Natalie: Welcome Gigajamers, this is lesson five of the essential bass skills course. I'm Natalie Barrass, this is Terry. Terry how are you?
Terry: I'm fine, how are you?
N: Very well, yes. Now you remember at the end of the last lesson, which was lesson four, we had to do some practising didn't we?
T: We did
N: We needed to get those fingers working. And that's very important because today it's vital!
T: Yeah, you're gonna need all those skills today. This lesson's about developing finger control
T: So the objectives today are to develop our control of subdivisions
T: To create new rock grooves
T: using different base notes. And to further extend our development of left hand finger control, in rock grooves
T: So there are the three. And as you said rightly at the start, the big thing today is that in the last lesson we were using all the fingers of the left hand, of the fretting hand
T: Previously to now when we've moved from one note to another, like in a earlier lesson we moved from A to G, we used the same finger to do that. It's very dependable, very reliable and safe, and we knew we could do that. The last lesson was saying we need to move forward, we need to develop our left hand finger control. And we practised exercises where we played the same note using a different finger. What we need to do today is to push that further and develop it by playing an exercise which has two fingers, two different fingers, of our left hand
N: Okay, you mentioned the exercise. I'll scroll down and find it
N: Exercise one I'm presuming?
N: There it is if you're following on the notes. I'll grab the guitar as well, just to show our right hand players .
T: Okay, and I'll .
N: the positioning of the left hand
T: I'll remind everybody that we're playing two notes, and the notes are A and G
N: Okay, where can we find A?
T: We can find A on the fifth fret of the E string, that's the fourth string, and we've found that note before
T: And we can find the E by going down to, sorry the G by going down two frets along that same string, the E string. This is the G on the third fret
T: So there's the locations of the notes
T: But instead of doing this, as we've done in previous lessons, we're gonna do this
N: With our little finger there
T: Yeah, so it's quite interesting. In terms of technique, the textbooks will tell you that the classic technique is that you should use one finger per fret, so that means we've got four fingers
T: so if you were to put your little finger as you were just about to
N: One, two, three, four
N: cor that's a str I can't do that!
T: Right, so. And in any case, I don't need to do that for this exercise, so I'm just gonna adjust my hand position for what I need. I need to be able to play this note, which is the A, and I need to be able to play this note, which is the G
T: So I'm gonna use my little finger to play the A
T: and my first finger to play the G. Just slightly close up the hand, and that will allow me to control it
N: More control and more strength I suppose, because your fingers are closer together, rather than being stretched to overkill, almost
T: Yeah, I mean it's important that isn't it? You know, the fingers are what play the notes, so I need to keep them around, I need to keep them handy, I need to keep them close by. And even though we're playing with our little finger, for example, we don't need to throw the rest of the fingers away. Keep them all around, and in fact perhaps even rest them on the string, for a bit of support, to anchor it and make it secure
N: Ah, okay, so that's not going to affect as long as when we're playing this note here, as long as these fingers aren't on this string to distort the sound
T: Sure, these other fingers are behind this note
T: The fret is making the pitch of A there on the fifth fret
N: This one here
T: so that's gonna make, so I can use these other fingers to support that little finger which is not maybe as strong as the others on its own
N: Let's have a look at the exercise
T: Yeah, let's have a look at the exercise. The first bar, we'll take it a bar at a time and I won't bother switching anything on yet. We'll just do it at our own pace
T: so that we can investigate it thoroughly. The A is on the fifth fret, and it's just quarter notes
T: So that would be one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. There you go, and I'm quite comfortable with that, and I've got my other fingers there to support my little finger
T: Playing the A on the fifth fret
N: So that's our first one
T: That's the first bar, four quarter notes, all the same pitch, that's A in the first space, on the music notation, on the stave
N: Mmmhmm, second note?
