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Improving my improvisation

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by bassbuddie, Mar 1, 2008.


  1. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    I am working on my improvisation and I would like to know what you think. Things I need to work on etc..

    I recorded an impro on all the things you are with an aebersold file in background.
    Please give me your advice.

    http://www.zuluka.com/improv.html
     
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Very, very nice. Nice use of space, use of different registers and development of ideas. All that is more true at the beginning then toward the end of the chorus, when your ideas tend to run into each other a bit.

    One thing that would help right away is more rhythmic variation. Start phrases in different places in the bar. Your solo is almost all eights and quarters; play some triplets and half-note triplets and play more half-notes in the middle of phrases. Obviously, there is a whole 'nother gear you're not even attempting, which is sixteenth notes, five-over-four etc.

    Harmonically, you're doing a good job outlining the changes but the result is that the playing tends to sound "inside." One common tool that might tend to open things up is exploration of the half-step/whole-step diminished scale over a dominant chord. Another rut-buster which you could try RIGHT NOW is to practice soloing without EVER playing ANY roots.

    Remember that these are EXERCISES and should not result in pasted-in licks on the bandstand. Use of pasted-in licks on the bandstand will cause your fingernails to evaporate immediately.

    Thanks for sharing, bro. Play on!
     
  3. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    Thank you a lot. I really appreciate it. I will try this, for pratice, 1 bars of half note, 1 of triplets, one...
    What do you think about that?
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    That's no great help. What I'm talking about is integrating rhythmic variety into your solos. Right now you're not exactly playing "nothing but eight notes" but for the sake of this discussion let's leave it there. Changing to "nothing but triplets" is not much progress toward that goal.

    Seek CHANGE, brother. Fired up? Ready to work!
     
  5. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    I understand thanks again.
     
  6. Hey buddie,

    Digging some of the ideas that you're saying. I second what Sam Sherry says about rhythmic variety. I believe Sam or one of those other cats told me the same thing when I posted my own recordings last summer.

    The best way to figure out how rhythmic variety works and falls into a solo would be to transcribe!

    One guy that immediately comes to mind that makes heavy use of triplets and lots of rhythm is Scott Lafaro. Granted, the majority of us don't have the chops and virtuosity of our dear old Scotty but it's nice to figure out how he uses triplets and places a 5/4 pattern in one measure. A lot of my rhythm is from Scotty and you should definitely check out the record - Waltz For Debby. The title track is what I've been shedding to really get those ideas out.

    My eighth notes are coming from mostly Ray Brown and Paul Chambers. I would check out How High the Moon from The Stratford Shakespearean Festival - Oscar Peterson and Whims of Chambers - Paul Chambers

    SPACE IS GOOD!

    Keep going at it

    Kev
     
  7. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    Thank you Kevin. I transcribed some Ray Brown and Paul Chambers and Oscar Pettiford, I guess now it's time for me to work on Scotty.
     
  8. I concur with Sam; it's very nice, and more rhythmic variety would definitely improve your improvisation at once. I also noticed that you started almost all your phrases around the beginning of a bar (mostly on "and" of one). I suggest a great exercise that Ed Fuqua posted some time ago. It's about improvising in odd time signatures, but you can do it in 4/4, too. Here it is:
    You could also add some variety to the rhythmic density of your phrases. For example, you could alternate busy phrases with lots of rhythmic activity (eighths, triplets, sixteenths) and simple, sparse phrases (half notes, whole notes).

    Oh, and make sure every exercise sounds like music, and not like an exercise! :)
     
  9. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    Wow, I was not sure if it was a good idea to put this solo online, but now I am. Thanks Timo.
     
  10. it's the beauty of talkbass

    cheers
     
  11. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I take lessons from time to time from Eric Hochberg (ehochberg). I remember the first lesson I took with him he had me solo on All The Things. He played piano. After we were done he said "cool, all the right notes but you solo like a bass player." He encouraged me to think melodically about my solos. Try singing them first. Is the grocery store, stuck in rush hour traffic, walking down the street... then head to the bass.

    What I also try to do is listen to how horns phrase. There is a freedom in their phrasing. It is our job as bass players to support everyone else with solid time and an ability to make folks hear the changes. When we solo we too can have the freedom that horns have.
     
  12. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    What I have learned from working with totally free music and still working on standards is in order to improvise you need to hear chords as sounds and respond with sounds of your own.
    Try using an Abersold file of a tune you don't know, and solo on that, just responding to those sounds with your sounds.
     
  13. Sometimes the challenge of projecting a musical thought through your instrument is too much because of struggling with the technique to express it. Maybe sometimes ideas aren't fully formed so things that fall easily under the hands are played as a result. Work on ideas away from your bass then figure out what you need to do to make it happen on your instrument. Those ideas can be from other's, ie. stuff you transcribe, or it can be your stuff. Do both.
     
  14. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    While Damon's idea is an interesting one, I think it is very important in this case to hear the chord motion in your head. The goal, or at least my goal, is to create a compelling and beautiful solo with a coherent 'story' from beginning to end. In order to do that you need to be able to 'rewrite' the melody.

    Check out the album 'So What' by George Russell. The concept was that he harmonized Miles solo from the song 'So What' for big band and made it the melody. It is amazing how that solo effectively stands alone.
     
  15. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    Yes , the thing is I got good ideas in my head, but i have difficulties to express them right away. Usually it goes like this, I ear something in my head and I play it, i hit a wrong note, what i mean is that the not I play is not the one i ear in my head, and everything falls apart.

    Same thing for reacting to sound. I have a pretty good ear with intervals, chords recognition... but it's not the same with the bass in hand.
     
  16. JamesTheBassBoy

    JamesTheBassBoy

    Oct 12, 2007
    London
    quite simply, just practise

    worked for me!
     
  17. Your first statement makes a good point. I should've read Damon's post more closely. Playing regular, straight ahead jazz, I don't think you "react" to the harmony. Rather you understand and hear the harmonic motion and play with it. To react would mean you didn't know what was coming next.

    But I don't know what you mean by "rewrite" the melody. Many, many, perhaps most, great solos bear no resemblence to the tune.
     
  18. Practicing scales and arpeggios should be a daily thing. Learn the sound of intervals. Practice scales in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc. Practice fragments: 1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-5, on up and back, etc. 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-5, 3-4-5-6, etc. ascending and descending. Reverse the patterns: 1-7-6, 2-1-7, 3-2-1, 4-3-2, etc. Group 3, 4, 5, etc. notes together. By getting all these sounds in your head, when you're improvising you'll recognize what you hear in your head and play it.
     
  19. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    The written melody is someone else's story. A solo is your own.

    You said it well.

     
  20. bassbuddie

    bassbuddie

    Jan 8, 2003
    Montreal
    I am starting right now, I do practice scale and arpegios every day, but most of the time up and down 2 octave only.

    Thanks it will help
     

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