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This Old Geezer Is Taking Bass Lessons Starting Next Week!

Discussion in 'Music Education - Share your knowledge here!' started by DiMarco, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. UK Ken

    UK Ken

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    Im enjoying this thread, thanks for sharing.
     
  2. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    This just dropped on the doormat. We'll get to this in good time. First get a good foundation to build upon. Patients are asked to be patient.

    Until then, full speed ahead!

    20200915_130359.jpg
     
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  3. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    So lesson three. Brought the book, asked teacher to take it with him to see if there's any methods or other practical stuff in there for my future lessons.
    I brought my old Roland Basscube RX because that has a built in metronome/rhythmbox we can use to get things in the pocket once I can play it.

    Am I being a demanding student? Maybe. But I should accept myself for what I am. A nutcase with a brain and a mission.

    First thing I played all the 7 chords up the C major scale. Then down the major scale. No problems there. I have practiced a lot this week.
    Then by my own request, we worked on playing the chord toness reversed. I want my muscle memory to be able to do this. This was HARD!
    So that will be a focal point for the coming days. Playing the melodic chord tones both forward and backward moving both up and down the scale.

    Then we worked on the scale itself. Playing two and three thirds starting from all the notes in the scale. Both across the four strings (I HAVE FIVE meaning I can do this at several positions. Five string basses rooooool!!!), across the neck on one string and across the neck on two strings.

    In the coming week I will try to learn this while playing fluid, in both directions so up and down.
    Once that is done we'll start doing the same in the other 6 modes of the major scale (same notes, different starting points in the sequence).

    It is all a lot to take in, but teacher is so far impressed with how fast we're moving. And we should because I am practicing my butt off.
     
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  4. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Oh and without practicing much, my doublethumb now actually sounds like a doublethumb. Not some muffled crap.
    Will still need to learn applying the technique musically though... but there's progress!
     
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  5. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Skipped one week because of my daughter having a fever and being tested for covid last week.
    During the extra week I decided to start working on the seven modes of the major scale in order to get these into my muscle memory.

    Yesterday I showed up for my 4th lesson, which turned out to be about me learning the modes which I had already done on my own.
    While playing these modes as arpeggios my left hand technique started to show some serious trouble.

    Grabbing a minor third with the pinky, especially when coming back from the higher degrees is hard for my left hand to pull off.
    Partly because I never flexed those muscles, partly because my thumb positioning behind the neck is too close to the index finger rather then the middle finger which does not allow the pinky to apply much pressure on the strings easily. In the past decades I have been cheating by grabbing those minor thirds with my index finger on the next string, moving my hand two frets down the neck. This is now proving to be a problem because I can't pull that off quick enough.

    I have been given a set of practice routines to get this physical movement going, one of them being @Florin 's spider movement practice thingie.
    Also I have been told to WARM UP before starting these flexibility training exercises in order to not destroy my hands or develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE TOUGH (and painful) since I have been doing it wrong for 30 years. Wish me luck!

    Once the left hand is running smooth we'll start work on developing more speed in my right hand, which is also pulling funny stuff at times.

    As a sidetrack, the doublethumbing is still slowly progressing. I have started playing simple lines on a single string and incorporating some plucking notes with the index and middle fingers while doublethumbing. Slowly but surely..... Problem is the calluses on my right hand fingers are at the top of my fingertips. When plucking while doublethumbing you use the side of your fingertips instead of the top. I will need callus to grow there because right now stuff is hurting my fingers within 30 seconds or so... Practice practice practice.

    Having a real BASS teacher is so good! Within a year or maybe two I will be one badass bass player!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  6. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Bass teacher is becoming a dad any of these days now, we're skipping on lessons for a couple of weeks.
    Meanwhile here's Rick with stuff to watch for those wanting to learn:

     
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  7. eyvindwa

    eyvindwa

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    Interesting to follow your progression in this, @DiMarco !

    Now, THIS old geezer has signed up for (online) cello lessons - should be interesting!
     
