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Thread: Rolling the dice to learn fretboard position

  1. #11
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    I understand your relinquishing playing with the band in order to learn the songs but, if you are intending to play with a band at some point in time, I think it is critical to get used to the slight variations that occur in a band setting (timing and notes) and follow the visual/aural clues that tell you where everyone is going.

    I assume that if you were playing in a cover band, the entire band would be expected to practice until the entire piece was fairly identical to the way the original band played it or, if you were a pro band on tour, playing the same 18 songs every night for a year, you'd pretty much have the mechanics down. The bands I play in are neither and we have to be able to subtly adapt to have the outcome sound good to the audience. Most of the time they don't realize we did it a bit different, but if we weren't able to do "different" together, it'd be a disaster.

    Learn to play it, then certainly give learning to play it with the band another try.
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  2. #12
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    Tobiasman,

    I completely accept what you say in principle, although I'm less convinced that playing along with an unchanging video is the same as working with the dynamics of a live band.

    My main realisation was that I am no longer relying on a fretboard animation to help locate my fingers. I suspect, given your prior experience, that you never did.

    Your point though is well made, I've felt for a while that the time is fast coming when I will need to find some live playmates.
    Last edited by PaulUK; 01-20-2014 at 02:43 AM.
    Shine on you crazy diamond.....

  3. #13
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    PaulUK,

    The phone number system is just a tool to help you learn the entire fretboard. That is all.

    Learning the entire fretboard can help you break out of the first five frets (first position) and discover the rest of your instrument. If you are trying to play a musical idea and run out of strings to play it, you might look to other areas in the neck where all the notes are co-located without you having to jump around the fretboard while you are playing. There are other places on the neck where you can find the same note (though a different tone) and stay in the same octave.

    I first acquired the idea of learning the entire fretboard when I watched a bass workshop with Anthony Wellington on YouTube. Anthony is the bass player for Victor Wooten's band and a great teacher in his own right. He questioned the group asking how many bass players actually know their instrument well. He quizzed the group asking if they could find all the 'c' notes on their bass at that moment (and he then proceeded to show them all the locations on his bass).

    I also watched a promotional video for the Atlanta Institute of Music concerning the entrance test for bass players to join their school. What was one of the questions they asked? Find all of note (insert note here) on the fretboard.

    On a similar thought, I just finished read a great book by Jayme Lewis (pro bass player in Los Angeles) entitled 'Advice for the Modern Worship Musician: Things You Were Never Told (But Should Know by Now)' and he mentioned learning the entire fretboard so that you never have to worry again about what note you are jumping to. He offered the idea of spending five minutes a day and learn just five frets of one string. Depending on how many strings you have, you could memorize the fretboard in 20-25 days.

    So I believe that it is good to learn the whole fretboard as it will expand your musical possibilites create beautiful songs and solos.

    So what ever method helps you learn the fretboard and keeps you motivated to play bass, I say go for it.
    Last edited by MusicLover; 01-20-2014 at 07:10 AM.

  4. #14
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    Hi MusicLover,

    I completely embrace the importance of learning the whole fretboard to an instinctive level and within a musical context. It seems to me self-evidently necessary for a bassist and it is one of the reasons that my daily warm-up includes precisely the exercise that Anthony Wellington undertook, though for all the notes on my fretboard and using sharps one day and flats the next.

    I was actually querying the efficacy of the "telephone number" mechanism itself, rather than the benefit of its intended outcome.

    If telephone numbers work for you, I would not for a moment decry them. Each to their own.

    That said, I remain unconvinced that it is an efficient route to the intended outcome (which, I believe, is greater musical rather than mechanical knowledge) and wonder if the invested time would provide a better return (albeit with more frustration to start with) by using it to link the fretboard positions directly to sound and notation, via scales and similar. Certainly this is the case for me, although I realise that each of us needs to find our own way.

    As you say, whatever works.
    Last edited by PaulUK; 01-20-2014 at 09:09 AM.
    Shine on you crazy diamond.....

  5. #15
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    Hi PaulUK,

    I had forgotten about Anthony's exercise for the fretboard. Thanks for reminding me about it! What a great idea to break up the flats one day and the sharps another.

    I think you hit the nail on the head that ultimately you want to know the fretboard at an instinctive level and I think it is by a musical context that it is ultimately
    important. Knowing where to find all the 'c' notes is helpful for finding jump points, but once your in the new location, you need to know the musical neighborhood once you are there.

    I think that this instinctive knowledge comes from time spent in those areas of the fretboard, working through a musical passage (whether it is scales or solo ideas or some sort of exercise in those areas). Experience is the way to getting that knowledge and that takes time and dedication. It is something that I always wanted to learn but was intimidated by the prospect of learning 120 notes by rote memory. Running across these tools has given me a ray of hope that it is actually possible for me to memorize the whole fretboard and that is quite liberating.

    The telephone method is working for me, but it is just a tool until I apply a musical context to those other areas of the fretboard and really feel comfortable there. Just like the cirlcle of fifths helps me identify key signatures, notes in a key, order of sharps and flats, etc. it is just a tool until that knowledge is baked in to the point I don't have to think about it. Once the knowledge is ingrained, then the tool is no longer necessary.

    If you have other exercises or tools that you have found in your bass playing experience, please let me know.
    I really want to take my bass playing to the next level. I am in lesson two of TMBG right now (just picked up TMBG in the last month or two).
    Thankfully it has all been review so far, but I am following the advice of taking things slowly.

    Thanks for taking the time to write your posts. I really appreciate your input.

  6. #16
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    ML,

    Here are a few ideas from other TR members:

    http://www.thunderrow.com/content.ph...ractice-regime

    Paul
    Shine on you crazy diamond.....

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulUK View Post
    ML,

    Here are a few ideas from other TR members:

    http://www.thunderrow.com/content.ph...ractice-regime

    Paul
    Thanks for reminding us of this great post!


    - low life -

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulUK View Post
    ML,

    Here are a few ideas from other TR members:

    http://www.thunderrow.com/content.ph...ractice-regime

    Paul
    Paul,
    Thanks for sharing your practice routine in that post!

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