Electric Bass: Beginner

Electric Bass Beginner: Week #6

Week #6

Goals for the week:

  • Warm Up: Hammer Ons

  • Scale: G Scale (Quarters, 8ths, Swung 8ths)

  • Technique: Reading a lead sheet.

  • Repertoire: Come Together - Main Riff, Turnaround, Chorus

Summary

This week we worked on polishing the main riff of Come Together and learned the other two sections of this piece. Come Together is a modified blues form, so a lot of the skills that we learned with St Louis Blues will translate to this. Really make sure to count those 8th notes to know when you land at the whole notes! We also kept cleaning up and speeding up the G Scale and working on those hammer ons.

Assignment for next week

Be comfortable with all three parts of Come Together individually so that we can really spend next week putting everything together.

How to Practice this at home

Practice the sections of Come Together slowly and individually so that you’re comfortable with each section - especially the main riff! See if you can play each section 5 times each without a wrong note or incorrect rhythm. Practice your scale ascending and descending twice for each groove (making the changes, keeping time, 8th notes, swung 8ths)

Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams

 

Come Together Full Score PDF

Notes of Come Together Turnaround

I D D D D D D D D I D D D D D D D D I C (HOLD) I  (Rest)  I

Notes Of Come Together Chorus

I E E E E E E D D I C C C C D (rest) I

 

Pete LanctotComment
Electric Bass Beginner: Week #5

Week #5

Goals for the week:

  • Warm Up: St Louis Blues (Changes, time, 8ths, swung)/My Girl Riffs

  • Scale: G Scale

  • Technique: Hammer Ons

  • Repertoire: Come Together Main Riff

Summary

This week we reviewed all the feels of St. Louis Blues and of the G scale. We also learned the technique of Hammer-ons which is where you play more than one note per pluck (like a slur on a violin). Make sure your hammer-ons are quick and firm in order to get the best tone. You don’t want to stop the string from vibrating. We also learned the main riff of the Beatles tune Come Together which will be the piece that we play for the recital.

Assignment for next week

Keep practicing St. Louis Blues and My Girl even though we won’t be working on those in class any more. Review the G scale with all it’s feels. Really get those hammer ons clean - we’ll put those in the song tomorrow!

How to Practice this at home

Keep working on all the review stuff the way that you have been for the past few weeks. Spend a minute getting comfortable with the hammer ons. Try to get 10 clean ones in a row (remember, quick and firm does not mean fast). Practice the Come Together riff out of time to really get the left and right hand working together. Next week we’ll ad the rhythm and the hammer on.

Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams

Notes of Come Together Main Riff

I G G C D Bb G I

Pete LanctotComment
Electric Bass Beginner: Week #4

Week #4

Goals for the week

  • Warm Up: Two finger 8th notes

  • Scale: G Scale - Ascending and Descending

  • Technique: Swung 8ths

  • Repertoire: St Louis Blues (swung 8ths), My Girl

Summary

This week we really focused on solidifying our two finger playing, and learned how to play in swung 8th notes (which is uneven 8th notes where the first 8th is longer and the second 8th is shorter). We added those swung 8ths to St Louis Blues and learned the two main riffs to the Temptations song, My Girl.

Assignment for next week

Be comfortable playing through the G scale and St Louis Blues in swung 8th notes. Make sure you are comfortable playing the G scale both ascending and descending in quarter notes. Be comfortable with St Louis Blues in all three feels and get comfortable playing through both the G and C riffs on My Girl.

How to Practice this at home

Make sure to go through the scale in whole notes, quarter notes, and straight 8th notes before adding the swung 8ths. Same with St Louis Blues - really build up those feels we’ve already worked on before you jump into the swung 8ths. Practice the My Girl

Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams

Notes for My Girl

A Phrase
G A B D E G

B Phrase
C D E G A C

My Girl Phrases Rhythm

Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 12.35.04 PM.png
Pete Lanctot Comment
Electric Bass Beginner: Week #3

Week #3

Goals for the week

  • Warm Up: C, G, D tone exercises.

  • Scale: G Scale (Quarter, 8th)

  • Technique: Playing with first and second finger, Reading a lead sheet,

  • Repertoire: St Louis Blues (8ths)

Summary

This week we worked on improving our tone and playing with the First and Second finger on the Left hand. We kept working on the G major scale, putting it in time in whole notes, quarter notes and 8th notes. We also added some different feels to St Louis Blues (quarter notes and 8th notes)

Assignment for next week

Make sure you can comfortably play through the G scale in time (slowly) in quarter notes and 8th notes. Make sure that you can comfortably play through the changes of St Louis Blues with all three feels that we’ve worked on - Whole notes (making the changes), quarter notes (keeping time) and eighth notes.

