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How safe is the half-step below approach

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Fire-Starter, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    In a progression the goes like this

    G D Aminor G D C.......Just playing the root note is safe, but if you play 1/2 step (1frett) just before each chord, it suppose to add color to you bass lines, it seems Kool, my question..is this a safe approach to all bass lines when you are trying to build up to something more creative:meh: I understand you can also use the half step from above approach, the above progression is from "Knocking on heavens door"

    from this web site....http://www.cyberfretbass.com/line-creation/chromatic-approaches/index.php

    Thanks for your help.:cool:
  2. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    They are called passing or leading tones. Where you use them really depends on the style of music. In some styles, like jazz, passing tones are more than welcome, but chromatic movement in some styles (like country) doesn't always fit.
  3. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    Check out Ed Friedlands jazz bass books. The 'chromatic approach' is dealt with fairly early in the first book.
  4. If you want to play safe, only use the notes of the scale for the key that you are in, e.g. for the key of G maj, which is probably where your chord sequence comes from, limit yourself to G, A, B, C, D, E, Fsharp and G. This will either give you a one-fret or two-fret lead in, but it will always fit.

    Ed Friedland starts his walking bass book 1 with the chromatic approach, but it does not fit well with that many non-jazz songs. He then goes on to scalar approaches as above.
  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The half step below or above approaches are okay if they work for the music that you're playing. Ultimately it is all about whether or not what you're playing fits the music.

    As for playing it safe, you'll sound a lot more solid playing chord tones as opposed to scale tones, since the chords and the notes in the chords are there to add robustness to the melody notes.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    You make them fit. ;)
    For ROOT-5, after playing the "G" on Beat 1, I will quickly slur/hammer(grace note?) into the "D" from the "Db" for Beat 3...I like it.
  8. There have been some good posts made on this subject i see.

    If you have a chordprogression in wich all the notes of all the chordes can be found in one scale you are home free.

    Chordtones is a said before a very safe way if there are notes in one chore outside the scale.

    One approach that hav not been mentioned is the ROOT-FIFTH approatch. This method is rather fool proof unless you are playing over a diminished chord or progression. But the diminished scale is rarely used outside jazz or some forms of metal.

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