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where on the fretboard?


shex

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where do you play on the fretboard? i usually play as low as i can, so my hand's almost always right down the end. but i've noticed some bassists play up around 5th fret, and some even higher...
- roses on your breath but graveyards on your soul -
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In between the frets, where the space is.

 

Nah, pardon my sarcasm. I play everywhere, cause I'm a crazy mofo that always wanted to play g***ar, so I take it out on my bass(es). On my fretless I play mostly around the 10th-18th frets. But on my fretted 5, I'll play mostly down low, to get the nice B growl. But I play everywhere I can.

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5th fret to 12th mostly, I venture into the high end every now and again but mostly stick to big growlers. It suits my current band and allows me to throw the digit with my frettin hand when I hit open strings....some audiences thrive on the personal touch. ;)

 

CupMcMali...this monkey's gone to heaven :freak:

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Originally posted by greenboy:

Sheeesh, some of these topics lately. Like, wow - musicians are just so self-determined these days. . Like, if Pick or No Pick was better wouldn't it follow that the majority of working bassists would be using one - or the other?

 

Similarly, if one was to listen to and watch bassists and notice where they were playing on the neck, it might tell you there is no single way that gets the Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval.

i wasn't asking for approval, i was seeing how other people play. im not gunan change my style to be like anyone else, im just trying to learn other perspectives.
- roses on your breath but graveyards on your soul -
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sheX, fwiw that's how I took your question in the first place. One of the nice things about the internet is the opportunities it gives just to see what other people are doing. Fair question.

 

Myself, I tend to stay in the "money" position, but I always enjoy the opportunity to play in the 5th to 12th area. I'll choose a range depending on what the song needs, & play in the area that makes those notes. Sometimes you can think of the fretboard as a group of adjoining "neighborhoods," each with its own characteristics & characters, & get used to hanging out in different neighborhoods.

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Originally posted by sheX:

i wasn't asking for approval, i was seeing how other people play. im not gunan change my style to be like anyone else, im just trying to learn other perspectives.

http://www.musicgearnetwork.com/ubb/icons/icon14.gif SheX, it's always a good idea to get other people's perspectives. Greenboy sometimes has an attitude problem, ignore his sarcasm. http://www.musicgearnetwork.com/ubb/icons/icon13.gif

 

This is an interesting topic. As you've said, some bassists seem to play entire sets without ever shifting their left hand. Personally, I know my scales and chords better on the lower frets than the higher ones, so if the chord changes are unusual or complicated, I might stay there. If you're sight-reading, one glance at the page can let you know if there are high notes ahead, so a higher position is handy; in that case I'll start around the fifth or seventh fret.

 

I wear my bass kinda low, so I sometimes find it hard to play songs like "Day Tripper" or "Come Together", as they're best played around the 10th to 12th frets. I must shorten my strap

someday...

 

A lot of Motown tracks had three guitar parts. The guitarists divided up the fretboard between them, with one playing open chords, one playing around the fifth fret and one playing around the tenth fret, to take advantage of the different tones of the fretboard. On that note, you might be interested in one of Ed Friedland's columns in Bass Player magazine about plucking with your thumb, particularly when he discusses choosing fretboard position for the style you're playing or the tone you want.

The article is at http://archive.bassplayer.com/trenches/thumb.shtml

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Originally posted by greenboy:

I don't have an attitude problem just because I think a lot of stupid things go on here and there. Perhaps you do. And unlike some people here, I post stuff that actually has some content and don't need training wheel threads to do it.

AHHHAHAHAHAHA!!! If that was a joke it was friggin' hilarious. If not, lighten up Greeny. You proved his point.
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{CHILL mode on}

 

I think it is more productive to gently point out why the question may might be founded on a misimpression, rather than putting the questioner down. That really doesn't help anyone.

 

We are all at different levels in our growth as a player, and like the old saying goes, everyone has their own opinions...

 

Can't we all just get along? :D

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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Originally posted by Bob Gollihur (bob@gollihur.com):

. . . the questioner . . .

