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  • Should I Bother With Modes?

    Should I Bother With Modes?

    Q: First of all thank you very much for your past reply to my question! Lately while working on improvisation and in particular on linear melody through changes, I started asking myself why I should bother with modes. For instance, if there’s a Fmin7 moving to an Amin7 chord and I want to think about... »

  • What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

    What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

    Q: I have a question about minor ii-V’s. In a major ii-V7-I progression, each chord is diatonic to the I chord. The ii chord is Dorian, the V chord is Mixolydian and it resolves to a Major tonic. In a minor ii-V, the 1 would be natural minor, which makes the ii chord Locrian (7th... »

  • Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Q: I consider myself as a good reader. I can sight read music both in bass and treble clef, and I like to challenge myself with complex etude like those on the Patitucci book or classical pieces. But every time I come across jazz studies, (bebop in particular), I struggle to understand what’s in the... »

  • Advanced Bass: Creative Chordal Connections

    Advanced Bass: Creative Chordal Connections

    This challenging bass lesson highlights Creative Chordal Connections, enabling you to understand complex jazz concepts while revealing how learning to play chords on the bass will help you to hear different chord qualities with greater clarity and ease. Follow along with the transcription and the video below. »

  • Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Q: You know, jazz theory can be really, really confusing! I know that you can use a melodic minor a half step above a dominant chord as a substitution before resolving to the I-chord to emphasize tension notes (creating an out-sound). But, apparently, you can also use a whole-half diminished scale a half step up... »

  • Hal Leonard Releases Book on Scales Over Chords

    Hal Leonard Releases Book on Scales Over Chords

    Hal Leonard Corp. has published the “Bassist’s Guide to Scales Over Chords: The Foundation of Effective Bass Lines.” The book looks at how to apply scales in a musical way, which is essential knowledge for those learning how to create and improvise bass lines and solos. The book, which covers 11 scales and features 136... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Major? Minor? Why Bother?

    The Lightbulb Moment: Major? Minor? Why Bother?

    Being a bass player is awesome. Not only do you get to hang in the back and groove, but you get to skate by on all of that “theory” stuff that guitar players have to deal with. You know… like chords and whatnot. We only have to play one note at a time! That’s like…... »

  • Introduction to “Shell Voicings” on Bass

    Introduction to “Shell Voicings” on Bass

    Playing chords on the upright doesn’t only add to our tonal palette, it also strengthens our knowledge of a tune and our instrument. Some voicings, however, are more pleasant than others. Three and four note chords can easily become “muddy” and unclear, especially in the mid to lower register. As a result, many bass players... »

  • Teaching (and Learning) Chords on the Bass

    Teaching (and Learning) Chords on the Bass

    Q: I had a student ask if there was some way of learning chords like kids learn multiplication tables. Sounds like it would be handy but I couldn’t think of anything like that. Any ideas? A: I assume your student was thinking of the grid-like table for learning multiplication. I also couldn’t think of a... »

  • Advanced Bass: Chord Superimposition

    Advanced Bass: Chord Superimposition

    In this lesson we’ll cover an effective concept of superimposing melodic lines over multiple chord types. We’ll then develop this idea through the introduction of a technique called “framing,” which will enable you to hear the chord you are playing over with more harmonic clarity. This concept will enable you to expand your ideas and... »