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LH bass notes


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If you are playing a song, could be any, but lets say, In the Summer Time, the song just goes, E A7, B7 the regular blues thing etc. But how do you play the left hand part. Do you just play the 1st and 5th note (0 and +7) or do you play the triad..like in quarter notes, going 0 +4 +7 +4, 0 +4 +7 +4 etc


i think in the actual song he is playing all three notes of the triad.


But to me, alot of times, when you are playing lh bassier parts, it just start to cloud up the sound. or am i missing something....


like proper basslines to me, played on bass you can play any of the diatonic notes, because you are the bass. but when you start playing lots of bassier notes in succession on the keys, it starts to cloud the entire sound, and even though it sounds good sortof (on its own - no bass player) and more full, (and its slightly more difficult) to play 3 bass notes, with your left hand....idk


what do you think.

NordPiano2 Roland A-49
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I also play bass, but have rarely done LH bass on keyboards. I do however frequent the lowdown (bass forums) and Jeff Berlin started chiming in on bass instruction and how things like technique and concepts of "funk" "timing" "the pocket" are stressed too much in bass instruction, he feels more focus should be on MUSIC theory and the rest will come. But it lead to a discussion, me being one of the few bass playing keyboard players over there. My point was that I would play a bass line differently on a bass guitar than I would necessarily on a keyboard because of the mechanics of the instrument (string spacing/tuning, hand position). Some intervals easy on a bass are tough on a keyboard. I don't think we ever connected, he just thought I needed more music theory on the bass. Which I do, but I stand by my point. Some bass lines simple on a bass are next to impossible doing LH bass on a keyboard.


I realize none of this helps you so far. I would think of the SCALE you would play on a bass within the changes, then play within that scale in a way that works with LH fingering on keys. I know, still not that helpful. But practice with that in mind and you're on the right track.



Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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ok, cool, haha, but would you play that +4 in there? like the G# of an E chord? i mean, using that 0 4 7 4 cycle in quarter notes? or would you play just alternating 0 7 0 7 0 7 etc quarter notes.....because i find that i can feel the groove way more when i am not trying to play all those bass notes, and at a certain point, what is that +4 really adding.....like usually I just even play only one bass note, the root, but play octaves....i guess it depends on the context...


like the RH riff that everyone likes on In the SUmmer Time, is basically all 8th notes..."in the the summer time..when the weather is hot"....the positions are

+7>9>12 12 12, [(9 9 9<7 3>4<0) and/or (7 7>9<7 3>4<0)]


like i think i am getting lost in this issue of "if its not "hard" to play then its not good...you know? and it is harder for me to play all three notes of the triad as i am playing the rh riff. but to me it just "feels" way better (to just play two notes alternating), not to mention if i am singing, like i cant focus on too much at once.....


because i think sometimes i say, ok i suck at being a keyboard player, becuase i can tdo all these amazng multi finger things that really good keyboard players can do...but they also are not singing.....so it's like...i think i just have to let it go, and not worry about trying to be an amazing keyboardist...and just do what works and feels good....yea..


i am just more comftorbale playing keyboard and i like it more than playing guitar for instance...and its more my thing, becaus eits more compositional. like everything is layed out nicely for you in an ordered manner, whereas guitar is all these "strings" with "frets" hahaha


but i like guitar though still


i like playing basslines with the keyboard too...


i know this all seems like a very esoteric thing, minutia, but i thought i'd just throw it out there to see what you all do :laugh:


( i just decided to learn ITST a couple days ago so...maybe i am just catching myself itm of it all)


its just that since i signed up here, i am like "ok now i have to be this amazing keyboardist" lmao, but im mainly a singer/"musician" and writer/producer...like i know since i just bought my np2 after watching all those demos by awesome piano players on all the models, i was like omg i SUCK so much at keyboards lmao... :pop: i dont really consider myself a keyboard player, i like playing drums too haha

NordPiano2 Roland A-49
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like i think i am getting lost in this issue of "if its not "hard" to play than its not good...you know?