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  8. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Ooh nice! A cello is tuned in fifths, correct? That might bring about some unexpected melodies.
     
  9. eyvindwa

    eyvindwa

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    Correct! I bought one for myself at the start of the year, and had one lesson with a teacher before the pandemic set in. Since then, progress has been terrible, so I hope this online thing works out :)
     
  10. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I still play 30-90 minutes every day by the way, working my way through the seven modes of the major scale using different patterns and fingering. Everything to simply become more flexible and able to play faster without thinking.
    The 'flying pinky' on my left hand is starting to improve and isn't half as effing flappy as it used to. I also seem to grab any patterns far more easily then I used to.

    One problem that still keeps rearing up its ugly head is the position of my thumb behind the neck. When moving fast up and down the neck between positions, the thumb wantss to reset to where it always was - behind the index finger instead of the middle finger. This still happens as much as it did before I took any lessons and is proving a real bitch to grow out of.

    Tonights task: Play all the modes across just one string. This will Allow me to get a feel for their (Whole - Half) patterns:
    You can easily do this in Ionian since that's the natural major scale, your ears already know that one.
    To play the other ones without thinking is much harder though. Developing a feel for them and recognizing them by ear will be very valuable.

    Ionian W W H W W W H
    Dorian W H W W W H W
    Phrygian H W W W H W W
    Lydian W W W H W W H
    Mixo W W H W W H W
    Aeolian W H W W H W W
    Locrian H W W H W W W
     
  11. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    YAY my bass teacher has a beautiful baby boy. Just saw a photo, very adorable.

    In the meantime I am looking to keep progressing on my own so was scourging the toob for useful stuff and oh boy...
    Just came across this AWESOME video by Scott Devine. Decided it is something I must share for the sake of applied knowledge!

    This one is about not sounding boring:

     
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  12. Bademeister

    Bademeister

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    thanks for sharing your journey, Marco - really interesting. As an SBL member, I started his Harmonic Layering course about two months ago. The first few hours are all about learning the alphabet (arpeggios, scales / modes...), but in a pretty stupid / mechanical way without talking about the application. Or I haven‘t reached that part of the course, yet. This video was a good outlook on what is to come. I am still wondering if I will ever be able to use that stuff to improvise 2 min of E minor pentatonic in Geezer Butler style during the guitar solo or if the application is more related to a jazz context...
     
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  13. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Aaaaargh! I drew this up myself in Photoshop. Now my mind is in pain.

    The circle of fifths is about key signatures (sharps and flats) I know.
    But I wanted to see if you can layer the chord sequences and modes on top of it, then spin the inner wheel with major and minor keys to see if it does show which chords are in which key and which notes are in which mode of which key.

    I think it does. When you turn B to the top and follow the Locrian path it will show you B Locrian consists (in a structure of fourths) of B E A D G C F .
    Don't know if I will ever find any practical use for this knowledge but hey it kills time during a corona semi-lockdown.

    Circle-of-modes-and-chords.jpg
     
  14. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Are we getting acquanted with the circle of fifths?
    Painfully so. Never thought I would find any use for this.

    Circle-of-fifths.jpg

    Order of sharps is FCGDAE(B)
    Order of flats is BEADGC(F)
    So it really is a case of clockwise or counter clockwise reading the circle between F and B.
    I remember the order of these because they are how you would tune a seven string bass (if you don't use a low F#)

    So the image: The modes on top of the circle was a discovery process for me. Now I know you can actually map them on top of the circle.
    I Added roman numerals to the scale chords. Discovered you can also see the 1-6 chords inside the quadrant surrounding the key you're in.
    For major keys the chord order in the pizza slice is this:
    415
    263

    Also learned that if you're going to borrow chords from a different key signature to spice up your songwriting, the parallel minor to the major key you're in (or vice versa) usually works well.

    I am starting to feel like a total nerd though learning all of this.

