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Bass Lesson Archives - Page 18

Bass Lessons

Melodic Construction: Extensions on Dominant Chords, Part 2

This is the second part of the Melodic Construction: Extensions on Dominant Chords series. Click here for Part 1 A fundamental problem with the “chordal scale” approach to improvising is that it tends to produce mechanical-sounding performance; all scale tones tend to be given equal weight as to whether or not they “work.” Frequently we hear players running out patterns...

Bass Lessons

Melodic Construction: Extensions on Dominant Chords, Part 1

We know that there are many flavors of dominant chord. Various upper extensions of the chord—or alterations of the fifth—suggest different harmonic environments, each with its own chordal scale and triad polychords expressing the arrays of extensions. We’ll explore the most commonly used of these chords and extensions in a future column—but first… What do these extensions mean for the...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Fingering strategies for the upright bass

The upright bass is a physically challenging instrument. I’m not trying to say we’re tougher than our treble-ended friends, but when was the last time you saw a violinist shift three feet at a time? The size of the upright bass means we have to be very efficient in how we approach playing music, especially if you are going to...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Pivots in Chord Inversions

We’ve talked in previous columns about anchors and pivots occurring primarily on roots and fifths. What do we use for pivots in the case of chord inversions? We often see these inversions and other sorts of alternate bass notes in the form of compound chord symbols: C/Bb Bb/A Db/F Ebmin/Gb Go/C etc In these chords, there is a triad over...

Bass Lessons

To click or not to click? Or, what’s in a metronome?

All musicians benefit from practice with a metronome, yet many, if not most, musicians tend to avoid it some or all the time. The metronome can feel like a scolding tyrant reminding us of our incompetence, or maybe we want to get through our work quickly without the discipline of methodical practice, or maybe we believe that the metronome is...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Pulse and Escaping from Meter

As bassists we have unique musical responsibilities in an ensemble whether it’s a symphony, jazz jam or rock group. We’re the foundation – the pulse. There is a pitfall that we must be careful to avoid and it’s ingrained in us through a lot of standard music education: we are bound by meter and notation. If you had to could...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Stance on the Upright Bass

In this week’s lesson, Jon takes us through some key fundamentals in upright bass playing. Balance Balance is the key. It takes many pounds of pressure to hold a string against the fingerboard with enough firmness to get a good fundamental tone; this force needs to have a counterweight applied against it. The objective is to get maximum weight into...

Bass Lessons

Thinking in Minor: Alterations

In the previous lesson I talked about using melodic minor arpeggios to change the sound of an underlying chord structure. This lesson will take that concept a step further and focus on identifying functioning and static dominant seventh chords and how to apply the melodic minor scale in various ways to control multiple degrees of tension. This will also lend...

Lesson: Thinking in Minor
Bass Lessons

Lesson: Thinking in Minor

The minor keys offer a diverse sonic palette for you to use in improvisation. The darker quality of the tonal sequence gives you a cool sound and the minor keys are very versatile over different chord changes. This lesson will focus on some basic applications of minor keys in different scenarios so you can start to use these keys effectively....

Lesson: Practicing Chord Changes
Bass Lessons

Lesson: Practicing Chord Changes

There are many ways to get better at the changes on a particular tune, but this approach works really well. First, play just quarter notes, and play all the arpeggios to get a “mental map” of all the chord tones in the progression (try to do it with a metronome): Then, still in quarter notes, start inverting the chords to...