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Why an 8 String Bass by Igor Saavedra

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Why the 8 String Bass…

I just realized that after all the articles and columns I’ve written in my life, that I have never yet explained the exact reasons why after having played 4, 5 & 6 string basses I jumped directly into an 8 string bass, skipping the 7 string Bass altogether (and have not moved to a 9, 10, 11 or 12 string ERB). In this article, I will share with you the reason and why I encourage people to try going for an 8 String Bass.

Igor-Saavedra-Bio-Apr2013I’m humbly aware that many people consider me as the ‘8 string Bass Pioneer’, so in relation to this sort of ‘label’ I think is fair to consider that in reality, nobody can assure there wasn’t any other crazy bassist like me in any other place of the world who might have experimented and made an 8 String bass at the same time or even before me.

Having that said, what might make the substantial difference, is that since 1999 I’ve dedicated my entire heart, brain and soul exclusively to developing the 8 string bass as the instrument itself as well as the 8 string bass playing technique. From the first day I had my first 8 string, I fell in love with it and committed myself completely to it.

For the last 15 years it has been exclusively about the 8 string bass for me, and for that reason I really prefer when people call me the, “8-String Bass Pioneer” and not “The 8-String Bass creator”, because having invented it is something I really can’t assure, but what I’m sure about is that I must be the first dedicated 8 string Bassist, and for that obvious reason the most experienced one. Also, it’s quite important to add that words like, “First dedicated” and “Most experienced,” are just historical facts, which by no means are synonyms for, “The Best 8 String Bass Player,” or silly adjectives like that, which don’t apply for any true artistic context. At the same time I’d never value myself in any form because I think that I should be the last person in the world to do that. I consider myself just an eternal, “Bass Apprentice,” so for that reason I study and practice many hours every day.

Why not go lower?

The answer is really simple… The 8 string bass is tuned from high to low F-C-G-D-A-E-B-F#, as you can see the standard 4 string bass is right in the middle. I don’t add an extra string below the F# at 23,125 Hz because that F# is the last audible open string you can have if you want to keep the standard bass tuning in descending 4ths. The following lower string should be a C# and that note will need a lot of subwoofer technology ‘to make you feel like you hear it’, but in fact the 17.32 Hz of the fundamental harmonic of that C# are below the hearing range of 99% of normal people, so what everybody will be really hearing is just the second harmonic of the note; these are the objective reasons I have for not going below the F#. The most important question in relation with this comes, in my opinion, from the other side, and that is…. Why stopping on the E at 41Hz and not having a bass that is able to reach the lowest audible possible open string note if we keep the standard bass tuning in 4ths? So that’s why in my opinion the F# at 23.125Hz must be the lowest starting point for what I call. “My perfect Bass”.

Why not go higher?

Regarding going higher, the reasons are also quite simple. First I want to mention that the 24 fret – 4 string bass high register sounding range is perfect and enough for me, but I like how that sounding range (mostly the middle and higher notes) sound on the central part of the fretboard, so on the 8 string bass, I can have that sounding range between the 5th and the 14th fret; in there every middle and higher note sounds sweet, crisp & clear and is also quite comfortable to be played in a vertical disposition, which doesn’t happen with a 4 string Bass but begins to appear a little bit on a 6 string bass.

If you take a look at any of my videos you’ll see that 99% of the notes I play don’t go over the 14th fret of the F string, which is a G=392Hz. But the objective reason comes here. Any open string over the F=174.61Hz (keeping the standard tuning in descending 4ths) like a supposed 9th string, which will be a Bb=233.08Hz, is almost impossible to be wound, and needless to say the situation gets much more complex in the case of a high Eb or a high Ab. That’s also one of the main reasons why the G string of an electric or acoustic guitar doesn’t have any winding. In my opinion the winding makes a huge difference in the sound. If you have an unwounded string, the sound of an electric or acoustic guitar appears immediately and the sound texture of an electric bass string is lost right in that moment… so it’s right there where I set the limit on the high register for what I understand as, “A Standard Bass Sound”.

Finally, setting this lower and higher string limits, and adding an extra fret, allows us to reach an outstanding 5-octave range in our 8 string bass. At the same time, we are able to listen to the fundamental harmonic of the lowest open string note, and if we play the higher string, even on the 25th space, we’ll be able to have that recognizable sounding texture that an electric bass has, due to the winding of all its strings; when these are combined with the extended scale/tension of the electric bass (33 to 37 inches in average), this gives the instrument its inherent and recognizable sound-texture that differentiates it from the sound of an electric guitar.

