When approaching the Bass....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Esther97, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. Esther97


    Sep 23, 2002
    Hey all, this is my first post here and wanted to start by sayin Whats Up to everyone. Well i've been playin for around 6 months, and am getting down scales and everything else. But i wanted to get your guys input on my question here.

    I guess to start i want to clear up my confusion on Ocatves. Is an Octave (on 4), a starting point on the E string to a starting point on the G string; Or a starting point (1st Fret E) to the next Note on down the line (3d fret D).

    Which brings me to my next point, how do u guys approach the bass in an improv setting. Are u basically honed down to the 4 or 5 fret span, or can u play notes throughout all the octaves in the phrase? basically alot of jumping for different tones? i hope this wasn't too confusing. thanx for any help -esther-
  2. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'm not too old here myself, but I'll take it upon myself to say Welcome!

    An octave is just an interval of 12 semitones. The distance between say a C to the next C. On a bass an octave up would for instance be from the low C on the A string (third fret on your A string) to the next C up the scale (which can be played on the fifth fret on your G string, the 10th on the D string, or the 15th fret on the A string). Or the other way around if you want to go down an octave.

    Hope that helps. :)
  3. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hi Esther! Welcome to Talkbass. :)

    One thing to learn is to never limit yourself to one position on the bass. If you are only playing the 1st few frets you are missing out on a lot. From experience, I don't know about others, but it's like nature for me when improving (walking bass anyway) to only play on the 1st few frets, but...

    You want to be able to play all-around the fretboard. You can start this by learning all the notes on the fretboard. One way that I practice this is by playing through the scales up and down in 2 octaves. Say the notes as you are playing them. Say the intervals while you're at it b/c that is another valuable skill you need to learn. Make this a part of your daily practice.

    Hope this helps, :)
  4. Esther97


    Sep 23, 2002
    thanx guys that definetly clears stuff up.

    i meant more so of where you play the Root. Say if the Root was D on 5th Fret A, are u generally gonna play the other notes around that Root. Or is it common to jump to say the G on the 10th G or A on the 12th G? (if the melodic feel calls?)
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    There's really no right or wrong, whatever works in a song is cool. Playing positions is a help for reaching as many notes as possible without having to move your hand, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what notes should be used in a song. Some bass lines, such as basic walking bass, fit right into one position though.

    There could be different reasons for playing a note at different locations on the neck. You could for instance grab a note from another position because a transition from one place on the neck to the next in a certain bass line become more convenient to play, or perhaps just because the same note sounds different low or high on the neck.

    Whatever feels comfortable to play, and sounds right in the song...

    Edit: hrmpf, had to take out some spelling mistakes... :)
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    What is seems like your asking for is a fingering method and there are essentiall two schools of thought on this, a three finger method that double bass players use and a four finger method that bass guitarist use. I play bass guitar and double bass and use the three finger method, for me it was just easy that way and was the way that I learned how to play. There are books out there that illustrate both methods, but the best money spent would be getting together with a teacher that can get you started on that before you develop bad habits. A teacher can straighten out a lot of stuff and answer a lot of questions even in a single lesson.

    I would recommend playing your scales up to two octaves right from the beginning. It will be a little tough at first but it will vastly increase your knowledge of the fingerboard and your dexterity a lot quicker.

    The E major scale two octaves numbers represent the frets:

    E String - Open--2--4

    A String = Open--2--4

    D String = 1-2--4

    G String = 1-2--4--6--8-9