Articulations and Expression: A Bass Video Lesson
Q: I’m at a point where I’m trying to finally get into soloing, and playing bass as a vocal, expressive instrument. But I’m running into a wall. Any chance you’d be down to do a quick video on articulations? As in, the slick slides you use, the fantastic trills, expressions and so on. And blue notes! (I think they’re blue notes). For some reason, I don’t see any other guys on Youtube covering the subject. All the urban gospel guys I know just do it as second nature. In one of your videos, you describe how the line would sound without emoting… aaaand I’m that guy. What do you recommend to help me get unstuck?
A: Thanks for the kind words, and for the question.
You’re right: a video was the only was to talk about this stuff, so here is one on expression:
There’s another column I wrote in the past on rhythm and using it expressively, which you will probably find useful.
I hope the video serves you well. Remember to just explore your instrument and your music with thoughtful intention and have fun with it.
As I state in the video, one of the most important things you can do is to transcribe lines, solos, licks and melodies, and then analyze them in some way.
Explore the articulation and expression in the line you’re hearing and try to emulate it. Learn an entire vocal melody and work on playing it as exactly as you can with regard to the expression and tone of the vocalist.
Readers, how about you? What’s your approach? Please share in the comments.