T: Second note, you're ready to go! The second note is G, which is on the first line of the stave
T: And we're gonna use the first finger to play that. And again that's quarter notes, so if I count us in that would be, two, three, four
(Terry starts playing)
T & N: Two, three, four
N: One, two, three, four
T: So there's my two locations. Next thing I'm gonna try and link those two bars together and play A on the fifth fret
T: And then G on the third fret. So I'm just checked that I've got both those notes, and they're both gonna sound well
N: So when you say linking, sort of practising the link, you don't have to necessarily practice bar one and bar two, you could just practice those two notes that are the bridge, almost, between the bars
T: Absolutely, it's the same thing four times, four quarter notes. If I can do it once, I'd like to think that I can do it four times
T: So let's try it now, we've practised the link, we've practised each of the notes and the move...
T: let's try those first two bars again without access to any of the media files
T: Two, three, four
N: Quarter notes
T: A, two, three, four. G
T & N: two, three, four. A, two, three, four
N: G, two, three, four
T: That's the first half of the exercise. And I'm taking my time, to pay attention to the detail and make sure I've got my moves down with my left hand, my fretting hand, and make sure I've got it all under control
N: What about our picking hand? Could we be doing alternate picking there to practise that?
T: Yeah, it's interesting you should mention that, cos if you were only half way through the exercise, if we look at the next two bars
T: .we're going to need to address right hand technique as well. So there's a lot to think about. The third bar is exactly the same, the note is the first bar is back to our A at the fifth fret
T: In the first space. But it's eighth notes now, so instead of one, two, three, four, it's one and, two and, three and, four and. And you're absolutely right, in order to execute that with any degree of control and fluency you're gonna need to alternate with your right hand. So we rest our thumb on the pickup,
T: fine, or on the string. We find out where we are, just get seated there, and get in contact, get in touch with the string
T: And then I'm gonna play. Practise it first, on it's own, you know
T: ...isolated. So I'm gonna lead with one, and play one and, two and, three and, four and
N: It's interesting you, your technique because you're playing it left-handed. You say you can rest on the string
N: For me that is my string
T: You're not gonna be able to do that so you have to rest on the pickup
N: But when I'm playing, maybe, strings in later lessons down below
T: Futher down
N: that's when I can rest on that?
T: Yeah, I mean it's, there's nothing wrong with keeping your thumb on the pickup all the time. Some guys just find that that distance is a bit large for them, and so they just reduce that distance
T: by dropping it down. Also that's a nice controlled method for damping or muting the strings, because you don't want strings you're not playing making any noise. So if you're not playing that string you can rest your thumb on it and then there's no danger that it will make any noise
N: Good, handy tip there
T: So we're playing the A on the fifth fret
T: Using the fourth finger of our left hand
T: And then our right hand, our picking hand, we're alternating, one and, two and, three and, four and. And I need to keep that going so that when my fretting hand, my left hand, goes down to play the G with the first finger, it would still go one and, two and, three and, four and
N: Mmmhmm, keep the momen, momen I can't even say it! Keep the momentum
T: Very good
N: on our picking hand. Thank you
T: So this exercise is a bar of A, a bar of G, another bar of A, another bar of G. The only difference is the rhythm. Quarter notes the first two bars, and eighth notes the next two bars
N: Alright. Let's play it along with a little bit of music here
T: Okay, put the Xtractor up. It's loading up. I'm getting ready just thinking about everything. I'm ready to go
(Terry joins in)
N: So quarter notes first
N: And G
N: Now these eighth notes
T: Important thing abut this exercise is it's here to help us develop left hand finger control. Controlling our fretting hand
T: We're using the fourth finger, and the first finger
N: Quarter notes
T: We've played the notes before, but we used the same finger
N: So Terry, we've got that one. I'm feeling reasonably comfortable with that
T: Okay, let's move on
(Xtractor and Terry stop)
T: Yeah, when you do feel .
N: How can we develop further?
