1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Juggahnaught's Non-Zero Days

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by juggahnaught, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    I've been inspired by @She-Ra to be better about putting in time. The issue is that I don't have She-Ra's planning skills or discipline at all. (I swear, I've probably got adult attention deficit disorder, or something.)

    The other issue is that - although I want to be "better", I currently don't really have concrete goals as a bassist. Sure, there are things I want to be better at (soloing, expressing myself on the instrument), and there are things I want to do (tap like a beast, use chords and interesting voicings as part of my lines) but in my general day-to-day as a bass player in the groups I perform with, it's largely unnecessary. I'm good enough, but I don't want to just be good enough. But I don't have a plan to get me there.

    As such - this thread is going to be a tiny little log for the things I do every day that further my general musicianship. This may include things outside of playing, such as musical research or theory study (or hell, even thinking about my instrument - I have a thread I created about six-string bass fretboard theory). It may also include learning new pieces, or thinking about music and specific instrumentation. It'll also include things like, hey, I set up my space and bought a music stand. Honestly, it might get a little rambly and heady in here. However, when I do put in practice time, I'll log it here.

    I'm mainly doing this for me, but I'm hoping that a semi-public log will help to inspire me (I doubt it'll do anything for my utter lack of discipline) and at least contribute to me having non-zero days. A lot of my music is shut down right now (I generally rehearse with one band twice during the week, attend a jam every other Tuesday, and have a Saturday morning practice with the other band, and I'm hoping to start playing jazz and Brazilian ensemble music with another group during the week - Friday and weekend nights are usually gig nights when I have them) and I'm finding that it's easy to just pick up the instrument and noodle a bit before putting it down to binge-watch something pointless.

    So - onward.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  2. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-17 - Tuesday.

    Since the beginning of the COVID social distancing mandate, I've been working from home. I finally took the time to rearrange my apartment so that the recreational space (couch, TV, etc) is moved into the office where my computer and music equipment used to be. This means that the larger living area is now completely dedicated to music; as a bachelor who lives alone, my apartment now better reflects my priorities.

    Yesterday I received the music stand that I ordered from Amazon and put it together! It's great, because I'm able to keep my new copy of Bass Fitness next to my copy of Modern Reading Text in 4/4 (which hasn't seen enough use, to be honest) at a decent eye level when I practice standing. Also good to keep them out in full view, so there's no excuse not to use them.

    I also noodled around a bit with the octatonic scale, which I've learned can be used with diminished sevenths, half-diminished chords, and dominant 7th chords with a flat 9th. I've been furthering my knowledge of chord extensions - I've always known the basics of them, but I have never known the jazz conventions for playing them (example: major 11ths usually omit the 3rd due to harmonic dissonance; 11ths and 13ths are commonly written as seventh slash chords, etc). I read the wikipedia music theory articles on extended chords and learned a lot that I didn't know. This will help me with the jazz and brazilian music I'll hopefully be playing soon.
    Oddly, Nashrakh and She-Ra like this.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    One of my favorite all-purpose books. I like to combine it with scale or chord tone exercises so they're not just running up and down the fretboard.

    I wish you success, make the best of your time. I'm thinking of overhauling my practice regimen too, what with all the time at my hands...
    juggahnaught likes this.
  4. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    What is your situation with the virus? We live in a retirement home and are in a semi-lock down situation. They bring our food to our room, and we are asked to go down, once a day to get our temperature taken. All activities have been canceled and we are asked to not gather in groups.

    I am able to go to Walmart to replenish my insulin supply, and pick up a few needed items.

    No one in the building has come down with the virus so far. We do have 8 cases in the county. Nothing like other places in the US.

    I'm using my time to teach myself chord piano. Have a 54 key keyboard. I think chord piano, with Google's help, is going to stick.

    Good luck with your situation.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
    SteveCS likes this.
  5. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-18 - Wednesday.

    Yesterday, I did Bass Fitness Part A exercise 1 at 60bpm. I've gone through a couple of the Part A exercises (I used to do a lot of similar stuff when I was first picking up bass and guitar - finger permutations) and I don't find them difficult - but I'm realizing that I'm not as clean as I can be. Upped the tempo to 80bpm on a whim without issues, but I think I'd really like to focus on my mechanics even if it takes a while to go through each exercise, so I'll be doing them at 60bpm. I also did exercise 9 (at 80bpm) and I definitely felt the exercise in my forearm. I know that my ring finger/middle finger spread has always been weak, and this exercise really works that well, so that's good.

    I also ran through a couple of the songs that my Afrobeat group does.

    Today....I dunno. Picked up the bass and tried to jam with some backing tracks and I just felt like I sucked. I did find this awesome jam track - - and it basically kicked my ass (there's that moment when you just fall back to playing whole note roots because you can't keep up, that deep shame :laugh:) and I felt like I couldn't really get into anything else. That said, I feel like my solo ideas are getting better and I'm more able to express the notes I'm feeling in the moment. So maybe today's more of a guitar day, I dunno. I'm gonna maybe post up in front of the TV tonight, eat some wings, and then run through exercises in a casual manner. (I know, I know.) I'll report on this tomorrow.

