A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

BRBL 02: Roots & 1-6-4-5

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.

03 Track 5

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.


[edit] 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!


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