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  • Transcription: Evan Marien’s Arrangement of Jaco Pastorius’ “Havona”

    Transcription: Evan Marien’s Arrangement of Jaco Pastorius’ “Havona”

    Evan Marien‘s fantastic take on the Jaco Pastorius-penned classic “Havona” was high on my list of pieces to transcribe for this monthly feature. Evan’s breathtaking melodic soloing on the chord changes simultaneously calls to mind the spirit of the original, while showcasing his own unique melodic voice. Skip to the transcription and video “Havona” has... »

  • Bass Line Construction: Rhythm and Repeating Patterns

    Bass Line Construction: Rhythm and Repeating Patterns

    Let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals in bass line construction. In this lesson, we’ll improvise on some funk in the key of C. A quick note and correction: when I say “seventh” in the video, I mean flatted seventh. You’ll see the annotation when that comes up in the video. Here’s a... »

  • Transcription: “No Woman, No Cry” Solo Bass Arrangement

    Transcription: “No Woman, No Cry” Solo Bass Arrangement

    This great version of the Bob Marley classic “No Woman, No Cry” was arranged by popular YouTube bassist Viaceslav Svedov, a talented young musician known for his hard-hitting covers of popular bass-driven songs. This arrangement is performed with the slap technique, and there a few notational elements that you should be aware of: The track... »

  • 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... »

  • Breaking Down the Pentatonic Scale: The Five Positions on Bass

    Breaking Down the Pentatonic Scale: The Five Positions on Bass

    Today, we’re going to break down the minor pentatonic scale, its positions on the fretboard, and its uses. As the name suggests, the pentatonic scale is a five note scale. If we look at this scale in A minor, our scale is: A = root (1) C = minor third (b3) D = fourth (4)... »

  • Bass Lesson: Getting to Know the Fretboard

    Bass Lesson: Getting to Know the Fretboard

    This is a lesson mostly for beginners, but it should serve as a great refresher for the rest of us. Unfamiliarity with the fretboard has a lot of downsides. It’ll slow your playing, because your mind has to figure out where your fingers should go, rather than just instinctively knowing where you need to be.... »

  • 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... »

  • Finger-Style Funk Bass Lesson: Build Dexterity and Accuracy in Your Playing

    Finger-Style Funk Bass Lesson: Build Dexterity and Accuracy in Your Playing

    In this lesson we’re going to focus on a style known as finger-style funk (or “finger funk”), with the goal of developing both dexterity and accuracy in your playing. Finger-style funk is typically centered around the 16th note, and many of the notes are muted. You’ll notice in the notation for this lesson that those... »

  • Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor Key Progression

    Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor Key Progression

    In my last lesson, we covered the topic of improvising over a minor 7 chord. This time around, we’re going to focus on improvising over a minor key progression. For this lesson, we’ll use this progression: | Am7 | G7 | FMaj7 | FMaj7 Bm7b5 | For this particular progression, you can play the A... »