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Bass Guitar - Music Theory

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Dissecting a Bass Guitar Groove

Whether it's the blues, rock, reggae, jazz, or R&B, the bass guitar lays the musical foundation on which the rest of the band plays. A good bass guitar groove can make or break a song. But what is a bass [more…]

Understanding the Bass Player's Function in a Band

The bass player has the most crucial role in the band. Everyone in the group depends on the bassist's subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) lead. If the guitarist or saxophonist makes a mistake, hardly [more…]

Bass Guitar Common Groove Skeleton, Groove Apex, and Groove Tail Placements

Playing the bass guitar well means playing grooves. Everyone loves groovy bass rhythms. Using the following figures (and lots of practice), you can play a perfectly authentic groove in just about any of [more…]

Bass Guitar Music: Note Names and Values

Knowing how to read music really helps if you want to play bass guitar. The following figures present your main rhythms (with rest symbols included free of charge) and the note names on the fingerboard [more…]

Note Names in the U.S. and U.K.

In the world of music, you may encounter different names for the many notes used. The U.S. and U.K. standard terms differ, but the U.S. names — which were originally translated from the German names for [more…]

Extending Notes with Dots and Ties

All notes have a certain value, indicated by the size and shape of the note, that determines how long a pitch should be held by the voice or an instrument. Sometimes, however, you want to add to the value [more…]

Understanding Simple and Compound Time Signatures

Written music always contains a time signature, which looks like a fraction and is found at the beginning of a piece of music. In the time signature, the upper number represents the number of beats per [more…]

Measuring the Distance between Pitches with Intervals

The distance between two musical pitches is called an interval. Intervals are important to music because they build scales and chords. In other words, music gets its richness from intervals. Composers [more…]

How to Divide Music into Phrases, Measures, and Beats to Play the Bass Guitar

Tunes are divided into phrases. Bass guitarists can recognize a phrase by listening to singers — they tend to take a breath between each phrase. Phrases are divided into [more…]

How to Read Chunks and Intervals in Music to Play the Bass Guitar

As you read this sentence, notice that you're not reading letter by letter; you're reading words. When playing the bass guitar, you read music the same way. Music notation is recognizable in chunks of [more…]

How to Use Chromatic Tones to Play the Bass Guitar

When you play a bass line, you’re not limited to the notes in the main modes; you can supplement them with notes outside the mode. The extra notes that fall within the box — the [more…]

How to Use a Groove Skeleton with the Bass Guitar

A good groove on the bass guitar can make you tap your feet, bob your head, and snap your fingers. A groove is constructed of several elements, the first being the groove skeleton, and you can use these [more…]

How to Create a Major Groove for the Bass Guitar

Say you’re jamming away with the band as a bass guitarist on a minor groove, when all of a sudden the guy in charge yells (with uninhibited enthusiasm), “Let’s jam in D major!” Hmmm, does he really mean [more…]

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