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Scales Archives

Exercise For Unlocking The Fretboard
Ask Damian Erskine

Exercise For Unlocking The Fretboard

In this video, we’ll work through a great pattern that I learned from the great trombonist Dave Glen. It’s a fantastic way to make the transition between scales and arpeggios and also helps you to relate them more naturally to different chord types. I found this very useful when I first heard Dave talking about it and I think you...

Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

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.

Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios
Ask Damian Erskine

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 you are working on this...

Talking Technique: 11 Strategies for Learning an Alien Scale
Talking Technique

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 to embed the scale so...

Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’
Talking Technique

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 only two whole tone scales:...

Talking Technique: “Mordents” for Finger Strength
Talking Technique

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 ready to play hammer-ons and...

Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords
Ask Damian Erskine

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 from the same dominant chord....

Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales
Ask Damian Erskine

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....

Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions
The Lowdown with Dr. D

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 position study often focuses on...

Scale Exercise in Thumb Position
The Lowdown with Dr. D

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 I’ve found a few particularly...

Talking Technique: Drills for Fills
Talking Technique

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 and move in thirds instead!...

Hal Leonard Releases Book on Scales Over Chords
Sheet Music & Instruction

Hal Leonard Releases Book on Scales Over Chords

Hal Leonard Corp. has published the “Bassist’s Guide to Scales Over Chords: The Foundation of Effective Bass Lines.” The book looks at how to apply scales in a musical way, which is essential knowledge for those learning how to create and improvise bass lines and solos. The book, which covers 11 scales and features 136 audio tracks and 17 extended...