#1
First, I apologize if this is the wrong area.

Well, the guitarist I play with and I recently recruited a bassist and formally became a band (we still need a drummer, but for the short term we have a drum machine).

Over the past couple weeks, I've come to realize not only that I know nothing about that weird 4 string guitar-lookin thing you guys use, but I also have no idea how to play along with it. I can bang out a couple root powerchords, but when it comes to following some of the melodies and "scale crawls" (as I call em) he does, I feel stymied.

He's very good at what he does, but time wise he's around my level. Our other guitarist has no problem following along with what he does, so I feel as though I'm holding up progress.

What can I learn (other then watching his riffs and learning fret notes on a bass) to make his life, and thus everyone's, easier? What do some of you guys wish a guitarist would learn/do to make it more fun to do what it is you do? I'd like to ask him, but while he really is a good player, he knows absolutely no theory. Chords, notes, scales, nothing. He plays scales but can't name em, and can't tell me what notes he's rooting in.

Sorry if this is a little rambling, I actually know so little that I'm grasping at straws just to figure out what questions to ask.

Any help would be greatly appriciated
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
Last edited by Garou1911 at Apr 22, 2008,
#2
tell him to learn some damn theory so he can be useful in the writing process, and so he can tell you the key he is in
#3
ready?

the strings on a bass are the first four strings on a guutar (EADG) and are fretted the same
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#6
Quote by Wylde14
tell him to learn some damn theory so he can be useful in the writing process, and so he can tell you the key he is in

Well, we're working on that, but he sees theory as this big mysterious thing that he really doesn't have a use for. The other guitarist thankfully knows some bass as well, so he's able to work with him on it, but for the short term our practices have been an uphill battle and I'd like to take some weight off his shoulders.

But yeah, we're trying.
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
#7
Wait, hold on a second.

Are you telling me that I have a chance to tell a guitarist what to do?!!?

*grabs specially prepared list*
#1: Realise that a bass is not just a guitar with two strings cut off.
#2: Not be as egotistical and steal all the limelight.
#3: Stop designer drug habit.
#4: Not be as egotistical.
#5: Realise that one cannot solo all the time
#6: Not be as egotistical.
#7: Learn proper timing and music theory.
#8: Not be as egotistical.
#9: Not force the bass player to always play wingman and let him get the girl occacionally.
#10: Not be as egotistical.
#11: Learn songs other than Smoke on the Water and Stairway to Heaven.
#12: Not be as egotistical.
#13: Let the bass solo every once and a while.
#14: Not be as egotistical.

Tell your guitarist friends, and sorry if I repeated some.
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#8
^

I'll try to remember those.
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
#10
^ I think Jazz's post was directed at kranoscorp.

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking but if you know your theory you should be able to work out what your bassist is doing and then play along.
Last edited by 24fRETSoFfURY at Apr 22, 2008,
#11
Quote by 24fRETSoFfURY
^ I think Jazz's post was directed at kranoscorp.

Whups. My bad
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
#12
Basses are tuned in the same intervals as a guitar while in Standard so you should be able to just watch his fingers.....Try not to cover up his fills either...
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#13
Quote by BladeSlinger
Basses are tuned in the same intervals as a guitar while in Standard so you should be able to just watch his fingers.....Try not to cover up his fills either...

That's just the thing. We're in a drop tuning so our strings don't match up, and I hate just blasting out powerchords because he really is coming up with some neat, intricate lines and fills.

I dunno, I just I'll just have to play with him more and try to read up on bass basics.

Thanks for all the help
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
#14
Quote by Garou1911
That's just the thing. We're in a drop tuning so our strings don't match up, and I hate just blasting out powerchords because he really is coming up with some neat, intricate lines and fills.

I dunno, I just I'll just have to play with him more and try to read up on bass basics.

Thanks for all the help

Maybe he should go into a drop tuning also?
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#15
sounds like you need to read up on guitar basics instead of bass basics. I suggest you all start studying theory. It will suck for about a month, but after that you will be able to read each others lines so much easier, and your writing will not only get a hell of a lot better, but the process will be a hell of a lot faster. Theroy makes everybodys lives easier.
#16
Does he know what key he's in? Do you know what key he's in?


Find out the key and the key changes in your songs and then start strumming to those keys, I.E if he's in F then you play an f7th or whatever.

Then when your sounding pretty decent, build on it and start doing things ._.

