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can't find new chord progressions for my jams ...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassface613, May 9, 2015.

  1. bassface613


    Nov 20, 2014
    So when I play bass rhe style I play is Dancy funky disco jam music .... and i usually play with a keyboard player drummer guitarist and me on the bass ....

    the way we jam is I play a bass line based on a minor chord and I make bass lines ... my problem is that I'm getting very stuck in my bubble and I keep end up playig the same types of chord progression ..... and most of thr jams end up being one chord jams .... and even when it's more then one chord it ends up being thr same type of bass line /chord progression

    some examples would be
    a minor to g major
    a minor to f major
    a minor to c major to g major
    A minor g major f major
    a minor d minor

    the key that we play in could be any scale ... but it's usually thsee type of progression and my bass lines are always based off the pentatonic ....
    I need to bust out of my box and any help would be appreciated
  2. None of your progressions have a V-I cadence so I suspect Dancy Funky Disco Jam music does not follow a V-I cadence. That being the case your pentatonic bass line may be the best way to go. My concern is; are all of you using the same key and progression? From your post it sounds like your jam is a living breathing thing and I wonder what the keys and guitar are doing.

    But, if you want to try something new, I'd suggest chord tone bass lines under your chords. The sharing of like notes is normally a good thing.
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  3. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Who are some of your favorite bassists? Who are some of your favorite non-bassist musicians? Do you listen to a wide variety of music from many different genres? What albums are you currently listening to? What songs are you currently transcribing by ear?

    These suggestions above constitute the tried and tested method how 9 out of 10 great musicians develop their musical vocabulary. Listen to, oh I don't know, random example... Stevie Wonder... and put the effort into transcribing his songs and doing a harmonic/structural analysis. If that doesn't get you out of your rut, I don't know what will

    A parallel suggestion is to take a songwriting course and learn about concepts like "bridge" or "modulation" or "pedal point" or "chord substitution" or "roman numeral harmonic analysis" which are tools musicians use to make their songs more interesting. Learning theory won't necessarily in and of itself make you a better composer/improviser, but it will save you a lot of time analyzing those Stevie Wonder (or whoever) songs if you are familiar with the common concepts/vocabulary that musicians use to communicate with each other.
  4. Pickup Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories". There you have a few very nice minor chord progressions. Most of them fit 100% on your "Am" setting (6th mode of the major scale), a few will fit another modes (hint: look at "Get Lucky"). Good luck!!
  5. Dude there are 12 tones, and you can build 4 basic chord tonality of each (maj, min, dim, aug) plus extensions (dom7, maj7, 9th, etc).

    You start on Am, pick a chord you haven’t tried yet. Eb7. Does it sound OK? If not pick a different one, but you need to consciously decide which chords you are going for. Write it down for everyone, then jam.

    Am Bm Eb7 Ab7 D7
    Random chords out of my head.
  6. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    You could always try some diatonic progressions. The problem with pentatonic tonality is that there are not really any diatonic harmonic progressions that create movement - they all remain within the root tonality and the available triads is limited to 2. Take Am pentatonic, for example;
    A, C, D, E, G
    You can build an Am triad (A,C,E), you can build a CMajor triad (C, E, G) or you can build a Dsus4 (D, G, A) an Em6 (E, G, C) or Em7 chord (with no 5th) (E, G, D). It is not the most extensive palette...
    Now take the diatonic triads from the related C Major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). You have 7 basic triads (6 of which are useful);
    C (C, E, G)
    Dm (D, F, A)
    Em (E, G, B)
    F (F, A, C)
    G (G, B, D)
    Am (A, C, E)
    Add in the 7th chords and you get a whole load more:
    CMaj7 (C, E, G, B)
    Dm7 (D, F, A, C)
    Em7 (E, G, B, D)
    FMaj7 (F, A, C, E)
    G7 (G, B, D, F)
    Am7 (A, C, E, G)
    All of this just within 1 key. You still have all of the stuff from Am pentatonic, which could remain as the basis of the groove, in there and a ton more besides. At this point you will find it useful to start learning about scale modes, passing notes and chromatic progression to give you movement under the chords. As the bass player, you could probably create harmonic movement just by implying these chords, one or two per measure, whilst the others stay in Am - before long they will want to come along with you... Something like Am - C - Dm/B - Em7 (or even E7!) can be quite funky and will soon break you out of the single-tonality jams.
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    This is the central problem with structureless jamming.
    unless everyone has deep experience with a variety of common chord progressions and can pick one up by ear and follow easily,
    nobody has any idea of where they can go next and you get one chord jams and boredom

    Just choose a chord progression ahead of time, a simple blues or one of the changes mentioned in the link above.
    Or better yet choose an actual song and insert your jam in the middle of it
    This will give a nice context and musical framework for all the noodling.

    although one chord jams in the right hands are anything but boring:
  8. How about just learning some actual songs? Ready made chord progressions...
    SteveCS and Mushroo like this.

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