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Transposing Tricks & Techniques

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by VSUBass, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. VSUBass


    May 27, 2014
    Closures are dumb, stupid & not very smart
    I'm transitioning from tab to note reading. I'm okay at it as long as it's fairly simple, i.e. quarter notes, dotted quarters and the like--no Victor Wooter here! With "starts & stops" I can sight read/play in the open position, I know some of the notes further down but not as well. Plus I'm slower at the higher number accidental keys.

    My brother is learning "The Old Rugged Cross" on the guitar, chord melody style, so I'm working on bass lines for it. I got "Piano Hymns for Dummies" and got lucky because the bass line is very sweet (many of the others are little more than the root note of the chord following the rhythm of the melody line) but it's in B-flat. Now I'm also writing my own bass line by *just* playing the root note on each beat and then dropping a note here, dropping a note there, adding a little run-up or down so I can work on singing while playing (which is much harder for me than playing guitar and singing).

    Other than mastering transposing in my head (working on that), the way that occurred to me is to learn the bass lines higher up, i.e. about the 5th/6th fret then either tabbing it or just scooting it down 3 frets then notating that. Both of those, particularly the "tabbing" one seem like "cheating" as well as counter-productive to the overall goal of moving to standard notation. Are there some obvious technique(s) I'm missing or not thinking of or another method I can employ? The most important thing is to get the lines down so we can play together of course but I'm looking to get the most out of my time.

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  2. Until you get proficient at transposing from sheet, or on the fly, learning it in the written key is probably the easiest. Try that, with closed positions, ie no open strings, and then just move on the neck to the new key. You can then try your hand at transcribing the part in notation.

    I've been playing and reading music for a long time, and I still often have a picture of the fret board in my head when I transpose on paper.
  3. That's pretty much what I do, however, I'm going to be selective at what I drop into the bass line - read on. Most of the time no one is going to give us a bass line, we have to handle that ourselves - unless we can find standard notation bass clef. And all the bands I've played with do so from fake chord or lead sheet music, neither of which have the bass clef shown. So what's a guy to do.......

    You can move to standard notation or go with fake chord or lead sheet. I rely upon fake chord. Why? Because the band directors I play for hand out fake chord sheet music. I've never had a band director hand me something in standard notation bass clef. In fact that is one of the first questions they ask; "Can you play from fake chord?" If so the audition happens, if you can not play from fake chord you never get to the audition.

    If you would like to proceed with fake chord here is The Old Rugged Cross in fake chord. Use the transpose button to get it into A# (same thing as Bb - more or less let's leave it at that as the transpose button does not go to Bb). http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/b/brad_paisley/old_rugged_cross_crd.htm Scroll the screen up....

    Three chords A# and F with the D# thrown in. What is that D#? It's the Eb that is in the Bb scale/key -- http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-b-flat.html

    Follow the chords that are on the fake chord sheet music. This being in the key of Bb, makes it a little confusion, find the A#, F and D# on your fretboard and pound out roots as the different chords come active. In fact find the A# on the 3rd string. Where is the F? Right below your A# on the 4th string and the D# is right above the A# on the 2nd string. The Old Rugged cross is an old dirt simple I-IV-V song and if you place your I chord on the 3rd string your IV is always up a string same fret and your V is always down a string same fret. This being in Bb makes it more complicated than it really is. Lot of Country bands never use the flat keys and think in sharps instead; that's what is happening here.

    Want to add something to those roots? You can add an octave to your root. The octave is always up two strings and over two frets. Yep the octave for the F is also up two strings and over two frets. How about adding a five to your root. The 5 will be up a string and over two frets, or just below that octave. If you have room the R-5-8-5 is an easy pattern, give it a try.

    Here is the major scale box:
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string

    The 3 is up a string and back one fret.
    The 7 is up two strings and over one fret. The b7 is up two strings same fret. I catch the b3 right after the 2 same string next fret.

    Roots, fives, eights and the correct 3 or 7 will give you some safe bass lines. If minor chords come active they will have the b3 and b7.

    Songs like The Old Rugged Cross beg for a root-five, R-5-R-5 or R on the 1 beat and 5 on the 3rd beat. Do the root five till the song changes chords, then move to the new root.... Some Gospel and Praise bass lines work with just a whole note at the chord change, i.e. nothing more than just that one whole note - let it ring - and then change with another whole note when the chords change. Try that and see if it works for you.

    Have fun.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  4. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Move your hand to the key you want and play what you played before.
  5. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    It doesn't make any sense with A# F D# ... the real thing must be Bb F Eb ... I know that it is enharmonicly correct ( is that a word ? ) but writting that is wrong since it isn't what you're looking for ... A# to F, your F is a 6bb ( because I guess that A# is your 1 ) while Bb to F is a 5th ...

    it is hard to take them seriously when there is so many writting error.

    I don't get why writting in Bb would make it more complicated when in fact it would be the right way to write it
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Malcom was only trying to make up for the limitations of the 'transpose' button of chord chart he linked to
    ... that web app cannot transpose to Bb, only to A#.
    (A stupid limitation, probably programmed by a guitarist.) Bb would much easier to write.
    unfortunately it would only make the task more difficult for a beginner to use that app to transpose to A# and then translate that to Bb.
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    probably the easiest solution, assuming you are not using any open strings.

    A to Bb is just as simple with notation. Change the key sig and move every note up one line/space.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  8. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    Ohhh I didn't get that ! Sorry Malcom.

    Well that app is seriously lacking then

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