A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Practice: 11/22/15 – HLBM 37 (Analysis 2)

So, continuing from my previous post from this AM, I figured it out. The 2nd 12-bar blues exercise (ex. 37, A Little Heavy) in the Hal Leonard book doesn’t use the major scale. It uses the minor scale.

Here are the notes from the major scale, starting on F#:

Scale degree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Frets to move 0 2 2 1 2 2 2 1
Note name F# G# A# B C# D# E# F#

And here’s the minor scale, again starting on F#:

Scale degree 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
Frets to move 0 2 1 2 2 1 2 2
Note name F# G# A B C# D E F#

The difference is that the minor scale flats the 3rd, 6th and 7th notes. So, A#, D# & E# become A, D & E, respectively.

This might be a little hard to read. Its the notes from the exercise on the E and A strings. I’ve mapped out what the notes are by scale degree based on the major scale. The only notes are the 1, b3, 4 and 5 – so F#, A, B and C#, respectively. Those are all notes in an F# minor scale.

That E# = F thing that I was mulling over is resolved when we look at this from F# minor instead of F# major. The 7th note in the scale is no longer an E#. Its an E (because we’re flatting the 7). This note doesn’t actually get played in the exercise, but it absolutely helped me to understand what scale or key the exercise was written in. And, because of this, I now have a moveable pattern that I can use to easily transpose the exercise into any key I want. It looks like this:

Its amazing to me how much can be done with so few notes. MalcolmAmos from the Talkbass forums always gives advice to beginning bassists who are looking for tips on constructing basslines. He says to start with the root (the 1) and when we’re ready, add in the 5th and after that, the octave. If we need more, then go for the 3rd or 7th. This is basically the same thing, but with an added 4th instead of 3rd or 7th.

Here’s the original exercise, written in notation, for those of you who want to compare it with the pattern above:


One response

  1. Pingback: Hal Leonard Bass Method (Ed Friedland) index | Ugly Bass Face

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