You are. I had some very good advice given to me when I started playing L.H. Bass. Keep it simple. Very. Simple. Simple notes: Roots and maybe 5ths will be fine to start with. Simple rhythms which you can repeat. For "in the summertime", all you need do is alternate between the root and 5th every 2 beats.


I remember being unhappy with this advice when I first recieved it as I wanted to play a lot of "cool stuff" and thought my bass lines would be bland. What actually happened what that I created good, usable basslines which were rhythmically strong (which is a big deal in bass playing). A solid rhythm is far more important than loads of fancy notes.


Over time, I started to "hear" more things that I wanted to play, and so added in more notes, fills and more complex rhythms (from time to time). You will too. But your playing will actually be much stronger if developed from a position of solid simplicity rather than weak complexity.

"Turn your fingers into a dust rag and keep them keys clean!" ;) Bluzeyone
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Your playing will actually be much stronger if developed from a position of solid simplicity rather than weak complexity.

This. Applies to everything, but bass in particular. A big thing about getting into LH bass is changing your approach a bit, especially if you're with an ensemble and filling the bass role. Listen to lots of bass players, listen to recording and try and pick out what the bassist is doing, transcribe if necessary. You need to start thinking like a bass player, which is more important than just playing the 'right' notes. Think feel, groove, forward motion in note choice (ie, does this note lead to the next chord). What xKnuckles has said about beginning to 'hear' more things to play is on point as well, that'll come from listening a lot to the kind of music you want to play and working out some of those lines, playing them in all keys until they become part of your vocabulary.

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I've been primarily playing organ + LH bass for awhile now. My style is modeled after Neal Evans of Soulive, so I play a lot of notes with my left hand. I think the real trick to making it work is to really utilize space. You gotta play the spaces with the same intention that you play the notes. That way you can play bass lines with a lot of harmonic complexity while still complimenting what your right hand is doing without muddying the water.
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I just gave this a listen, I don't know the tune.


I would play 1-5,1-5,1-5,1-5 all the way through that sucker, on beats 1 and 3. Sometimes going up to 5, sometimes going down.


Beats 2 and 4 I would play three-finger chords; the IV and V would probably be rootless. So E G# B, G C# E, A D# F#. At the end of each phrase I might sneak my left hand up so I could play two chords in different octaves..I think the extra one I'm thinking of comes in on the last 16th of beat 3. To add variety throughout, I would switch up right hand voicings.

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Different approaches for different styles. Im no expert but i am a good listener. I find fast jazz players like tony monaco are playing alot of walky stuff mainly with the root and fifth of the chord they are playing on the right. Blues players are playing walky stuff with less swing playing more scale tones like 1 3 5 7 occasionaly putting other scale tones in for color. Rock music seems better with playing simple melody lines focused on the root of the current chord played but in the key context of the tune or sometimes just peddling on tonic like mike anthony of van halen. Timing wise keep it simple and closely match the kick drum. The more you can play what a fender bass player would play the more youll sound like 2 separate people.


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Long ago I realized that the absolute best note to make a chord sound its best, is unquestionably the Root of the chord.

The second most powerful note is the fifth.

That opinion is looking at music "vertically", not horizontally.

Vertical pov suggests playing roots as much as possible.. and fifths for variety.

That's Ok and even highly desireable for eg Some latin styles like a Cumbia or Salsa

But many other styles, require attention on that other pov, the horizontal aspect.

The Vertical is a single moment in the music, often a chord

The Horizontal is more like a melody.

If you only pay attention to the vertical aspect... all of your bass notes will express maximal resonance with each chord, because you are playing mostly Roots, and Fifths

Again in Montuno music, that works well

But in jazz, the melodic or horizontal aspect comes into play.

So a bass player has to maximize two, sometimes opposing forces, the melodic and the harmonic, aka the horizontal and the vertical.

The best way, by far has already been well stated by other members:

Listening and transcribing basslines of the best bass players.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

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