Wow, I've never heard that word before. Effective and economical at the same time. So rare for a word of such uncommonality. I nominate Bob for word of the day!

 

Anyways, on first read, the question in question seemed kinda silly to me too, if it was worded differently it might not have sparked the craziness we've witnessed this afternoon. How about:

 

"If you had a D-minor pentatonic line, where would you most likely play it? 2nd pos? 5th? 7th? 10th?"

Ah, nice marmot.
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Originally posted by Scootdog:

Originally posted by Bob Gollihur (bob@gollihur.com):

. . . the questioner . . .

Wow, I've never heard that word before. Effective and economical at the same time. So rare for a word of such uncommonality. I nominate Bob for word of the day!

 

Anyways, on first read, the question in question seemed kinda silly to me too, if it was worded differently it might not have sparked the craziness we've witnessed this afternoon. How about:

 

"If you had a D-minor pentatonic line, where would you most likely play it? 2nd pos? 5th? 7th? 10th?"

Sometimes you go for a word, and sometimes it's even in the dictionary: ;)

http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/q/q0027400.html

 

--

 

I understand where the questioner (italics for Scootdog ;) ) is coming from... I know I hang around the low end of the fingerboard all too much, especially when I am improvising or faking a tune-- it's probably my primary anchor point (and comfort point), which probably comes from years of playing upright basses with high action :D Call me a roots guy.

 

I admire those who can readily move, without thinking, and are at home all over the board, regardless of key. There's no problem for me to adopt a fret and work around the position, but it just ain't as natural as home.

 

Ok, players... let's rephrase the question-- at what position on the fretboard are you "home"?? Where's your most comfortable place?

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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I used to play mostly near the lower end (though I do move around). Since I got my 5, I find that I'm playing more around the 5-8 fret, using one string lower than before (I'll play E on the 5th fret of the B instead of open E). I'm trying to break myself of this so I'm not "stuck" there (I don't want to be stuck anywhere). Partially it's because the neck on my 5 is so much longer than my short scale (\'I have to reach all the way out there?").

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Hi SheX,

 

My bass teacher told me the following, and I take it seriously, cause it makes sense to me...

 

"Connie, you are the only one in the band, who is capable of creating the low tones, so therefore you are best served playing them whenever possible." (not his exact words, but close)

 

And personally, I do find that the music sounds better when I play the lowest version of the note that I can.

 

On certain songs, or on certain parts of songs, I will play a higher octave of the note, to get a certain effect, and I will cheat on a difficult riff, and play whatever notes are easier, but, all in all, I try to play the Lowest notes available.

 

Hope that helps! ... Connie Z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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A lot of the time we bass players seem to think in far too insular a manner. As the role of the bass is usually as part of a group, it can be very helpful to 'step back' and attempt to listen to the group as a whole. As you do this you begin to notice that the octave in which you play notes can make a big difference in the feel of the song, changing the dynamics and the 'colour' of the sound.

 

A good trick to try is playing an octave higher in the first verse, and then return to the original lower octave in the second verse. This can really add a lot of drive to the song. Of course this is just a very basic example, but at least it's a start.

 

You may feel that you're only being a proper bass player if you stay in the lowest octave because if you go any higher than that, they're not 'bass' notes. This feeling can be attributed to a number of things. The first big problem that many players face is that they turn the bass knob right up on their amp or instrument. This gives the lowest notes loads of bottom end but makes higher notes sound very thin, thus dissuading you from using them. Also, a common problem is having the pickup too close to the lowest strings and too high from the high strings. If you have an even string balance and all the notes on the bass sound with equal volume, then you're far more likely to use the whole neck.

 

The other big issue, is that although open E sounds way deeper than 7th-fret A-string E, and much deeper than 9th-fret G-string E, they are all notes in the bass register. This become becomes clear if instead of standing next to your amp and feeling the bass (and thinking the open E sounds way better than all the others) you stand further away and listen to the band as a whole. At that point it becomes much clearer that those higher notes are just as valid as 'bass' notes than the lower notes.

