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Chords Archives - Page 2

Teaching (and Learning) Chords on the Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Teaching (and Learning) Chords on the Bass

Q: I had a student ask if there was some way of learning chords like kids learn multiplication tables. Sounds like it would be handy but I couldn’t think of anything like that. Any ideas? A: I assume your student was thinking of the grid-like table for learning multiplication. I also couldn’t think of a way to do that visually,...

Advanced Bass: Chord Superimposition
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Chord Superimposition

In this lesson we’ll cover an effective concept of superimposing melodic lines over multiple chord types. We’ll then develop this idea through the introduction of a technique called “framing,” which will enable you to hear the chord you are playing over with more harmonic clarity. This concept will enable you to expand your ideas and end up with more mileage...

Advanced Bass: The Tritone Substitution Matrix
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: The Tritone Substitution Matrix

When learning to play your bass, an overkill of theory can often paralyze your results while performing. Many musicians have learned the theory of Tritone Substitution, but when trying to apply this information, they often end up short-changed. In this bass lesson, we’ll cover a simple but direct concept for the immediate application for Tritone Substitution based on the presence...

Bassist Pens Book on Extending Past the Root
Sheet Music & Instruction

Bassist Pens Book on Extending Past the Root

Ben Hands, bassist for the British progressive metal band Endeavour and onetime No Treble Reader Spotlight subject, has released an e-book on bass playing. Beyond The Root: A guide on how to approach chord inversions for bass players is designed to help players extend their harmonic vocabulary and discover more options when creating bass lines. The books uses examples from...

Playing Over Long Lasting Chords
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Over Long Lasting Chords

Q: I’ve been messing around with playing over the changes, but I always stumble upon an issue: chords lasting 2, 4, 8 or even 16 bars! I know there’s a ton of different ways to approach this, but I have problems with approaching chord tones. Things like enclosures, double chromatics, diatonic and chromatic approach notes. How can I practice these...

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 3 – Practice Material
Ask Damian Erskine

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 3 – Practice Material

As a follow up to this series on harmonic substitutions, I thought that I would include a few choice pages from my book, The Improvisor’s Path, related directly to what we’ve been discussing. First, here are the pages that relate to my breakdown of some available scaler substitutions. Next is the Wayne Shorter tune, “Nefertiti” with a few scaler options...

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 2
Ask Damian Erskine

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 2

In part 1 of this series, we were experimenting with using substitutions that allowed us to play familiar major and minor scale shapes over various basic chord types. Now, let’s move on to melodic and harmonic minor mode choices. First, let’s make sure that we’re all familiar with these two scales: Harmonic minor = Aeolian (natural minor) with a major...

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 1
Ask Damian Erskine

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 1

Q: What are substitutions and how can I make use of them? A: The first answer is easy: a substitution is using one chord in the place of another. For example: We might assume that a C Major chord symbol (CMaj7 or C?7) would imply a C major scale: C D E F G A B C But what if...

Intonation or Feel? Practicing Scales Purposefully
Ask Damian Erskine

Intonation or Feel? Practicing Scales Purposefully

Q: I was wondering what I need to pay attention to when practicing. It’s easy to learn a scale, or to play chord tones, but what should I really pay attention to hearing more? Should that be a focus on the tones, or the difference in intonation or the “feel” between them? A: The short answer is this: You have...

Fretboard Exercise: C Major Triad Reggae Groove
Bass Lessons

Fretboard Exercise: C Major Triad Reggae Groove

As bassists, it is important that we know our chords and arpeggios. Coupled with that is the importance of knowing the entire fretboard. In this exercise, we’ll play only three notes – the C Major triad. To make it fun, I’ve set it up as a reggae-style groove. As you’ll see in the video below, I cover the entire fretboard...