A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

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.

We went back to the major scale and I showed him how to count the scale degrees for each note that he was playing. Basically, we numbered each from 1 to 8, out loud. When we had finished doing that a few times, I showed him a major triad. I explained that by counting, we knew what the first note, second note, and so on, were in the scale.

I then explained a little about chords to him, letting him know that chords are 3 or more notes played together, to sound like one note, on guitar, piano, and other instruments. On bass, we play all of the notes, but separate them out. I explained that a triad is a chord made up of three notes, the root (0r the 1), the 3rd note in the scale and the 5th note in the scale.

I then showed him some examples of triads, followed with what I believe is that I-IV-V progression from an earlier post. I explained that a triad could be played on the first note, 4th note and 5th note of a scale, and showed him several ways in which it could sound by altering the pattern a bit. All of them sounded like cowboy music. 😉

I think he got it, but I wrapped up by going over the scale and triad again, and making sure he could play it on several places on the fretboard. I hope everything I showed him is correct. For me, it was good practice. We broke for a few hours, and then later in the night, when wifey and my mother joined us for a lengthy chat, I practiced the major scale pattern all over the neck. I think I actually got in a lot of practice tonight. I really needed it. 😉

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