Tapping On Bass Guitar. Part 4 - Intervals

Virtually all the notes that we've been playing so far have been related harmonically as either fifths or octaves. This is largely because at bass frequencies, smaller intervals do not give a sufficient gap (in terms of Hertz) to allow your ear to tell them apart.

6
Tapping on Bass Guitar Lesson #4 ================================ Virtually all the notes that we've been playing so far have been related harmonically as either fifths or octaves. This is largely because at bass frequencies, smaller intervals do not give a sufficient gap (in terms of Hertz) to allow your ear to tell them apart. This can be most clearly seen on a piano where the left hand (the bass) often plays octaves while the right plays a much closer harmony (usually thirds or less). If you were to play thirds at bass frequencies they would sound a muddy mess. If we look a little more closely at the idea of left hand fifths, there are two ways they can be played in the context of the tapping we've done so far. We can either place the root on the E or the A string. We'll consider each of these in turn. We'll use the A Major Chord (as it's the one we're most familiar with), so placing the root on the E string, and tapping the fifth and octave on the top strings we get:
 O
---

-O-

---
    __
|--------14-------||--/--\--------------------
|--------14-------||  \   | .
|-----------------||------|-------------------
|----5------------||      / .
|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|           O
|--------------------------
The fifth of the A chord is E. This is easiest played on the seventh fret of the A string, so we may alternate between this and the root.
 O      O
---    ---

-O-    -O-

---    ---
    __
|-------14-----14-||--/--\--------------------
|-------14-----14-||  \   | .
|-----------7-----||------|-------------------
|----5------------||      / .     O
|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|            O
|--------------------------
Looping this round should give you a pretty good idea of where we're heading this week. The alternative to placing the root on the E string is to play the root on the A string. We can't play this using open strings, as you can't hammer on an open string, so we'll play this at the twelfth fret
 O 
---

-O-   

---
    __
|-------14--------||--/--\------O-------------
|-------14--------||  \   | .
|----12-----------||------|-------------------
|-----------------||      / .    
|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|            
|--------------------------
We've played that plenty of times, so we can quickly add the fifth on the E string. Moving up a fifth is harmonically the same is moving down a fourth, so this note is again found at the twelfth fret.
 O      O
---    ---

-O-    -O-

---    ---
    __
|-------14-----14-||--/--\------O-------------
|-------14-----14-||  \   | .
|----12-----------||------|-------------------
|----------12-----||      / .     O
|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|             
|--------------------------
This is the same E as we previously played on the A string, 7th fret, but now the A is above it, and we've reached it by moving down. This is particularly obvious when we move between the two patterns:
 O      O       O      O
---    ---     ---    ---

-O-    -O-     -O-    -O-

---    ---     ---    ---
    __
|--/--\------O-----------------------------------|
|  \   | . |
|------|-----------------------------------------|
|      / .     O              O |
|-----/------------------------------------------|
|    / |
|---/--------------------------------------------|
|                            O |
|------------------------------------------------|
| |
| |
| |
|----------------14-----14------14----14---------|
|----------------14-----14------14----14---------|
|------------12--------------------7-------------|
|-------------------12-------5-------------------|
When we move between chords we can choose which inversion we use to minimize hand movement, and to keep the bass line moving in a melodic fashion. In the following example we move from a C major chord with the C on the A string, playing a G on the string below (this is known as 2nd inverson), to an A minor root position (A at the bottom on the E string, with a fifth on the A string).
                 O      O
---    ---
                     O      O
-0-    -0-          ---    ---

---    ---          -O-    -O-

---    ---          ---    ---
    __
|--/--\----------------------|---------------------|
|  \   | .     |   |
|------|---------------------|---------------------|
|      / .            .|.         O          |
|-----/----------------------|---------------------|
|    /     O    .|.   |
|---/------------------------|---------------------|
|                            |   O   |
|--------------------0-------|---------------------|
|   |
|   |
|   |
|----------------17-----17---|------14-----14------|
|----------------17-----17---|------14-----14------|
|------------3---------------|----------7----------|
|--------------------3-------|---5-----------------|
This vamp forms the basis of the Stu Hamm track "Country Music (A Night in Hell)". Repeat it round until you've got a really comfortable rhythm going. Before considering the whole tab we need one more trick - a major third for the right hand. I'll cover these in more detail next time, but for now place your right hand in a position to play a fourth (as we have done so far), and just stretch your middle finger a little further so it plays one fret further down:
 O      
---    #O-

-O-    -O-

---    ---
    __
|---14-----13-----||--/--\--------------------
|---14-----14-----||  \   | .
|-----------------||------|-------------------
|-----------------||      / .
|-----/--------------------
|    /
|---/----------------------
|
|--------------------------
You should now have few problems with the full rhythm part to "Country music". It's mostly based on the stuff we've covered this week. Watch out for the slapped parts (marked with a T). You should be able to slap these without moving your hand too far away from the tapping position (see lesson 3).
|---------|---17---17---17---17-----|---17---17---17---17-----|
|---------|---17---17---17---17-----|---17---17---17---17-----|
|-------2-|-3---------3-------------|-3---------3-------------|
|-3--5----|------3---------3--------|------3---------3--------|
  T  T  T

|---14---14---14---14-----|---17---17---17-17---17-----|
|---14---14---14---14-----|---17---17---17-17---17-----|
|------7---------7--------|-3---------3----------------|
|-5---------5-------------|------3------------3--------|


|---14---14---14---14-----|---17---17---17---17-----|
|---14---14---14---14-----|---17---17---17---17-----|
|------7---------7--------|-3---------3----5--------|
|-5---------5-------------|------3------------------|


|---16---16---16---16-----|-------------------------|---||
|---17---17---17---17-----|-------------------------|---||
|------5---------5--------|-----------2--3--------2-|-3-||
|-3---------3-------------|--3--3--5--------3--5----|---||

                             T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T   T
Have Fun Ian.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Lemurs4mangos
    about how fast is that last little riff supposed to go? I mean, I can do it up to a certian speed but how fast should I have it before moving on?
    marcusmassacre
    get it up to "trill" speed, then you can move on. haha, jk. i'm sure if you listen to the track, and can play it at that speed or faster, your good to move on. these lessons make everything i've learned before so much easier. if you aren't one already, consider becoming a teacher at a shop. can't wait to read the next one, maybe i can lean something since this one was right where i'm at. -Marcus
    acdcrocks31194
    these are great lessons, i'm learning more from these then my bass teacher (and he's GOOD.) thanks bro!
    bass_dist_pro
    these are great lessons but i'm having trouble finding bands that use tapping does anyone have any suggestions
    Alreddyded
    FFTLxx wrote: ahhhh I can't play the 13 14 bit, ahh, i'll might get it eventually, it just feels so awkward, anyway great lesson! like all of them.
    You mean those major fourths? They're so damn hard
    FFTLxx
    ahhhh I can't play the 13 14 bit, ahh, i'll might get it eventually, it just feels so awkward, anyway great lesson! like all of them.
    _2272_
    Man these are awesome lessons, thanks. I remember seeing Stu Hamm play this on YouTube a while back and wished I could play something like it...now I can!