A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for September, 2011

Funked-up Exercises for Dummies

So, I grabbed wifey from the train after work, as is our usual routine. She asked if we could go to Barnes and Noble before heading home, because she wanted to look for a graphic novel from a writer who she’s having present at her workplace tomorrow. She organized an initiative to introduce graphic novels and some manga to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she’s a librarian, a few months ago. That project has since been passed off to someone else, due to some political rationalization, but she decided to help with tomorrow’s showing, because even though she’s hands-off, it was originally her baby.

Anyway, en-route to the store (or more precisely, while I was in the store), wifey stopped off to look at dresses or shoes or something at a lady-store. I went through B&N, and, after getting sucked into the science section as always, I pulled myself away and headed into music. The result of that journey is that I picked up two new prizes:

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TalkBass thread: Learning Chords vs. Scales for beginners II

That Talkbass thread on learning chords or scales for beginners that I mentioned two days ago has grown a little more. The original post can be found here. In the thread, I asked JTE if he could expand on the 8 points in his message a bit (#45), because he seems like a skilled, intelligent and objective bassist with a good sense of how one could progress with theory. He did so, for the first 3 of his 8 points (#60). Here’s a copy of what was said:

vishalicious @ 03:59 PM on 9/27/2011
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Thanks, JTE. That was a very informative post. I have a question and a request in response to it:
 
Q: Isn’t learning arpeggios the same as learning scales? Aren’t arpeggios chords with more notes than a triad, with the notes all coming from the same scale (or do I have a misunderstanding of what an arpeggio is)?
 
And, if you have time, my request is, can you expand slightly on the 8 items in your list of theory progression? Like, if it were an outline, could you add a few bullets to each with some key concepts to focus on, or important points and insights that must be understood for each? I hope its not a lot to ask, and I only do because I like the structure that you’ve outlined and would like to explore it in a deeper manner.
 
I actually think that something like that could potentially become a stickied post for beginners in this forum.
 

Practice: 9/28/2011 – Minor triads & I-IV-V progression 1

Here’s  the first of three triad patterns that I played in the minor scale from Bass Guitar for Dummies, along with the changes I made when I moved the same patterns around the bass to turn them into chord progressions (assuming I’m not getting the terminology wrong).

Minor Triad – Pattern 1

Ok. A triad is a type of chord – its a chord that’s made up of 3 notes from a scale. The mechanical reason that they’re minor triads is that they’re played using the following three notes in the minor scale:

  1. The root – in this case, its the 3rd fret on the A string (C)
  2. The 3rd  – the 6th fret on the A string (D#)
  3. The 5th – the 5th fret on the D string (G)

The theory behind this is that the minor scale has a flatted 3rd, when compared to the major scale. So the root (the 1) and the 5th are the same in both the major and minor scales (and in these associated triads) but the 3rd is different, which also completely changes the sound.

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Practice: 9/27/2011 – Simple exercise

So, I was reading over the scales and chords (triads) part of Bass Guitar for Dummies earlier, to make sure I understand them properly, and as I was doing it, I went back a few pages as well. There’s an exercise at the end of the preceding chapter that I never did. Its relatively simple. It looks like this:

Simple exercise


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TalkBass thread: Learning Chords vs. Scales for beginners

For those of you starting out (like me) there’s a really good thread on the Talkbass forums about learning chords vs. learning scales for beginning bass players. A lot of the more experienced players have voiced opinions (with rationales) on one way over the other, and a few have said that they’re different sides of the same coin.

The thread can be found here:
Learning Chords Vs. Scales for beginners

I offered a little slice of what I’m doing, to help return it to a beginner’s perspective in post #42 and a poster named JTE responded with a really well-constructed outline of how to progress with theory as a bass player in #43.

Here’s the text of what was said (in case the forum is ever inaccessible):

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Practice: 9/23/2011 – First session with Jay

Tonight was my first time practicing with someone else. I grabbed Jay and we set up our basses in the living room. He has a 4-string Fender Jazz bass and a practice amp. After settling down, we did that warm-up exercise that I do, up and down the neck. Jay is new to it, so his hands are still acclimating. I think in a week, he’ll be able to play it comfortably.

After warming up, we compared notes on Stand By Me. I think we’re each playing it slightly differently. It sounds mostly correct from each of us, but there’s an additional note in one of his measures. He has a few different sets of tab, each with their own way to play it, so I guess what I came up with isn’t set in stone either. 😉

After a while, we went back to the warm-up exercise. Then, I showed him the major scale pattern. It took a few tries, but he got it. I explained its significance to him and then showed him the intro part of Lean On Me that I figured out, and showed him that it was all just the first 4 notes in the major scale, and one additional note. He was able to duplicate it, and then wanted to try Raisin in the Sun from Violent Femmes. While he looked for tab, I tried to puzzle it out from memory, and found that its also in the major scale. I stopped him and showed him what I’d discovered. After mucking about with it for a bit, I think we had the basic frame down. I’d need to listen to the song to know for sure though, and I haven’t heard it in years. I’ll post up tab of what I pieced together later.

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Practice: 9/23/2011 – Stand By Me

I took a few mins to practice Stand By Me again earlier, after doing my usual warm-up and the running the major scale pattern down the E string and then up the A string. I then went back to my post with the tab for the song from a few days ago so I could look at it again before playing it to the video on Youtube. Do you know what I found? I’m doing it differently from the tab, and my way keeps my hands in position longer!

However, I also found something else – that bassline is played a lot faster than how I constructed it in my head, and there’s a flourish at the end, after what I have tabbed, which I’m not quick enough to do, and haven’t quite “transcribed” into tab yet.

Here’s a link to my previous post with the tab from the internet, and below is what I’ve been playing instead. It probably has errors, and isn’t complete yet. Its interesting to try to figure it out and learn it though:

I’m going to mess with this more later on today, when I practice with my brother-in-law.

[edit 11.11.2015] I set up a SoundCloud account. Here’s what the above intro sounds like with no amplification on an electric bass plugged into a PC with a Rocksmith cable:

I’m probably doing this wrong. Its probably in the wrong key, now that I’m starting to understand what that means, but, it still reflects a moment in time. Also, I think this song might be in one of the Hal Leonard songbooks, so I’ll look into it when I finish book 1 of the Hal Leonard Bass Method.