A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

BRBL12: More Octaves

I’m using example 9 from Building Rock Bass Lines as a warm-up exercise, because it has all of these string crossings due to its focus on octaves. Tonight, I moved past it to example 10, which continues with octaves. Its the same chord progression, but the actual notes are different. Sonically, it sounds like the opposite of example 9 – the highs and lows (roots & octaves) have somewhat switched, but since the progression is the same (Em-G-C-A), it fits right in. Once I have it under my fingers, I’m going to work the two of them together as an 8-bar exercise. I’m certain that they could be heard together as a single song due to the shared progression.

Its interesting how switching the octaves and roots around a bit really makes the exercise difficult. I think that some of my ability to work through example 9 was muscle and ear memory. 10 came along, threw everything in a blender and really pulled the rug out from under me, with regard to coasting by on memory. I like it. Its hard, but I think that its also helping to build finger independence and wire my brain so that these sounds get individual neural pathways in there, instead of being paired and sequenced and dependent on each other for sense.

Here’s what the exercise looks like:

05 Track 10

I’m playing it from the same positions as exercise 9 (although I dabble in higher positions, up the neck, just to rack up XP). So, tabbed out, it looks like this:

05 Track 10 tab

Also, I like how Ed quietly introduces it with “Now let’s play this progression using the octave to jump registers.” He neglects to mention the scrambled egg brain effect it has, so its a surprise wallop. He does continue with “Its a subtle difference, but you can hear how the octave is used for different purposes. In bass playing, the fine details make it happen.” I agree with that – switching the roots and octaves does give it a different feel. Its fun to hear it, but as of right now, hard to play it.

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