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Soloing Archives - Page 3

The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely
Ask Damian Erskine

The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely

Q: I am at a stage with playing jazz where I feel confident playing bass lines, such as walking through challenging pieces. Given time to learn the chord sequence, I am pretty confident at playing solos over the top of backing tracks and grooves. My problem is that when playing with a jazz band – when everyone cuts out for...

Improvising and Groove: Substituting Pentatonic Scales on a Minor 7 Progression
Bass Lessons

Improvising and Groove: Substituting Pentatonic Scales on a Minor 7 Progression

My most recent lessons have focused on the use of the pentatonic scales as it relates to improvising and learning the fretboard (see my lessons on improvising over a minor key progression and breaking down the pentatonic scale for more background). Today we’ll continue this topic with the exploration of improvising over a D minor 7 chord using the pentatonic...

From Groove to Changes to Soloing: Damian Erskine’s Practice Routine
Ask Damian Erskine

From Groove to Changes to Soloing: Damian Erskine’s Practice Routine

Q: You answer a lot of questions to help bassists out. But I’d like to know, what are you personally working on to improve your playing? A: I am in a constant state of flux with my practice habits. Different things bug me about my playing depending on the gigs I have one week versus the next. Lately, it has...

Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

There are many methods we can use to come upon satisfying note choices when improvising over a predetermined set of chord changes (i.e. a tune). One common way to approach note choice is using chord/scale theory, equating every chord to a scale. For example: A minor 7 = A dorian. It’s this approach that has people practicing all of their...

On Soloing: Think Pocket, Melody, Theme, Interplay and Form
Ask Damian Erskine

On Soloing: Think Pocket, Melody, Theme, Interplay and Form

Q: During a recent performance with my bad, I was given a spot to solo in a fast, up-tempo (120 bpm) funk tune. I basically have as much time as I need to “do my thing” with only the drummer accompanying me. My question: during my solo spot, should I stay in the pocket (the song’s in E) and just...

Pacing Your Solos: A Guide to Improvisation
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Pacing Your Solos: A Guide to Improvisation

It is not uncommon for students of improvisation to approach their practice without a real plan. They simply start trying to improvise a solo, without really focusing on When, How or What to play, hoping things will simply get better over time. I was certainly guilty of this. It’s one reason I developed my expandable “Tune Treatment” mentioned in an...

Soloing For Bass
Sheet Music & Instruction

Soloing For Bass

Hal Leonard and Musicians Institute Press have released a new bass method book focusing on the art of soloing. Soloing for Bass (A Contemporary Approach to Improvising in Any Style) by Dominik Hauser, is a book/CD combo that features solo exercises, theory discussion and play-along tracks. The method covers major scale modes, melodic minor scale modes, harmonic minor scale modes,...

Ask Damian Erskine

Speaking in Longer Sentences

Q: How should I go about developing longer solo ideas? In my solos I’m having trouble playing fast lines for more than a couple bars or so. I feel like I can really let the conversation flow by using lots of long notes broken up by short (maybe 4-ish bars at most), quick “chopsy” phrases. When I try to keep...

Approaches to Soloing
Ask Damian Erskine

Approaches to Soloing

Q: I have a question. How do you go about soloing for various styles? Quite often I get the nod to do a solo for 4/8/16 bars. I’ve tried approaching by working out what key I’m in and then by trying different modes… but it just seems that my phrasing is limited and that it never seems to have a...

Relax, and Don’t Forget to Listen
Ask Damian Erskine

Relax, and Don’t Forget to Listen

Q: What’s going through your mind when you solo? A: Ideally, nothing! I play my best when I know the song well (don’t need to think about chords, etc.) and am playing with solid players who all serve the music. In that scenario, I am simply letting the music dictate what’s going to happen and if I have to solo,...