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I don't swing when I solo.. help!!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Lovebown, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    I've been playing jazz for about a year soon ( on electric). Mainly been working on walking and some soloing on "easier" tunes like a couple of blueses and easier standards. My walking lines are starting to become kinda meaningful and they swing sorta good, however, my soloing really sounds like crap.

    Although I occasionally develoo some nice melodic motives, they just don't swing that much.
    I've done a fair bit of transcribing and a lot of listening to solos by horn players and stuff but when I listen the solos I've recorded my 8ths just don't sound right.... sorta overswung so they don't swing , if you know what I mean ;)

    So.... what I'm asking , I guess, is what is the best way to become better rhytmically.... imitating the masters?? shedding with the metronome????

    thanks in advance,
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Listening is the key. Listen to the masters. Tape yourself and listen. Analyse the difference.

    It takes practice.
  3. Gulice


    Sep 13, 2002
    ya ive been playing jazz for about 2-3 years and i ahd the same problem about a year through... go listen to some ray brown or alot of other good bassists... dont copy them but make a similar bass solo then every time u solo varry it more and more till its all yours
  4. Touch


    Aug 7, 2002
    Boulder, CO
    "Band In A Box" is a great software tool. It can be used for composing or just to play back tunes. You can download a free demo.

    There are a couple places where you can download ALL of the Real Book tunes in BIAB format. I find it great for soloing over jazz changes.

    I have also found that Mark Johnson's "Concepts for Bass Soloing" is helpful.

    Practice, practice, practice......

    Good Luck.

  5. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Ok thanks..... any other advice???

  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I've been studying Jazz for the last 4 years or so as well, and have to play solos every week for my tutor.

    But I don't think there's anything to add beyond what people have said - there are no easy shortcuts or tricks to it - you just have to listen, transcribe and practice!

    I use a microcomposer and input the piano chords of the song(s) and a basic drum track - more like a metronome - and practice playing solos over the top. Much like the "band in the box" suggestion.

    You may also want to discuss it with a good Jazz bass teacher in a one-to-one - apart from that I can't think of any other ideas?
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    What BLINKY said. To add to that, I'd suggest playing along with the masters. There are two ways to do this:

    1) Transcribe a walking line or solo, and then play along with the recording that it came from until you can't tell your sound from the sound on the record. This isn't easy, but it is hands down the best way to "absorb" a feel that I know of.

    2) You can purchase transcriptions of bass lines and solos from various sources. Take these, learn them, and then do as stated above. Jamey Aebersold has complete bassline transciption books available for at least 5 or 6 of his playalong recordings, and the players on these recordings are people like Ron Carter and Rufus Reid. You can't go wrong there.
  8. D. Funkalicious

    D. Funkalicious

    Sep 22, 2002
    At the risk of understatement, I'd suggest relaxing a little before you go into the solo. If you think too much about the notes you want to play, then you may lose the groove. And the cool thing about bass solos that you don't have to stroke your ego like a lot guitarists do. Essentially, a bassist can do more with less, so don't feel you have to cram every note from the scale or chord progression into the solo. Take the audience along with you, rather than just pander to them.
    The groove will come.
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Know the tune, to the point that you can sing it, and when you solo, sing it to yourself, hum it to yourself, say it as you play it.
  10. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Yeah... but perhaps even better with a non-bassist teacher who doesen't think as a bassist?
    My biggest concern isn't walking lines....

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well it depends what you're trying to do - I go to regular Jazz classes taught by an alto sax player and he has been a great help - but if you're trying to play bass solos that swing, then a Jazz bass player would seem to be the most sensible option and our teacher always recommends that you have some one-to-ones with someone who plays the same intrument.

    If you want to "do a Jaco" and quote bebop heads etc. on bass guitar, then it may make more sense to have lessons with any sort of Jazz soloist. I go to Jazz Summerschool each year and you are generally put in a small band with a particular tutor for most of the week.

    I've been 5 times now and haven't been put with a bassist yet, but I still feel I learn a huge amount - maybe more, than if the tutor was bassist? This year my small group tutor was Stan Sulzmann, who is a composer/arranger and Sax/Flute player - I feel I learnt a huge amount in a week and I'm sure Stan coud teach anybody about Jazz.
  12. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Well, I want to play swinging solos on bass if you know what I'm saying ;)

    A lot of the time I feel horn solos by good players is what I want to "copy" rather than a lot of bass solos.. ... I mean, there are more good soloists amongst horn/piano/guitarists than bassists... In my opinion

  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    I hear where you're coming from, a lot of bass solo's do leave a lot to be desired. The bassist often "really" solo's i.e. no one else plays, and you'd better be clear about what you want to say and what you're saying it over, otherwise you're going to sound vague in relationship to the tune that you're soloing over. I think that the other instrumentalist sound better soloing(relatively) because that's how they're taught i.e. what they're taught to do, they have to have that stuff in their ear and under their fingers. They don't have to develop walking chops and don't have to have that in their ear or under their fingers. I think the challenge for us bassist that want to sound good when we solo is to get that stuff in our ears and fingers.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    This made me think about a lot of experiences I have had in Jazz workshops/jams etc. over the last few years. So the "band" often sounds best, when you have piano,(guitar) bass, drums all grooving/swinging and a soloist playing over the top - it sounds like Jazz!! ;)

    But then it comes to your turn as bassist (after many choruses) and everybody stops !:mad: All the energy and forward motion is gone - how can you get it swinging?

    I find that it is often down to me as the bassist to give the band energy and forward motion in Jazz in a way that doesn't happen in say a rock group, for example, where the drummer will be playing heavy bass drum and so the responsibility feels less. Nothing would stop most rock drummers! ;)

    I think in Jazz, that the bass player has a much harder time and has much more responsibility - so a lot of players coming from rock and pop think they'd like to play some Jazz, but under-estimate how hard it is.

    I have had a lot of bass players new to Jazz come up and talk to me about this - at Jazz Summerschool or at local Jam sessions/workshops. They suddenly find that everybody is looking to them for the form, the rhythm and then expects them to solo with no help at all. Whereas in rock/pop they were just hanging on to the drummer's kick and could hardly be heard behind the guitarists anyway! ;)
  15. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Well... are actually 4ths at 120 the same as 8ths at 60?.... I know they are in straight time, but in swing?

    Anyway, exercises would be cool..


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