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What note to play on what fret?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by alexs0628, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. alexs0628


    Feb 8, 2005
    I just started playing bass. I'm use to brass and woodwind band instruments. On the guitar, since most notes can be played on different strings at different fret locations, how do you decide where to play on the neck when reading a chart?
  2. darkfish01


    Feb 11, 2005
    San Marcos, Tx

    You're welcome. :rolleyes:
  3. Radiobass


    Jan 10, 2005
    What do you mean? Like, playing open G, fretted G on the D string, 10th fret on A, etc.?

    Ussualy, it depends on your current hand position.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yeah, as you play more, you'll see patterns developing. The key is to make the note sequence easiest to play. I've heard it said, "Never play an open string unless you mean it." Well, I've been meaning it more and more, lately.

    I think most of the bass players on the original versions of the covers we play used open strings a lot, most likely because they didn't have five-strings. On a fiver, you can play patterns further up the neck, where the frets are closer together. You can get a low note (like an E, F or G) without going down near the nut.
  5. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Usually depends on where you are on the neck and where you want/need to go from there (make it easiest on yourself).

    Otherwise, it's just a tone thing
    -- playing higher up the fingerboard on lower pitched strings will give a bassier, thicker tone;
    -- playing lower down on the fingerboard on higher pitched strings will give a crisper, thinner tone;
    -- open notes on most basses have a more 'open' tone (more clarity).
  6. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Also, keep in mind that every string sounds slightly different and thicker strings sound fatter. Say you want to play a high C. If you want it to sound twangy, you'll play it on the fifth fret of the G string, assuming you have a four-string bass in normal tuning. If you want it to sound fatter and not stand out so much, you'll play it on the tenth fret of the D string or the 15th fret of the A string. Ooops, beaten.
  7. doesnt this belong in another forum?
  8. alexs0628


    Feb 8, 2005
    Thanks for your responses. That helped clarify things for me.
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I also come from a sax background and I still find that the multiple note choice is hard. If playing a chart, unless you know the song, you are pretty much limited to the obvious choices. Try to look ahead and not choose a note that will limit the next note.

    I have struggled with songs until I tried a different position and then the song just fell into place.

    And note choice is important as phxlbrmpf (how the heck do you pronounce that?) mentioned. During the bridge in Another Brick in the Wall the bass goes to G. The G at the fifth fret is the obvious choice since it fits the position. But I feel the tenth fret on the A string sounds much "fuller".
  10. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    There is an absolutely phenomenal post in the "ask Micael Dimin"
    forum on this - look at "internalizing scales, modes, and arpeggios." This should be required reading for all TB'ers. Good Luck!