It feels like Ed Friedland rolled up and gave me a beating. I moved on to the Using the Octave lesson/section in Building Rock Bass Lines and the first exercise just tripped me up and tied my fingers in knots. Its an Em-G-C-A 4-bar progression. However, since we’re using octaves, and there are probably a bunch of different places/fingerings we could use to play it, the one I settled on for the moment has me stumbling across 4 strings and 4 frets.
I’m not used to much string-skipping yet, and I’m doing this on a 6-string bass, so I have to try not to play the low B or the high C strings, which can get a bit confusing at times. The pattern on the E and A are the same, but the G and C each have their own pattern, so I can’t just lock into a particular motion and move it across the neck. Fie! (Finally, a chance to say that! There’s my silver lining…)
Here’s what the notation looks like. Its deceptively simple.
And here’s how I tried to play it, in tab:
Here’s another try at that 8-bar progression from Building Rock Bass Lines. I included a single note from outside of it, as an approach note. Its still simple, but somehow having 5 notes to manage over any 4 bars keeps me in check. I’m unable to really branch out more because I’m certain I’ll get lost and hit wrong notes.
I saw that the next section begins introducing octaves. I’m curious about going back to exercises like this and adding in new elements from later on in the book.
Here’s another take on that 8-bar progression for the track 8 exercise for Building Rock Bass Lines. Its kind of fun to try and come up with something after you’re given a progression. Its a cool, creative type of exercise that I never really do on my own.
I just worked through a few more exercises in Building Rock Bass Lines and finished with the track 8 exercise, which gives us an 8-bar chord progression and asks us to come up with our own bassline for it. The progression is Am-C-G-D and then Am-C-G-E. Bopps is awake and with me, watching videos on the tablet. While I was doing the exercise, she kept telling me that I have to play “[duh-duh] [duh-duh-duh-duh] [duh-duh] [duh-duh] [oh yeah!]” which is her name for N.I.B. Sadly, I don’t think I could have made that fit the exercise at this stage in the game.
Anyway – here’s what I came up with. Its simple, and in some bars, I use a different note than the specified root to move to the next chord, but they’re all notes from the progression. I didn’t use anything outside. I think they might count as approach notes.
Here’s something I did a few mins ago that I found interesting. I ran that 1-6-4-5 exercise in Building Rock Bass Lines again. The progression is G-Em-C-D. Instead of playing the same E though, I played 4 different E’s. Its a little choppy, because I really don’t have the speed and coordination to make it sound natural, but I found it an interesting variation, and I think its in line with what Ed says about trying the exercises using notes from different areas on the fretboard.
I’m practicing with a 6-string bass, so I used the E’s on the B, E, A and D strings to do it. I think the only reason I could attempt it is that the 2nd E is the open E on the E string, which gives me a moment to move my hand quickly to the other E’s.
Anyhow, here’s what the exercise sounded like earlier today:
And here’s how it sounds with different E’s:
I like the variation in register. I tried it with approach notes, but you can definitely tell they’re different notes. Its smoother with 4 octaves of the same note. They blend together more naturally.
Damn. I really miss this stuff. Ok. I took a few mins to blabber about Joe Riposo’s book about approach notes and advertise the Bass Blogs group on FB – something I haven’t done since last November, and then I ran a few more exercises in the Building Rock Bass Lines book.
I’m still on the chapter that focuses on root notes, and I can begin to see the versatility of roots. I actually had this conception that people who play nothing but roots are somehow less creative than those who integrate more notes from whatever source they choose – scales, chords, chromatics, whatever. But, listening to just roots, and hearing them change from root-to-root over a progression, it gives me a greater appreciation for them. Its different from reading about them. MalcolmAmos on Talkbass always recommends people start with them when they discuss building bass lines, and I can see the sense in it now that I’m not just reading notation, but beginning to look at how bass lines are constructed.
I ran the exercise for track 4 in the book. It was basically the variation I had already done for track 2 – instead of playing quarter notes, we follow the same progression (E-A-D-A) and play 8th notes. But then I moved onto track 5, and things got different.
Its a new progression, G-Em-C-D, which Ed explains is a 1-6-4-5 progression. I did the math by counting on my fingers, and he’s right if G is 1 then E is 6, C is 4 and D is 5. That 2nd chord is an E minor, but regardless, since we’re playing roots, its just an E at this point.
So, here’s how the exercise sounds when I played it:
And, here’s a little variation I did. Its the same chord progression. I just varied the rhythm a little. First, I started by just playing it faster, with 8th notes instead of quarter notes. Then, I just kept the same progression and varied the riff/notes a little.
 Well, the baby threw up about an hour ago. She’s been coughing a bit over the last 2 days, and it looks like tonight, it stopped her from breathing when she was sleeping. I can’t remember what I was going to continue this post with, but that’s probably for the better since its now 3 AM. Good night!