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Improvising Archives - Page 2

Advanced Bass: Diminished II V Substitution
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Diminished II V Substitution

A cool harmonic concept that bebop players have used for years is substituting dominant 7th chords – built in minor 3rds – over the V7 chord of the key. In this lesson, we’ll cover this concept to learn the possibilities of Diminished II V chord substitution over the II V I progression. Follow along with the video, and be sure...

Learning to Jam
Ask Damian Erskine

Learning to Jam

Q: Okay, I am an old rookie bass player. I always wanted to play, but I just took a long time to get started. I am playing with the praise band at my church currently, which is great; it’s making me take it seriously, and is a very forgiving environment as I learn. So far, I’m learning songs, and in...

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...

Freeing Up Your Walking Bass Lines
Ask Damian Erskine

Freeing Up Your Walking Bass Lines

Q: I’ve been getting my walking together and have started to become comfortable and natural sounding playing perfectly functional harmonic lines through changes that highlight the harmony well. It’s all just basically chord tones and scalar patterns with occasional chromatic approaches. In sum, I think I’ve passed walking 101 and am ready to move on. When I listen to and...

Developing a Solo Over Chord Changes
Ask Damian Erskine

Developing a Solo Over Chord Changes

Q: I have a question about improvising. If one browses the internet for learning how to improvise on the bass guitar, one can easily find lots of great tips: learn familiar melodies and expand them, learn solos from other instruments and be inspired by others. I would like to know about how to approach improvising using musical theory. In this...

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...

Beginning Jazz Soloing: A Melody First Approach
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Beginning Jazz Soloing: A Melody First Approach

Some methods of learning jazz improvisation start out from the beginning by asking us to memorize chords, scales, and to play patterns in every key. For those unaccustomed to improvising, or inexperienced in theory, starting out this way can be a daunting task. It can make the learning curve for improvisation seem insurmountable. Some people take naturally to it, of...

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...

Book Review: Damian Erskine’s “The Improvisor’s Path”
Reviews

Book Review: Damian Erskine’s “The Improvisor’s Path”

There comes a time for every bassist where they feel they’re in a rut or have hit a plateau in their playing and creativity. It happens to the best of us. Bassist and No Treble contributor Damian Erskine’s new book The Improvisor’s Path is a surefire way to get yourself back into high gear. While Erskine’s first instructional book, Right...

Memorizing Chords and Scales
Ask Damian Erskine

Memorizing Chords and Scales

Q: I’m lucky enough to attend a college with a robust and demanding music department, and like a lot music in academia, this means I’m playing a fair amount of jazz. I’ve been a fan of the genre for a long time, but I am new to playing it and seem to have run into a problem with improvising and...

Developing Your Musical Ear
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Developing Your Musical Ear

Q: My problem is that I dont have “ears” for music. I’ve always tried and failed, and this is frustrating me. I only play what is written, or what somebody played. I want to play my own bass lines for any song of my choice. I’ve learned scales, modes, appregios… I’m not sure what to try next. A: I know...

How To Groove at Jam Sessions
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Groove at Jam Sessions

Q: During jam sessions, I normally have a “hit and stick” approach to coming up with grooves. Essentially, there’s a lull between grooves where I end up peddling notes or playing the one. My keyboard player pointed this out and it bothers me. Is this something that I should be worried about? How do I lead a groove during these...