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Jazz Bass 'Student'

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by mikejdexter, Feb 21, 2013.


  1. mikejdexter

    mikejdexter

    Jul 9, 2009
    UK
    How important is it to play 'Chord Tones' in Jazz improvisation?
    a) A lot?
    b) To 'mix & match' with the chord scale notes and add passing notes?
    c) In a chord sequence--example a Blues---is it better to use the dominent 7th than the major chord?
     
  2. Depends on the style. Older styles are more root oriented thn more modern ones.

    Beginning with bebop, you play more of the higher notes of a chord (third, seventh, ninth) than the root or fifth (which does not mean you shouldn't use them at all). And of course you mix them with the lower notes, but the higher ones are more on the strong beats of your improvisation, using the root more as a passing tone.

    Blues is more an old style, so more root orientated, but this might not be true for a blues with a lot of chord substitutions, like in bebop.
     
  3. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Is this question pointed more toward creating basslines to support the melody and other soloists?

    Very.

    Yes. It's a good idea to place chord tones on the stronger beats and use passing tones on weaker beats - especially when playing a supporting bass line. Of course there are exceptions. When soloing, one can use Pentatonic Scales, very effectively.

    Major Seventh chords are illegal in "Blues" :D

    Blues forms use "Dominant Seventh Sounding Chords". That's to say that not all of the "Dominant Seventh Sounding Chords" traditionally resolve as a Dominant Seventh.

    There is what is called the "Bebop Dominant Scale" that can be used over a "Dominant Seventh (Sounding) Chord."

    Example: Over a C7 chord, use this collection of notes - C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, B, C. It has BOTH a Minor Seventh and Major Seventh.

    The use of the Blues Scale is also a great way to play in the Blues genre.

    There are also the Minor Blues Forms, you may like to explore.

    There are MANY ways to go.

    Look at as many transcribed bass lines and solos, as you can - they are everywhere on the internet. Then start your own transcribing. You will learn faster, better and deeper by doing transcribing.
     
  4. mikejdexter

    mikejdexter

    Jul 9, 2009
    UK
    Many thanks for your excellent replies.
    The question by 'Stick Player: 'Is this question pointed more toward creating basslines to support the melody and other soloists?---yes.
     
  5. The question by 'Stick Player: 'Is this question pointed more toward creating basslines to support the melody and other soloists?---yes.

    This is a "depends" question. Some soloists want a solid chordal "just play the stock changes and play the root on the downbeat" outline under their solos, others want the bass player to follow them to wherever they are going, which gives you room to substitute chords, drop in ii- V7's, lead with the third, or a delayed resolution, etc.

    The answer is in how adventuresome the soloist is, and how confident he or she is in being able to play over the changes without needing a bass player to provide a reference marker to where he is in the tune.

    PS



    Major Seventh chords are illegal in "Blues"

    Unless you are playing New Orleans style blues, where major and minor 7th and 3rds, plus flat 6th, are used a lot. Well, it's a whole 'nother harmonic ball game down there.

    Listen to this- for an example--
     
  6. aprod

    aprod

    Mar 11, 2008
    Learning chord tones will develop your ear much better than scales. Google Carol Kaye and get an education, she's amazing.
     
  7. I agree with this - both in concept and that Carol is one amazing bass player.
     
  8. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Carol advocates chord tones as does Jeff Berlin, check out the Players School of Music's Youtube channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/PlayersSchoolofMusic?feature=watch
    I look at it like this. The chord tones are like the framing for a house, the scales are the drywall that you hang on it, and the chromatic notes are what color you paint the wall. Only the framing can hold the roof up, but once you have that in place you can decorate with scales and chromatic approach tones.
     
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Illegal? OMG, I better watch my back someone might snitch on me.

    Man, that one guy got away with it tho.... what's his name... Charlie.... Parker?
     
  10. A bit of an odd direction of question...

    In the moment, certain things come to us faster than others... for bassists, root, third, fifth and 7th... are more foundational than the others.. However, depending on our analysis, everything single note can be considered a "chord tone", and every chord tone is a part of a "Scale". Don't get stuck in a false dichotomy. If you are supporting, keep the lines simple and let the others colour the sound of the harmony with note choices.


    Bascially, listen to a lot of music, and copy what the others in the tradition have played.
     
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    In a nutshell: Chord tones depict the harmony in the song. If the soloist isn't outlining the harmony, then someone else generally has to or the form gets lost.

    95% of a Bassist job most of the time is to outline the changes. Chord tones are crucial - it's your bread and butter. It's why a bassist gets paid. In most situations, if you're not banging out the roots/3rds/5ths, you're not doing your job. 7ths you can get away with playing less of, IMO, cept when the 7th is a important thing to outline depending on the tune.

    As a wise man once said (from the Jazz bass Book)
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    George Garzone (talking to the tenor player I play with) "Sometimes, Dan, you gotta divorce yourself from the changes...."
     
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Yeah but that comes on much much later tho.
     
  14. mikejdexter

    mikejdexter

    Jul 9, 2009
    UK
    Some great replies-Thanks
     
  15. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    :eek:

    C'mon! My comment was meant to be taken judiciously and with a bit of humor.

    This is why I included the Bebop Scale reference - which includes BOTH the Minor and Major Sevenths.

    Having said that, I have played with "Blues" players that will cringe at the sound of a Major Seventh chord.

    One can't cover everything in a several-paragraph post.
     
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    well, there's your problem right there...
     
  17. My first answer was for playing solo. Since you asked for improvisation, I assumed you meant solo improvisation. For walking bass you stick to the chord tones on the one and three and chord or passing tones in between. The seventh leads best down to the third on the last beat in many cases. But this again depends on the style and other players since they depend on you.
    I prefer finding lines up and down to a goal and not jumping around, but this is personal preference. Sometimes I even play a non-chordal note on the heavy beats if the line would be interrupted otherwise, but this only fits with some styles.
    Going "outside" with the soloist is another chapter where you leave the original changes for something else, but only the changes are altered in this case not what you play in general relativly to these new changes.

    For two beat (basically half notes with some rhythmic enhancement if needed), you often stick to root, fifth and sometimes third of the chord. The seventh only as a passing tone to the third of the next chord (if this chord's root is a fifth lower).
     
  18. GrowlerBox

    GrowlerBox

    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    Would he say that to a bass player? (Genuine question, not bein' all smart-alecky like)
     
  19. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    No problem for me.

    But I will try to keep the humor out for the more stodgy among us!
     
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    :D
     

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