what to memorize?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fiebru1119, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    well, i picked up the bass for the first time about 5 years ago.. (bass player at our church wanted to do a song in guitar, for which there was no bass player so i said what the hell.. its just pressing down on string anyway :meh: ) after that, we got a little band going about 2 years ago and thats where i got more interested. well about 4 months ago i decided i wanted to learn how to play this thing for real. up to then all i had really done is just listen to stuff and play or imitate it.. i'm pretty proficient finger wise, and slapping is comming along pretty good, but i'm working on theory right now hence my question:

    scales, modes, arpegios, etc.. do you guys actually memorize them? (as in- their locations on the fretboards) or do you practice being able to derive them quickly. for example, i learned a 2octave scale from a book in a particular fingering. well one day i looked for a 3 octave scale (in, lets say, cmaj). should i try to memorize that fingering? or practice being able to find the same scale all over the fretboard? i'm confused as in what i should just "know" and what i should be able to "find"... Thanks for the help in advance, this place is great
  2. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I generally memorize paterns with the knowledge that they can be played in any key. I know how to play a major and minor scale using open strings and I know that these paterns are really only good for E, A (and B on a five string) Major and minor. I know how to play a Major and minor scale using closed positions and know that those patterns can be used starting with any note at or above the 3rd fret.

    G Major:


    A Major:


    You see how it's the same patern, only everything for the A Major is shifted up 2 frets?

    B maj is still the same patern. Just start on B

    B Major:



    G minor:


    A minor:


    Bb minor:


    C minor:


    ...You see, you just need to memorize patterns and know how many frets the patern uses and know the notes on your fret board and understand where you can start these patterns. Same with arpegios. I hope that helped.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You should "know" scales and arpeggios the same way you "know" the English alphabet and grammar rules...not just how to finger them but how they SOUND.

    There are many ways to finger scales, ideally you should know all of them. They can easily be reduced to four fret patterns that can be combined in various ways (i.e. going up or down the string, going across strings). The goal is that no matter what position you are in on the neck you know what the notes are under your fingers (on a 4 string bass if you use one finger per fret, you can reach 16 notes without shifting). Once you develop this "muscle memory" you can then spend your time thinking about the music you want to play and your fingers will just go to the right place.

    The reason books don't show 3 octave scales is that on a 4 string bass with 20 frets (standard Fender neck) you can't play a 3 octave scale :meh: The lowest note is the open E string, the highest is Eb (20th fret of G string)...you're one note short of 3 octaves of E. A 24 fret neck allows 3 octave scales in keys of E, F, F# and G but that's all.
  4. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    oh, sorry i have a yamaha BBG5S (5string) thats how i was playing the 3 octave c scale.. (1st fret Bstring to 17th fret gstring)

    i pretty much assumed that i should know the scales. its just sometimes i find myself in "unfamiliar" parts of the neck (is this unusual) and i'm trying to get work in those areas..

    what i've been doing so far is memorizing the "fingerings" rather than the notes themselves which is why i'm having trouble.. b/c when i try to do say maj7 or dominant arpeggios i have a hard time determening what the 1,3 5, or 7(or b7) are even though i can play the scale just fine.. i kinda have to break down the scale a little to figure it out..

    brianrost, you make a very good point about knowing how stuff SOUNDS as well as what it looks like.. i never really thought about that before.. and it would definetally help me since at church when i play i dont know what songs we're doing until i'm actually there ( :( ) and then its just matter or trying to get what i know its supposed to "sound" like transcribed onto the fretboard
  5. Once you no the major scale everywhere its quite easy to remeber all the other scales.
    Its all about formulas, for example a mixolydian scale is just a major scale with a flat 7...and so on...
    Correct me if im wrong there guys
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I encourage you to check the link in my signature.