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Playing in C or D...


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Now, I won't lie here, despite being new I bought myself a 5-string, mostly because when I get there a lot of stuff I listen to and want to play someday is in B, and as a student-again-in-a-week a new bass midway through my course wouldn't be feasable.

I know very little music theory such as notation, so I generally use tab.

If I wish to learn a piece in C or D, which frets would serve as 'D0' say, on my B string? I would guess either three or four?

Thanks guys,


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hey man,
im just as bad with theory too, but yes, the D is the 3rd fret on the B and the C is fret 1
so that makes fret 4 a D# and fret 2 an C#.

hope this helps.

also,...just for a bit more assistance, two strings up and two frets up is an octive up.

so if you wanna slap a D and pop a higher D use fret 3 on the B and fret 5 on the A.

this should make it easier to work out what notes are where too!


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These are the notes you have available.

C# / Db
D# / Eb
F# / Gb
G# / Ab

When you get to the bottom just loop round to the top again and continue. Some of the notes (which would be the black ones on a piano) can be called with the sharp (#) or flat (:) depending on what key you are in, but you don't need to worry about that at the moment, nor the existence of such tricky blighters as Cb (which gets all uppity if someone tries to call it :huh:.

Each step along the way is represented on the bass by shifting on fret. Because the bass is tuned in a regular fashion across all the strings you will start to discover patterns. For example, move five steps up and you have a note that could have also been played by shifting to the next string up.

Using the information above, you can draw out a map of what note is found at what fret on your bass. Use that to find your way round and, after a while, you will be able to navigate without consulting it (eg. start at the low B and move up three frets to get a D).


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