Advanced Bass – Roots, Fifths and Octaves

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,528
    Professional bass guitar player Scott Giambusso demonstrates Roots, Fifths and Octaves on the bass guitar.

    Scott Giambusso

    Scott, a native Washingtonian, has been performing for audiences since 1968. A self taught musician, he mainly freelances as an acoustic bassist. Scott also plays guitar, electric bass, and tuba as well as singing in the styles of Nat King Cole, Mel Torme and Jack Bruce. He has worked with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Modernaires; The Peter Duchin Orchestra; The Ink Spots; The Tokens; Rory (Disney Channel); Charlie Byrd; Susannah McCorkle; Keely Smith, Jamey Aebersold and Chuck Berry. In spring '07 he performed in a clinic and show with Gene Bertincini at the 4 Seasons DC. Besides playing jazz, Scott's latest project is a Cream tribute band featuring Dan Hovey and John Zidar, (formerly Root Boy Slim's rhythm section). The band is called GHz (Gigahertz} and is breaking sound barriers around town. Besides playing over 200 club dates a year, Mr. Giambusso teaches and performs as a member of the Jazz Faculty of the Montgomery College Music Department. Not only does he teach the bass, but he also coaches singers, pianists and all instrumentalists on the nature of music and operates a recording studio for student demos. Because of his versatility, knowledge of tunes and styles, and his 30+ years of gigging experience, he has the rare ability to explain music to the laymen with clarity of vision.

    Scott Giambusso: This is Scott, your bass doctor. Today I am going to discuss roots, fifths and octaves. I am going to start on G note on the third fret of the E string. Now, the octave which I have reviewed is two strings higher and higher I mean pitch wise. There are two strings and then two frets, two frets higher so there is your octave. In between your octave if you know your major scale one, two, three, four, five is your fifth, six, seven, eight is your octave. So, root five, eight these are the three but the root in the octave is the same, most fundamental notes for any chord you are ever going to play with anybody. If you know where the root is and where the fifth is, you can play with a lot of people, and you can play a lot of music certainly in Folk and Country styles thats almost all that you are demanded of because anything else is going to get in the way of the music. Latin music for sure root, fifths and octaves, so I will give you some practical applications for say a country tune in G and then I am going to the fourth cord and I will play the fifth of the fourth cord and I will walk down the scale, back to the one chord. Now, I am going to walk up the scale to the five chord and I walk up the scale back to the one chord, and I am playing the root in the fifth, and the octave and I am using these notes just to create what you would call a little structure for the other musicians. So, thats how you use roots and fifths. I would like to discuss how to use them in a Latin music. Here is kind of fun way to look at an E cord. Here is E on the seventh fret of the A string. It is the octave. Its fifth is on the seventh fret of the E string and we have the open E which is in octave on to itself. I am ignoring my little B string for you four stringers out their so I have the open E and I go to the seventh fret, play its fifth, then I go to the seventh fret of the A string play the root again and Lord Behold there is another fifth on the ninth fret, there is B and there is E, so let me play a samba rhythm which is a heartbeat and I am going to change all the notes. So, lets start here. Now, we can just extrapolate that and we can go anywhere on the bass and do that and I will show you that the next time.