A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for April 8, 2011

Lesson 2: 4/8/2011 – Naturals

Continuing from the last post (it was getting large, so I split it)…


Ex. 20 introduces the natural sign (♮) as well as giving us our first flat to play. The natural sign cancels any implied sharps or flats until a new sharp or flat symbol is introduced. What this means is that, if I make F into F# and I have 4 F’s in a measure, placing a natural sign after, say, the 2nd F makes the 3rd and 4th regular F’s again.

So if the measure was F#-F-F-F, we would normally play it as F#-F#-F#-F#, because that first sharp makes all of the other F’s in that measure sharp. If we stick a natural in there after the 2nd one, it would look something like F#-F-♮F-F . It would then play as F#-F#-F-F.

Here’s Ex 20, the one with the flat that’s leaving me tongue-tied:

Ex 20


Lesson 2: 4/8/2011 – More Notes on the E String

I didn’t get to do any additional reading yesterday in the PM, so today, I’m pushing that to the top.

Warm-up took 7 mins. I did the major, minor and blues scales, first starting on the E string, and then again on the A string. Some of them, I did twice if I messed up. So, it looks like 6 scales, up and down the neck, took 7 mins. I don’t think that’s too bad, but I’m definately no shred bassist. 😉

Ran through all of the exercises on the E string next. This included reading and playing all of them and then playing along with the CD for those last two, “Little Rock” and “Kinda Folky”. This took about 30 mins altogether. I played Little Rock with the CD a bunch of times. When reading, going from one “line” (not sure what to call the staff when it reaches the right side of the page and continues on a new staff) to the next, I was a bit choppy at first, but repeated runs made this smoother. I’m not sure if its because of memory or reading yet. Hopefully, the two of those will become one though.


A brief introduction to scales

Ok. For a few weeks, I’ve brought up the topic of scales, but I haven’t really discussed what they are or what they’re used for in any detail. I’ll touch on that a bit here and follow up in later posts, but bear in mind, I’m still learning this stuff, so its not going to be complete.

What are scales?

Scales are groups of notes that follow a particular pattern, going from a starting note (called the root note or tonic) to the same note, an octave higher. There are many scales. The chromatic scale is one that includes all 12 notes of the Western musical language. To play it, just pick a fret on any string and play that note and the next 11 notes after it in sequence. You can also play it backwards.

Other scales have less than the 12 notes of the chromatic scale. The most widely-used of these are the major and minor scales. These scales each have 7 notes (8 if you count the octave at the end). The blues scale, which we looked at a little earlier, has only 6 notes (7 if you count the octave) and there are others with both more and less.