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:
Its about 4:00 AM. I should be sleeping. We have to take Bopps to her first piano lesson in the morning, and I’ve been up since early this AM because wifey & I took her to a friend’s dress-fitting thing. She’s going to be the flower girl, this fall. I was in bed, reading on the tablet for a while, and finally decided that since I just wasn’t nodding off, I’d practice.
So, I decided to try and make some headway in Building Rock Bass Lines. I went to example 9, the one that I stopped at 2 weeks ago – I didn’t realize that so much time had passed! I’ve been sidetracked with making up stuff to play over example 8, and a few other things.
Anyway. I read the exercise – its where octaves are introduced – and spent some time just getting my fingers used to playing the root and octave for each of the 4 notes in the progression (Em-G-C-A). This time around, I went with the open E, the G on the E string, the C on the A string and the open A for roots. The octaves were all 2 strings up and 2 frets up from each of those. So, it looked like this:
Maybe 2 weeks away from it is what I needed, because I was able to play it. I don’t know if its up to speed, but I’ll check the actual track to confirm. The important thing is that I can do it. Its a little tricky still though, because its 4 strings, includes string skipping, and I’m doing it on my 6-string bass, so I have to not make a mistake and play on the low B string (which doesn’t happen much) or the high C string (which is more of a risk when aiming for the G string).
I know this isn’t impressive, but, its progress, so here it is:
I thought I’d get some practice in before bed tonight, since I haven’t had any for the past 2, but ended up getting sidetracked from moving on to new exercises by that 8-bar progression exercise again. Here’s an attempt from 4 nights ago, and the one from tonight:
Also, here’s something different. I cobbled it together when listening to the E on the A string and its 5th. I ended up with some kind of progression which I want to look at later to see where the note below the root fits in.
It should be E-B-C#-G#-F#-A-B and then a walk back to E.
It feels like Ed Friedland rolled up and gave me a beating. I moved on to the Using the Octave lesson/section in Building Rock Bass Lines and the first exercise just tripped me up and tied my fingers in knots. Its an Em-G-C-A 4-bar progression. However, since we’re using octaves, and there are probably a bunch of different places/fingerings we could use to play it, the one I settled on for the moment has me stumbling across 4 strings and 4 frets.
I’m not used to much string-skipping yet, and I’m doing this on a 6-string bass, so I have to try not to play the low B or the high C strings, which can get a bit confusing at times. The pattern on the E and A are the same, but the G and C each have their own pattern, so I can’t just lock into a particular motion and move it across the neck. Fie! (Finally, a chance to say that! There’s my silver lining…)
Here’s what the notation looks like. Its deceptively simple.
And here’s how I tried to play it, in tab:
Here’s another try at that 8-bar progression from Building Rock Bass Lines. I included a single note from outside of it, as an approach note. Its still simple, but somehow having 5 notes to manage over any 4 bars keeps me in check. I’m unable to really branch out more because I’m certain I’ll get lost and hit wrong notes.
I saw that the next section begins introducing octaves. I’m curious about going back to exercises like this and adding in new elements from later on in the book.