 

Just try it, it won't hurt you - if you find that you express yourself and serve the song best whilst living in the lowest register then at least you've validated your approach by trying other approaches. And if you do like going up the neck, then integrate it into your playing.

 

Alex

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Well, to answer the question - When the band isn't playing and I don't know what will happen next my hand just gravitates the the 5th - 7th fret. Quick duck either way and I've got what I need. Serves me well.

 

To join the debate - Don't know where all this "Money Position" nonsense came from. Never heard the term untill I came to this board. In Connies teachers defense I would tell a beginner/intermediate player to get it together down at the nut before spending too much time up top. Simple starting point and a rule that will be tossed out when the player is ready.

 

Lots of this out there. We are all told to learn metronomic time - but learn there is a time to pull and push. We all learn about a twelve tone scale but as our ears develope we realize it's a hoax. And so on.

 

Little anchor points for the newbies that get tossed when the player reaches a certain level. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

D.

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Greenboy,

 

I hear you and, yes, it's sad. Too, too many teachers out there that a. don't know any better. b. don't think the "little snot nose" next to them will amount to anything - so why bother? or c. Don't give a damn.

 

Really the student has to take the lead. Engage the teacher. Bring in other POVs, from other players, mags, boards like this... Chalenge the party line. Don't be a dick, just keep asking questions. BUT, if you choose to continue to pay for said teacher bring back what they ask for. Just a waste of cash and time otherwise.

 

My approach was/is a bit schitzo -The way I do it for the teach. The way I do it practicing alone. What the band gets in rehearsal and what hits the stage/studio.

 

On the latter two the only thing that matters is does it work. Does your groove get people going or clear the dance floor.

 

Audiences and producers couldn't care less about bi-dextral/polyrithmic iterations of the symetric diminished scale. Unless it serves a higher purpose with in the tune than showing the world you can do it. (hint - the world doesn't care)Practice it at home, sure. Show the teach, why not? The band might even get a laugh out of it.

 

Train of thought's de-railed. Signing off.

 

D.

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Maybe I'm just a dope, but I think that this is an interesting thread sparked by an interesting question.

 

Traditional jazz players play near the headstock unless they're working their way up to the higher register temporarily for effect. There are several reasons for this -

 

- The inclusion of open strings gives you access to more notes without as much shifting.

 

- It's a hold-over from upright technique where you need open notes to check your intonation from time to time.

 

- In jazz, the bass notes don't need to be as deep and punchy as in rock or R&B, so the slightly thinner quality of open notes can be an advantage in some contexts.

 

Rock and R&B fingerstyle players tend to play fewer open strings (some songs are notable exceptions to this rule). They like the punch of fretted notes and employ slides and mutes for effect.

 

That said, slappers play a lot of open notes. A lot of slap songs are in E and A for this reason. Slappers seem to like brightness and the long decay (ring time) of open notes.

 

Starting out self-taught, I played mostly in positions and avoided open notes as much as possible. Since studying the work of James Jamerson, who started out as a jazz bassist, I've come to appreciate the use of open strings in the right context. I tend to play between the nut and the tenth fret most of the time unless I'm soloing. If I'm soloing, I spend a lot of time around and above the twelfth fret. I'm thinking about tuning one of my fives E,A,D,G,C to add more high notes for soloing when I play jazz.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I'd like to say, that if my teacher had not explained to me about the value of using the lowest notes available, it would probably not have occurred to me at all, or at least for quite a while.

 

My background is in piano, clarinet, oboe, and acoustic rhythm guitar. Bass concepts are still new to me.

 

Just keeping up with the band is a big thrill for me, let alone knowing where on the fretboard to play everything.

 

I appreciate it when someone shares something important and relevant.

 

Now... if I felt like I already knew all that needed to be known about bass, then I guess I would consider my teacher to be an idiot, who is talking down to me and considers me a waste of his time.

