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  • Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass

    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... »

  • Hal Leonard Publishes Music Theory for Bass Players

    Hal Leonard Publishes Music Theory for Bass Players

    If you’re looking for a new book to bone up on your music theory, Hal Leonard has published a new book on the subject dedicated to bassists. Music Theory for Bass Players is a 160-page book aimed at helping you get the most out of your playing. Written by Steve Gorenberg, it has chapters starting... »

  • Creative Bass Lines: Using the Melodic Minor Scale To Navigate on a Minor ii-V-i Chord Progression

    Creative Bass Lines: Using the Melodic Minor Scale To Navigate on a Minor ii-V-i Chord Progression

    Welcome back to another column, and today we’re diving further into jazz-related harmony with a look at starting to get inside two of the most useful modes from the melodic minor scale. The full line is demonstrated right after the opening title credits, with a little backing groove, and then during the video, I dissect... »

  • Talking Technique: Alberti Bass

    Talking Technique: Alberti Bass

    Do you know what an “Alberti Bass” is? If you play electric bass (rather than cembalo in the 1700’s), you are excused if you don’t. That does not mean that we cannot use this keyboard figure to inspire some heavy duty technique shedding: string crossing, right-hand shedding, and coordination. In this lesson, we’ll go over... »

  • Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’

    Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’

    The whole tone scale is a really interesting scale. Unlike our major and pentatonic scales, it’s built out of all whole steps making it sound a little bit eerie and bright. Because the scale is symmetrical, it does not sound like it has a beginning or an end. Another neat fact is that there are... »

  • What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

    What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

    Q: I have a question about minor ii-V’s. In a major ii-V7-I progression, each chord is diatonic to the I chord. The ii chord is Dorian, the V chord is Mixolydian and it resolves to a Major tonic. In a minor ii-V, the 1 would be natural minor, which makes the ii chord Locrian (7th... »

  • Talking Technique: “Mordents” for Finger Strength

    Talking Technique: “Mordents” for Finger Strength

    Today we have another multi-layered workout for you to build up your finger strength. This lesson will help you practice a scale up and down one string while improving coordination and strengthening your fingers. It’s not a beginner’s workout, but wherever you are on your journey, give it a good try. You’ll need to be... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

    The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

    For those of you who haven’t noticed, I enjoy learning about food almost as much as I enjoy exploring the bass. Lucky for me, there are plenty of parallels between the world of food and the world of music. Both rely on unique combinations of ingredients in order to make a final product. Both can... »

  • Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Q: You know, jazz theory can be really, really confusing! I know that you can use a melodic minor a half step above a dominant chord as a substitution before resolving to the I-chord to emphasize tension notes (creating an out-sound). But, apparently, you can also use a whole-half diminished scale a half step up... »

  • Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    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... »