That’s why I call the 8 string bass, “The perfect Bass”. Please don’t misunderstand my quote; I’m just saying that it’s the perfect bass…for me (smile).

See you soon guys!

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 5

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James Rosocha

Continuing our lesson of Approach Notes, Part 5…

In continuing with the concept of approach notes being applied to chord tones, this lesson approaches the root, third, fifth, and seventh degree of each arpeggio inversion by incorporating a double chromatic approach from above, and a single chromatic approach from below. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and a single chromatic approach from below -before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above/ single below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

Be sure to pace yourself with these lessons to avoid burning out.

Being overly ambitious with your practice schedule can lead to unrealistic expectations. Try learning one approach note concept and one chord type a week. Change your practice routine as necessary and tailor it to your needs as a musician. Good luck!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES – The Blue Notes (Minor Blues Scale)

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jaime Vazquez

Hello bass players and bass fans! Happy New Year 2024!

In this issue, we are going to study the blue notes.

In blues, jazz, and rock, a blue note is a note that (for expressive purposes) is sung or played at a slightly different pitch from standard. Typically the alteration is between a quartertone and a semitone, but this varies depending on the musical context.

The blue notes are usually said to be the lowered third(b3), lowered fifth(b5) and lowered seventh(b7) scale degrees. The lowered fifth(b5) is also known as the raised fourth(#4). Though the blues scale has “an inherent minor tonality, it is commonly ‘forced’ over major-key chord changes, resulting in a distinctively dissonant conflict of tonalities”.

Blue notes are used in many blues songs, in jazz, rock and in conventional popular songs with a “blue” feeling.

Formula:

The A Minor Blues Scale

1 – b3 – 4 – (#4/b5) – 5 – b7

A – C – D – (D#/Eb) – E – Bb

The grades(blue notes):

b3, (#4/b5), b7

C, (D#/Eb), Bb

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thebluenotes, #minorbluesscale & #bluesscale

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Staccato for Bass

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jaime David

Staccato for Bass…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the technique known as staccato.

When we talk about the staccato technique, we are referring to a form of musical articulation.

In modern notation, it signifies a note of shortened duration, separated from the note that may follow by silence.

* In 20th-century music, a dot placed above or below a note indicates that it should be played staccato.

* The opposite musical articulation of staccato is legato, signifying long and continuous notes.

Fig. 1 – An example of a normal notation.

Fig. 2 – Is the same example but now with the staccato articulation

Fig. 3 – A basic groove played and written in a normal notation.

Fig. 4 – The same basic groove using the staccato technique.

So, at the end of the day, you as a bassist will decide what type of technique you will use depending on the effect you want in your performance.

See you next year for more full bass attack!!! Happy Holidays & New Year 2024!!! Groove On!!!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Legato Slide vs Shift Slide

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jaime Vazquez

Legato Slide vs Shift Slide…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue we are going to study how to read the swing eighths.

When we talk about slide techniques, we are referring to what is known in classical music as the glissando.

• Glissando = a continuous slide upward or downward between two notes.

There are two types of slides, legato and shift.

Legato Slide = strike the first note and then slide the same fret-hand finger up or down to the second note. The second note is not struck.

Fig. 1 – Legato Slide – Upward

Fig. 2 – Legato Slide – Downward

Shift Slide = Same as Legato Slide, except the second note is struck.

Fig. 3 – Shift Slide – Upward

Fig. 4 – Shift Slide – Downward

So, at the end of the day, you as a bassist will decide what type of Slide you will use depending on the effect you want in your performance.

See you next month for more full bass attack!!! Groove On!!!

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 4

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James Rosocha

Bass Lesson: Part 4 of Approach Notes…

My previous lessons on the topic of approach notes covered approach notes from above, approach notes from below, and approach notes from below and above. This lesson flips the concept around to approach notes from above and below. Don’t make the mistake of only learning this material in the major keys. As a starting point, these exercises should be applied to major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, minor 7 b5, and diminished 7 in all 12 keys for all inversions. If you are just starting this lesson, I recommend you go back to my first lesson on approach notes and follow them in sequence. My lesson on arpeggio inversions lays the groundwork for the approach note concept to be applied. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and below- before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above and below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above and below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above and below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

These lessons take a very long time to complete so pace yourself and don’t give up. Good luck!

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