the online magazine for bass players

Search Menu
  • Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 3 – Practice Material

    Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 3 – Practice Material

    As a follow up to this series on harmonic substitutions, I thought that I would include a few choice pages from my book, The Improvisor’s Path, related directly to what we’ve been discussing. First, here are the pages that relate to my breakdown of some available scaler substitutions. Next is the Wayne Shorter tune, “Nefertiti”... »

  • Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 2

    Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 2

    In part 1 of this series, we were experimenting with using substitutions that allowed us to play familiar major and minor scale shapes over various basic chord types. Now, let’s move on to melodic and harmonic minor mode choices. First, let’s make sure that we’re all familiar with these two scales: Harmonic minor = Aeolian... »

  • Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 1

    Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 1

    Q: What are substitutions and how can I make use of them? A: The first answer is easy: a substitution is using one chord in the place of another. For example: We might assume that a C Major chord symbol (CMaj7 or C∆7) would imply a C major scale: C D E F G A... »

  • Playing Bass without Sheet Music: Time, Feel & Harmony

    Playing Bass without Sheet Music: Time, Feel & Harmony

    Q: I’ve been playing bass for about 7 years. Before bass I was a very good tuba player and a halfway decent cellist. My problem is I never learned to play without music notation. I can’t even play tabs. I either need the notation or the chord progression. What’s the best way for me to... »

  • Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

    Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

    Q: I would like to ask about voicing/phrases on bass when it comes to chord progressions. How should I step into the next chord when I’m phrasing the actual one? Should I try walking lines? Are there any standard licks that can bring the feel of translating to a next chord? Or they are all... »

  • Getting the Most Out of Music Books

    Getting the Most Out of Music Books

    Q: Do you think you could run through / give some examples of how to make use of rhythm books like Modern Reading Text In 4/4, and theory books like Jazz Theory by Mark Levine or Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns by Nicolas Slominsky? A: Nice selection of books! Generally speaking, my approach is... »

  • Learning to Transpose: A Lesson for Playing Bass Lines in Every Key

    Learning to Transpose: A Lesson for Playing Bass Lines in Every Key

    I’ve found many bass players have difficulty with transposing bass lines, so here’s a lesson that should help. Transposing on bass isn’t terribly difficult, since we can rely on shapes and patterns up and down the neck, to play a line in several keys. In the video below I demonstrate how to navigate the neck,... »

  • Learning the Bass Fretboard by Rocking Out

    Learning the Bass Fretboard by Rocking Out

    Here’s a lesson I’d classify as beginner/intermediate level, but the truth is, it is something I think can benefit all of us. The goal of this lesson is to become comfortable with the entire fretboard, through learning the notes on every fret. Using a simple Rolling Stones-style rock groove backing track, this lesson focuses in... »

  • Learning Modes and Scales: A Study Guide for Bassists

    Learning Modes and Scales: A Study Guide for Bassists

    Q: I hope that you’ll be able to explain this problem. I learned so far that major and minor scales have certain patterns (i.e. minor steps: W,H,W,W,H,W,W). Now, I’ve moved to modes and, for example, the Lydian mode. Does it have the same pattern for minor scale? I found some other patterns on the web,... »

  • Memorizing Chords and Scales

    Memorizing Chords and Scales

    Q: I’m lucky enough to attend a college with a robust and demanding music department, and like a lot music in academia, this means I’m playing a fair amount of jazz. I’ve been a fan of the genre for a long time, but I am new to playing it and seem to have run into... »