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Thread: Just Got a U-Bass - Advice

  1. #11

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    Thanks that's really helpful. I know the major and minor triads and arpeggios from the guitar. But it's one thing to know them and another to play the right note in rhythm with a group when you aren't used to it. If I start with something like root and fifth and get a little more varied I hope I can build on that over time.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    If you have been around any bass players this comes pretty
    quickly as just how bass sounds and naturally flows. Guess it
    helps my mom and dad both played bass so once the root was
    seen the rest has just come along as part of the equation.


    Quote Originally Posted by cb56 View Post
    I played bass for decades before I picked up uke. The root is always a good note choice. But after awhile might sound a bit boring if you do nothing but the root note. Try adding in the 5th (as suggested in an above post) The 5th is located one string higher(pitch wise) and two frets up from the root. OR one string lower (pitch wise) and on the same fret as root note. Easy right?
    The 5th will work for major minor and 7th chords. Diminished chords you need to lower the 5th one fret. and augmented chords raise he 5th one fret.
    Work on that for quite awhile and listen to alot of simple bass lines (country, classic rock, Southern Gospel etc...)
    After awhile you'll want to learm major, minor triads and arpeggios for 7th chords.
    here's me playing ubass and ukes. I use lot's of root 5th along with some walk ups/ downs. Trust your ears, you'll get it.

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  3. #13

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    Tonight I played the u-bass with my ukulele group. It went pretty well. It made the group sound much better. For me it was a blast. Since we had song sheets, and since I know the fret board from the guitar I did Ok. A few rough spots, and nothing very fancy, but I can see that I can add a lot to the group and have lots of room for improvement. It was the most fun playng music I've had in a long time.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
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    When playing with a group of ukes I approach bass playing with a blue grass mind set. The vocals and the uke are the primary music sources, the bass provides rhythm and enhances the chords. Sometimes I think of it as playing the bass drum, plus adding the root or 5th. It takes restraint not to just rip into the bass lines like a rocker but that what this ensemble calls for.

    And when playing the root and fifth, such as C G, and the next chord is G (V) try to avoid playing it before the chord. I'll try to say that more clearly. Say the chords are


    chords on top:
    C C C C G G C C
    C G C C G D C C
    bass line underneath

    not:
    C G C G G D C C



    Make sense?

  5. #15

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    "And when playing the root and fifth, such as C G, and the next chord is G (V) try to avoid playing it before the chord. I'll try to say that more clearly. Say the chords are"


    I took the U-Bass to a bluegrass jam session last night. I get what you are saying here - it feels pretty natural to my ear not to hit that fifth before the change. This is still a novelty for me, but I'm really surprised how naturally playing the bass is coming. As long as I am essentially playing a melodic drum - it really enhances an acoustic group.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    As long as I am essentially playing a melodic drum - it really enhances an acoustic group.
    Exactly! Very good! Sometimes think of it as playing the bass drum with the added responsibility of choosing a pitch.

    And then sometimes I just can't hold back anymore and run away with a busy bass line. Takes discipline to resist playing the jazz bass lines that come to mind, but that's not what this part normally calls for. The bass is a supportive instrument, not a solo instrument especially in a blue grass setting.

  7. #17
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    I have always loved the simple bass lines, and generally stick to them. Mostly.
    Bay View, WI


  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    I started playing the bass today (I got a damaged and used Fender Mark Hoppus Signature Bass for my birthday on Sunday, but I had surgery on my stomach six days ago), and I'm starting by playing roots and thirds mostly. My plan is to play the electric bass for a year, and if I get serious enough about it, buy a U-bass. I would love to just play the U-bass, but I think my time would be wasted if I didn't also play the electric bass, and I decided to start with that.
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  9. #19
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    Sep 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigchiz View Post
    And when playing the root and fifth, such as C G, and the next chord is G (V) try to avoid playing it before the chord.
    I would actually play it this way, as it provides a little more forward movement into that G chord from the C.

    C G C F# G D C C

    It's more of a "jazz thing," but as the bass player (and as you said, the rhythmic foundation), that also means moving the chords along as well and not always chugging along within the confines of the root and fifth.
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  10. #20
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    Dec 2010
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    WTG katysax! I just aqcuired a UBass too, with the idea of accompanying my group...I get tired of just hearing 60 people go plinkity plink plink plink for 2 hours too, all with the same silly strum and chords, so I think it will make a big diff in how we sound. We do have one guy who brings his Ubass to some jams but not many. I've always loved Bluegrass bass, and hope to somehow emulate taht sound...have my first bass lesson in a couple of weeks, having NO guitar background, I have no idea how to tune it, let alone play it...I have high aspirations, no? LOL
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

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