Thinking outside the box

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Imtrying to expand my abilities on the BG (who isnt) and i want to start using the entire fretboard in my creation of riffs and lines. Instead of just playing in one position/register, i want to encompass the entire fretboard (first 12 frets for now). What are some good ways to go about expanding beyond a box?
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Try jumping outside of your musical envelope.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Three quick ideas-

    1)Walking bass that covers a couple octaves-
    Tunes with minimal chord changes like "So What"(or "Impressions") or "Haitian Fight Song" &/or tunes with numerous chord changes(12-bar Blues or "Rhythm Changes", etc)

    2)Funk/Rock figures that have a 'Question/Answer' vibe...could almost be 2 independent parts working together as 1.
    Beat 1 can be the 'question' or 'A-component'
    Beat 3 can be the 'answer' or 'B-component'.

    If, say, the bass' rhythm is-
    l1e&_----3_&_----l etc

    Play the "1e&_" down Low (in BOLD)
    Play the "3_&_" up High

    Putting Notes in-
    lGEG_----A#_B_----lCC#D_----F_F#_----l etc

    Come to think of it, RHCP's "Give It Away" is an example of what I'm trying to get across.

    3)Latin bass tumbaos/figures
    The LOW component can be your bass emulating a Low-pitched drum with the HIGH component being a bell.
    Ago-go rhythms are cool to use as a practice thingee.
  4. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    JimK, great response and ideas. I especially like #1 and 2, and i think i get what you mean by a question and answer sort of thing.

    Keep them coming!
  5. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Transcribe some solos from other styles and instruments!
  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    Edit Joe: Sorry Mike, Had to remove the spam.
  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    I presented a clinic based on my new method at the TB NYC GTG (Talkbass New York City Get Together) and sold out of books in about 5 minutes. Here is a quote from pointbass:

  8. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    Wellington, NZ
    I divide the fretboard into sections. in support situtations, I generally work between the nut and fret 6. I get all the notes I need between N-6 (major and minor keys). I also like using open string patterns mostly.

    So I view the fretboard as a 2D plane that can be divided into sections. I see the fretboard in two basic sections N-6 and 6-12. And from there, I can further divide these sections into even smaller sections. And as you know, the fretboard repeats itself after fret 12.
    N  [U]0000[/U]
    1  0|||
    2  |000
    3  000|
    4  |||0
    5  0000
    6  [U]||||[/U]
    7  0000
    8  00||
    9  ||00
    10 0000
    11 ||||
    12 [U]0000[/U]
    Other smaller sections I use include:

    String(s)    Fret
    ADG          N-6
    DG           N-6
    G            N-6
    ADG          6-12
    DG           6-12
    G            6-12
    Then from there, its just a matter of knowing where the tonic is and relavent intervals that you need to use.

    So you could say, divide the box into smaller boxes, and "map" your way around them.
  9. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    ^ Unfortunately, that is exactly the mindset i am trying to avoid. I want to think of the fretboard as one big entity, so that my bass lines arent limited (except by number of strings and frets). I know its gonna be hard, but that doesnt phase me, and i really think that despite the importance of rythym and phrasing (which are very important), a comfortability (is that a word?) with the entire fretboard is important. I'm in the process of getting my head around theory, and really feel that a full knowledge of the fretboard would be a great asset.

    Mike, maybe i could just get you as a teacher, since that would probably be much more helpful. Where do you teach?
  10. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    Wellington, NZ
    You mis-understood my point.

    Basic problem solving is all about dividing a whole into smaller chunks. Try a bit of computer science.
  11. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    Wellington, NZ
  12. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Try setting up some 'limitations' for yourself. Play a song that you know, but only use the D and G strings, or only the E and A or A and D, whatever.... but it will force you to move about the neck more.

    Or.. use all four (or 5, whatever you have) but only from the 6th fret up.

