I tried Track 3 from Building Rock Bass Lines using the same idea as my previous post. I played it through using only open strings, as per the book, and then I tried it combining octaves for each note. So its, root-root-octave-octave, root-root-octave-octave, etc.
It was tricky at first, because it crosses strings, but once I had the pattern down, it came together pretty quickly.
Here’s the tab for the exercise, as written in the book:
And here it is with the octaves thrown in:
In both of those examples, the “^” sign denotes where dotted quarter notes appear in the notation. Those notes are 1 1/2 times as long as a regular quarter note. So, play them long and play the ones that don’t have it short.
Ok. So, I guess I’m working through the Building Rock Bass Lines book for now. I did the R-5-8 exercise to warm-up earlier and then moved on to the Play the Root section. The first exercise was an E-A-D-A progression. It was 4 bars of quarter notes, so it was basically E-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-D-D-D-D-A-A-A-A repeated 4X to a rock track. It was fairly easy, and Ed Friedland recommends experimentation with each of the exercises (I read the whole book last night), so I ended up doing it with 8th notes as well, which also fit perfectly since its all straight-ahead.
The exercise looks like this – the R’s denote that each note being played is a root note:
Afterward, I moved onto the next one, which uses a different rhythm that includes 8th notes and dotted quarter notes. I was afraid, going in, because of those dots, but you know what? I’m not afraid of them anymore – at least not for quarter notes. Ed was right, its a very common sound that I *have* heard a million times without knowing what it looks like on paper.
The progression is the same – E-A-D-A, but the rhythm is completely different. Holding the dotted note longer really changes things up, and also moving from a note to a different note that’s dotted is interesting. I know I’ve done that a little bit when I practiced in the past, but I never consciously knew that I was playing a dotted quarter note – I thought I was just playing legato, which I believe means holding a note longer. Maybe legato applies when you’re holding ALL the notes in a bar longer though, not just the dotted one. I’ll have to look into that later.
I think I’m going to experiment with this dotted quarter note thing more – maybe use it in scale or arpeggio runs. Anyway, here’s what the exercise looks like:
And here’s what it sounds like: