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  • Progressions: A Guide to Making Practice Productive and Fun

    Progressions: A Guide to Making Practice Productive and Fun

    Q: I’m just now three weeks in to my bass lessons so I apologize for the “newb” question. Where can I go to find songs in a specific chord progression that I can play along with? For instance, I’ve learned 12 bar blues in G Major. Now I’m doing web searches to find tunes I... »

  • Improvising and Groove: Substituting Pentatonic Scales on a Minor 7 Progression

    Improvising and Groove: Substituting Pentatonic Scales on a Minor 7 Progression

    My most recent lessons have focused on the use of the pentatonic scales as it relates to improvising and learning the fretboard (see my lessons on improvising over a minor key progression and breaking down the pentatonic scale for more background). Today we’ll continue this topic with the exploration of improvising over a D minor... »

  • Chord Substitutions, Tritones and Bass

    Chord Substitutions, Tritones and Bass

    Q: When is it ok to use chord substitutions on standards? Also, can you explain tritone substitutions? A: The use of chord substitutions is fun to practice but must be used with caution on the gig. Our role as a bass player is to support the harmonic foundation for the rest of the band, as... »

  • Exploring Turnarounds

    Exploring Turnarounds

    Q: I really enjoy and find great value in your columns on No Treble. In your last column, you discussed the modal and chordal approaches and mentioned this: “Don’t forget to also practice and transcribe things, which will make you a stronger bassist (walking, common endings and turnarounds, time, various time-feels, and so on.)” Could... »

  • Ear Training and the iTunes Game

    Ear Training and the iTunes Game

    As a musician, our greatest tool is our ears. Our job within a musical context is to listen, and quite frankly, to play notes that sound good. As a bass player, we need to be on our toes and quickly decipher the bass line and at the very least, the root notes of the chords... »

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  • Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

    Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

    There are many methods we can use to come upon satisfying note choices when improvising over a predetermined set of chord changes (i.e. a tune). One common way to approach note choice is using chord/scale theory, equating every chord to a scale. For example: A minor 7 = A dorian. It’s this approach that has... »

  • Bass Lesson: Expand Your Fretboard with Major Triads

    Bass Lesson: Expand Your Fretboard with Major Triads

    In this new lesson, we’ll break down the concepts of utilizing triads in expanding your fretboard knowledge and control. We’ll explore triad inversions, different fingerings and using triads as target notes to achieve this goal. The video starts with a demonstration of a solo over a G Major chord. I’m playing a G Major triad.... »

  • Harmonizing the Major Scale: Using a Number System on Bass

    Harmonizing the Major Scale: Using a Number System on Bass

    This week, I’m kicking off a new lesson focusing on the foundation of music – the major scale. Read over this lesson and then be sure to check out the video for a demonstration. Western music harmony is mostly based on the 7 steps of the major scale, and the chords built on the major... »

  • A Practical Guide to Modes and Scales

    A Practical Guide to Modes and Scales

    Q: What are modes and how do they work? A: I get this question a lot, but have only touched on it in past columns, as it relates to other questions. Here’s a straightforward guide to modes and scales to follow. Modes are a very simple concept but can take some time to really understand... »