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Jazz Bass Lessons: Electric Bass: Dividing the Neck

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So, on the fret board of the electric
bass, you have position
markers at the third fret,
the fifth fret, the seventh fret,
the ninth fret, the twelve fret.
15, 17, 19, and 21.
But I think it might be easier
if you are just starting to deal
with the instrument,
I'm proposing to try something new.
I've been thinking about this recently,
what if we divide the neck up
into five different parts?
So the open string to
the fifth fret is one.
And then the fifth fret to the ninth
fret is the second position.
The tenth to the 14th is the third.
And the 15th to the 19th is the fourth.
And then there's the two frets, on this
bass, which could be the fifth position.
Maybe you have more if you have a 24 fret
bass, fifth position will be longer.
So this is kind of a way
to think about it.
So let's start off with
the bottom position, which
like the open E, all the way up to the end
of first position, which is fifth fret.
So we'll deal with some
notes down in here.
And first I'd like to start
with the chromatic scale,
because this is one way to practice our
one finger per fret left hand thing.
And the chromatic scale is literally just
all the twelve notes available we have.
If you start from low E like we're doing
you have E, F, F sharp, G, G sharp, A,
B flat, B, C, C sharp D, D sharp E.
So its basically half steps all the way,
So, I'm gonna do a little thing here with
a little rhythm, because nowadays, we
have all these little machines that we can
get from various sources that help us keep
time with actual beats and drum patterns,
which is a much more fun way to play.
So, here's three four.
We're gonna practice the chromatic
scale in three four.
And the fingering I'm gonna do is O,
one, one, two, three, four.
O, one, one, two, three, four.
O, one, one, two, three, four.
O, one, one, two, three, four.
And then we'll go down.
Four, three, two, one, one, O.
Four, three, two, one, one, O.
Four, three, two, one, one, O.
Four, three, two, one, one, O.
what I'm gonna do is
play a little drum beat.
And we're gonna play with it now.
So here we go.
One, two, three, two, two, three,
one, two, three, two, two, three.
three, let's
try it again.
Now listen
to the phrasing
that I'm doing.
He's playing triplets, so
even though I'm playing eighth notes,
I'm kinda playing them
in the triplet feel.
But it's not just triplets.
It's kind of your phrasing in
the triplets, but it's loose.
Sometimes it can be almost straight and
almost swing.
Like in New Orleans music.
Where you hear kinda like a swingy and
a straight rhythm at the same time.
Try that again.
get the
So now just to show you a little slower.
I'm going to play this a little slower so
you can get used to the fingering of it,
I'm playing.
So you
get the
So, that's a chromatic scale fingering.
With a little bit of rhythmic
practice in with it.
Cuz like I said before, we should be
practicing our rhythm all the time,
because there's not a time where you
just separate yourself from rhythm.
There's always some sort of pulse in
music, whether you're playing music that's
free and has rubato elements, or
whether you're playing a very fixed tempo.
There's always something
going on rhythmically.
Music is, there are no melodies in life
without rhythms that carry the melodies,
so remember that.
So now we're gonna do some major
scales within these first five frets.
We're gonna do E, F, G flat, G, A flat, A,
B flat, B, C, D flat and D, and E flat.
So we'll go around all the keys
within that one little area.
Okay, now toward the end of it,
we're going to overlap into
second position a little bit.
We're going to go into the sixth fret and
then a little bit further than that
actually, later on, but that's okay.
Sixth and seventh fret will hit
in the D and the E flat scale.
So as we do a major scale,
just a reminder.
If you look at the theory
section on my site and
Johnathan's, it's a major scale
Is the following intervals.
It's a whole step,
a whole step, and a half step.
And then a whole step, whole step, half.
That's all major scales,
whole, whole, half.
Whole, whole, whole, half.
Okay, so
E major scale in that low position.
We're only gonna go up to
the B on the G string.
Okay, here we go.
So an intelligent
fingering is any fingering
where the fingers move in
a sequential order, and
you get to the top of your scale without
having to do a bunch of shifting.
We want to make an ergonomic
scale fingering set.
I want to teach you guys
how to think logically and
have a fingering strategy based
on the sound you want to create.
Right now,
we're just trying to learn that position.
So we're gonna go with
a scale fingering where we
have to move the least
amount with our left hand.
So watch.
So if we go that's open, two four,
two four, one two four, one, two, four.
And that's pretty easy
And we come back down
Sometimes you can substitute one for two.
You can go one, four,
zero, one, four, one, two,
four, one, two, four, okay?
pretty easy
fingering, right?
That's for open, open position,
because there's that open E and
you have to play in open position.
You have to use open
That makes sense.