    Little games like this rarely ever bring about something useful musically, but they might cause you to look at something old in a new way. Putting old things together in new ways is really what creativity is all about. (few ideas are truely original)

    Whenever you are stuck in an idea, try doing the exact opposite (whatever that means to you).... there is always a different way to do something... and sometimes its better.
  13. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I'm liking those diagrams, tim99 - thanks!
  14. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    The scale method at the top of this folder might help. If you get every note position well into your head, would that be what you're looking for?
  15. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I hope to achieve a point where im not limited by boxes. I want to be able to freely move about the fretboard and have acces to just that many notes (frets 1-12 anyways). I dont care how useful it may end up being, or if all my playing will be from frets 1-5, its what i want to learn. And i know it can be done, my teach has it as second nature. he improvs lines all the time that use good little riffs and then fills up to a different section without hitting any notes outside the key. Bouncing all over the place, hitting any pitch he desires without sounding busy and keeping it musical. If he can do it off the top of his head then im sure i can learn to do it by taking my time. sure itll take a while, but its what i want and ive got the determination. whos gonna stop me?
  16. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I hate to say it, but while TB is a great source of information, its not all good information. I know what i know now about the fretboard because of Pacmans, but i find that it divides the fretboard into boxes. Now i wanna break out of those boxes. No offense anyone.
  17. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I only play a 4 string, not a 25 string
  18. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    I noticed that, but I think there's a different way of doing it. He mentioned that there were only a few variations possible on the scale you're playing. I never bothered to look at them or try and remember them. But if you just do the counting up bit, I found it helpful for notes on the fretboard.

    Also, just noodling around can really help.
  19. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I can already visualize the fretboard in my mind. not right away, but i can. visualizing it is one thing, using it is another.

    Who said anything about TAB? its what im trying to avoid right now, since its what i learned on and its screwing with my head.

    And i played sax until Gr 10ish, so i know about hearing a note before i play it. now i want to transfer that to bass, and move it outside of the box shape
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    You can try Wayne Krantz's approach to guitar. To give you an idea, he likes taking a small set of notes. For example

    1)take a 3-4 note lick of anything you like. Get to know exactly what notes you're hitting. F#? G? C? How do they relate to eachother? Triad? Scalar?
    2)Take only the first 4 frets of the bass and learn to play this lick until you can play it relaxed. In other words, engrain it into your system.
    3)Using the same 3-4 notes, create a solo with the same 3-4 notes. Play it slow, fast, double stops, whatever.
    4)Then, once you have it down in the first four frets, move up one fret and do it all over again. (i.e. repeat steps 1-3 now on 2nd-5th frets).
    5) Just keep moving up the neck with the same idea... 3rd-6th frets, 4th-8th frets, etc. etc.

    Keep working on 4 fret regions til you can't play on the high registers anymore. You can work over other ideas in the same fashion, 5 note pentatonics, various licks that you like, make your own scales, etc.

    Wayne spent 15 years developing his own style in this way. He would record himself practicing and only pick out the licks he liked after listening to the practice session. Those licks became his own original vocabulary. If you're interested more in this stuff, get his book that he just wrote (I can't wait to get my copy). Also check his stuff out ( He has no guitar/musical heroes and his style is all his own. You'll see him playing with top electric bassists too (Anthony Jackson, Lincoln Goines, etc).

    Second approach was something I got from the jazz guitarist Jim Hall (I think it was him). Similar to what Wayne Krantz does but rahter than working over 4-fret regions, work only 2 strings at a time, but use the entire length of the neck. i.e. learn to play scales, licks, ideas on just the G and D strings. Once you ahve that down, move on to two other strings. Rather than go across, restrict yourself to going just up and down the neck. I think the key is playing double stops or intervallic scales over two strings up and down the neck does. 3rds, 5ths, 4ths, etc. This stuff kicked my butt but it makes you totally play differently.

    If these two concepts don't break you out of the box, I don't know what will.