So, this weekend brought some interesting bass-related activities that I haven’t gotten to write about until now. Chief amongst these is that I played with someone else – namely, my wife, on piano, and I tried to apply some of what I was practicing from the Building Rock Bass Lines book to a guitar & voice-driven song from Shelby over at Sound Waves & Spray Paint (formerly Grrl + Guitar).
I didn’t do anything fancy. With wifey, we’ve always talked about learning instruments and trying to write something together – we’re hoping for doom metal or post-metal once I know which is the pointy end of my bass. She took piano lessons when she was a little girl, but stopped when she was still small. So, its been more than 20 years since she’s really played anything.
I showed her what a chord progression is. We actually just used the one I’ve been doing exercises with from BRBL. Its [Am-C-G-D] [Am-C-G-E]. I tried to come up with something simple, on the fly, which ended up being primarily root notes, and at some point, an approach tone, as I’m trying to use them to kind of walk to the next chord, since reading more about them in that book by Joe Riposo. If I remember right, I started with the notes from an Am triad, and the rest is mostly roots.
What I found interesting, since chord progressions are new to her (I think she was learning more about reading music when she was small, than theoretical stuff like progressions) is that she seemed to also play single notes and root notes on the piano. I think that once we make time, and she gets to brush up more, it’ll be fun to see what she can do with piano chords with me supporting on bass. I’m also curious about moving away from roots and playing more 3rds and 5ths later on… but that’s for another time, and also, only if I can make it fit and sound decent.
With Shelby, she wrote an acoustic guitar song called Hurricanes. I was listening to it, and thinking about an earlier blog post in which she said that she wrote it with C, Am and Em. So, as an exercise, I tried to use my admittedly hairy ears to follow what she was doing. I tried to hum along with her melody (although, I was thinking of it more as a rhythm, really). Then, when I thought I had it, I tried playing a root note at the beginning of each chord change, just to let my hands know where those notes were when I heard them and get my ears accustomed to the sound. Then, I tried actually coming up with a simple rhythm that could support it underneath but not overpower either her guitar or voice.
I *think* that what I came up with works, but when I recorded it to share, I made some mistakes. It should still work to get the general idea out… and it was something like 2 or 3 in the AM, so there’s that. I’ve come to realize that even if I’m not sleepy, being tired is different and still affects how I process and perform actions.
With the bass part I tried, I played C, A, E, G instead of C, Am, Em. I think the G works because its a chord tone for C (its a 5th) and I believe its also a 3rd for E, which it was essentially replacing for that part that I used it. So, I was really using a chord tone, if my understanding is correct.
Here’s a link to my attempt, for those of you without fear:
Finally, I signed Bopps up for an evaluation for piano lessons at The Belle School of Music. We have a 3:45 appointment today. If it looks like she’s enjoying herself, I’m excited to start her down a musical path. We meant to get her a drum kit for her birthday, last year, but didn’t get to for a few reasons… its still coming though. We might go electronic, so wifey can also use it, and it won’t wake the house at odd hours. After posting about it on FB, I found that wifey’s 2 cousins also went there when they were kids, and at least one of them had fond memories of it. He also still plays piano and guitar, and a picture of him from the 1990’s is still on their website.