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Is Music Theory Important for Bass?

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Is Music Theory Important for Bass?

It depends! What I mean by that is the level of music theory to learn. 

There are many life situations where you will need to know certain aspects of music theory and others where you will not. 

BECOMING THE BEST BASSIST

If you want to become the best bassist ever, you should learn all sorts of music theories. 

This can be from learning about modes, different types of major and minor scales to ear training and reading sheet music. 

This does not mean that you need to know advanced theory, such as inversions and transposing unless you want to learn them. 

Here are a few things to learn:

  • Major Scales (Pentatonic & Modes)
  • Minor Scales (Pentatonic, Harmonic, Melodic & Natural)
  • Circle of Fifths
  • Reading Sheet Music (time signatures, key signatures, bpm)
  • Ear Training 

BASS TEACHER

Knowing beginner to advanced music theory is a good idea if you want to teach. As a teacher, you need to be confident in what you are teaching and answer any questions your student may have.

You don’t have to go to college to become a private lesson teacher but taking courses in all levels of theory will help build your foundation of music. 

If you wanted to teach academically, you would need to go to college and do all the requirements for that degree. 

ENSEMBLES

If you want to play in a jazz ensemble or a more formal group, it is a good idea to learn all levels of theory. You will be reading a lot of sheet music and sometimes it is on the fly. It is good to decipher what key, time signature, and any accidentals, and other changes occur in the music easily and quickly. 

GIGMASTER / OPEN MIC MAVEN / JAMMIN’

If you are playing in front of people on your own or in a band, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of music theory. 

Sight-reading and tablature require some understanding of music theory. You need to know the time signature and key signature you are in, as well as the duration of each note, rhythm, etc..

Even though tablature is not as sophisticated as sheet music, you still have the same elements of time and key that you need to know how to play with.

EAR TRAINING

In all of these cases, you should learn ear training. This is crucial so that you know what notes to play, the tempo, and when to improvise, and when to play simple bass lines. 

For ear training, there are different methods that you can use to get better at hearing notes. 

I tend to listen to music and then try to play along with it as my form of ear training. You can play individual notes on your bass and hum them to try to remember them. 

If you are unsure where you stand, have no fear! Just pick up a great music theory book (hint: I wrote the No-Nonsense Guide to Music Theory, Scales, and More! available on Amazon) and watch some videos from your favorite bass players. 

You will not only be motivated to become a better musician but also learn a lot! 

For more information on music theory check out my e-book and paperback, “No-Nonsense Guide to Music Theory, Scales and More!” available on Amazon

Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part II

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Jaime David Vazquez - Lessons For Bass Guitar

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part II

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the triads and their inversions.

In the last lesson, we were studying triads in their fundamental position. This time, we are going to study what is known as the first inversion of the triads.

The first inversion consists of the third going on the bass in the triad, as we will see below:

C Major Triad (1st inversion)
E – G – B
C Minor Triad (1st inversion)
Eb – G – B
C Diminished Triad (1st inversion)
Eb – Gb – C
C Augmented Triad (1st inversion)
E – G# – C

See you next month for Part III… GROOVE ON!!!

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 6 

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James Rosocha

Approach Notes – Part 6 

As we move into lesson six of approach notes applied to chord tones, it’s important to go back and review the previous approaches. The constant review and application of these concepts will add a layer of chromaticism to both your bass lines and solos. The approaches need to be burned into your long term/ permanent memory for them to come out in your playing. 

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

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

The next example approaches the G major arpeggio in root position.

The next example approaches the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a single chromatic from below and a double chromatic approach from above -before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, single chromatic from below/ double from above 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 single chromatic from below/ double from above approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, single chromatic from below/ double from above 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 single chromatic from below/ double from above approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, single from above/ double from below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down.

After studying these various approach notes, you will begin to recognize the concepts utilized in your favorite solos. Continue the journey and good luck! 

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I

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Jaime David Vazquez - Lessons For Bass Guitar

Triads & Inversions Part I

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the triads and their inversions.

It is very important for all bassists to understand and master the triads, but it is even more important to understand their different inversions.

In Part I, we are going to learn what the triad is in fundamental position.

The Formula consists of root, third and fifth.

Degrees of the Triad

Major Triad: 1 – 3 – 5
Minor Triad: 1 – b3 – 5
Diminished Triad: 1 – b3 – b5
Augmented Triad: 1 – 3 – #5

Fig.1 – The C, Cm, Cdim & Caug triads
(Fundamental Position)

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I
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Bass Edu

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque

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Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice's Bassist Lewis Bridges - From the Album, Grotesque

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque

Bassist Lewis Bridges Shares…

“Gruesome’s sparse intro marks a stark contrast from the intensity of the rest of the album.  The original intention was to keep the bass simple but colourful, however as I worked on it, the lines grew more expressive and the more striking flourishes began to emerge.  The intensity builds into a harmonic minor passage that takes us into the drop — a signature death grind cacophony.  This is where Foetal Juice thrives.  You’re getting a full-on right-hand barrage to in the face to take you into a groove-laden mulch-fest.

I owe my throbbing bass tone to the Darkglass Alpha Omega pedal borrowed from our sound engineer, Chris Fielding (ex-Conan), mixed with the clarity of the tried and true Ampeg SVT CL.

As mentioned earlier, colourful basslines are important, especially in a one-guitar band. Chucking some funny intervals and odd flourishes here and there brings life into the brutality. There’s no point sounding brutal if it’s not gonna be fucking evil too!

Recording this playthrough was hard work. This was not the fault of James Goodwin (Necronautical), who was kindly filming and is ace to work with, but because in true Foetal fashion, we had stinking hangovers — and that jam room was hot!”

Follow Online

FB @FoetalJuice
TW @FoetalJuice
IG @foetaljuice
Youtube: @Foetaljuice
Spotify
Foetaljuice.bandcamp.com

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Bass Edu

Bass Lines: The Circle

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jaime Vazquez

Bass Lines: The Circle…

Hello bass players and fans of bass! This month we’re going to study “The Circle.”

The Circle of Fourths can also be called “The Circle of Fifths or just The Circle.

Practicing the scales, chords, and ideas in general via the circle has been a common practice routine for jazz musicians and highly recommended.

It is a disciplined way of working through all twelve keys.

Plus, many bass root movements to jazz and pop songs move through sections of the circle.

Fig. 1 – “The Circle”

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thecircle, #thecircleoffourths, #thecircleoffifths,#scales & #chords.

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