Also, (and I still don't have this down pat either) learn the fretboard. Maybe use Pacman's sure-fire practice method (stickied at the top of this forum) to both learn scales and your fretboard. I've been trying to do this off and on for a year now (more off than on over the last few months cuz I'm getting used to taking care of my son :) ). I'm better at knowing the fretboard but still have quite a ways to go. Like you, the frets between 7 and 12 are a total wasteland to me.

    I just had an idea. If you know frets 1 through 5 like the back of your hand, then stop practicing there. Move up to between 5 and 10 and practice the keys in that range until you have those down pat. Then you'll have frets 1 through 10 down solid. :) Then work on moving between these two sections so you aren't thinking of the fretboard as the fret 1 through 5 chunk and the frets 5 through 10 chunk, if you get my meaning.

    HTH
     
  13. Sweet patience is a virtue when it comes to music theory and the subsequent application of it to an electric bass guitar. Believe me, I know what you're going through...just remember its not supposed to be that simple. If it were, than everybody would wanna play bass (its tough enough right?)

    As was eluded to earlier in this post, one day it will all just "click" and you'll be floored when that moment hits you. All the practicing and studying wasn't in vain, there was purpose. A purpose that can make you become one of the finest players on earth if you so choose. That is where theory comes in, the manipulation of mathematics to such an extent you can't help but play the right notes at the right time no matter what musical situation is hurled at you. Playing by ear and speed reading are all fine and dandy, but learning theory will elevate your playing to unprecedented heights.

    It's all in how you practice. 4-6 hours a day for me (with my instrument) is what I need to absorb and apply. When I'm away from my instrument I'm constantly mentally flash- carding myself on innumerable concepts and mentally analyzing the fretboard (ya know, at a red light somewhere I'll ask myself, 'what note is the 15th fret 2nd string?') Its a love affair, a passionate yearning for music, especially the bass. It isn't some one night (one year?) love affair. You wanna be able to walk into any audition with the confidence of passing. Even if you don't land the job, you realize there is another audition out there with your name on it.