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Help Through Chameleon

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by GrooveWarrior, Jan 3, 2006.

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  1. I am trying to understand jazz and fusion voicings, and I need the help of you theory guru's. Let's use Chameleon as an example. I can play through Chameleon just fine, and I can do a good solo in Bb (or A#, whatever it is) minor pentatonic, and the people in the bar will clap, but I know it is all smoke and mirrors. I didn't grow up listening to jazz. I grew up on rock and blues. I have minor pentatonic on the brain.

    Help. What are some scales or modes I can solo in (over the head section) that will sound more jazzy or fusion-like?

  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Well the tune is a ii-V vamp in Ab, so go from there...
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm having a very hard time hitting the target when I go pistol shooting. Is there someplace I can get some more ammunition?
  4. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Excellent advice!
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    A thing of beauty is a joy to behold. I'm humbled.
  6. Look, I can solo just fine when needed. (Soloing wasn't the point here, voicing was.) I'm just having a real hard time getting away from pentatonic minor. I was looking for some good advice from guys who have studied and understand jazz voicings. I've been playing for 16 years and have just recently (last couple of years) gotten heavily into jazz.

    The last few comments were not what I expected to get. I'm not a 16 year old with a brand new 4 string git-tar who just heard Herbie for the first time. I've been here a while, and am surprised by the responses. :scowl:
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Look, what Ed was saying was that if you're looking for a new scale to play in, or are tired of playing in a particular scale, you're not playing what you hear in your head. You want different sounds, but you don't hear them in your head. You don't need a new scale, you need to listen. Until it's in your ears, and your head, it'll never be in your hands.

    I'm having trouble using words with more than 6 letters. How is expanding my vocabulary to encompass words of a certain complexity going to help me say what I want to say any better?
  8. I agree that hearing it is the key. That isn't the problem, however. I can hear it just fine, I'm just not sure what I'm hearing. I have always been able to sit and figure out tunes like teen town, and have been able to play them just fine. Theoretically, I have no idea how they work. I know it is going to take a while to re-program my thinking. When I'm playing, I can hear a "fusion" solo, but when I start to play, I intuitively fall back on the old stand-by. I guess I just haven't been able to break away because I want to know what it is I'm playing. I probably know just enough theory to be reckless, and not enough to do anything about it.

    I understand that the answer isn't as simple as "play ionian" for the solo. I guess I just want to understand where it comes from when jazz and fusion guys are soloing.
  9. Sometimes it takes a kind, selfless person to offer advise when asked for it. I see alot of bassists looking down their nose at others that seek help. It seems to be an easy ego boost for them. I know some fantastic players that had great teachers. They didn't learn everything they know by listening to Miles. Sometimes people need to be given a boost. No hand holding, just a boost.
  10. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    You might enjoy the dorian mode. Natural minor scale with raised (major) 6th. This is the ii chord in Pacman's post referring to ii-V7 (Cm to F7 in Bb) vamp and plays well over both chords.

    You may wish to try the minor blues scale which is a pentatonic with a b5 added (as well as a P5). At least gives you an extra tone to play with.

    These two scales each give you one or two more tones to hear and incorporate into your playing vocabulary.

    These are a couple of basic, simple, fun things to help you up another step.
  11. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    If you want a more jazzy sound,use the mixo passing tone scale of Eb7

    From there,you will get more chromatic tones then the minor Penta.

    Hope this will help,
  12. The "jazzy" sound, I find, comes from the tension of not landing on the root at the end of every phrase. As bass players we feel safe on the root and often compromise (at least I do) the melodic line for the security of a well known friend. Be familiar with all of your possibilities and practice playing nonroot, nonchord, or extended chord tones over the tune's chord progression. Getting these in your ears helps you to hear the tune more melodically.
  13. The last three posts are great. Thanks.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think the crucial thing here is listening.

    So - people can tell you scales - but how do you use them? Are you just running up and down scales wiggling your fingers?
    I think this is what those who really know about Jazz - like Ed - are trying to avoid - they don't want to be responsible for this kind of advice...?

    If you listen to Jazz players they won't be playing scales - they will be playing ideas, melodies, riffs maybe and especially on a tune like Chameleon, it is more about rhythm and syncopation rather than scales...?
  15. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Sure, if you cant hear it you really cant play it... but experimenting with different scales or notes outside of what you can hear is a part of learning to hear new things surely?

    Is there really anything wrong with asking for some input, some ideas, to help find some new sounds? :meh:

    I had to actively seek out new sounds, I didnt just wake up one day and hear how I could use a #11 or b9 in a bass line. I had to see it on a chart, try it out, try and make up lines using it, figure out where it wanted to go... and, of course, I'm still doing that, still very close to the start line!

    Is there anything wrong with "here, try this, see if you like it, figure out how it works?"

    I guess I might be missing the point here? If so, I'd like to understand what the learning process should be if it isnt through experimentation, trying things out, seeing how they sound?

  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is an argument that has raged many times on TB!! ;)

    I think the point is that many people don't like the idea that you can teach Jazz by saying - you must play this scale over this chord sequence - as there is a feeling that you will just produce robots with no ideas of their own, who all sound the same!! :meh:

    Their idea is that you should listen extensively to Jazz and hear how it's played and base you own ideas on that - OK you may analyse it later in terms of scales - but you shouldn't just be running scales up and down meaninglessly.

    I've had these two seemingly contradictory approaches even from teachers at the same summer school... so tutors like Dave Cliff and Geoff Simkins who I work with regularly, are advocates of the chord scale approach - whereas I did a workshop with Simon Purcell (teaches at the Guild Hall) who was very anti this approach!!

    Like you, I can't imagine not looking at what scales are available - but I appreciate the other point of view and that all the Jazz 'greats' got where they were, through listening to others and playing what they felt/heard.....?
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    As a PS to the above , I do detect a shift in approach - even from those "Jazz Educators" who were previously teaching the chord/scale thing.

    So the view now seems to be - try to construct a meaningful solo using chord tones only - if you can't do that to your own satisfaction, then you don't need more notes (as in different scales) you just need to work more on your soloing until you get that right - only when you can do that , then look for more notes....:)

    But having gone through all that as a general point - I would still stick to my previously-expressed view that Chameleon is all about the funk - and not about exotic scales!! ;)

    If you can't make it groove when you solo, than adding more scales aint gonna help!!
  18. No fear of me just running up and down the scales. I just wanted some new tones to pull from. I used to wank when I soloed. My theory is that you don't really understand "less is more" until you stumble upon it yourself.
  19. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    Have you tried learning some of the solos on the recorded version? I'm suprised that no one has suggested that yet. See what notes Herbie is using! (If I remember correctly, he does some pretty warped stuff on there!)
  20. I've gone through it a little, but I am not a big fan of keyed solos transcribed to bass. I feel like it is a different feel altogether, now if there was a trumpet solo that would be different. :D

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