How's reading music going for you?

Part of the problem you’re having might be that sheet music is octave-specific, note names on the neck isn’t. Like, you might know that you have an F on the 1st fret of your E string, but that doesn’t tell you (directly) which one of these F’s it is in the sheet music -
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(it’s the lower one - the higher F would be on the 3rd fret of your D string)

That’s why I have the location of the open strings on the staff in your Course Extras booklet on page 22, to give you a starting point for determining which octave a note on the staff is in on your bass. Here’s something similar I just spit out of Sibelius -
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I agree with @Gio’s advice above too - don’t try to get it all at once, just gradually get comfortable with more and more spots on the staff, and then you can just navigate from your ‘safe’ spots until you’ve got it all.

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I have found a nice, little music composition download that helps with my site reading.
Best of all, it is free.

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I’m practicing “Lady Marmalade” and throughout the music there is a “C” in the second space and at the same time a ledger line “C”. How is this played?

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Not sure I entirely understand, but my best guess would be that you should fret C and the octave above at the same time and pluck them at the same time - so, C on the third fret of the A string and C on the fifth fret of the G string and then use, e.g., your thumb and your index (or middle) finger. Does that make sense!?

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I just started the music reading section. I doubt I will ever find the time to practice to the point of sight reading but it’s good to know I could quickly translate to tab if ever needed.

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Makes perfect sense, this was my first thought. It will take some practice. Thanks a lot

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I started my music reading efforts in the B2B course. I had a limited idea about it but the lessons in mod 5 made it fairly easy to pick up. My main take away so far with notes and rests, in 4/4 time seems like notes and rests will usually add up to 8 in most cases ex; 1/8 note + 1/8 rest + 1/4 note (2 8ths) + 1/2 note (4 8ths) would = 4 beats. I translate in this way due to using a tape measure on the job all day and measuring to 1/8ths of an inch. I know this will be different with different time signatures, but it helps wrap my brain around it a little easier.

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I love the tape measure analogy. Good visual!

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What I’ve been doing (I’m sure Josh wouldn’t approve of this method), is whenever I start a new lesson, and before I even watch the video, I put the sheet music on my music stand and try to play it by reading the music. I totally ignore the tabs. This forces me to find each note on the fret board without the aid of the video or the tabs.
Using “Don’t stop believing” as an example:
I note that it’s in the Key of E Major, so I know F, C, G, and D are all sharps. Then, I muddle through finding and playing the notes one at a time, without even worrying about timing. Once I’ve been able to get through the entire song a couple times, then I watch the video lesson.
It’s a bit unorthodox, but it really forces me to learn to translate sight reading onto the fret board without relying totally on tabs.
Now, if only I could get my timing down …

P.S. I also start every practice session doing note finding drills

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I approve @PamPurrs! Sounds like a great way to get some reading practice, and then be able to “check your work” afterwards. You’ll also get experience coming up with your own fingerings that way, which is a really useful skill that you don’t develop by reading tab.

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I wish I was doing this! Maybe on my second go-around of B2B I’ll try that. That’s awesome - and you’ll probably be able to read sheet music soon, just from sight :slight_smile:

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I just got a keyboard for Christmas so that I could expand my musical knowledge and found that it is fun to read music. I’m doing this mainly so that I can apply the knowledge to bass playing as that is where my interest remains. I just can’t seem to learn bass and music reading at the same time. I am learning them separately and will merge them soon. If you hear a loud crash, that is probably me in my first few attempts at reading and playing together. Wish me luck.

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A keyboard is a great way to learn music. Good luck!

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This is true. Singing in choir can work as well. I’ve sung tenor ( my natural range) and bass. Both live on the bass clef, so I am hoping that this will translate to my bass once I get into more advanced modules. In choir I’ve learned all those special markings in sheet music, and they are mostly universal to whatever music one is reading.

Piano and voice together are even better, because the keyboard lets you visualize music theory. One of my best friends is an accordionist, and he taught me to play some basic accordion some 15 years ago. Lots of music theory in that instrument; the buttons on the left side (stradella system) are built on the circle of 5ths.

Cross-training can only help reading music for bass.

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A keyboard is actually probably the best way to learn music theory and reading. The majority of modern music theory is based on the semitones on the piano, at least as far as I know.

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I agree. It’s easy to visualize because it’s linear. But, I like that fact that guitar/bass don’t have black keys. Changing the key is just a shift away; the shape stays the same. (chromatic accordions like Bayans work the same way). I guess the linearity of the piano keyboard is great for instruction, but more challenging to play.

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Yeah. Playing a given scale in a different key on a stringed instrument is basically just shifting your hand a bit. Playing it in a different key on piano is memorizing an entirely new pattern of keys.

There’s some relationships that are really easy to visualize on stringed instruments too, of course. On the bass it’s ascending fourths and descending fifths.

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Slightly off-topic, but this morning I’ve been working on Blondie (I wish). I started working on “Atomic” but realised the string hopping was a little beyond me for now so settled for “Call Me”. I’ve been using Songster tabs and found that I could ‘sight read’ the tabs as I was playing - in fact I’d say I was about 90% playing what I saw as it came along rather than remembering the line. I used to have to go through it numerous times before getting familiar with it, but today I got the first few bars and then got a third through the song before having to go back.

I’ve taken a little break from notation and theory just to get back to playing more, but the lessons on musical notation clearly had a benefit for me as I couldn’t do this before.

So… reading music, in a more general sense, is working well.

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Awesome! Isn’t there one bar of 2/4 somewhere in there (in “Call Me”) just to throw you off a little bit!? Played that ages ago in a big band setting…

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There is. However, while looking for a backing or bassless version to record a cover of, I discovered that there are two versions of the bassline in circulation.

Dodgy online tabs strike again.

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