Comments on: Reading Music The Blog for Bass Players - Covering all the basses! Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:00:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: Samer Bass player Thu, 12 Aug 2010 09:30:37 +0000 thanks for this post and comments, really interesting

i have been really trying to get into practicing my reading every day this year,
the only thing im struggling with atm is deciding what positions to play in so i dont end up in awkward places

By: MADELEINE Tue, 21 Jul 2009 15:15:52 +0000 awesome post! glad i found your site, it was on accident though =/ check mine out if you want. im still really working on it but it should be great soon

By: Major in Bass - Alvin Mon, 06 Jul 2009 13:26:00 +0000 Thank You Benjamin,

I just searching for the bass tips related blog and i found yours, You are posting awesome post, keep rocking us with your bass lessons ans tips.

By: Benjamin Mon, 04 May 2009 09:18:25 +0000 Hi Paul,

Proper notation books do seem to be hard to come by – if people want to send me recommendations that would be cool, and I’ll do a write up.

By: Paul Bass Fri, 24 Apr 2009 13:43:04 +0000 I’ve tried learning to read music a few times but if I need to learn a new song, the online transcriptions are tablature 9 times out of 10. Eventually therefore, my reading laspses through lack of use.
I played a Musical recently and this poliocy backfired – I was just following the chords.
So, it is a difficult one.

Can you recomend any decent books with Bass notation only?

By: James Thu, 16 Apr 2009 21:18:07 +0000 Gr8 blog! Ill definitely be coming back

By: House Concerts Comments and Travelling | The Bass Guitar Blog Fri, 20 Mar 2009 15:45:44 +0000 [...] «Reading Music [...]

By: Greg Collins Wed, 11 Mar 2009 08:45:46 +0000 Rich, it can help to remember that what is written on the stave is always written a whole octave higher than what you are going to play anyway. The lowest note you can play on a normal four-er is, in piano terms, E below low C but it is written as it it was E above low C. Has to be or we would end up with way too many ledger lines. I think it means every bass stave for bass guitar should have 8vb next to it be they rarely bother.

See middle C written on the ledger line between and betwixt the bass and treble clef’s? You should be playing a C an octave below that, (which is what the 8vb means “play it an octave lower”) at the 5th fret on the G string. You can take it from there.

But don’t forget, you are a bass player – you’re hired to interpret the music and scores are just primitive and highly inaccurate recording devices anyway!

By: Benjamin Tue, 10 Mar 2009 20:17:44 +0000 Rich, you’ve hit on one of the things where tab does win out. With a score, generally you need to interpret it – which position are you going to play it in, how will you finger it etc. tab pretty much maps that out.

That can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s helpful for a beginner but might be viewed as ‘restrictive’ for a pro. Scores can be marked up with fingers etc, but it is pretty rare to see them like that – mostly because the person scoring would probably view that as ‘obvious’ even thought it might not be to every one.

By: Rich Tue, 10 Mar 2009 15:21:07 +0000 I’ve always struggled with the application from paper to the actual instrument. Like for each lettered note on a bass clef there will be 2-3 on the paper (e.g. C having two lined and one spaced, three total).

But there are more than 3 representations of C on the bass neck (8 on a four string if I count correctly), so I’ve never understood which note is where.

By: Greg Collins Mon, 09 Mar 2009 22:29:27 +0000 Because bass is a pattern based instrument, e.g. major scale is the same pattern whatever the key, as is the minor scale, learning to recognise/read intervals on the stave makes it much easier to read, and play, what you find in front of you. Learning the absolute notes is important for sure but when the band leader or MD says “let’s play it in A rather than Bb to suit the vocalist” it can be a bit tricky if you read and play by note rather than by interval. YMMV, I’m a know-nothing semi-self taught amateur.

By: doggo Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:14:54 +0000 I can’t imagine pursuing music seriously without learning to read notation. Well, I can, but I think it’s a mistake.

Look, I don’t actually play bass, yet. I’m trying to learn again after first trying 30 years ago.

30 years ago I was also studying in the music department of a college. I let the intimidation of being surrounded by people who’d been playing classical instruments since they were small children stop me from pursuing music. But one thing I came away from that experience with was, at the time, the ability to read music at a basic level. I couldn’t play an instrument worth beans, and I couldn’t sing, but I could, at least, tell where I was in the score.

So if you can play, you’ve got more than half the battle done. Learning to read music is easy in comparison. At least at the single clef level.

I’ve noticed a lot of current instructional material has both notation and tabs together. That should make it super easy for folks like Brinker who’re already comfortable with tabs.

So give it a try! You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

By: Benjamin Fri, 06 Mar 2009 20:09:14 +0000 Thanks Tim – good alternative for FOSS users (Forte is for Windows).

Brinker – it isn’t as hard as it first looks. I’d say crack things in this order:

1. Know which lines and spaces represent each note (basically memorising, just as you did when you learnt which note waas on each fret).
2. Understand flats and sharps (and how they work with key signatures)
3. Get to grips with the note lengths.

Others will have alternative suggestions. That is what worked for me.

By: Brinker Fri, 06 Mar 2009 19:39:09 +0000 I’m a bassist that has been playing for just shy of ten years now. I’m pretty much self taught, save for the pointers/tips that I’ve received from the musically inclined people around me which I’ve used to improve and advance my own study. I was taught the basics of reading tab shortly after picking up my first bass, and tab has worked well enough for me so far when I can’t “ear” things out, or I’m looking for more exact fills and such. I’ve always wanted to be able to read actual sheet music though, I think it would really help me take things to the next level, it just seems quite intimidating. I will surely be looking into the tutorials you have referenced!

By: Tim Fri, 06 Mar 2009 18:34:14 +0000 I’ve found software called Rosegarden4 really good for musical notation (and lots of other things too). Unfortunately it only runs on Linux, but it is excellent :)