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Bass Line Construction Archives

Bass & Creativity

Bass & Creativity: Suspended Chords & Modes, Part 1

In this “Bass & Creativity” lesson, Olivier Babaz focuses on the beautiful colors made through suspended voicings. He walks through the basics of sus4 & sus2 chords and their most common use.

Talking Technique

Talking Technique: The Magic Behind “Steal My Kisses”

You probably already know “Steal My Kisses” by Ben Harper, and the excellent bass line by Juan Nelson. In today’s “Talking Technique” lesson, Ari breaks this down with a focus on “Tenths” over I vi IV V pattern.

Ask Damian Erskine

Sounding Organic In The Moment

This week a reader asks Damian for advice on how to “organize material and approach a solo without sounding scholastic or predictable.” Check out what Damian has to say on the subject.

Vertical Soloing

Vertical Soloing: Using Minor Pentatonic on Five Chord Types

In this lesson, Lorin Cohen illustrates how to use one minor pentatonic scale over five chord types. In this case, using the B minor pentatonic scale to play over a progression. This illustrates what Lorin calls a “vertical” approach to soloing, where we create lines that move swiftly up and across the fingerboard.

Ask Damian Erskine

What Is It To “Play Compositionally”?

What do you think people mean when they say, “play compositionally”? That’s the question a reader sent Damian this week. Check out what he has to say on the subject.

The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Playing Inside The Box

Some people call it “serving the song.” In Ryan’s new “Lightbulb Moment,” she talks about playing inside - and sometimes - outside the box, including covering the literal box patterns on bass.

Ask Damian Erskine

Using Minimalism and Subtlety In Bass Lines

This week, Damian received a question about creating bass lines with minimalism and implication versus overt and fuller harmonic context. This is a deep question, so instead of just writing about it, he decided to make a video to play through some ideas and talk it out.

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Licks and Fills from Right Hand Drive

In this video from the road, I decided to respond to an email requesting some contextual examples of how I might use a few of the “licks and fills” from my book, Right Hand Drive. After a handful of technical difficulties and the majority of my day off spent filming in a hotel room, I present to you… Real world...

Ask Damian Erskine

Walking Bass Line Construction

In this video, I’ll talk you through the basics of developing a walking bass line in addition to demonstrating a few approaches. There’s also a nice exercise at the end that’ll really challenge most of you as you explore new ways to navigate chord changes. Enjoy! Follow along with this chord chart I used in this lesson.

Ask Damian Erskine

Intervallic Exploration for Bass

This week, we’re diving into the topic of getting to know (and map out across the fretboard) every interval on the bass. We’ll also focus on ways to try and turn them into licks and melodic patterns that you probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Using the Melodic Minor Scale To Navigate on a Minor ii-V-i Chord Progression

Welcome back to another column, and today we’re diving further into jazz-related harmony with a look at starting to get inside two of the most useful modes from the melodic minor scale. The full line is demonstrated right after the opening title credits, with a little backing groove, and then during the video, I dissect and explain it for you....

Creative Bass Lines

Bass Transcription Analysis: Getting Inside Cannonball Adderley’s C7 Lick

In our last series of lessons, we had a look at a chorus of a Bob Mintzer blues over four episodes. Well, today we are putting just two bars of music under the microscope. This line is from a Cannonball Adderley solo on a tune called “Limehouse Blues.” Now the line itself isn’t super tricky, but in this pretty intensive...