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Improvising bass lines

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DumbChild, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. I've been noticing recently at my place of study the other music students are stupidly good at improvising. Yet know nearly nothing of music theory. Being primarily a vocalist i haven't ever attempted to improvise and i normally use sheet music to learn music when i do play bass.

    I made it my goal this year to improve my ability to improvise or just improve my ability at writing bass lines.

    Can anyone explain to me the art of improvising, point me in the right direction or at least point me in the direction of a place where i can read up on it and start learning.

    Thanks =]
  2. tpmiller08


    Mar 15, 2009
    Boston, MA

    It takes a little time to get used to the bass to the point where you just play, and your fingers KNOW where to go for a sweet sound.
    Do some ear training! Play the Major Scale in C(Start off in half notes, then speed up after you hit EVERY note dead on, without any fret buzz or any other unwanted noise) then follow the circle of fifths. Play the Major Scale in every Key, in forward then reverse.
    Next, go to your Minor Scale in its key signature (A) and play all the way around the circle of fifths again. Do this for EVERY scale and mode.

    I don't know if you do this, or if it'll work for you. But it made playing bass so much easier for me. It gets to the point where you can pick out a scale to send a certain message, and your fingers will just work.
    When ya get all the scales down, extremely comfortably, look up some songs and notice how they apply the scales and modes.

    Another tip, stay relaxed. The more tense and aggravated you get, the worse you play.

    Hope I helped somewhat man, goodluck!

  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    1.) Learn to play what you sing and sing what you play.

    2.) Learn as many scales as you can... but the major, minor, pentatonic are the most important.

    3.) Improvising means calling to mind different tricks and musical phrases that match up with the music you are playing. (how many different phrases do you know that get through a ii V7 I progression). The larger the 'bag of tricks' the easier it is to play and sound original. Not everything has to be thought up on the spot... you can practice solos ahead of time.

    go to www.jazzbooks.com
    There is a wealth of information there.

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