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Chord Changes Archives - Page 2

Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales
Ask Damian Erskine

Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales

Q: So, do you play whole tone scales over the ?5, and altered scales over the dominant chords. Major chords – do use use whole tone? Minor scales – do use use dorian? or a jazz minor? A: Much of what goes into deciding what scale to use over any given chord is all about the context (what chords are...

Quickly Figuring Out Available Notes For Given Chord Types
Ask Damian Erskine

Quickly Figuring Out Available Notes For Given Chord Types

Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to figure out what notes are available for any given chord type. I’ve read columns here (yours are very helpful), Googled it, bought books… I just seem to get more confused at every turn. Once I think I’ve got it, I’ve lost it. Do you have any quick and dirty tricks for remembering...

Thinking In Modes or Scales and Constructing Bass Lines
Ask Damian Erskine

Thinking In Modes or Scales and Constructing Bass Lines

Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to play over the changes, but I’m super confused about one particular aspect: I don’t know I should think of scales. For example when I’m playing over a G dominant chord, should I think G mixolydian or should I think fifth mode of the C major scale? In other words, should I treat...

Exploring New Ways to Practice Chord Changes on Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Exploring New Ways to Practice Chord Changes on Bass

Q: I was wondering if you had any new ways of practicing playing through changes? I have been working on my arpeggios and modes but feel like I’m just hitting a wall. A: I don’t know if this counts as a new way of playing through changes, but there are an endless number of options available to you. So many...

Fitting It All Together: Reading, Listening and Playing Through the Changes
Ask Damian Erskine

Fitting It All Together: Reading, Listening and Playing Through the Changes

Last week, we wrapped up the series on Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions. After that, I had a great moment with a student where there was a small distinction made that seemed to have a great impact in the student’s playing. An immediate impact. We were running the Wayne Shorter tune “Juju”, primarily because it has a ton of whole-tone scale...

Playing Bass without Sheet Music: Time, Feel & Harmony
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Bass without Sheet Music: Time, Feel & Harmony

Q: I’ve been playing bass for about 7 years. Before bass I was a very good tuba player and a halfway decent cellist. My problem is I never learned to play without music notation. I can’t even play tabs. I either need the notation or the chord progression. What’s the best way for me to get to a point where...

Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines
Ask Damian Erskine

Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

Q: I would like to ask about voicing/phrases on bass when it comes to chord progressions. How should I step into the next chord when I’m phrasing the actual one? Should I try walking lines? Are there any standard licks that can bring the feel of translating to a next chord? Or they are all built on the same concept...

Playing Through Changes with Arpeggios: Exercises for Bassists
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Through Changes with Arpeggios: Exercises for Bassists

Many of my past columns have focused on answer readers’ questions related to playing through changes. So for this week’s column, I decided to put together the video below to cover a few approaches to getting comfortable with changes, through the use of arpeggios. (Side note: I’m frequently asked about the software I’m using in these videos. The software I’m...

Chord Substitutions, Tritones and Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Chord Substitutions, Tritones and Bass

Q: When is it ok to use chord substitutions on standards? Also, can you explain tritone substitutions? A: The use of chord substitutions is fun to practice but must be used with caution on the gig. Our role as a bass player is to support the harmonic foundation for the rest of the band, as well as lock the rhythms...

Improving Your Playing: What’s Your Story?
Ask Damian Erskine

Improving Your Playing: What’s Your Story?

Q: What are you personally working on to improve your playing? A: Okay, getting more personal than usual here <grin>… I am in a constant state of flux with my practice habits. Different things bug me about my playing depending on the gigs I have one week versus the next, causing me to switch gears and focus. Lately, I’ve been...

Ask Damian Erskine

Ask Damian Erskine: Chord Voicings

Q: Can you help me get away from the standard root position chords that I already know? A: Hopefully, yes! The following will presume an intermediate level of understanding of chords and basic theory. But, if you’re working on this stuff, you’ve probably already got at least enough of a grip on it to follow along. Give this a shot!...

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...