Back at the end of March 2011, I wrote a blog entry called BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS!?!?!?! I had just received the Hal Leonard Bass Method by Ed Friedland. In the entry, I was confused by Ed’s initial use of a 1-2-4 finger position for the fretting hand, instead of one-finger-per-fret, which I was used to seeing.
After all this time, I think I know where 1-2-4 comes from: a double-bassist, and writer of New Method for the Double Bass, Franz Simandl (1840 – 1912). Here’s the opener from his Wikipedia entry:
“Franz Simandl (August 1, 1840 – December 15, 1912) was a double-bassist and pedagogue most remembered for his book New Method for the Double Bass, known as the Simandl book, which is to this day used as a standard study of double bass technique and hand positions.”
I knew learning how to read and use the internet would pay off someday!
As mentioned in my last practice post, here are the warm-up exercise permutations I started doing yesterday. Its inspired in part by material in both Bass Guitar Exercises for Dummies and Bass Fitness. These are variations of the 1-2-3-4 one-finger-per-fret exercise that most people practice with when first starting to learn bass. I’ll let you know in 10 years if more advanced players use it as well. (Hopefully, I’ll have advanced by then.)
There are 4 variations here. They each begin with the index (1) finger. In a week, I’ll begin with another finger, if I’m adept enough at these. Otherwise, I’ll continue with these until I’m ready to move onto another permutation. Remember, they’re warm-ups. After you’ve run through them, its probably a good idea to move onto practicing something to do with theory or reading or learning a song. I’ve been following these up with scale and triad stuff.
Here’s how to do them:
That progression thing I mentioned in my “Warm up” post
Ok. So, I warmed up and then practiced the major scale pattern, up the neck on the E string, and then down the neck on the A string. Afterward, I was thinking about something I read a while back called progressions. I think they’re sequences in which notes (or even parts of a song) are played, but these notes are embellished with other notes.
I read something about blues basslines often following something called a I-IV-V progression. I think what this means is that you play the root note (the 1) and something to accent it, followed by the 4th note in the major scale with something to accent it (the 4), followed by the 5th note in the scale (the 5) with its gang.
Before I go further into that –
This is an exercise I did by accident for weeks, when I was going through Bass Guitar Secrets about 2-3 months ago. I’d read the tab upside down, because I like to practice late at night when I’m running on fumes and my head isn’t clear. The idea is that its supposed to help with flexibility when playing over multiple strings. It forces you to leave one finger behind when other fingers move up a string.
The exercise is in 4 parts. The first part isolates the index finger, the 2nd isolates the middle, then comes the ring and finally the pinky. Basically, each gets anchored to the E string (or whatever your lowest string is if you have more than 4) while the others move up. Its done in a position. This means that you can play it further up or down the neck when you’re ready.
If you have BGS Volume 1, the exercise that Alex Sampson wrote which I messed up to create this is Exercise 3, “Birds on a Wire“.
Bad again. I didn’t practice in the last 3 days, and I’m slow to boot. The upside is that I finished editing a bunch of wifey’s stuff for her 2nd masters. She’s applying to both Columbia and Hunter. I did keep up with reading stuff before bed, and with all of the editing finally out of the way I can practice a little. No more 20-page papers to go through all bleary-eyed, after the stuff I do at work!
So, we ran around today, taking care of car stuff, getting rained on, meeting her friend’s new man, seeing a movie and eating. When we got in, I was finally able to carve out 90 mins to practice while she Netflixed “An Education”.
I went through the E String exercises again, with the CD when tracks were available. Then I went through the More Notes on the E String exercises, also with CD. My head is slowly sorting out the F#’s from the Gb’s and G#’s. Having them as letters is one thing. Seeing them as notation is another. Running through the exercises slowly and speaking the notes out loud helps a lot. I’m finding that my hands reach for the right notes but my mouth announces the wrong one. I guess that’s only half as bad as it could be.
So wifey has to work 1/2 a day today. They have to do that every few months on a Saturday. I dropped her off and came home half-asleep. After feeding the cats, I decided to grab the bass and get in a few mins of practice before I pass out again.
Last night, before bed, I read some more of Bass Guitar for Dummies. I went through the chapters on playing with a drummer, soloing and creating fills. It was basically chapters 6 & 7. Somewhere in the soloing and fills parts, it discussed more scales. Only, these weren’t 8-note scales. They only have 6 notes. The first is the Blues Scale, then comes the Minor Pentatonic and finally the Major Pentatonic.