Straight Talk about Charts
One of the most frightening things about being a bass player is the prospect of having a piece of music thrown in front of you and having to play it cold. This is called
Bass charts can vary depending on the type of music played and the tendencies and preferences of the person writing the chart. In general, your success with charts rests on your ability to read and interpret musical shorthand.
There is always a nomenclature associated with any specialized pursuit. This is also the case with music where there is a substantial lexicon of musical terms that you must learn. Throughout this book you've been introduced to a moderate dose of these terms. However, there are still many more to learn. In fact, there are whole dictionaries dedicated to musical vocabulary.
Brace yourself for this next piece of information: Since this chapter focuses on chart reading, you will not see tablature. Tab is never included in a chart. Given this, you should start weaning yourself off of tab. Tab is used primarily as a learning tool for beginner and intermediate-level guitarists and bassists. It is never — or very rarely — used in real-life playing situations. If you plan to play professionally or even semiprofessionally, you will, however, need to know how to read standard notation and charts. Making the transition is not easy, but you can do it!