T: Develop further. We can include more notes, so if you think back to earlier lessons, we've got more notes that we could use. And so we try and do this thing all the time, in the Gigajam essential bass skills lessons, is add on to what we've got, build it all up, so that we can keep developing and growing as a bass player. So the next exercise will incorporate more notes. We just did A and G
T: And we already know some more notes, so we know D and C
T: And this next exercise, will help us to practise developing our left hand, our fretting hand, finger control by incorporating those extra notes, so
N: Okay, so D and C, the positioning of those, is exactly the same but a different string isn't it?
T: Yeah, it's interesting that you remember that. Very good. It's a kind of a skill that we need to develop as bass players, this awareness of the notes on the finger board, and the shapes and patterns that come up. And we try to not move the hand around too much, because obviously it takes energy
T: it takes time. Obviously if we need to do it, we'll do it. But unless we need to do it let's not waste that energy. So the D lives on the fifth fret of the A string, the third string
T: And again we would play that note in these new exercises, with our fourth finger
T: And similarly, the C is on the third fret and we'll play that with the first finger. So it's exactly the same shape we just played in the previous exercise, up on the, the next string up. It's very important to be able to transfer form that shape, from there, to there
T: So the notes in this exercise are again A and G, and then C followed by D. Quarter notes for four bars, and then eighth notes
N: Alright, let's have a look at the
T: Let's give it a whirl
N: There's the Xtractor
(Xtractor starts playing)
N: Alright, so there we've got our
(Terry joins in)
N: quarter notes, which we've just been doing
T: A, G
T: Here's a new bit
T & N: C
T: First finger, third fret
T & N: D
T: And now to eighth notes, right hand alternating. Goodness there's a lot to think about!
N: There is. So I mean, we're working both hands aren't we, because we've obviously got the tempo going with our picking hand
N: And the positioning with our fretting hand
T: There's quite a lot of things to coordinate
N: You're doing very well Terry, and I'm gonna let you carry on into the break
T: Thank you I need the practise
N: (Laughs). Join us back here
(Terry is still playing with the Xtractor)
N: Hi, welcome back to part two. I've kept Terry going through the break. Just so he gets quite good. And Terry you're dong very well, well done
T: Thank you so much
N: You're almost perfect
N: (Laughs) A little bit more practise and you'll be there
N: Let me just stop this, and let's talk about that exercise
N: Cos I was noticing, when you we going round it was almost, well I mean it literally was a rectangle shape you were making with all the different notes
T: Yeah good. It's good that you observed that, yeah. Shapes are a very handy tool for bass players, you know so..
T: Handy. So we were playing A and G, and then moving up to the next string
T: but playing in exactly the same locations, the same frets. So we were playing that really, and then that. So yeah there's the little box
N: Mmm. There, there, there, and there. And that, there's a technique there, isn't there? When you're sort of, you're not lifting your finger off cos you can almost roll it onto the next note
T: Yeah, when you change up from one string to another, this technique will come in really handy in the next exercise. At the moment we're changing from A down to G on the same string
T: And then we're going up to C and D. So
T: that point, when we go from the G up to the C, it's the same fret, but a different string
T: So again we've been talking quite a lot about not using up any energy unnecessarily. You know, trying to stay economical. So, we're, this whole exercise is in that one place, in that one position, so we can stay in position and rather than running around, like we had to do earlier, we can let our fingers do the work. Earlier, in earlier lessons, we were moving our finger around, and this, today's lesson, is exactly about that. About letting our fingers do the work, let our fingers do the walking. So that pivoting thing almost on that first note
N: Yeah, that's a good word, pivot
T: Yeah. And since you've identified that I was doing that, as well as the rectangle shape, we might as well practise it, because it's gonna come in handy
N: Mmmhmm. And because we're playing those separate strings. It doesn't matter if it's still
N: Maybe on the and dampening, that was a sort of technique that I'm sure we'll cover
N: way in the future, but?