    In two days I will have to be able to decipher this info without looking at the pic to help me out. Don't think I will be there yet by that time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  15. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass

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    And the circle of 4th counter clock wise ;)
     
  16. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass

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    Love these ones - very clever visualisation!!
     
  17. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    So. Lesson six was tonight.

    The circle. I first explained what I had learned so far over the past week. How you can see all the chords for the key you're in, how you can deduct the modes (for Locrian just go counter clockwise) if you dig a little deeper and that the order of sharps and flats depicts the tuning of a 7 string bass (BEADGCF) which makes it easier to memorize for a bass player.

    So then Zach named random keys and modes, I had to play them from the top of my head. This was no problem although I had to stop and think for a while to come up with the correct tone and pattern at times. This will become quicker in time.

    Anyway now that I have a good understanding of the basic system, the task for the coming week is including 9th, 11th and 13ths in my playing along and across the C major scale.
    This will force me to pick different 'shapes' in which to play along the modes across the scale rather then sticking with the memorized shapes for each mode.

    Since I have all those modes memorized in my system, it will not be that hard to come up with those using different shapes. This will also have me whizzing across the fingerboard and getting useful arpeggios imprinted into my muscle memory in the process. YES we're actually in the process of applying the learned theory now. When I have the several different shapes and useful pivot points for fingering in my system I will apply the info in the SBL video I posted earlier on and try to make some sequenced intervals work. This will in time enable me to improvise on the spot.

    Technique: Because I practice a lot, with correct hand and finger positioning I am starting to feel more and more at ease playing some rather tricky stuff, and tonight I found out I will have to shorten my straps and wear my basses higher if I want to be able to stay quick when moving up the fretboard and I also require to do so to implement doublethumbing - can't do that if your bass is hanging too low.

    I am changing for the better. And we're still moving full spead ahead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
  18. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    ... It's been a while since I had my last lesson. I was bored yesterday so brushed up on my chord knowledge and thought I'd share... So here it is!



    Quick hack: Chords on Bass Guitar

    What's what:

    On bass, a chord usually consists of just three notes and is often played in the upper register on the neck. Because chords mean to outline the specific chord tones that make it 'that' chord in a lot of cases These three note chords consist of just the root, 3rd and 7th chord tones.

    Exceptions are:

    - half diminished (m7b5) where you play the 5th and 7th,
    - diminished and augmented chords where both the fifth and third are of importance,
    - suspended chords where the third is replaced by the perfect fourth or major second.

    Why bass chords are important:

    When building bass lines, what one basically does is try to outline the chord tones. Learning these chords will therefore likely be a tremendous help when building your bass lines. Understanding the chord structures within the major scale plus knowing how to grab these chords will be a MAJOR PLUS.

    As a quick reminder the chords in the major scale are these. We're using C major in this example:

    I. C major seventh
    II. D minor seventh
    III. E minor seventh
    IV. F major seventh
    V. G dominant seventh
    VI. A minor seventh
    VII. B minor seventh flat five (aka half diminished or m7b5)

    Chord shapes closed versus open:

    In closed chords all the chord tones reside within one octave. The open shape often has the third up an octave since that sounds more clear on a bass guitar.

    Symbols used: Δ major - minor + augmented o diminished ø half diminished. No symbol means dominant. Suspended chords are written as SUS4 and SUS2.




    First up are the most commonly used chords which are the major seventh, minor seventh and dominant chords:

    upload_2021-2-1_16-7-40.png



    We'll finish with the not-so-often played thus very interesting half diminished, diminished, augmented, and those wonderful suspended chords:

    upload_2021-2-1_16-42-18.png

    Hoping this will contribute to your learning experience, it sure does help me understand the structures on my fretboard better and which chord tones to outline.

    Enjoy! Marco


    Edit: Did not incorporate SUS2 chords. These aren't ever used it seems.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
  19. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass

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    This is very useful for studying arpeggios ;) 20210201_165518.jpg
     
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  20. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    It will help loads. Knowing the important notes in chords is knowing the focus notes in your bass lines.
    Learning is so much fun!
     
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