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jazz soloing?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by thephilosopher, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. thephilosopher


    Dec 22, 2004
    when it comes to jazz soloing, and you've got some moderately fast changes, in something like "spain" or "take five" (just examples) - would you switch through modes/scales for each chord? i'm not quite sure i understand the concept of HOW to solo in a jazz context.

    i would assume switching through different modes or scales for each chord would sound forced and very awkward.

    what say you, TB?
  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    In most cases, you can keep to a single scale for a good four changes without changing it up, since a lot of standards tend to stay in one key for about that long. For instance, a tune in minor that goes I-7 bVImaj II-7b5 Vmaj7 (just pulling a progression out of my ass) can all be thought of in the relative major scale (starting your I minor scale on the bIII, giving you your relative major key). Take into consideration your available tensions, and arpeggiate the upper chord structures. Throwing in bits and pieces of diminished and whole tone scales can create a nice out-sounding passage.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think if you're just starting out on this - then it's best to stick with chord tones and work on solos made up of these - maybe adding in a few passing notes.

    This will sound OK and will have the added bonus of ensuring you know where you are in the sequence at all times.

    Once you are absolutely solid on doing this - then you can add other notes for "colour", dissonance - tension /release etc.
  4. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    when you take a solo, i'm assuming solo means that you can express yourself freely.

    here is a method i was taught when i first started so that i could understand the concept of a solo:

    1. question and answer(call and response).

    play a 3 note question and then a 3 note answer. the question and answer must be different to each other, but the question can't change, and neither can the answer. repeat this passage three times(same question and the same answer).

    2. same question different answer

    same thing, 3 notes per question and answer. ask the same question but respond with a different answer. once again, do this three times.

    3. different question, different answer.

    now you want to start the free-er section of your solo. so start aksing different questions and different answers.

    4. technical prowess

    this is the section that players with great chops linger on. basically, you can do what you like. syncopation(changing the rythm), blisteringly fast runs up and down the neck, everything. its all fair game in this segment. if you want examples, just listen to victor wooten, or stanley clarke, or marcus miller etc etc. a lot of their solos are spent in the portion of the solo. infact, listen to any instrumentalist to get a good understanding of this segment.

    make sure this segment stays tasteful, because its very easy to sound like complete crap.

    5. resolution
    your solo must be resolved at the end. this can either be one of two things:

    i - descending down the neck and back to the original bassline
    ii - repeating your initial question and answer pattern three times and THEN descending back to the original bassline.

    please bear in mind that this is not something that has to be adhered to 100%, its just a very useful structure to help you understand the art of soloing. it will take many years for us to perfect our solos, but this should be a good start.
  5. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    All great suggestions - do not forget - you cannot go wrong with knowing the melody inside and out - play sequences off the melody. Also, relative to your question think of target places like the end of a phrase - you can go anywhere you want if you have that target in place.
  6. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    Thanks for that! i will be trying it out soon! :)
  7. tkozal

    tkozal Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    common tones, my friend, find the common tones between the scales, if there are none, just move a half step. When I studied with Eric Kloss we would do this, finding the 3-4 common notes that could be your guides through what appeared to be very complex, difficult changes.
  8. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Use the 3rd and/or 7th of each chord as your target tones. Hit your target tones and you sound like you are in control.

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