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  • Scale Pattern Work for Bassists

    Scale Pattern Work for Bassists

    I have mentioned previously that daily scale practice should include scale patterns, and indeed most scale books devote some space to such patterns. There are, of course, innumerable patterns that we can apply, but certain scalar patterns occur more frequently than others in the music we play. Although the number of possible patterns are seemingly... »

  • Progressive Scales: A Bass Player’s Guide to Learning Scales and Improving Reading Ability

    Progressive Scales: A Bass Player’s Guide to Learning Scales and Improving Reading Ability

    I’ve written in the past about the importance of scale work to solidify instrumental technique (see the Lowdown archives for those columns and more). If we are new to learning a particular scale it is probably wise to start by playing from root to root (e.g. C-C in C major) until we are comfortable. This... »

  • Stuart Clayton Releases “The Bass Player’s Guide to Scales & Modes” in iBook Format

    Stuart Clayton Releases “The Bass Player’s Guide to Scales & Modes” in iBook Format

    Bassist/author Stuart Clayton is taking his popular bass method books and publishing them in iBook format, offering new interactive features for the books previously only available in print. The first release is Clayton’s The Bass Player’s Guide to Scales & Modes, re-imagined for the digital format. The iBook format introduces full versions of each of... »

  • Harmonizing the Major Scale: Using a Number System on Bass

    Harmonizing the Major Scale: Using a Number System on Bass

    This week, I’m kicking off a new lesson focusing on the foundation of music – the major scale. Read over this lesson and then be sure to check out the video for a demonstration. Western music harmony is mostly based on the 7 steps of the major scale, and the chords built on the major... »

  • Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor Key Progression

    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... »

  • Practical Theory: Improvising over a Minor 7 Chord

    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... »

  • Let’s Talk About the Blues Scale

    Let’s Talk About the Blues Scale

    The Blues Scale. Why do so many players talk about this as the quintessential soloing tool? Have you ever wondered why the blues scale doesn’t always sound good while being played over a blues progression? Aren’t you looking for something more “realistic” in terms of an approach for soloing? Although this column is starting to... »

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  • A Practical Guide to Modes and Scales

    A Practical Guide to Modes and Scales

    Q: What are modes and how do they work? A: I get this question a lot, but have only touched on it in past columns, as it relates to other questions. Here’s a straightforward guide to modes and scales to follow. Modes are a very simple concept but can take some time to really understand... »

  • Practical Scalar Practice

    Practical Scalar Practice

    Q: I’ve been reading a lot of posts online and doing searches about which scales work over what chords. I’ve found a lot of good information, but I’m not really sure how to actually practice and internalize the information once I have it. Any advice? A: This is something that I’ve been working on with... »

  • Bass Aerobics

    Bass Aerobics

    Hal Leonard has released Bass Aerobics, a new book in their Bass Builders series, offering a 52-week, one excercise per week workout program for bassists. Authored by bassist Jon Liebman, Bass Aerobics focuses on developing, improving and maintaining technique on the bass guitar, for beginner through advanced players. The 112 page book is designed to... »