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Playing and learning the bass

 
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bin_ez



Joined: 23 May 2002
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 9:37 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Hey guys, I recently got a bass guitar and was wondering if anyone had any tips on the actual playing part. :)

I've read through the Dub Scrolls which contain a lot of good information, but it's not very useful if I can't string together a bassline.

I guess the best thing is practice, but I was wondering if anyone was aware of any good archives of reggae basslines on the net somewhere. I've searched, and all I seem to get are Bob Marley ones.

Any good bass tutorials would be very much appreciated. I was also wondering if anyone would be able to give me some info on arranging a song, i.e. if your bass line is composed of certain notes, what chords should the riddim guitar play?

I have found a site detailing the bass chords, but to be honest I don't understand it. The site is located here. If any of you have the chance to look at this and tell me what I'm supposed to do with that information, it would be very much appreciated :).

I case you were wondering what "style" of bass I'm interested in learning; I hope to emulate the classic reggae 70s sound, don't confuse me with references to modern stuff :).

Thanks guys, I'm sure you can understand I'm lost and desperate for guidance, respect,

bin_ez
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David Prophet



Joined: 07 Nov 2002
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 11:51 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Here is a link to reggae bass tablatures and also guitar chords:
http://www.broz-reggae-tabs.com/liste.html

Just look at the accords on the site. And when the skank is playing a chord you look at the guitarr accords and you play at the same marked places whit your bass guitar.

Dont think it's so much help, really hard to explain. Good luck...

/David Prophet
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KoCha



Joined: 25 Jan 2002
Posts: 259
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2003 9:38 am    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Good Luck Bin_ez you go get fat sound with real bass!

I just heared Fender Bass + low filter = good vibes.. but i don't know how to play this.

KoCha

_________________
KoCha, reggae-dub producer

Almighty Dub Records - Independent Reggae Dub Production
Open Dub Foundation - The WorldWide Dub Meeting
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Rootzilla



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2003 11:33 am    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Biz:

Sorry to say this, but you're asking a lot: playing bass - or any musical instrument, for that matter - requires certain basic musical knowledge which is not very difficult to explain, but will take a lot of time. I suggest you go and get some books (your library could prolly help?) which give you the basics about scales (to get started with reggae, you really need to know just major, minor, and minor pentatonic scales) and about how chords are made up from the notes of different scales. Or find some website with the same info.

The rest of this message probably won't make much sense until you have the information mentioned above. The reggae basslines (usually) rely heavily on the chord tones: that is, in the basic major and minor keys, 1st (or the root), 3rd, and 5th scale degrees (in other words, the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the scale). For example, "Stir it up" chorus bassline is mostly composed of chord tones as follows (there's one 4th thrown in for flavour).

First chord: (A major)
Root, 3rd, 4th, 3rd
Second chord (D major)
Root, 3rd, 5th
Third chord (E major)
Root, 3rd, 5th

There is a slight error in the TAB on the site you referred to, so you might just want to dig out the recording...

Another popular move (cliche?) in dub basslines is the repeated 5th: First play the root (in A, the 5th fret on the E string or A strin open) and then play the 5th above the root (7th fret on A string or 2nd on D) in steady 8th-note rhythm. Also, the flat 7th (in A, g-note, for example 3rd fret of E string, 5th fret of D-string) is very commonly used in reggae basslines.

Try to get a hold of some instructional books on reggae bass, or failing that, of soul and old time rock'n'roll, cause as far as the note choice goes, those styles are pretty similar. What makes reggae special is the rhythm. And forget about that 'bass chords' -site. You won't really need to play any chords (more than one note at the same time) in reggae, and anyway, those examples on that site were so high up the neck that they're prolly just going to confuse ya...

And learn to play every Bob Marley bassline from the 'Songs of freedom' notebook, if you can get your hands on it, it's one of the rare notebooks where most (if not all) of the basslines are actually what the bassist played on the recording, instead of some simplified piano-arrangement. And that bassist is Familyman!

I hope this helps at least a bit. If ya have questions, I'll try to answer em, but it really comes down to knowing the music, and sometimes understanding a bit of the basic musical theory can help ya. It's not rocket science either, I never studied music other than on my own... But I must have borrowed every guitar & bass instructional book from my hometown library at some point...

