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Scales to Fills

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MVC bass player, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. MVC bass player

    MVC bass player

    Jul 12, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I got a question ive been memorizing my scales to try to make fills but i dont know how to make them into fills everybody just says practice your scales but how do you use them?
  2. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

    May 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Noodle around in the scale starting and ending on a tone of the current chord in the song.
    Listen and learn fills in favorite songs in the same style and base your ideas off them.
    Don't overplay fills. They should serve to make the song sound right, not to show the amazing bass player.
  3. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Never just learn to simply execute a bass line or riff:
    Reverse engineer it: learn its key, what scales it uses, the chords it follows, the rhythm it uses.
    Understand it, then use it in similar situations in your own playing.
  4. jmattbassplaya


    Jan 13, 2008
    Likes Received:
    IME, scales make really horrible fills.
  5. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
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  6. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Do you mean note-to-note scales make horrible fills? Because most fills are scale-based in some fashion. This is one of those areas that some players have a tough time implementing - the difference between a note-to-note scale and choosing notes from a scale to create a fill. One of the most simple fills comes from the simple I IV V progression:

    | C | F | G7 | fill: g a b
    and back to C. This is hardly a horrible fill, but nor is it terribly interesting.

    The key to creating a good fill is to choose notes from a scale (such as a minor pentatonic) and craft the fill using various intervals within the scale rather than just regurgitating the scale from scale degree 1 to 2 to 3 to 4, etc.

    To aid in this scales should be practiced in all manners of intervals. The most simple variation is:

    1 3 2 4 3 5 4 6 5 7 6 9 8. Repeat in reverse.

    Then create all sorts of permutations, such as:

    1 4 2 3 2 5 3 4 3 6 4 5 4 7 5 6 5 8 6 7 6 9 7 9 8. There are many more you can create to make things more musical.
  7. bkbirge

    bkbirge Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Work your arpeggios more. Then you can throw in other scale tones in passing. Also, there are a lot of different scales but if you aren't working the blues scale then you need to do so.

    A C blues scale:
    C Eb F Gb G Bb C

    Work it in all keys. Notice this scale has one less tone than a normal major/minor progression. Lots of licks are based on playing around with just that scale.
  8. slybass3000


    Nov 5, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Pentatonics and Blues scales are totally perfect for that.

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