Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Stephenw56, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Stephenw56

    Stephenw56 Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2012
    New York, New York
    I have come to the point in my improvisation where I am looking for more clarity as opposed to how fast I can play. I want clarity in my solos, but I do not want to be regurgitating a ii-V-I textbook. How can become more clear without using all of these printed licks?
  2. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    Sing what you will play before you play it.
  3. Yep. Record what you sing, then listen back to it and learn to play that on your bass. It'll help you connect what you 'hear' to the fingerboard.

    Also, learn to play melodies to lots of songs by ear. It's a great step that's easy and very often overlooked.

    Pick one song and learn several different versions of it from different recordings. Pay close attention to how they interpret the song: the mood the singer captures, their unique phrasing, dynamics, etc. Don't overlook simple phrases as they contrast beautifully with complex ones.
  4. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    The suggestions already made about singing something and playing it back are an essential element of what I share with my students.
    Most of us hear shapes in our head, but don't always know what notes go with them.
    One exercise is to sing a chorus along with a great record and record it. Yes, that means singing a solo on top of the melody or another soloist! Try to sing rhythmically with a contour of pitch emulating what any of your favorite soists might play. Don't worry about pitch so much at first. Transcribe the rhythm and contour you sang. Correct the pitches as needed, but don't forget to use chromaticism!! If it is too diatonic, it won't sound right. The more one does this, the closer the right notes will come out in real time. It is tedious to do at first, but will get better over time.
    Also very important is to use the melody. It often will contain great notes that can be used as target notes in your own solo.
  5. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Once you get the clarity you want, set up the bass so it sounds clear in a band - this usually means not "warm and dark" in your living room!