And remember: Who feels it, knows it!

Good luck, Irie vibes, One Love

Rootz
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bin_ez



Joined: 23 May 2002
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2003 7:36 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Thanks a lot everyone. Rootzilla, that really helps a lot, exactly the type of thing I was hoping for! I had intended going music book shopping in the next few days, I just thought I'd get some advice seen as you guys are so knowledgable J

Funny you should mention "Stir It Up", it's one of the songs I've mastered so far.

I'm going to get my hand on some sort of book, and delve deeper into what you've said above and just keep practicing.

Cheers, bin_ez
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Dan



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2003 5:31 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Hey Bin_ez! I just bought a bass, too, as part of creating my own home dub studio (I got one of the Fender Squier P-basses, on sale at x-mas at one of the local music stores). I'm a "functional" guitar player, but the bass is pretty new to me. One of the things I've been doing is playing along a bit with King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown, just trying to get the feel. Of course, reggae bass, like country and western bass, sounds simple, but it really isn't. It might not require a lot of technical flare, but I don't think there's any way to get that feel except by having a natural inclination toward that sound (which you obviously have), and then just spending hours and hours playing. I can read and write music, and like Rootzilla, I'm self-taught in harmony, and have a good basic understanding of it. Another thing I do, and I can't recommend this enough, is practice scales up and down the fretboard. This will teach you a lot above moving around the fretboard, and try as much as possible to always make a good sound. No need to play fast, just accurately and with a good sound. I don't know anywhere near as much as others on this board about dub, but if you ever need any basic harmony help, etc., don't hesitate to post. Peace to you. Hope this helps. Dan
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KoCha



Joined: 25 Jan 2002
Posts: 259
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 10:34 am    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

I think learn "Harmonies" and "Gamme" is base for doing music. Personnaly i can't read music, but i can write it my tracker and i can write imediately a things that i heard in my tracker.

If you now the Harmonies and Gamme you can end a started melodies mores easier and if you understantd the chords contruction you don't need to learn how to read music (if you don't play in a group i think).

Personnaly i haven't buy any book for learning music.. you can found all info online (i have lot of link but only in french...)

After that you can easier found which note come better with an other. And understood the construction of the music, and not the playing of the music, you know?

Peace Love Inity.

KoCha
www.almighty-dub.com

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KoCha, reggae-dub producer

Almighty Dub Records - Independent Reggae Dub Production
Open Dub Foundation - The WorldWide Dub Meeting
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Neil C



Joined: 25 Feb 2004
Posts: 364
Location: Moonbase Alpha

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:13 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

(what is 'Gamme'?)

Bin ez - Forget about bass chords!
I'm sure it has been done, but I've never heard a chord being played on the bass in any reggae or dub record.
Concentrate on playing single notes (I would of thought well over 90% of bass playing is single notes only)

The way I got to where I am now (I've been playing 17 years):

was:
Learn what the various bits of the guitar are called and how to change the strings (should you need to)
Learn how to tune the bass and learn what notes are where on it
Learn what I think of as the basic scale(tone,tone,semitone,tone,tone,tone,semitone)- you only need to learn the pattern this makes once, it can then be repeated anywhere on the fretboard)
Once you can play at a sufficient speed, play along with some records you like
If you can find some other musicians who are at the same, or similar standard to play with, I think this will help your progress a lot (it did for me)

This is the way I did it, I've not had any proper tuition and I'm very satisfied with my standard, but some lessons may well help you.

I never change the strings (unless they break, which they only ever have twice, when I used to use a plectrum)

I would recommend a string lubricant such as 'fast fret' (I use one called 'guitar balm'). It helps your fingers glide along the strings and helps keep your skin from being abraded.

I think if you need advice with song structure (e.g verse, chorus, bridge, middle 8 etc), just listen to records in the style you are trying to play.
feel free to e-mail me, you can hear my playing (although I can go a lot faster and more showy off than on these tracks, although playing the same groove for four minutes (as on the tracks on my link) is far more difficult than it might sound, it took me a number of years before I could do it) at:
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/4/vitalfeedmusic.htm
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John Ellison IV



Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 6:12 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

Okay, the way you play chords on bass is you arpeggiate. Example If you want to play and A chord...you play The "A" note "C" note and "E" Note.

