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Improvising Archives - Page 4

Progressions: A Guide to Making Practice Productive and Fun
Ask Damian Erskine

Progressions: A Guide to Making Practice Productive and Fun

Q: I’m just now three weeks in to my bass lessons so I apologize for the “newb” question. Where can I go to find songs in a specific chord progression that I can play along with? For instance, I’ve learned 12 bar blues in G Major. Now I’m doing web searches to find tunes I can apply what I’ve learned....

Improvising and Groove: Substituting Pentatonic Scales on a Minor 7 Progression
Bass Lessons

Improvising and Groove: Substituting Pentatonic Scales on a Minor 7 Progression

My most recent lessons have focused on the use of the pentatonic scales as it relates to improvising and learning the fretboard (see my lessons on improvising over a minor key progression and breaking down the pentatonic scale for more background). Today we’ll continue this topic with the exploration of improvising over a D minor 7 chord using the pentatonic...

Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

There are many methods we can use to come upon satisfying note choices when improvising over a predetermined set of chord changes (i.e. a tune). One common way to approach note choice is using chord/scale theory, equating every chord to a scale. For example: A minor 7 = A dorian. It’s this approach that has people practicing all of their...

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...

Playing Through Chords – Continued
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Through Chords – Continued

Q: I’ve spent a lot of time developing exercises for myself to practice connecting chords so that I’m not treating each chord as a separate entity. My goal is to voice-lead my way through the chords as if each is a slight variation on the last. I’ve been trying to solo during chord progressions, but I find myself stuck on...

On Improvising: Modal vs. Chordal Approaches
Ask Damian Erskine

On Improvising: Modal vs. Chordal Approaches

Q: I’ve been playing for a little bit now and would consider myself a solid player, but I’m looking to really up my level of expression. There seems to be a dichotomy on modal vs. chordal approaches to theory, I figured I’d ask you where the break is. Both seem necessary, but some seem to think the modal stuff is...

Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor Key Progression
Bass Lessons

Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor Key Progression

In my last lesson, we covered the topic of improvising over a minor 7 chord. This time around, we’re going to focus on improvising over a minor key progression. For this lesson, we’ll use this progression: | Am7 | G7 | FMaj7 | FMaj7 Bm7b5 | For this particular progression, you can play the A minor Aeolian/A minor pentatonic scale,...

Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor 7 Chord
Bass Lessons

Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor 7 Chord

Today, I’m kicking off a new Practical Theory lesson series, starting with an approach to improvising over a minor 7 chord. In the video below, I demonstrate a solo groove before describing the approach. In jazz, funk, and rock, if a solo section consists of a static minor 7 chord, most often the Dorian minor scale is used. The Dorian...

Ask Damian Erskine

Scales vs. Chords

Q: What scales are best to know for improvising and how can I go about trying to memorize them? A: Although it is important to learn your major and minor scales as well as all of the others (melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues scale, etc.), I’ve found that scales don’t really help me at all. I also find that guys...