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  • 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... »

  • Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    Q: What is the difference between “relative” and “parallel” when talking about jazz theory? I hear “relative minor” a lot, but I recently heard someone at school talk about “parallel minor.” A: Good question! First, I’ll take a look at this column I wrote in 2014 concerning modes (and the relative minor). The term “relative... »

  • Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

    Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

    When many of us first learn to play in “thumb position” (using thumb on top of the fingerboard to press the string down) we begin by placing thumb on the half-string harmonic (G on the G-string, 12th fret, if we had frets). In fact, much beginning thumb position study starts here. From here, intermediate thumb... »

  • Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

    Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

    When double bassists put their thumb on top of the fingerboard, rather than behind it, and use it to depress the string (just like the other fingers), we call that “thumb position.” There are a plethora of etude books and exercises to help us solidify the use of the thumb to press the string, but... »

  • Talking Technique: Drills for Fills

    Talking Technique: Drills for Fills

    Everyone loves a perfectly placed fill. That’s why today we’ll be going over scalar exercises that will help us create those tasty licks while beefing up our technique. In essence, we’re practicing a scale. Typically when you play a scale, you go from root to root in order. But we’re going to break it down... »

  • 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... »

  • Talking Technique: Modes on a String

    Talking Technique: Modes on a String

    Typically when we play scales, we play across the strings, but there’s a lot of value in playing all the way up a single string. It helps us to think in positions and to mentally know how many steps you are skipping as you walk up the string. Today we’ll be working on our theory... »

  • Package Teaches Hundreds of Double Bass Scales

    Package Teaches Hundreds of Double Bass Scales

    Interested in honing your skill with double bass scales? Bass educator and founder of Discover Double Bass, Geoff Chalmers has created a digital ebook and backing track package, Double Bass Scales: The Play-Along Collection. The package covers 17 different scale types in all 12 keys, over one and two octaves. The package includes 408 written... »

  • Talking Technique: Killer Dead Note Grooves

    Talking Technique: Killer Dead Note Grooves

    Dead notes are percussive effects that can really liven up a groove. There are a variety of ways to create them, including left-hand muting, right-hand percussion, and left-hand percussion. For this lesson we examine how dead notes (and silence) affect the groove. As is often the case, a good way to begin practicing them is... »

  • Talking Technique: Harmonic Minor Speed Shedding

    Talking Technique: Harmonic Minor Speed Shedding

    As with many scales, the harmonic minor scale gives us a great tonal playground to work with, but it also gives us a great platform to work on our technical playing. This lesson will work on some J.S. Bach-inspired harmonic minor bass lines to focus on our coordination and speed training. There’s nothing like a... »