Grips and soloing

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson [Archived]' started by @war, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. @war


    Feb 29, 2008
    Port Elizabeth, South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Cort basses and Hartke Amps
    Hey Todd! Hope you're well! First off, 'Fishin' for Grips' is fantastic... As are 'One Good Looking Guy?' and 'Get Happy'! I've been working hard at the grips for a couple weeks and already have a number of tunes down! The method really appeals to my musical sensibilities as I have always pursued playing the bass as a solo instrument, I love to hear good voice-leading and harmony, and I think chords sound better on bass than guitar (though I may get flak for saying so). Anyway, what I'm interested in now is using the grips to improvise. The obvious thing to do would be to create your own chord melody with the grips whilst following the harmonic progression of the song. I was just wondering if you have any helpful tips or things you have found to work well for you when approaching this aspect of the technique. Thanks again for being so open with your music! God bless! Andrew Warneke
  2. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Andrew,

    Sorry its taken so long to get back to you. Things have been crazy lately.....

    Well, the best thing to do is to REALLY learn the major, minor and dominant grips....REALLY learn them....

    THEN....learn the songs from the video....ABSOLUTELY.

    At that point you'll have enough experience / reference to start tearing stuff apart on your own etc.


    LEARN A TON MORE MELODIES.....if the melody note is a 3rd, then play the "grip" with the 3rd in the lead. REPEAT this process until you've got the melody under your hands. Remember also that you don't have to harmonize every note of a melody!! Start with the most important (or playable) notes....

    My whole point is: The more melodies you learn, the more melodic you'll be in your chord melody solos.

    Also.....This seems obvious, but start from there. Far too many people try to run before they can walk. Make sense??

    This is what I've's worked for me! :)

    If you REALLY want to speed up the process consider:

    1) Attending the TJ workout October 9-11, 2009 in New Hampshire. Go to for all of that info.

    2) Taking some online video conferencing lesson with me. I use iChat for Mac users and Google video chat for PC users with tremendous success. If you're interested, shoot me an email at [email protected] and I'll get you all the details you need. Cool?? Cool.......

    I hope this helps....