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Chord Changes Archives

Walking Bass Line Construction
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.

The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five

“Hey, so we’re in G and it’s a one, four, five thing. Cool? Count it off.” Here we go again… Whether it’s a local blues jam, and evening hang at your friend’s garage-turned-music-room, or a gig where someone decides to deviate from the setlist, the notion of calling a “One, Four, Five” can leave us bass players a little high...

Should I Bother With Modes?
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Bother With Modes?

Q: First of all thank you very much for your past reply to my question! Lately while working on improvisation and in particular on linear melody through changes, I started asking myself why I should bother with modes. For instance, if there’s a Fmin7 moving to an Amin7 chord and I want to think about those two chords as F...

Playing Outside the Harmony
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Outside the Harmony

I often get the question about how to play “outside” the changes. There’s no easy answer to this, but I do have several tips to keep in mind. This week I made a video to dig into how to create tension and release by playing outside of the harmony.

What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?
Ask Damian Erskine

What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

Q: I have a question about minor ii-V’s. In a major ii-V7-I progression, each chord is diatonic to the I chord. The ii chord is Dorian, the V chord is Mixolydian and it resolves to a Major tonic. In a minor ii-V, the 1 would be natural minor, which makes the ii chord Locrian (7th degree of the major scale)...

The Lightbulb Moment: Key Change!
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Key Change!

There comes a time in every player’s life when we listen to a song and are able to identify a perfectly executed lift in tonal center. The energy heightens, the chorus takes on a slightly new character, and the band keeps grooving with a new sense of intention. This extraordinary moment can only be one thing: a key change. Take...

Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One
Ask Damian Erskine

Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

Q: I play mostly jazz and am a pretty facile walker, but I’ve gotten into the habit of playing lines that almost invariably lead to the root being on the 1 (or the 3 if it’s a 2-chord measure in 4/4, etc.). While I am guessing that some of the folks I play with don’t mind the solid anchor, I...

Advanced Bass: Giant Steps Plays the Blues
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Giant Steps Plays the Blues

“Giant Steps” is well known as a challenging workout for all aspiring jazz musicians to learn. In this lesson, we’ll cover how to superimpose “Coltrane Changes” over the first 4-bars of the Blues with a fingerboard friendly symmetrical pattern that will open doors – both harmonically and stylistically into the world of John Coltrane. Download the transcription for this lesson...

How to Reharmonize a Song
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Reharmonize a Song

Q: I’ve heard jazz musicians talk about “reharms”, which are just reharmonization of a song (or so I’m told). Can you explain how to “reharmonize” a song? A: There was a time where I was also mystified by whatever the process of reharmonizing a tune might be. I figured that it must require some deep, deep level of understanding of...

Advanced Bass: Playing over Minor II V Patterns
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Playing over Minor II V Patterns

In this Advanced Bass lesson, we’re diving into the realm of playing over minor II V patterns. I’m including a solo etude along with two skill developing drills as we work step by step through a common chord progression. This lesson includes an easy to follow chart (PDF) detailing the specifics of this lesson providing you with a valuable resource...