T: This technique again kind of allows you, facilitates that, because while we're playing the G,
T: move my finger out the way, so we're playing that note. While we're playing that note, we know that that note is coming next, so we've kind of got our finger resting on it, ready to play it
T: so we just have to drop it down. And when we do, and pivot that first finger, naturally it will stop that other string from ringing, so you've a kind of got a two for the price of one built in damping or muting technique. So it's
N: I'm always one for a bargain Terry
T: Yeah and it's all these little things, these sort of like professional insiders tips, that you're, you know, able to pass on, because we're explaining the Gigajam bass lessons here today. So the next exercise will allow us to do, to really put that into practice. The next exercise, again uses all the notes that we know, A and G, and C and D, and again in the same locations, fifth fret for the A and the D, third fret for the G and the C.
T: But this time we're just being slightly more creative with it and changing the order of the notes. The rhythms don't change, the rhythms are the same. It's either quarter notes or eighth notes. We're very comfortable with those, we've played those
T: for quite a few lessons now. And the notes haven't changed, in the sense that it's still a collection of A's and G's and C's and D's. It's the order in which they appear
T: which is slightly different
N: Can we go through it then? Bar by bar?
T: We can, it
N: Bar by bar
T & N: Bar, bar, bar, bar bar
T: We can indeed, we sound like the beach boys. There's, the first bar is an A
T: Cos it's in the first space of the base clef. The second bar you're playing the bouncing ball there, and guiding everyone along. That's the G, and
N: That's just one note below isn't it?
T: That's just below
N: And being speared by that bottom line
T: Quarter notes, very good. So yeah there's this kind of visual representation, isn't there?
T: That when a note physically goes down, we know that the sound is gonna go down, and we know that physically on the base it's gonna go down as well, so..
T: it's very consistent
N: Okay, third bar?
T: Third bar is a D. So slightly different order here, A, G, D
T: which is the fifth fret, and then back to the C
N: And again that's one that we can practise, that link, that bridge between bar two and three isn't it? Those two notes?
T: Yeah we've got the G there, which is bar two, the note in bar two, and that's the first finger. Now we've got a couple of things to coordinate here. We've gotta find the D, we know where that is
T: It's not on the same string, so you've gotta cross that string there. So it's the fourth finger, but instead of, as we were doing for the A and G, for the G and D Yeah, good
T: Great yeah, your hand, your hand shapes look good. And that is that rectangle spelled out isn't it?
N: Yeah, I mean we've learnt that, so therefore it makes it quite easy for us now
T: It's a good shape. The last note on that line is C
T: And again it's just quarter notes. Going on from that, the next section is pretty similar. It's the same pitch
T: it's just the rhythm that's changed. Can you see that it's eighth notes now?
N: Oh yeah, it's all the same notes, that's the same
N: A, and then
T & N: G, D
T: And C
N: And C down there
T: and the only difference there, is that for the picking hand, you'll need to make sure you're alternating comfortably there, to pick up those eighth notes
T: Thereafter it changes. So this is quite a creative exercise. It's saying that we've got these four, these four notes, we don't always have to play them in the same order
N: Absolutely not!
T: life would be boring if we did that. Let's move them around. And I remember working through examples when I was trying to improve as a bass player, I'm still trying to improve as a bass player
N: Always trying to improve!
T: That's why I'm here!
T: And I would take exercises that I'd found, other peoples examples, and then rewrite them, just mess them up, you know, almost like cut and paste them, put them up in a different order. You never know what you're gonna come up with. So I would encourage everyone to do that as well. Play these exercises and then create some more of your own
N: Excellent. Alright ninth bar
T: The ninth bar is
N: That's A
T: A again. There you go. And then D now, so
T: that will allow us to do this kind of pivoting technique we've been talking about. Keeping our finger in the same place and rather than moving that way, moving that way
N: Okay, onwards to eleven that's C
T: That's C, it's on the way back down, that's easy
N: That's the same string, yeah
T: And the next bar which you're on already, good, is G. That will allow us to do this kind of pivoting in reverse. To pivot back down from C on the third fret of the A string
T: back down to the G
N: So last four bars
T: Last four bars, yeah you're getting tired just thinking about it!
