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Talking Technique: Tetrachord Workout

Similar to our last lesson, we’re working on exercises designed to shed your scales and build your technique at the same time. This time we’re focusing on tetrachords, which are four-note groups found within scales.

You can also turn these exercises into speed training exercises by adding a few beats every time you play, but be sure not to go too fast. If you feel like you’re chasing the beat, back off a little and try it another day. As always, it’s important to stay relaxed.

Happy practicing!

Austrian-gone-Californian Ariane Cap is a bassist, educator, blogger and author. In her book "Music Theory for the Bass Player” and corresponding 20-week online course, she teaches music theory, bass technique, bass line creation and fretboard fitness in a systematic, practical and experiential way. Contact her via her blog or website.

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Share your thoughts

Bob Hatton

Bob Hatton

I really enjoy your videos. Easy to follow techniques you suggest are fun, and improve my bass playing ability. The last tip on the Tetrachords segment (which I use regularly) about using both straps with your gig bag, and it being stressful to your body. I never realized that it could throw you off that much. But I started using both straps for a different reason. One strap broke and left my bass crashing to a concrete sidewalk. Damage was minimal, but I’ll never use just one strap again!

Mark S B.

Mark S B.

Arianne this was nice , thank you.
Have you ever had a student that was fairly new to bass that looked hesitant or lost.
That’s how I looked trying to do these permutations , all finger twisted.
When are you going to play us some nice funky bass lines , I’m all permuted out.

    Ariane Cap (Author)

    Haha, Mark, that’s a good thing but don’t do too much. Many beginner and even seasoned players have twists etc. nothing to worry about just focus on it a little bit everyday, feeling your hands. Feel what’s there, then experiment with changes. Be curious about what your fingers can do and change, don’t be mad at them ;) my book has a chapter on how to make fast progress with this sort of thing using the Principles of Rotating Attention. And since you asked:

      Mark S B.

      Mark S B.

      Thanks Ariane ,
      I also have a case of the flying index finger then little finger and index finger again.
      I never lose my temper , I simply move on , I can’t get angry at my bass or my hand , both are my best & closest friend. I like challenges & brain twisters it’s fun to overcome. I remember learning Billie Jean , I wanted to scream , the lady below me banging on the wall with my amp on 1 , I did scream , PUT your cigarette out , it stinks.

Eric Rosenkrantz

Eric Rosenkrantz

Hi Ariane,

Thanks for your excellent instruction videos. i always learn something new, and you really help inspire me. I love your bass playing as well.