Also, i suggest you all start learning theory.
#17
Makes sure he understands that theory isn't just reading notes and playing classical music. It's the language of musicians. He needs to, at the very least, learn the notes on his fret board and the names of the scales he plays. It's not just important for the band, but for his own development as a player.
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#18
So let me get this straight: he's not in the same tuning as the guitarists, knows no theory and does awesome stuff that you can't keep up with.

Tell him to learn some damn theory.
Learn some theory yourself.
Tell him to tune the same as you guys.
Get together some simple progressions you guys can play over top of.

It sounds to me like you're just going at it and playing random stuff, which ends up sounding okay. Do more structured stuff like actual songs and pre-decided chord progressions. Truthfully, the bass is meant to follow the guitars and drums, not the other way around. He can do some fancy stuff if he wishes, but the guitarists aren't supposed to be looking at what the bassist is doing to follow him.
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#19
Lol! So what you're doing now is, the three of you just all play random stuff and then sometimes it sounds goods and the bass player is soloing all the time?

...

Noodling away..!

...

Besides what's been said already it helps very much to have a chord progression first. That's usually how jamming starts anyway - if you don't know what chords (and, thus, in what key) you're playing (or, the others are playing) I can, indeed, imagine that it must be hard to follow, yea. So next time, you're gonna have a nice chord progression ready, tell the others what it is and in what key (if the bass player doesn't know what that means, he'll just have to listen to you guys and then follow) and everything should be alright.

This is why the 12 Bar Blues is so great. ^^
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#20
you dont always have to do it, but it helps being in the same tuning drop or standard, though there are a few songs where the bassist or guitarist is in a drop tuning and the other is standard, but those people usually know what they are doing and the notes theory and such.

I started learning scales and trying to read music, its been tough but practicing my scales is one of the best things i started to do my playing is greatly increased.
#21
Quote by kranoscorp
Wait, hold on a second.

Are you telling me that I have a chance to tell a guitarist what to do?!!?

*grabs specially prepared list*
#1: Realise that a bass is not just a guitar with two strings cut off.
#2: Not be as egotistical and steal all the limelight.
#3: Stop designer drug habit.
#4: Not be as egotistical.
#5: Realise that one cannot solo all the time
#6: Not be as egotistical.
#7: Learn proper timing and music theory.
#8: Not be as egotistical.
#9: Not force the bass player to always play wingman and let him get the girl occacionally.
#10: Not be as egotistical.
#11: Learn songs other than Smoke on the Water and Stairway to Heaven.
#12: Not be as egotistical.
#13: Let the bass solo every once and a while.
#14: Not be as egotistical.

Tell your guitarist friends, and sorry if I repeated some.

Don't be an asshole, the guy asked a legitimate question and is actually trying to learn.
And by the way, that whole don't be egoistical thing, from what you wrote, I'd suggest you to tell that to yourself.

Quote by Bass First
Does he know what key he's in? Do you know what key he's in?


Find out the key and the key changes in your songs and then start strumming to those keys, I.E if he's in F then you play an f7th or whatever.

Then when your sounding pretty decent, build on it and start doing things ._.

Also, i suggest you all start learning theory.

If he's in F, then it'd make much more sense to play an Fmaj7, not a F7 .
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#22
if it is a bass fill primarily on the B and E strings (of a 5 string, obviously) then play it on your high B and E strings and it'll sound good with both instruments being audible. obviosuly, this isnt for a whole song, but can make a fill sound great.
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#23
Quote by MV4824
"dood", yes you do. How do you think bassists become famous and/or recognizable? Their abilities of creativity, style, form with the use of our little friend "Mr. Theory".


Read again - he said, you dont *have* to know theory to be useful in writing process. He didn't say, 'you don't have to know theory to become the greatest bassist in the world', indeed he didn't. It is quite possible for bassists to write songs or even symphonies (!) without knowing any theory but just based on hearing and trial/error. It does take longer and, granted, to an orthodox musician it might sound random, but perhaps there's a certain beauty in this. Ahhhh the beautiful days of ignorance.
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#24
Quote by bornfidelity
Read again - he said, you dont *have* to know theory to be useful in writing process. He didn't say, 'you don't have to know theory to become the greatest bassist in the world', indeed he didn't. It is quite possible for bassists to write songs or even symphonies (!) without knowing any theory but just based on hearing and trial/error. It does take longer and, granted, to an orthodox musician it might sound random, but perhaps there's a certain beauty in this. Ahhhh the beautiful days of ignorance.


Yeah, I think it's a little weird how we are turning this art into a science. We should try things that might not work but are creative and inspiring and sound good. There's only so much dabbling you can do with pre-set chord progressions.
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#25
I disagree. Anyone can throw paint on a canvas and call it art. It's taking predetermined things and then making them your own where the true art comes from. That's what I love about a lot of jazz, especially Dizzy Gillespie. He found away to play inside, but be so outside at the same time.