You're all in that little box there and
it works fine.
Now, so now we're gonna move to F major.
This one you have choices.
I mean I'll show you an open and
a closed fingering.
You can do it open again.
You can go one, four, o, one,
four, o, two, four, o, one,
two, four,
Using some of that spacing like acoustic
bass, the whole step using one and four.
Just staying within
the limits of this position.
So we're not playing a two-octave scale.
We're just playing part of the scale,
but you know.
Watching our hands,
to keep our hands lined up.
The thumb in the right
place behind the neck.
The way the forearm addresses the bass.
And the right hand is consistent.
You can also go different
rhythms in the right hand.
That's one way to do it.
You can practice, and
I'm going to show you a little later on,
about how to practice your scales
with what I call rhythmic mapping.
Where we're going to tap our foot
in clave's and do some stuff.
But right now, we're going to go on and
get these first major scales in
the first position under our belt.
So now, G flat major scale.
In the first position.
Here, we're gonna introduce
a closed position fingering that
will work anywhere on the bass.
It's kind of a universal fingering,
which is two,
four, one two, four, one, two, four.
That's the pick for the one octave
And in this case we're going to go up
a little further another one, three, four.
So two, four, one, two,
four, one, three, four,
one, three, four
So maybe, again,
try different rhythms.
Kind of Brazilian.
It's like a 16th, an 8th and a 16th note.
Again, two,
four, one, two, four,
one, three, four,
one, three, four.
So you see these fingering shapes can
help you learn your scales quickly.
At first maybe it's a lot
of new information.
Maybe you're not used to fingering
schemes, but you'll learn quickly.
It's gonna pay off right now,
watch, we're gonna go to G major,
it's the exact same
fingerings we just did.
Two, four, one, two, four, one, three,
four and one, three, four.
Same fingering because
it's a closed position.
That's why closed position
fingers are great.
You memorize that fingering,
you can move it anywhere on the bass.
It's good anywhere,
so now we go up to A flat.
We did G.
Same fingering, two, four, one,
two, four, one, three, four.
In this case, there's an extra one, three.
Because we stop at the fifth fret
Two, four, one, two,
four, one, three, four.
The one octave fingering
stays exactly the same and
then we add a one, three
for A flat major.
Now A major because we're going to stay
in that first position and not go up.
We're not going to play
the close position.
I'm going to show you because I want
you to also be able to know how to play
with the open strings as well.
So, here's A major in the first position.
O, one, four
o, one, four, one, two, four.
Again, one, four,
one, four, one, two, four.
Four, two, one, four, one, four, one.
So, again that's more of an open thing,
sometimes you are going to want
that if you are playing music.
Say you're playing a ballad and you're in
A major and you want to play a bass line
that is more open and you're drawing on
that A major scale, but you're gonna go.
I went a little
outside the position.
See how the open string,
it has a beautiful open sound,
a resonant sound,
you need to be able to
utilize that sometimes.
Okay, so now B flat major scale.
See we're cranking through these.
Now we're back on the first fret so
we have to play some open strings again.
Cuz we're down in the first position.
So B flat major scale one, four,
one, four, one, two, four.
That's a four, two, one,
four, one, four, one.
Notice I'm trying
to play each note with beauty.
I'm not just
even sometimes five product,
just to make it sing.
I had a teacher once who told me, I don't
care whether your playing an exercise or
a scale, it should sound like the most
beautiful piece of music you ever heard.
And that stuck with me because I was like,
wow, I'm just playing scales.
He said, no, it should sound like
the most beautiful sonata you ever heard.
So I think that's something too
think about to your tone And
how you play these things.
If you start to think that way
when you're playing scales,
think about how you're going to play when
you play with beautiful composition.
It's a frame of mind to get into too.
So now B major in first position.
Now that we're out of the first fret we
can use that, our favorite fingering.
Two four, one two four, one three four.
Remember the Brazilian?
Notice I move my right
hand back a little bit for
a different sound.
now C major.
Same fingering.
By now you should be able to call it out.
What is it?
Come on.
Two four, one two four, one three four.
Okay, then D flat.
Same fingering.
Two, four, one, two, four, one,
three, four.
D major.
Same fingering.
Two, four, one, two, four, one,
three, four.
And then, the last one.
E flat.
Two, four, one, two,
four, one, three, four.
So, by learning some fingerings that make
sense, and are economical and ergonomic,
you can go all around the bass pretty
quickly if you learn some fingerings.
You'll really know your major
scale all over the bass.
So hopefully this will help you,
free you up a little bit.
But don't forget Inject rhythm into
everything in these scale practices.
That's the first position with the majors.