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What's next for me in theory?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Kruton, Apr 27, 2006.


  1. Kruton

    Kruton

    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS
    Alright guys, I have been playing bass for about a year and a quarter, and I can effectively walk basslines, arppegio, use modes and scales, understand progressions, and can improvise adequately. What should I work on next? Should I keep going with theory or work more on my ear(my technique is pretty solid)? I can figure out songs with basic chords(CCR, Dylan), however I only get about 65% at best of the basslines. Where do I go?
     
  2. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    You're about where I am, so inquiring minds want to know. Granted it took me alot longer to get there.
     
  3. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Work on the ear and transcribe more, they help each other. Then as you transcribe write it down and analize what they are using, that will make use of the theory you know. All these things relate and help each other.
     
  4. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    I'll tell you what my teachers have told me. Transcribe, transcribe, transcribe. Learn melodies.

    Theory wise-i'd try and find a teacher in your area. E.g. i took theory lessons from a guy in high school w/a focus on compositional atonal [it was for a project]. If it's possible for you, try taking a theory class. It'll help.

    take it easy.
     
  5. thewanderer24

    thewanderer24

    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    definitely work on your ear -- learning to pick out bass lines and play them is an essential skill, and you only get good at it by practicing it. Play with other people. That's when you'll see what you are really good at and what you really need to work on.
     
  6. Kruton

    Kruton

    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS
    Ear it is. What I figured. I already have a teacher and he's taught me what I know so far. They offer a theory class at my school, however you have to be a junior (I'm a freshmen). I guess I'll get down to listening. It just seems so impossible alot of the time when I'll check my work against other chords and I'll have Bm and they have B7. It's just like I'm close, but can't get quite there.
     
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I agree: You can never get enough ear training. Consider it a lifelong pursuit, 'cause you will always use it...

    When I was a stoner back in my early 20s, during times when I was unemployed and/or between classes at college, I would have my local AOR/classic rock FM radio station going all day long. Most of that time I'd have my bass plugged in and ready to go, just playing along with whatever happened to get played on the air.

    In fact, I would often challenge myself, to see how quickly I could pick out the bassline on the recording, then reproduce it note for note. Or once I'd learned the progression (pretty darned quickly most of the time), I'd experiment by improvising a different bassline to fit that progression for every time that tune came up in rotation. And various things like that. It was great training. My ear is now one of my best musical attributes!

    Oh, and regarding theory, I personally would suggest studying harmony. Just my two cents...

    MM
     
  8. One tip is to listen to music on a system that does not have strong deep bass response. This may seem counterintuitive, but human hearing is not all that accurate in the extreme frequencies. We hear best in the midrange frequencies around 1-2 KHz. Strong bass below 100 Hz "muddies" the sound, making it harder to hear the actual bass ptches. Rolling those frequencies off somewhat so that you hear the fundamental a little softer and the overtones a little louder helps your ear dial in on the pitches you are hearing.

    When I try to learn or transcribe something, I play it through everything from laptop speakers to headphones to car stereo to my home system with 525 watt subwoofer. You will find that you can hear different parts of the bass lines better through different reproduction systems. If you cannot sing the bass line with the song, you cannot transcribe it or play it either.
     
  9. skoti89

    skoti89

    Feb 23, 2006
    Chico, Ca
    you have pretty good knowledge, and (to me) it would be best probably to get a get ear. put in some cds you like aand try to learn them. ive been doing that, and im to the point i can just start playing leads to a guitar riff without seeing what hes playing...another good thing is to recognize the fretboard. remember were all the notes are, and be able to recognize patters to find out what key a song is in.
     
  10. Correlli

    Correlli

    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    how about tonicization and modulation, contrapuntal chord function, element of figuration, dissonance and chromaticism, and structural hearing.
     
  11. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    Write an arrangement for some ensemble with wind instruments. Write an arrangement for all voices. Compose a melody and arrange it for any group of musicians you can get together.

    Get some scores of music that is NOT like what you usually listen to (your public library will have them), and see if you can idenify chords... if you are looking at a band or orchestra score, know that some of the instrument don't play a note that has the same name as the one sounding (for various reasons their parts are transposed).

    Get scores to: "Symphony #40 in G minor" Mozart. "The Planets", Gustave Holst. "Firebird" and "Rite of Spring", Igor Stravinsky. "West Side Story", Leonard Bernstein. You'll see some interesting harmony and rhythms.

    Take what you've learned from that and see if you can apply it to your bass playing, especially your solos and hopefully your compositions and arrangements.
     
  12. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Ear, Ear, Ear - sing melodies to your favorite tunes and find those melodies on your bass - play BACH which will force your hand and create fingerinigs you would never naturally do. Good luck, good work.
     
  13. Kruton

    Kruton

    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS
    I've found singing helps me alot with prasing haven't really tried it with crackin a progression. I'll go try it. I never really thought about that listening to a system without strong bass response. Try that too.
     
  14. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    I can't sing to save my life. Not even close to on pitch.
     
  15. Kruton

    Kruton

    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS
    Anyone have any bands/songs they could reccomend for me to transcribe? I'm pretty open to anything. If it's classic rock or blues that would be good though as I own alot of it.
     
  16. Correlli

    Correlli

    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    "Ear, Ear, Ear". That's so funny. lol

    Structural Hearing is probably a more prudent approach.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486222756/102-7656000-9542552?v=glance&n=283155
     
  17. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    Kiwi, good link to a great book.

    Getting into Schenkerian theory is incredibly interesting. There was a time in my life when I even took private lessons in it. And, Felix Saltzman lays these concepts out beautifully. I would heartily reccommend this book to anyone who has a really good understanding of classic music theory, ear training and is looking for a way to take that to another level and atain a practical understanding of the construction of melody and harmony.

    That said, Saltzman and Schenker do you no good if you can't hear your way through the changes of the music you are playing. Ear training is the Alpha and Omega of music training.
     

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