 

But, since I am a 43 year old woman, who is also a songwriter, and a business professional, who also feels very respected by my teacher. I will take his words with equal respect. In the 2 years he has worked with me, I have not ever even once, felt that he was just giving me a pat answer. He is always thoughtful and deliberate when answering my questions. And in this case, my question was, "Where should I play on the fretboard?"

 

Hail to the teachers! :thu:

 

... Connie Z (a grateful student)

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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I've been staying away until the dust cleared.....

 

I use the whole fingerboard. You can look at the fret wear on my bass to prove it.

 

In reading, I will usually (but not always) play in the lowest possible position on the neck in order to make things a little easier.

 

The position I play in is usually based on what is coming up next. If I am supposed to play an F (third line of the staff) I could play it on the third fret of the D string. But if the next note or note coming up soon is going to be an F an octave higher, then I will play this note on the 8th fret of the A string. In some cases, I'd even play the note on the 13th fret of the E string if it would make playing the rest of the pattern easier.

 

Sometimes it depends what bass I am playing. My old Fender doesn't sound so good at the higher frets on the E string so I am less likely to play notes there. But on some of my other basses, especially my five and six string basses, I am more likely to stay on higher frets....I'll have a huge range available to me without moving my hand and all the notes sound good.

 

Playing rock and r&b, I don't use a lot of open strings, (except for open E's and A's while slapping) and a lot of songs just sit right with my hand between the fifth and seventh fret.

 

Playing jazz, I'm using more open strings, but I'm also using a much bigger range, so I'm all over the place.

 

If I am in the mood, I may play things in different locations on different days just because.

 

As far as the octave that I play in, it's a bass instrument, even if you play a high note it still sounds like a bass.

 

As was mentioned in the daytripper thread, many 60's basslines were an octave higher than current basslines. I actually think about that when I am constructing lines.

 

One producer that I work for is always asking me "can you play that note lower" and it annoys me. Actually as far as I'm concerned, playing "up an octave" can help the bass to be heard over a heavily miked kick drum.

 

Once you learn the entire fingerboard, it won't matter to you where to play, you will have the option to do anything you want.

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

One producer that I work for is always asking me "can you play that note lower" and it annoys me. Actually as far as I'm concerned, playing "up an octave" can help the bass to be heard over a heavily miked kick drum.

 

Unfortunately, the higher up we play, the more chance of clashing with the other instruments and (in the case of a male singer) the vocals. A high register bass line requires careful arrangement. As a composer, I've learned to appreciate (a) playing low, and (b) playing simply. When I make a recording, my final bass line is usually simpler than the line that I originally planned to play. Excursions into the upper register seem to work best when kept brief. Everybody's music is different, but I've come to appreciate the reasons why producers and engineers want a bass "to sound like A BASS." Unless your producer just like busting players' balls, I'm guessing that he when asks you to revoice your parts it's for good reason. Maybe you could ask if it's possible to record it both ways and then do an A/B comparison. Maybe you'll win him over with a higher part works better; maybe he'll win you over when it doesn't.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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My advice is to play where it sounds good and adds something to the music. Just playing the lowest note possible for whatever chord you happen to pass through gets boring and predictable. I tend to avoid playing notes below my open E as much as possible, even though I play a 5 string bass 95% of the time. That way, when you throw a low D, C, B, whatever, it tends to jump out at you a bit more and say, "hey, check this out". Some of that stuff I posted earlier doesn't really show this attitude towards my playing as much.. becase they WANTED a lot of those notes. I'm just talking in general here. Use all the fretboard. Don't be afraid to play a G at the 12th fret of your G string (or a higher note) when you hit that chord. The one thing you should be asking yourself is, "does this make the music more interesting". If the answer to that question is "yes", then do it. Ain't no thang. Listen to what John Paul Jones, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney, etc... were doing in the late 60's and 70's. They played a lot of stuff in the 9th fret - 12th fret area and it completely works.
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