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Discussion in 'Ask David Overthrow' started by x18karatharmony, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Hey dave, hows it hangin? I need a little help understanding inversions. My teacher was trying to explain them to me the other day, and everything he said went right over my head. I guess private lessons will never be as good as NGW.
  2. Yo Count!

    I'll explain inversions using a triad (3 note chord):

    If we look at a C major triad in root position we would have the notes C-E-G. The root of the chord (C) would be in the bass (lowest note of chord). If we take the root of the chord (C) and raise it an octave I now have the notes E-G-C. Notice that the 3rd of the chord (E) is now the bass note. This is know as first inversion. If we take the first inversion chord and raise the 3rd (E) an octave we now have the notes G-C-E. Notice that the 5th of the chord is now in the bass. This is known as second inversion. Inversion s allow us to play the same chord with different voicings and colors. Try to practice all of your chord arpeggios in root position, then first inversion, then second inversion, then, if playing 7th chords, third inversion (7th in the bass).

    I hope this helps.


    Hey dave, hows it hangin? I need a little help understanding inversions. My teacher was trying to explain them to me the other day, and everything he said went right over my head. I guess private lessons will never be as good as NGW.
  3. hey dave, not really pertaining to inversions but... do you have any suggestions on how to make lines more creative while walking over a basic jazz/blues?
  4. "More interesting" is a relative term, meaning it depends on what you are already playing, and how to expand on that. That said, here is a sort of method I call the "Evolution of a Walking Bass Line". In a series of steps you can start out simple and gradually make the bass line more harmonically interesting. Before you read the following imagine you are playing through the jazz blues for 20 choruses. You'll want to keep adding things to continue to make the line more interesting but don't want to play "Everything" in the first chorus or two. So keep that in mind while reading the following:

    1) Roots & 5ths- Start with roots and 5ths of the chord. Soloists like to hear the root motion of the chord progression and there is nothing wrong with simplicity!

    2) 3rds & 7ths- The 3rds and 7ths of the chord add "color" to the bass line as the 3rd and 7th are the defining notes of the chord more so than the root and the 5th.

    3) Diatonic Passing Tones (Scale tones)- Diatonic passing tones for the most part connect chord tones and are most often used on the weak beats of the bar (2 & 4), and provide for a "smoother" bass line with less leaps in terms of intervals.

    4) Approach Notes- Approach notes are non-chord tones that approach the first beat of the new chord(usually the root) by half step or whole step from above or below. A commonly used and effective approach note is the half step from above. Using these approach notes helps the line sound "Jazzy" and is an effective way to create hip sounding bass lines.

    5) Chromatic Passing Tones- Chromatic passing tones often connect two scale tones and provide a "darker" sounding bass line. These tones temporarily take you "outside" and sound very hip.

    6) Rhythmic Activity- Walking bass lines consist primarily of quarter notes as the function of the walking bass line is as a time keeper. Of course, there are exceptions and sometimes more of a counter melody is created in walking bass lines. Often times rhythmic activity such as triplets and eighth notes are used in passages of walking bass lines to provide for more interest in the line.

    7) Reharmonization- To reharmonize blues progressions allows for interesting sounds. One of the more coomon reharms is the tritone sub used in the turnaround of a jazz blues. For instance other than playing D-7-G7-C-7-F7 in the last two bars of a Bb blues, You can use tritone subs and play D-7-Db7-C-7-B7

    If you want to get a more in depth look at what I talked about above and learn more about creating walking bass lines you can check out my new book "Total Jazz Bassist" published by Alfred/NGW. It has a 25 page chapter or so dedicated to the process listed above.

    Hope this helps.

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