Also, WE are turning this into a science? Theory has been around a lot longer than any modern musician has been alive and the creative process hasn't really changed that much, even though the genres have.
#26
I find it hard to believe that he's playing anything amazing if he can't simply play along following only the route notes. Problem sounds more like it's resting with him than you.

Yea go with what others said and learn some theory, he needs to too.

Start at the beginning. Tune the same. You play the song and he should just stick with playing the route notes of the song. Then he can go off and make things a little more interesting if he wants.
#27
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I disagree. Anyone can throw paint on a canvas and call it art. It's taking predetermined things and then making them your own where the true art comes from. That's what I love about a lot of jazz, especially Dizzy Gillespie. He found away to play inside, but be so outside at the same time.

Also, WE are turning this into a science? Theory has been around a lot longer than any modern musician has been alive and the creative process hasn't really changed that much, even though the genres have.


That's actually how a great number of 'art' paintings could be accurately described. What about this guy that had his kid splat some random paint around and then put this fancy painter's name under it and it sold for over $200.000 and everyone thought it was oh so pretty.

And I'm not saying (we are not saying) theory isn't useful, it's just not necessary. I don't think these guys are aiming for anything Gillepiean, anyway
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#28
theory doesn't make the world go round...

but it does speed up the process. learn theory.
plus, it's nice to sound like you practiced improv jamming, as opposed to like monkeys at the sam ash
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#29
Sorry if it's been said, but why is he playing different notes than the chords you are playing? Why is HE not following YOU, instead of you being concerned about following him?

What he's playing can't sound all that good if he's not staying with you guys and the drum beat.

If you would take a few nights, go to somewhere like cyberfret.com or something, and learn Theory, I think any problem you guys are having would be solved.

Again, sorry most/all of this has been said. I just read the first couple posts and was kinda mind boggled by this. If it's all been said, consider this my agreeance with what was said. :lol:
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#30
Wow. Thanks for all the input. It seems I've been doing a bad job describing the situation though...

I know some theory. I won't try to say "I know theory" because most of you would know I'm lying .I can peg down which notes he's using, but then he changes keys and I'm back at square one. Since I first posted I've had a couple sit downs with him and I have a better idea of what he's been doing, but he still can't really articulate, like saying "I'm going from the locrian mode to the aeolian". Except to compound that, he's a big fan of these weird diminished turkish/egyptian scales that I'm completely unfamillier with (partly my fault for not learning beyond the major, blues, and pentatonics).

We ARE ALL IN THE SAME TUNING. I apologize for not being clearer on that. The problem is the way we're tuned (drop C), everything I try to transcribe from him while we're jamming has to be moved 1/2 - 1 step depending on the string.

We certainly don't just play random stuff, we do have a small repitore<sp?> of songs we click on and a couple covers we've been working on. It's during the free jams/creative process I have trouble, rather then the 'sit down memorization/tweaking/arranging' part.

Thanks again for all the replies, and I'd like to add that while it's not absolutely necessary, it's silly NOT to know at least some theory. If you're gonna live in a country, learn to speak the language

-edit- I'd also like to add that I'm not looking for a shortcut to his learning theory. Our other guitarist is working with him on it, I was just wondering if there's anything I can focus on that will make the transition easier. I constantly work on expanding my knowledge, but I've been admittedly confused in trying to apply it to bass.

Thanks again

-edit #2 (w00t!)- I'd like to suggest a change in terminology. Maybe it's a little grammer nazi of me, but I read a lot of people saying "Learn theory" like it's a song. With seldom few exceptions, nobody really "knows theory". We're all in a process of LEARNING theory, and maybe some people know a great deal of theory, but it's a pretty blanket statement to just say "learn theory". "Learn basic theory" or "learn theory fundamentals" or even just "learn some theory" would fit a lot better. That's a little like saying "I know the bass" or "I know the guitar". Maybe you know a great deal, but that connotation suggests knowing everything there is to know, and for most of us that's just not feasable in a lifetime.

Sorry to get on a rant
-Guitar Gear-
1995 American Fender Strat, EMG 85 pup
Randall RH200 Head
Marshall 1960a Cab
Woods Acoustic
-Bass Gear-
Spector Legend 4 bass
Washburn Bantam bass
Hartke HA2500
Fender Bassman 410H
Play what you love, love what you play
Last edited by Garou1911 at Apr 24, 2008,