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Im stuck can you help

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by DevinI, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. DevinI


    Apr 1, 2004
    ive learned the notes of the fret board, scales and modes, and most chords, but lately it seems ive kind of reached and edge and havent improved a whole alot can you tell me what the next step should be
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Reaching a plateau is a normal step in the learning process. SO the first thing you need to do is to be OK with it - it happens. Once yo realize this, you can move on. Here are some suggestions - not necessarily in any order:

    1. Start listening and playing different kinds of music, different styles, different players. Play with all types of players - don't limit yourself.

    2. If you have a teacher, ger some lessons with a different one. If you don't have a teacher, get one - at least for a few lessons to give you some inspiration, motivation, new ideas.

    3. Read "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner -it is a cool book - rather heavy but will transform your ideas about music and about practice.

    4. Take some theory classes

    5. learn some new techniques - I am partial to chordal and chord/melody playing (my book "The Chordal Approach" is a great resource)

    Now for some real hands-on advice.

    We, as bass players, easily get into ruts in our playing. This is due, in most part, becuase of the way we look at the fretboard and the patterns that we develop. Because we develop these patterns, we tend to play the same thing, the same way, all the time. It is easy to see why these plateaus are hard to break out of.

    With my students, I teach them a new way to look at the fretboard, new patterns to play, new ways of creating bass lines. Here is an synopsis of what I do.

    1. First I break the Major scale into 5 "scale forms" on the bass. This is really cool -as it allows you to play every note on the bass, in any key after knowing only 5 forms. Each form consists of EVERY note in a key in a particular position. For example on a 4 string a G Major Scale would start on the F# and go up to a C. There are 5 of these forms in any key (on any bass, 4,5,6 and more). There is a scale form that starts on the 7th, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th scale degrees. The 1st and the 4th are included in the form that begins 7th and 3rd respectively.

    2. Once you have learned the forms now try the modes and the arpeggios of the chord in each of the positions. You will see VERY different ways to play the arpeggios and modes as you go through each form. Don't play your arpeggios from root up - start on the lowest available note and go untill you run out of room. For example -in the key of G -a D7 chord would be F#, A, C, D, F#, A, C ... etc

    3. Take some chord progressions and create bass lines, at first limiting yourself to only one Scale Form then combine two forms and so on. You will start ot see and hear different ways to create lines in a creative manner.

    4. Then remove all limitations

    This is a small fraction of what is entailed. It is usually a long process as that you have to unlearn a lot of habits.

    hope I could be of some help