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Why these notes and not the other ones

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mike88T, May 10, 2004.

  1. I know, stupid title for this thread and I also have read enough that I probably won't understand several of the responses but it is a question that comes up in my mind sometimes and the song we are about to put into our set illustrates it very well so I am going to ask.

    Ok the song is Time of the Season doesn't matter if you don't know it for illustration purposes.

    This is the TAB (yes I know tab bad) that I got to get an idea of the notes and after playing it for a while acoustically since I don't have my amp here at home I just thought it sounded too tinny so I started playing it like in the second example. Still just E B D but what’s the difference? I guess what I am asking is why is the first tab right and the second one wrong, or is it.


  2. They are identical, same exact notes in the same octave, different tonal qualities dpending on where you play it but same notes.
  3. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    As you pointed out, both tabs are the same E B D. They're both "right". Do you play with a pick? That would make it sound tinny. I can't remember the song off the top of my head, but play it however you want to get the tone you need.

  4. country_boy


    Apr 13, 2004
    Houghton, MI
    I prefer not to use open strings, so I would play it the second way.
  5. For some reason these replies leave me with the same feeling as being told there is no Santa Claus.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    If you've only just realised that you can play the same notes, at different places on the neck...well, you have a long way to go!! ;)

    But every journey starts somewhere.....:)
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I play it like #2(& I do mean #2!).
    The record, IIRC, sounds like example 2.

    As far as playing same notes/different position-
    Someone here once asked about "Badge"...they played the opening figure across THREE strings; the TAB showed the figure being played ONLY on the "E" & "A" strings. If you really listen closely, you will hear Bruce playing only on the "E" & "A" strings.
    (In my youth, I also played it across 3 strings; seemed to read somewhere[Mel Bay?] that 'staying in position was important'. It is to a degree).

    Also, any/every Latin/Reggae book suggests sticking t the "fatter' strings to catch the timbre/vibe of the exercise/line/figure.

  8. No but I thought that each song SHOULD only be played in one position.

    On the one hand it's like learning you have the freedom to fly.
    On the other hand it's like finding yourself way up in the air with nothing to hold onto.

    I don't read notation; OK well I can figure out what note is what and understand that quarter, half notes ect ect have different ways of writing the little squiggly things, it would just take me time to figure it out and I would need a chart of the notes for reference. I was under the impression that real musical notation would tell you where to play it on the neck.
    Since I wouldn’t know if the notation was telling me where to play by reading it I was going under the assumption that nobody would write a song where you had to strike two fast notes, say eighth notes, 6 frets apart. If a tab asked me to do that I would just assume it was wrong as so many tabs are and just find the most convenient same note within a reasonable distance and play that instead.
    90% of the songs I play with my band are Rock and Blues covers so I play in the G C A D block with some Bs and Fs thrown in for the most part. I hardly ever go above a B on the E string except maybe to play harmonics on the intro to Man of The World, by the way if anybody could tell me where the harmonic of B is I would appreciate it.
    When it came to this particular song either of the two positions are easy enough logistically to play I just felt from knowing the song that the second one sounded better. Even the break (? Don’t know if that what it is called) works well in either position so I was confused as to whether it could be played either way.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, logically that makes no sense, as the whole point is that musical notation isn't instrument-specific; so you can easily play a written piece on piano, guitar or bass - or marimba or whatever you want!! ;)

    The good thing about this is that it makes you think about music - not where you are putting your hands/fingers - so you get used to relating note production to a sound and not a mechanical act! :)

    As to harmonics - you can play any note anywhere, as an artficial harmonic - just make sure you are stopping the string (creating a node) roughly twelve frets above where you are fretting any B on the fingerboard, for example!! ;)
  10. I think a lot of my problem is I don't really know what the different terms mean so it is difficult to explain situations like this.
    On Harmonics question; do all notes have harmonics at 12 frets? I find the harmonic of B on the E or A string are just thuds as opposed to on the G string where It rings true.

    thanks for the help by the way.
    I am hoping somebody out there will barter for some lessons soon.

  11. The natural harmonics on a string depend on the notes in the triad of that string, so on the E string, you have the harmonic on the 5th fret with is E, the fourth which is G#, and one the third which is B, E G# and B being the notes in the E major triad. The same is true for the other strings, A is A,C#, and E, D is D, F# and A, and G is G, B, and D. The B harmonic is also located on the fourth fret of the G string , in a different octave the the e string, which you already seem to have figured out
  12. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Open strings are your friends!!!
  13. i don't like open strings because you can't "shape" the tone as easily as you can on fingured notes.

    i used to date a violinist and she showed me a cool trick to fake vibrato on an open string.

    just vibrato the octave without playing it!
    neat effect!!!
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...said Mr. Jamerson!

    Glad to see you're still uprightin' it, 'Bo.

    Some grooves require OPEN strings.
    My first-ever bass book(Mel Bay) said "Do not use open strings".
    I took that to heart for a long time, too.
    No mas.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it all depends and there are no rules. So , I remember when I was playing bass in the 80s, using a pick(!), bright stainless steel roundwounds, effects - then open strings jumped out at you like a sore thumb - nobody needed to tell you to avoid them - it was just common sense.

    But now when I'm playing an EUB with big thick DB strings and struggling to pull across the strings with as much finger as I can - then open strings sound great and are an enormous help - in shifting positions quickly and checking intonation, for example.

    They are a great help for learning to sight read music as well - so you have four notes that you can always find easily on the stave and then work around them.

    Of course if you want to play a melody that requires expression or a groove that requires a deeper, more rounded tone, like a Tumbao - then play higher up the neck and avoid open strings - that's what 5-strings are made for!! ;)
  16. I only avoid open strings cause it's harder to stop them. On the other hand a they do provide a place to fiddle with my tone or voluum knobs or scratch my...um... nose.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well the easiest answer, is above the 12th fret on the B string!! ;)
  18. It is Rock and Roll, sometimes you can't get the right sound without playing sloppy. There are a lot of bass players that plucked with a thumb and fretted with one or two fingers.
  19. I'll just get me one of them ther washtub basses and put that B string on it for emergencies. Do they make fretted washtubs haha.?

    I think I will stick with the 16th fret on the G string for that particular song, it sounds right.
    Thanks for all the info

    I have no idea what this means, I lost you after the word "the".

    isn't the 5th fret on the E string an A?
  20. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    The electric hasn't been taken out of the gig bag for over six weeks. Just haven't used it. Only upright.

    I just don't understand how people can't use the open strings. Man, they are truly your friends. The best. Position shifts, climbing the neck, they're good for so much.