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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... »

  • Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios

    Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios

    Q: Should I spend my time in the shed practicing scales or arpeggios? Why one over the other? A: Ultimately, you want to be familiar with everything relating to the music you want to play and your instrument, but it’s good to prioritize. When trying to prioritize in the shed, it’s important to understand why... »

  • Talking Technique: 11 Strategies for Learning an Alien Scale

    Talking Technique: 11 Strategies for Learning an Alien Scale

    Do you know what the Byzantine Scale is? How about Double Harmonic Major? Gypsy Major? Well, after this episode of Talking Technique, you will. But this episode is about so much more than just a scale – in it, we’ll cover 11 strategies to get a new scale under your fingers. The goal here is... »

  • 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... »

  • 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... »

  • 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... »

  • Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

    Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

    When many of us first learn to play in “thumb position” (using thumb on top of the fingerboard to press the string down) we begin by placing thumb on the half-string harmonic (G on the G-string, 12th fret, if we had frets). In fact, much beginning thumb position study starts here. From here, intermediate thumb... »

  • Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

    Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

    When double bassists put their thumb on top of the fingerboard, rather than behind it, and use it to depress the string (just like the other fingers), we call that “thumb position.” There are a plethora of etude books and exercises to help us solidify the use of the thumb to press the string, but... »

  • Talking Technique: Drills for Fills

    Talking Technique: Drills for Fills

    Everyone loves a perfectly placed fill. That’s why today we’ll be going over scalar exercises that will help us create those tasty licks while beefing up our technique. In essence, we’re practicing a scale. Typically when you play a scale, you go from root to root in order. But we’re going to break it down... »