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Soloing Archives

Notes from the Bandstand: The Bass Solo
Notes From The Bandstand

Notes from the Bandstand: The Bass Solo

Bassists abound in NYC. It’s not uncommon to get on the subway to see two other fellow bassists fighting for a spot with their low-end leviathans. And, you can be sure; these bass commuters can do it all – they can groove and solo. My first two columns have been about the former – the primary background responsibilities of the...

Is It So Bad To Play The Root When I Solo?
Ask Damian Erskine

Is It So Bad To Play The Root When I Solo?

Q: I’ve been working on my soloing and I had a question. It keeps getting repeated to me by other players, teachers, and books that I shouldn’t play the root when I solo. What do you think? Is it really such a bad thing? A: I have a few thoughts on the subject. Some are in line with what you’ve...

Bass Bebop for Beginners: Part 2
Creative Bass Lines

Bass Bebop for Beginners: Part 2

Here is the second Parker line as promised – you can put it together with the C-7 F7 line from Part 1 and you get a cool turnaround lick: D-7 to G7 leading to C-7 to F7! So that gives you a nice two bar iii vi ii v line in B?. (And be sure to check out Part 1...

Bass Bebop for Beginners: Part 1
Creative Bass Lines

Bass Bebop for Beginners: Part 1

Today we’re starting with the first part of a new series on bebop bass, a topic a lot of my students are getting into lately. Our goal is to incorporate some great bebop vocabulary on the bass guitar. There is a ton of stuff out there to help you get started. Look for books on Charlie Parker solos, for example....

Serious Play and the Bass Solo
Ask Damian Erskine

Serious Play and the Bass Solo

A good friend of mine came to a gig I had recently in Seattle. Jeremy Sherman lives in San Francisco and our relationship began as one of student and teacher (he would fly to Portland on occasion to take a few lessons from me and hang out for a weekend) and we soon became friends both within and outside of...

Advanced Bass: How to Play Across the Bar Line
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: How to Play Across the Bar Line

In this lesson, we’ll take a deep dive inside the world of playing across the bar line. Equally as relevant for both your solo lines and your groove playing, we will cover how to play across the bar line by using “Time Signature Superimposition” that will take your phrasing to a whole new and exciting level. Follow along with this...

Creative Bass Lines: The Chameleon Variations
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: The Chameleon Variations

In this lesson, I’ve taken a pretty classic and fairly easy to play bass part from Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” and given you a few examples of how to use that as a springboard for creating other bass lines around that core groove. This can be really useful when playing under multiple soloists on the same tune. It’s not always enough...

Advanced Bass: How to Use Melodic Quotes in Your Solos
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: How to Use Melodic Quotes in Your Solos

The use of melodic quotation is prolific within the genre of jazz and its related modern styles. In this lesson, we’ll cover how to use melodic quotes in your solos and breakdown some of the commonalities used by many great jazz masters. Applying this to two choruses of a B? blues progression, we’ll take a step-by-step analysis which includes taking...

Soloing When The Band Drops Out
Ask Damian Erskine

Soloing When The Band Drops Out

Q: I’ve been reading through your No Treble columns and had a question pop into my head. I’ve been asked to play more solos recently at a lot of different gigs from jazz to R&B. I find that half (or more) of the time, when it comes to the bass solo, everyone stops playing except for the drummer. How do...

Turning Exercises into Real Music
Ask Damian Erskine

Turning Exercises into Real Music

Q: I’ve been studying for a while now, and I’ve been practicing my scales and modes as much as possible over changes. I’ve also been working through arpeggios, including the methods you talk about in your Improvisor’s Path book. For example, I’ll work arpeggios through tunes in different inversions and so on. However, when I go to solo freely over...