T: The last four bars are exactly the same as the previous four bars
T: except they're now in eighth notes. So again A to D, C to G. There's quite a lot going on here
T: Different order
T: But the same notes. Different rhythms
T: But the same rhythms, quarter notes and eighth notes
N: And what we should just say, is in bar thirteen, I mean they're eighth notes, they're spread out, but it's still eighth notes, the same as eight. They look closer together, but it's still eighth notes
T: Yeah, good. Sometimes it can be confusing, can't it? Looking at the notation, the way it's written out. Some lines have got four bars on, some lines have got two. Don't let that worry you
T: A bar is a bar, and it lasts four beats however it's subdivided. So..
T: you opening up the Analyser? I'll get ready to play this new exercise, putting all my finger control into play
N: Here we go, exercise three
T: I'm ready, let's go. A first
(Terry joins in)
T: Quarter notes
N: And then G
T: G, now I've gotta cross the strings to get this D on the fifth fret
N: That's that D, and then along to the C
T: And now I'm gonna repeat all that with eighth notes. So alternating in the picking hand
N: Yeah. That's our C
T: And now the new order, which is
T: A, back to quarter notes
N: Quarter notes, taking it slower at first
T: And up to the D, down to the C
T: And here's that pivoting, and now eighth notes
N: That's A
T: Pivot up
T: Back to the C
N: That's our eighth notes still
T: And pivot down
N: And G
T: And back to the top of the exercise
T: So I'm gonna, I can let that roll round a few times
N: There's D
T: C and now
N: Same string, along to the C
T: Eighth notes, alternating with the picking hand
N: Yeah. G, D
T: And the whole exercise
T: is in one position
N: Mmmhmm. Yeah
T: So I don't need to move my hand anywhere, I let my fingers do the work. It looks like I'm not really doing anything
N: It does look very controlled and very, sort of, measured. You're just in one place, not expending any excess energy. But very focused
T: So if I feel like I need to, I can keep going, or I can stop it
T: If I think that, well, I'm not really happy with reverse pivoting, or something, so I'm just gonna practise that for a bit. You know, don't be frightened to stop the track, and go in and look at the detail and address anything that you just feel mmm not quite sure about that
T: Just double check it
N: Okay, looking at the notes. We've gotta, sort of, practise making perfect
N: Very true. Playing positional, playing in position
T: Playing in position, yeah that's what we were just talking about. Practice makes perfect, that's why we go over things again and again and again and again. Just to give ourselves a chance to get familiar and comfortable with them. It's just about familiar, familiarity isn't it? Anything you do in life, whether it's playing bass, or making a cup of tea, the more you do it, the better you get at it
T: So that's what all that practice makes perfect is about, that musicians talk about. The playing in position thing is what we've been doing. You observed earlier, the fact that, there's this kinda rectangle shape for this exercise
T: Every exercise is different, every different, every piece of music is different. The trick I think is to identify what's going on, and then make it work for you. Make it as comfortable as you can, and use you're technique, whatever stage that's at, to get everything under control. Today we've been talking about left hand, fretting hand, finger control
T: We've done this pivoting up or back, and we're pivoting on, quite advanced really, on both fingers
T: The reason we're doing that is because it is actually, I think, less work. And as you said it looks really economical, it looks dead easy, so it must be working
N: Yeah, and we've got that dampening technique as well
T: Yeah. So it's all in there. It's all these kind of insider tricks and tips. And it's great that we've found the time today, to explore those
T: in fine detail
N: Okay. Well we, we went through the extra exercises that were with the software
N: But we can make our own exercises up. Like you said, you know, write them out, cut them up, stick them on your wall, jumble them up
N: I like it
T: Have some fun and make up some new bass lines
N: Okay. What have we got coming up in episode six?
T: In lesson six, more rock grooves. But it's really important that they practise today's lesson, because we're gonna be developing those left hand, fretting hand, finger control exercises
N: Alright. Good stuff Terry, thanks again. Thank you again and that was episode five. Keep listening and hear how you can get hold of your very own Gigajam course notes. See you next time