This is an exercise for professional playing ability that will raise your skill set several levels. I guarantee that you are going to have a great time with this!
If you are seeking to add skills your bass playing there are few that will create the granitelike foundation of triadic materials. In fact, wherever you kick over a rock in the world of music there’s likely to be that triadic glint and glimmer for your prospecting.
There is a seemingly endless list of musical activities for curious students, yet for bass players triads seem to be at the heart of it all.
You can take common altered chords and form them from combining two triads. You can play great sounding walking bass lines based on little more than triads and chromatic approach notes. At just the right time in any solo you can use a triad to easily ring the upper structure color of the chord for dramatic effect. The list goes on.
When you are committed to boosting your bass skills then serious triad work will go a very long way. Triadic studies put you in a perfect position to start getting your game in great shape. That’s a promise.
The purpose of the lesson is to urge serious students of bass to undertake an all-keys study of major and minor triadic materials in the open, first, and second positions, and to also give an example that will be easily understood.
LESSON: Triadic Mastery – Supercharge Your Bass Playing For Life
Before getting started, please click the orange button below to sign up for the download materials. There is a nice cache of mp3 audio play-along files and pdf charts of exercises and bass lines from the video lesson.
This is a highly demanding exercise and the prerequisite is that you must identify, note by note, each of the extended major and minor triad positions (grips) in the open, first, and second positions.
Identifying each and every note of the triad at hand means to slowly trace out the root, the third and the fifth degree of each of the 24 triads going from the lowest possible note in the position up to the highest possible note in the position.
These extended triads are the so-called “triad grips”. And please be prepared to proceed through the Cycle:
G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D
As per usual I am going to leave the enharmonically named materials up to your own judgment.
You can play the triad grips without open strings by simply moving up to the second position and covering the open notes A, D, and G that way, and that’s fine. But I do suggest that you also learn to perform the open string positions as well.
To prove the virtue of open string bass lines, try playing Funky Broadway in closed position. Unless your rocking a graphite neck the tone just ain’t there. Word.
In this study, on a standard 4-string bass there are six triads that will start on the open note E. They are E, Em, C, C#m, A, and Am. Go ahead and identify those right away to start getting into the spirit of the study. Of course, any note will function as a root, third, or fifth degree.
Open strings ringing away and muddying up your bass activities is an annoying phenomenon but I believe it is a smart move to develop the facility to dampen open strings. It is definitely a subtle technique in its own right.
In the video lesson I open with a short demonstration using what are called “enclosures” for a closed position G major triad and an open-position Ab major triad.
Physically speaking, it will help to think of and use each note in the triad as an anchor of sorts. In the case of G major you have the notes G, B, and D. In the case of Ab major you have the notes Ab, C, and Eb.
Concerning the video lesson itself, my claim to have played the Ab major triad exercise in the open position comes from the fact that once you add in the notes for the enclosure the open strings D and G will pop up. Don’t let it get you down – you can do it.
Taking something through all keys can give you a ringing headache if you’ve never done it before. Believe it or not that is a good sign. Getting out of your comfort zone shows you are just about to clear out some cobwebs and start learning something of value.
When you have identified all of the notes of a triad in the position please play them out of time to simply feel what it will take to get every note in the triad to ring out clearly.
This is an important step and take it from me, it’s not going to happen quickly.
In fact, I recommend trying a bit of “finger meditation” to see just how firmly you need to press into the grip to make it work for you. Teachers of classical guitar use methodology similar to this to help imprint things musically into your hands, so please do take it seriously.
When you have this lengthy first step under your belt then refer to the video lesson to learn how to add the surround notes. These are the so-called enclosures. You will be approaching truly expert musical skills when you do this.
Make sure that you find a friend on your musical journey with whom to share this lesson. It is always inspiring to trade lines with your musical cohorts. It’s a lot more fun and I also think it helps you get better faster.
Thanks to everyone for stopping in.