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jamming trouble

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Aug 12, 2001.


  1. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    whenever I have a jam session with someone i always seem to come up with the same lines but just in different keys. I try different rythms and different fills but they all come out the same.

    I know my major (2 octaves), minor, pentatonic, blues pentatonic and dorian mode scales.

    but they all just seem to either go along the neck in that scale or just straight down on two frets but with a semitone inbetween, if you get me?

    aby help of excercises, scales anything to learn would be helpful.
     
  2. SR480Sol

    SR480Sol

    May 24, 2001
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    hey, i sometimes have the exact same problems,

    What you have to do is try to really listen to the music and try to get into a groove, and feel the music. Another thing you might be able to do is try some new genres like funk, rock, jazz, ne thing that interests you, this way you'll be able to expand your horizons in music. But try not to get frustrated when it happens. hope my advice helped
     
  3. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    I don't know... I used to have the same problem when I tried improvising. Eventually, I did manage to get a bit better, though I'm still pretty woeful at anything like that.

    The only thing I can think to suggest is to not play like you're reciting scales - try experimenting a little. Not really very good advice, I know, but this is something that you can't really be taught.
     
  4. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    the only thing that I can improvise is a song my bass teacher give me, so what - miles davies in the sax solo the bass in the background is dorian mode in A but u improvise it, i can do that different
     
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I think that's something we all deal with from time to time. Things that have helped me:

    1. Studying a bassist that's very unlike yourself for a while. I bought the James Jamerson book "Standing in the Shadows", read about him, and learned a handful of songs. It made a big difference.

    2. Just listening a lot to different types of music. I got into a Jaco kick for a while, and heard his feel starting to emerge in my jams.

    3. Using a lot of rests in the jam. Instead of playing lots of notes, I try sometimes to play as little as possible and leave completely open spaces. Whole note, quarter note, eight note rests. You can get pretty creative with space - it's fun.

    4. Really listening to what the other guys are doing and forgetting the notes. Trying to get into the feel of it as opposed to the technical aspect of it. Connecting.

    5. Working on grooves on my own time, playing things that feel unnatural to me - until they become natural. Just experimenting with notes and sounds till I come up with something that challenges my abilities, and sounds good.

    6. Lastly, I do best jamming when I start out really slowly and simply. Really keying in on whats going on, then start slowly embellishing

    I love jamming. It's my favorite thing to do next to sexing. Sometimes.
     
  6. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    thanx man i'll check out another artist.

    ne ideas who?
     
  7. lo-end

    lo-end

    Jun 15, 2001
    PA
    this is probably very bad advice, but I believe in it anyway, so here goes:

    Dont learn scales because when you play, you'll just stick to scales and recite them instead of improvising with notes and really feeling the music. I really believe this because I can play bass solos and stuff without any theoretical knowledge and Ive never had a bass teacher. The best way (IMO) to play bass is to just get inside of the instrument and learn all of the notes so you can hear them in your head even before you play. Some of the best basslines Ive ever written were the ones Ive thought of in my head and then figured out afterwards.

    Just my one cent. :oops:
     
  8. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    I can see where this is heading... :eek:
     
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I see Flea is your main man - mine too.

    Try the 2 guys I mentioned above - James Jamerson is very very different from Flea. Most of the Motown hits were done by him. Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a great book.

    Jaco took a litlle while for me to get used to, but after listening closely and often I think he can't help but to rub off as an influence.

    If you never really dug into Zeppelin, John Paul Jones can really open your mind up. Some other bands of that time too - Queen, Yes, Rush - all phenomenal bass playing. Try to find some stuff that seems really different from your style, and learn some lines or just listen really closely - a lot.
     
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    you're right, it is bad advice.

    You're lucky, if things work for you the way you say they do. The goal of any musician is to hear something in one's head, then be able to (instantly) reproduce it on one's instrument. This is precisely why we study scales, chords, theory and ear training. Remember, theory is not some mystical set of rules, it's a way of explaining in words, what we hear in music. You also might be very talented to be able to do the things you describe without ever having a teacher. Awesome, but some of us aren't so lucky. And, if I could get you to think about this, how good would you be if you did have a teacher? Can you solo through complex tunes in any key at any tempo? Can you instantly transcribe what you've heard another instrument play on yours?

    What you said about getting inside the instrument to learn the sounds is spot on, though. Learning the things most of us recommend is what is the most common method of doing so.

    One last thing: learning scales will not make you mindlessly stick to scales when playing. Learning scales incorrectly, however quite possibly will.
     
  11. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    so by study do u mean just learn and memorise a lot of their songs?
     
  12. About getting out of your usual patterns in soloing; on of my teachers gave me a great lesson on that once. It may seem clinical at first, but it can really lift your solo, and greatly improve the power of your statements.
    First think of a 3-note melody to fit the first chord or first two chords. This should be easy.
    Then start changing this 3-note pattern by playing it backwards, stretching the intervals, crunching the intervals, doubling or halving the rhythm and any combination of the above, and I think you can think of a couple more things to do with it
    This usually gets me started with a solo if I'm at a loss for notes. And it helps with getting your ideas from your heart instead of your mind...

    What helped me greatly as well is listening to other instruments. I listen to Bill Evans (the piano player) a lot, and Cannonball Adderley. Every instrument has things that are relatively easy and hard, and this way you bypass the bass's.
     
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I wanted to chime in with another opinion. Learning scales leads to scalar playing; scales are not enough. Are you also working on chords and chord tones? It took me a long time to figure that one out. Improvising off of chord tones actually leads to more melodic sounding stuff than using scales (this might be counterintuitive).

    One other thing that you can do to that noone has mentioned is to learn melodies to songs. Many of us bassists are so used to learning songs by their chord progressions that we never learn the actual melodies. If you start working on learning melodies you'll start picking up all kinds of cool ideas to add to your bass lines.

    A tip for jamming: every time you jam, think of one or two concepts to mess with during the jam. For instance, try playing lines where you emphasize the 3rd and 7th of the chords over other chord tones, or work out a particular melodic shape (like ascending a scale in thirds) and work that in as many places as you can. Doing that for an hour or two will quickly show where and when that concept works well (and where and when it doesn't) so you can add it to your bag of tricks.
     
  14. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    One technique that I use is I sing along with the my bass when I play it - I trained as a vocalist for a while - the fact is your mind through your voice can "listen" and "improvise" quicker than your fingers - by singing along you train your ear too.

    This is of course no substitution to knowing theory - like another poster said, learning chordal theory can break the rut of being stuck with scales only.
     
  15. How about practicing intervals.

    i.e. go through a two-octave scale in thirds or fourths, sixths and so one.

    I helped me to open up new patterns on the fret board.
     
  16. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    i know wot u mean by saying play say the 3rd and 4th of a scale but I don't know what u mean by saying things like go up in 3rds
     
  17. lo-end

    lo-end

    Jun 15, 2001
    PA
    I still believe in what I say :D
     
  18. Just a starting point Take a one octave C major scale CDEFGABC and play it in thirds.

    i.e. CEDFEGFAGBAC

    you can find more info on TB and on the WWW
    a lot of people seem to like this site.

    http://www.libster.com/
     
  19. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    i dont get it :confused: :confused:
     
  20. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I agree with the pacman about the scales. I say learn them as best you can, this will in turn, help you know the note choices in the keys your playing to. To broaden your aproach choices and improve your bass lines, Id suggest listening to a very broad variety of music. This helped me tremendosly when in the long run. If you only listen to rock, your gonna lay down rock style riffs, if you listen to rock and pop for example, youll be able to diversify your lines a bit more.