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What do the chord or note numbers represent?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MetroBass, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. MetroBass


    Mar 26, 2008
    South of LA
    Hatred obscures all distinctions.
    I read a little, listen a lot and primarily play by ear. I've always wondered what the number represents next to a chord or note, i.g., Cm5 or C7 or Bm3.

    I know when I look at piano books the numbers refer to the octave your at but in this bass book I have they list everything as n7 or n5? Trying to figure out what this means.

    Also this basic blues book I'm referring to states that the blues scale is:

    1 - 3b - 4 - 4# - 5 - 7b - 8

    But both the E and A scale they show: 1=E - 3b =G and 1=A - 3b=C?? Doesn't make sense?
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Using the notation you have there - yes, that's correct.

    Blues scale in A:
    A (1) C (b3) D (4) D# (#4) E (5) G (b7) A (8)

    Blues scale in E
    E (1) G (b3) A (4) A# (#4) B (5) D (b7) E (8)

    To understand the numbers, you need to learn about intervals first, then apply that to chord construction.

    Here's a link to a useful little summary about intervals. There's some stuff on chord construction there too, which I'd recommend you look at once you know what a minor third or a major seventh is, et cetera.

  3. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Here's a diagram of the blues scale:


    It is in E but you can move the first note of the first pattern to whichever note / key you'd like. The patterns stay the same.

    The 'blues' scale is a pentatonic minor with and extra note - the b5 (flatted 5th) a.k.a. the 'blue note'. On the chart is is notated as a blue 'X'.

    The red dots are your root notes - all the E's in this case.

    This scale is charted as 2 notes per string (not counting the blue note) to help one understand what is going on. If you'll notice, when you move up to the next pattern you remove the 1st note on each string of the preceding pattern, the second note of the new pattern becomes the new 1st note and you get a higher 2nd note. Does that make sense? Just look at how all the patterns fit together - it makes more sense just by looking at it.

    There is no reason you need to only play 2 notes per string. As you get more familiar with the scale you can add / remove notes at your leisure.

    I hope that helps. Good luck and feel free to ask questions.

    ---- edit ----

    Some ways to practice and use this:

    1st - learn by going up then down each individual pattern. Ex. (starting on E string) E: 0 - 3 / A: 0 - 2 / D: 0 - 2 / G: 0 - 2 - 0 / D: 2 - 0 / A: 2 - 0 / E:3 - 0

    2nd - go up the 1st pattern and when you get to the top slide up to the 2nd note of the next pattern and work your way down etc.

    3rd - try some runs. Example starting on the E string again: E: 0 - 3 / A: 0 - 2 / E: 3 / A: 0 - 2 / D: 0 / A: 0 - 2 / D: 0 - 2 / etc.

    Sorry if I made this more complicated than it needs to be... =[
  4. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    Actually basic interval notation.
    For you're bluesscale:

    1 - b3 - 4 - 4#/b5 - 5 - b7 - 8

    Which means: root -minor third - fourth - augmented fourth or diminished fifth (I always have been tought that a diminished fifth is more appropriate in name and consideration than an augmented fourth, but it is the same tone) - fifth - minor7 - root (an octave highter).
  5. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Check out the >500 link below for lots of TB info that will help you out.
  6. MetroBass


    Mar 26, 2008
    South of LA
    Hatred obscures all distinctions.
    Much appreciated (And the links) - theory is an art in too itself!!
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Keep in mind that scale intervals are usually represented relative to their position in a major scale:
    C major = C D E F G A B = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    C minor = C D Eb F G Ab Bb = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

    Chords can be more confusing. Best to be clear on the scale intervals before jumping into that.

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