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Modes Archives

What Fingerings Should I Use for the Modes?
Ask Damian Erskine

What Fingerings Should I Use for the Modes?

A reader sent Damian a note this week saying he's just starting to learn modes on the bass but is struggling with the finger patterns. He asked for help, and Damian decided to make this week’s column a video demonstration on the topic.

Modal Double Stops and Broken Intervals
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Modal Double Stops and Broken Intervals

This lesson is a bit of a continuation from last week. Again, we’ll be dealing with more ways to internalize the major scale and related modes across the fretboard. Specifically, we’ll be working through a nice double-stop exercise as well as using some brain twisting broken intervallic exercises.

Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass
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Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass

We’re continuing our exercise series this week with a lesson on modal arpeggio patterns. Learning modes, scales, and patterns help to open the fretboard up in your mind. You learn the connections, intervals, and relationships of the notes. Some of this sounds more complicated than it is. Hang in there and we will work it all out.

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...

Creative Bass Lines: Lydian Triad Pairs
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Lydian Triad Pairs

Today, we dive into something new – superimposing Major triad pairs derived from Lydian Mode Harmony over a Major 7th chord. The examples on the video are over an F Major 7th chord, and I am using a neat little looper for this. It’s a great practice tool. In the video (and transcription) I take you through the basic major...

Applying Licks from Transcriptions
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Applying Licks from Transcriptions

Q: I consider myself as a good reader. I can sight read music both in bass and treble clef, and I like to challenge myself with complex etude like those on the Patitucci book or classical pieces. But every time I come across jazz studies, (bebop in particular), I struggle to understand what’s in the mind of the player and...

Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales
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Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

Q: What is the difference between “relative” and “parallel” when talking about jazz theory? I hear “relative minor” a lot, but I recently heard someone at school talk about “parallel minor.” A: Good question! First, I’ll take a look at this column I wrote in 2014 concerning modes (and the relative minor). The term “relative minor” refers to the modes....

How To Apply Your Transcriptions
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How To Apply Your Transcriptions

Q: Can you give an example of how I might explore using the things I’ve transcribed in some way? I’ve been transcribing a lot this year (as a music student), but I’m not sure how to apply it or get anything from it. A: I spent years transcribing tunes, solos, melodies and bass lines before I ever really figured out...

Talking Technique: Modes on a String
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Modes on a String

Typically when we play scales, we play across the strings, but there’s a lot of value in playing all the way up a single string. It helps us to think in positions and to mentally know how many steps you are skipping as you walk up the string. Today we’ll be working on our theory as well as our technique...

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...