Notice on Night Nurse by Greggory Issacs, Flabba holt is playing Intervals in the bassline. So the song is "Am" and "G" just play "A and E" under the "Am" chord and "G and B" under the "G chord" But as an exercise, write you own reggae song. Play some chords and usie the "interval method" or the Arpeggio Method I just spoke about figure out the chord for bass and play that part. Hope this helps.

Experiment with 5'ths and the pentatonic scale.
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Choppa Crucial



Joined: 12 Aug 2004
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:43 pm    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

An easy way to write a convincing reggae bassline is to avoid playing on the first beat of the bar. Instead "centre" your bassline on the 3rd beat of this bar (this works particularly well with a "one-drop" beat). As the other contributors have said, the interval of root and 5th is used a lot.

The use of space is another feature of reggae bass playing; what you leave out is just as important as what you play. Regggae basslines are rarely technically difficult, the real challenge is to get the groove right.

Many reggae basslines are miniture masterpieces of rhythmic and melodic invention, often consisting purely of a one or two bar phrase repeated over and over again.

Listen to and copy as many lines as you can, they're not all that difficult to work out. Try singing them before you play them, it will help your phrasing.

I play a fender p bass and I use strings wound with black nylon (nice). I forget what they're called but a couple of companies make them, including rotosound. They make a FAT sound. They're BIG so they're not for beboppers, but they will keep your fingers fit! I roll a bit of the tone off and I play through an Ampeg combo.

Find a great drummer (good luck)!
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DUBVOLT



Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:43 am    Post subject: Playing and learning the bass Reply with quote

You should learn to develop your own style of reggae bass before you start thinking about learning anything about cords and reading music. Don't bother with music books that claim to teach reggae - those books are written by clueless people who have no real understanding of reggae - they only analyze the bass lines to try and repeat it like parrots. I've actually met one of the guys who wrote a reggae bass book and he was a jazz bass teacher - truly clueless about reggae. Anyone telling you to learn major scales is way off too - learn minor scales first (if you must). Be creative, think of your own reggae bass line and then find the notes - try to play it. Learn Pentatonic scales - scales with only 5 notes - these scales will produce the most powerful reggae bass lines - Creativity and originality is the essence of reggae - if you want to play other peoples bass lines - you're really missing the essence... It's all about making your own original riddims. This is the history of how reggae riddims became so prolific - many, many new riddims were created each day in the studios. A Fender bass is pretty useless for a true reggae sound - a Gibson or Epiphone bass will give you killer bass sound. Look for EB0, EB3, Les Paul bass, anything with the big humbucker near the neck - Fender pickups are too far away down near the bridge - which produces a weak reggae bass sound. Also, seriously consider getting a short scale bass (30.5 inches) instead of long scale 34 inches - why? because if you have small hands, or if you're a beginner - the long scale is very difficult to play - there's no advantage to playing long scale if you're struggling to play it. I spent many years wondering why my bass was so difficult until I learned the difference between long scale and short scale. The greatest reggae bass players can't read music - and they don't want to learn it either - because of the risk that it will change the way they play - or the way they feel. What is musically 'correct' doesn't always sound the best in reggae. What sounds the best, is what you feel - if it feels right - it's right.
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Klaus5



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 108
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i would agree with what dubvolt has to say here. I dont know how to read music and i dont know any scales etc. (i play guitar not bass actually). How i am learning is by playing along to dub versions. Doing this you will realise how many basslines are very similar with just subtle differences in timing and notes. If you play guitar, play notes in and around the basic bar chords of the skank. Use your ears more than what the scale or "music theory" suggests.

Also, i have found playing a different intstrument (keyboard, actually a virtual midi keyboard on my computer keyboard Very Happy) to your usual one helps me to think outside the box a bit and get some differnt things you wouldnt usually do. (I find sometimes my fingers automatically go to certain relative positions on the guitar neck)

Although ive read alot of people saying to write the bass first as the root of the riddim and build the guitar, drums etc up frm that, i usually start with a basic beat (for timing purpose, more inspiring than a metronome), play a basic skank sequence, then write the bass around that.

This just suggestions of some of the things i do. I think you should always look to be trying different techniques and orders and what not to keep your ideas fresh and to get more experience and practice. If that makes sense.
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