jazz technique

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Oct 4, 2001.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I'm a very new bass player. I've been playing blues and rock. I just recently started jamming with my best friend in the whole world - he plays alto sax. We have had some fun doing blues stuff. He plays with another friend who plays keyboards and together they do a lot of blues and jazz. My buddy had me come with him and observe and they would like me to bring my bass and sit in and do what I can next time. He is more confident than I am in my abilities. The jazz stuff they do are originals. My friend tells me that its not really true hardcore jazz, but more blues based and jazzy music (it sounded like jazz to me) So for the blues stuff I did with the horn player I was playing mostly walking lines and I figure that will work for some of the jazz stuff. Beyond that I figure I will experiment with playing the roots and maybe try some major triad based lines. I am looking for any suggestions on what approach I might take to coming up with a line for this strange jazz music, or any web sites or books which might be helpful to me....also, my friend had me play him a walking 12 bar blues line in B flat to do his favorite blues tune (he was impressed, I guess most guitar and bass guys ask him if he could just do it in A or something)...anyway, I started on the 6th fret of the fourth string in standard tuning - but I've been thinking that sinse I play a five string next time I might detune a half step and play that line an octave down with open positions - or would that be to low for the the other guys to play with? - it's the same note so it should work fine (ok, I think it would maybe work better) any advise? Sorry if this post is too long or to vague. While I am interested in this and I am sure playing with these guys will teach me a lot and probably be a lot of fun - jazz frightens me. Hey, I'll make that my signature.

    Jazz frightens me.
  2. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    moved to general instruction
  3. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Jazz should not frighten you. If you are just learning to play bass, I would get the basics down first. Don't jump straight into playing jazz. A good place to start would be to learn your fretboard well, and start getting a good musical theoretical background, which is absolutely essential in jazz, if you want to know where notes fit in. You can already play 12 bar blues - expand on that. If you are serious about jazz, get a good jazz book (I own a few jazz guitar books that have helped me), and if possible, get a tutor -that helps greatly. You need to learn chord theory and scales/ modes well.

    Listen to a LOT of jazz music - train your ear up - it's important, because you need to hear and anticipate chord changes. I am being very general here, and typing off the top of my head at the moment. There are a lot of jazz players on who are much more knowledgable than myself, who will chip in too.

    Good luck. Don't let jazz frighten you. Make it the other way round. Let the music be afraid of you. :)
  4. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    that helped...when I was talking about detuning, my thinking is that if I want to play in B flat I could detune my B string to B flat (you might have missed the mention of a fifth string) and play that key using my open B (flat) string.
    You are very correct, I do need to learn my modes and such...I really only know Major Minor and Blues scales - can anybody recomend what modes to work on first (like learn Dorean, then mixalidean, then Ionian etc. - sorry about spelling, but if I can't play 'em why could I spell 'em) Or are they all of equal importance?
  5. And I'm NOT one of them. But...

    Some people recommended, and I bought, The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine, gettable at Sher Music's web site. It's really good. I've had some (piano) jazz theory in the past, and this book starts right at the beginning and just keeps on going.

    As for modes, it depends on the chord progressions. With Ionian (major), Dorian (minor), and Mixolydian (dominant 7th) you should have a good start. That buys you a II-V-I chord progression. Throw in blues scale and maybe bebop and you've got a solid start. You may have to learn them all, eventually.

    Don't forget voice leading when walking: some notes resolve very nicely to their neighbors when the keys change. Find these and play with them.

    Walking jazz basslines is/are fun! And not really all that hard as it is made out to be by some. If you have the means, make a loop of a chord progression and practice practice practice.
  6. There is tons of info on modes here on TB. Do a search on it. How long have you been playing for?
    I say screw the detuning idea.
    Can you play a major scale?

    Basic modes, without the names.

    Play a G major scale on the E string and only the E string. 3rd fret to 15th fret.
    Look at what you just played and lock it in you head. You played a major scale but also the first note of each of the modes. 7 notes 7 modes, there is a reason for this. Now if you play a normal G major scale, say from the 3rd fret on E to the 5th fret on the D string you have also played the first mode. Now slide up to A on the E string and play from A to its octave but use the F# as the only sharp or flat. Ie. ABCDEF#GA, you have now played the second mode. What you are looking to do for starters is to play a major scale, know the notes in the scale and apply it to the fretboard.

    With the C major there are no sharps or flats.
    With the G major you only have the F#

    So through the modes would be.

    I mentioned playing the G major on one string because this will out line the root notes of each ot the modes.

    Hope this makes some sence, if not again seach TB on modes I know some of the other people have described it cleaner.
  7. Davygravy3


    Sep 21, 2000
    hey, I also have some questions about jazz ad instead of starting a new thread why not just add on. Im only 14 and most of the stuff you ve said hear makes NO SENSE to me. I ve been paying for 2 years and read sheet music, and play in the jazz band in school. Ive read walking lines and can do that but how do I do that w/out the musiv.

    above he said stuff about b flat scale well then i think those are

    bflat, c, d,eflat, f, g, a flat, b flat (correct me if im wrong)

    so how do u put that into a walking bass line and how does it work with minor scales. Id like to get some jazz band freinds over and play some of that stuff. its more interesting bass than stuff like blink 182.

    and in jazz u start off on the route then go to the 5th or 4th then octave theres some litlle pattern. its a natural noise you hear and u like it whats it order.
  8. Buy a basic theory book! It doesn't have to be specifically for bass. You need to have a few fundamentals down before you can improvise a bass line over changes (chord changes). Knowing your scales and key relationships as well as knowing where all those lay on the fingerboard is essential. As you learn those things, your ear will develope so that you can hear those relationships. Afterall, your job as a jazz bassist is to lay down a harmonic outline of the tune while holding down the groove rhythmically. And above all else, listen to a lot of jazz!!:cool:
  9. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    try this web site. they have some jam tracks for you to practice on.. pretty neat stuff if you ask me.. www.visionmusic.com
    you need to scroll to the bottom of the page and then you will selecet the thing that says jam tracks.. :)