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Hi fellow basement dewellers, I need your help, I've built a 2 string fretless bass, 30" nut to bridge using strings A&D. I don't play guitar not even the 3 strings I've built. I need to know tuning and some tab's so I can start playing.
Hi "G". Use AD strings, tune to open A, and D. Locate where C note is, then where the F is on the D string, where the G note is on the D string. mark them. Then play 1-4-5 progressions until you can play them smoothly. A 1-4-5 in A would be A,D,G, then G,D,A. Use a tuner to verify when you hit the note right on. Use your ear, try to hit it right on. Eventually you will be able to do it smoothly and in time. The rhythm is more important than the note. Always play with music so you can hear the tune. Try using this player for music in the key you are using: http://www.oldtimejam.com/Jam.html
Need help? Let me know..
Hi there "G",
as a regular player of a fretless bass and a bass player of about 40 years I was most interested in your query. I'm not sure that I think the choice of A & D strings is the greatest, but you've got to use two and you have chosen these. Get an electric tuner suitable for a bass guitar (one that is chromatic and not just one to tune the strings as this will hamper you later) and get the strings in tune.
If you are playing 12 bar blues (and a lot of other tunes also) I will assume that we will start in the key of A. The 3 chord trick in this key are A, D and E. These would be at the open string, the 5th fret and the 7th fret. Use your tuner to find these notes. If you have not got any fret markers on the neck/fret board, put small stickers on the side of the neck in order to mark the position. If you play these "frets" on the D string you will have the 3 chords in D - that is D, G and A.
You will notice that the A on the D string is an octave higher that the open A string.
So we now have 2 keys and different ways of playing the chords in those keys.See below.
These are the first 7 frets of the two strings.
1 2 3 5 7
D E F G A
A B C D E
So, for a standard 12 bar blues in A, Each bracket is a bar, with 4 beats to the bar,
[A A A A] [A A A A] [A A A A ] [A A A A]
[D D D D] [D D D D] [A A A A] [A A A A]
[E E E E] [D D D D] [ A A A A] [A D D D] and repeat
Any possibility of adding a 3rd string (G on top) to it?
To me, the biggest challenge for a beginner using only two strings is that you'll be running up and down the neck a lot in order to play things. That's because there aren't enough notes in the "box" (i.e. a four fret span) to play every note in the scale of whatever key you're in without having to move up or down on the neck. Not an insurmountable obstacle. But it does make a lot more work for you when you're starting out. It's also harder to see the connecting chord tone patterns with only two strings. Like fellow member Yellowbelly Flatt, I've been playing bass since about 1970, and just thinking about having only two strings available to play a bassline on makes me wince. Not that I couldn't do it. But man...that could be a real pain once you got beyond some basic riffs and progressions.
Here's why 3 strings would make it a lot easier for you:
Since you traditionally use one finger per fret, having all the notes (including sharps and flats) of a chromatic scale fit within a four fret box (with one finger per note) is a much more efficient way to create a bass instrument. You won't need to change hand position to cover any possible note within the key you're in.
But you'll need at least three strings to do that..
Not that bass players confine themselves to staying "in the box." But it's easier when you're starting out to think of it that way. Later on you'll link various patterns and progressions, break the "rules" when it makes sense to do so, and develop your own way of doing things. But that comes once you figure out how the neck works and get comfortable about where everything is. Takes a little time even if it is a whole lot easier than learning traditional guitar. Learning bass is easy IMHO. That's one reason I like it so much. Me and Leo Fender got half the kids and cousins in my family into playing music because bass gave them so much bang for the buck when they were first starting out. And it's also cool (nowadays) to play bass. Not like when I started. (Old joke- Q: What do you call a guy that likes to hang out with musicians? A: a bass player. ) Ouch! :D
So...I know this doesn't exactly answer the question you're asking. But it might make things easier for you in the long run if you could somehow get an extra string on your B-CBG. :-)
3 strings would be so much easier, especially if you want to play arpeggios. Also I would chose to use the E A and D strings. If you are using a bass, you might as well go as low as you can.
The playing in different positions (up and down the neck) is a difficult thing to do for a beginner but not impossible.
I always thought that a person that hangs around with musicians was a drummer!
Hi all, thanks for your help and guidance, plenty of food for thought. One last question, how do I convert 4 string tab to 2 string tab, if it's possible?
Well, at the 5th fret this is the same note as the zero fret [or open string] on the next higher string.
All you have to do is map out all the frets of a 4 string bass and convert them to the 2 string bass.
For example, a rock and roll bass line in A would perhaps be A C# D E F# G A. This is an A7 chord.
On a 4 string this would be the 4th string 5th fret, 3rd string 4th 5th and 7th frets and 2nd string 4th 5th and 7th frets
On a 2 string this would be 2nd string open, 4th, 5th and 7th fret the 1st string 4th 5th and 7 th fret.
You would then repeat this pattern for the D and E chords - this is the trickier bit.
Once you've tried this on paper a few times I'm sure it will become really easy
Well, I play bass guitar, so I'd use standard tuning. Country bass would be easy, and a little boogie would work with the blues and oldies rock. check out "tab" sites.
Thanks for the thread, guys.
Just reading it has convinced me to use common sense when I build a cbg bass rather than what I had been considering.