How to Practice this at home

Make sure to break the scale down and really get comfortable with your finger pattern on each string. Take St Louis Blues slowly and really get used to the changes. Take it one line at a time if you need to and really get comfortable with the form.

Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams

Pete LanctotComment
Electric Bass Beginner: Week #2

Goals for the week:

  • Warm Up: Review G, C, D

  • Scale: G Scale (2 notes with two beats of rest, whole notes)

  • Technique: Tuning, Musical Alphabet, Whole Notes (making the changes), Quarter Notes (keeping time), 5th fret D

  • Repertoire: St Louis Blues (Blues Form, Making the Changes)

Summary

This week we learned how to tune the bass, how to play the G major scale (walking up every note in the musical alphabet in order) both in two notes with two beats of rest in between and in whole notes. We also learned about the blues form and apply it to learning W.C. Handy’s St Louis Blues. This week we how to “Make the Changes” which is following the chord progression by sustaining one note per measure. We also learned how to play D by playing the 5th fret on the A string with the left hand pinky.

Assignment for next week

Get very comfortable with the notes of the G Major Scale going up. We’ll start going down the scale next week, adding more and more to this each week, and using the scale as a template for learning new techniques. Also, get very comfortable with making the changes on St Louis Blues and getting comfortable with the blues form We’ll also be adding a bunch of new techniques to this song as well.

How to practice this at home

Practice your G scale in both double notes/rests and in whole notes. See if you can get all the way up the scale both ways 3 times each without playing a wrong note. Follow the same process with St. Louis Blues by seeing if you can get all the way through the form 3 times without a wrong note. The more comfortable you are with this form the easier you’ll be able to pick things up for the rest of the semester.

Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams

St Louis Blues Chart PDF

B1W2_ G Scale.jpg

 

 

Pete LanctotComment
Electric Bass Beginner: Week #1

Artist of the week: Carol Kaye

  • While her name might not seem familiar you all definitely know her bass playing. Carol Kaye was one of the most recorded and in demand session bassists in LA in the 1960s. As a result she played bass on a ton of records ranging from Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair,”to Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, to Sonny and Cher’s The Beat Goes On, to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out and Absolutely Free to Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ to the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ to a number of Beach Boys and Monkees Records and the theme for the original Mission Impossible soundtrack. According to her, she also played bass on a bunch of the classic Motown records, though that’s disputed... She was one of the core members of “The Wrecking Crew” which was a group of studio musicians who would were the go to people for most of the record labels and studios in LA, (often they would pull 15+ hour work days, playing multiple sessions at multiple studios and running off to play gigs in between.) Amazingly,  she was a largely self taught musician, starting on guitar, playing Jazz gigs at age 14 (She started playing bass when a bass player didn’t show up to a session one day). While her style is generally pretty laid back and simple, she her rhythm and energy really drive the rhythm and push along whatever record she’s playing on. Here’s a really insightful interview with her about her approach to bass as well as a really funny video of her giving a lesson to Gene Simmons (of KISS).

Goals for the week:

  • Warm Up: N/A

  • Scale: N/A

  • Technique: N/A

  • Repertoire: N/A

Summary

This week we learned the parts of the bass and amp, using the electronics, proper bass hold and playing technique and fretting G, C and open D. I won’t be testing you on the parts of the bass, but we’ll be referring to the parts by their names, so make sure to be comfortable with what everything is.

Assignment for next week

Get used to holding the bass and getting a good sound with a light touch from the bass. Next week you should be comfortable playing G, C and D as we’ll start right in next week on learning scales and some bass lines for songs.

How to Practice this at home

More repetitions for a short amount of time each will help you learn the most quickly. For practice this week, go through the steps to build the bass hold and see if you can get 5-10 clear reps for each note. Repeat this 7-10 times per night. Plan to practice at least 5 days this week (6 is ideal). Feel free to play around with the different parameters of your pickups, tone knob and amp settings to get used to all the sonic variety you can get out of the electric bass.

Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams

B1W1_ Parts of the bass (1).gif
Pete LanctotComment