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  • Fighting The Urge To Improvise

    Fighting The Urge To Improvise

    Q: I’ve been a bassist for 14 years now, when I started out (much like everyone, I assume) I played what we know as “bass lines”, the notes that the bassist played on the recording to the song. As I developed and learned more about chord construction and harmony I started to understand how these... »

  • Finding the Groove Vs. Letting the Groove Find You

    Finding the Groove Vs. Letting the Groove Find You

    Q: When making music, i.e. improvising, making a song, creating a groove, etc., I find myself sometimes approaching it from what I hear while fiddling around, and at other times approaching it more cerebral, as in “let’s create a groove that has a flat nine in it.” I like to call these the bottom up... »

  • 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... »

  • Creative Bass Lines: The Chameleon Variations

    Creative Bass Lines: The Chameleon Variations

    In this lesson, I’ve taken a pretty classic and fairly easy to play bass part from Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” and given you a few examples of how to use that as a springboard for creating other bass lines around that core groove. This can be really useful when playing under multiple soloists on the same... »

  • Thinking Fast When Improvising

    Thinking Fast When Improvising

    Q: I have been practicing with some jazz musicians who are more experienced than I am. For the most part, everything is fine, but I’m having trouble keeping up with the more up tempo numbers – walking and especially soloing. I just feel like my brain and fingers can’t keep up with the music. How... »

  • Making Walking Bass Lines Come Naturally

    Making Walking Bass Lines Come Naturally

    Q: I would like to ask you about improvising bass lines. Could it be unconscious? I recognized that when I play walking bass, I’m always think about how to reach the next chord. I sometimes have great ideas that I hear in my mind’s ear, but most of the time it’s a really conscious procedure.... »

  • Advanced Bass: Increasing Technical Development

    Advanced Bass: Increasing Technical Development

    Playing with good time, develop sensitive dynamics, produce a solid tone and have the confidence to express interesting musical ideas on your bass is essential. It only makes common sense that developing a deeper bass guitar specific technical understanding and prowess is the essential path as an improvising bass player. In this lesson, we will... »

  • Getting Started: A Beginner’s Guide to Improvising a Bass Line

    Getting Started: A Beginner’s Guide to Improvising a Bass Line

    Whether you are a beginning bassist, or an accomplished musician who is simply accustomed to reading written music, it can be daunting when first asked to improvise a bass line. Some people stumble, others freeze. Some think they need to be well versed in college level theory. However, there is no reason to fear even... »

  • Advanced Bass: Anatomy of a Groove

    Advanced Bass: Anatomy of a Groove

    What exactly is a groove? Aside from attempting to teach feel, which is predicated on stylistic interpretation and flight time on the bandstand, a groove is a repetitive idea – often organized into two, four or eight bar phrases that is based on the harmonic rhythmic and melodic content of a song. Often when coming... »