    Awesome that you're learning piano! Great instrument, and a lot of fun. (I actually wanted to buy a used Kawai MP9500 locally, recently, but I didn't hear back from the seller - likely due to Corona.) My situation isn't really special - I'm working from home, and since most recreational stuff is closed, there's no reason to go anywhere. I generally like to work from coffee shops when possible, but that's not really possible (or advisable) right now, and none of my bands or music groups are meeting, so I've just got a lot of time to learn stuff, reorganize my apartment, and not be lazy. (But I'm gonna end up being lazy - the TV has snuck back into my rotation, which I fought against for a year. The library is closed, which is really unfortunate!) It is what it is. Luckily, if I were to catch something, I don't have any dependents or anything, so I'm less concerned about having the virus than I am about inadvertently transmitting anything.
    Oddly and instrumentalist like this.
  6. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-19 - Thursday.

    Yesterday I wasn't feeling it, but continued a bit after posting. I worked a little more on the backing track posted above and while it's not great, I'm definitely familiar enough with the track to play with it. (It's a great track!) The quick walking section at the beginning always throws me, though, and I can't walk that fast yet. I'm also terrible at soloing, so I'm just arpeggating root triads to internalize the solo changes. But for me this is almost more of an exercise in composition, and it's fun to analyze the chords in that progression and find suitable scales/chord outlines/arpeggios on bass that align with the changes.

    Today - I bought a piano. Optimistically, it'll arrive next week, but it might take a bit more time than that. It'll be a part of my home setup. I also ran through Bass Fitness a bit - I skipped ahead to some of the other sections, and I realize that those are the areas where I will see benefits. (Sections 1 through 4 are mainly OFPF base exercises that I've done a lot of in the past - so while they're still beneficial, they're not as challenging as the later sections, which have some permutations I haven't done that highlight some weaknesses. There are some exercises in the first parts that also fall into this category, so I'm going to start prioritizing them.) The other interesting thing is that I'm altering all of these exercises for six-string bass, so some of the string skipping exercises that span the entire fretboard are definitely tough, but doable.

    Overall, not much music today. But something is better than nothing and the night's still young.
    Oddly likes this.
  7. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-20 - Friday.

    Yesterday - on a whim, I searched for some books on Amazon and decided to buy two: Single String Studies For Six String Bass Guitar and The 6 String Bass Guitar: mode system concept, Volume 1: major modes. I ordered these because they look like they have exercises that I can just kind of pick up and do. I really should be crafting my own drills and exercises, but I think that for now both of these will be good drill books that that will hit some of my weak areas (single string scales and big jumps being a big one).

    Today - woke up, went out to pick up a package, came home, and did some morning practice in Bass Fitness - specifically, exercise #121 and #122 in section seven at 60bpm up and down the fretboard. #121 was okay, and could benefit from some work. #122 - for some reason, although I didn't have a problem physically playing the pattern, I couldn't remember it and had to focus. Definitely ended up pausing or fingering a wrong note a few times just because that pattern isn't really in my muscle memory. It's not difficult to do, but I couldn't get into a flow state with that exercise.

    Doing morning exercise was kind of nice - I feel like waking up and doing music or something creative first thing before sitting down a computer to write code is better for the creative part. I feel burnt out after programming workdays and it puts my mind into a weird analytical mode which isn't...well, fun.

    After the workday I decided to try to record some ideas in Ableton with the bass guitar (playing bass and guitar parts on the six-string) but it's all garbage. It's just trash. I dunno, I don't feel good about my writing - it always feels formulaic and uninteresting, and maybe that's because I'm uninspired at the moment.

    Tomorrow's another day.
    Oddly likes this.
  8. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-21 - Saturday.

    Today should have been a more musical day, but it didn't really turn out that way. I did pick up the bass and play along with some jazz bass backing tracks, which was fun - revisited Autumn Leaves, Doxy, Straight No Chaser, Wave, All Of Me, and All The Things You Are. On the plus side - while I'm still not a great walker by any means, I can walk a lot faster than I thought I could (the youtube backing track for All The Things You Are is around 180 bpm). On the minus side - I still get tripped up by certain changes sometimes (specifically the tritone to 2-5-1 in All The Things You Are at speed), and I definitely tend to keep it "safe" in my walking. A lot of fun was had, though.

    No work in Bass Fitness today. That should have been a priority and it didn't happen. :-(

    One of my books arrived today and I believe the other is arriving tomorrow, so I'll be going out to the locker to pick those up - so that's good!

    Not much else, but I'm working on some music-related personal programming projects, and I've been putting a lot of time into that today. I created a couple of tools to help me in my bass playing and learning, and I'm pushing them forward. (I realize, however, that I'm feeling as though I want to divorce my music time from any computer stuff whatsoever, so this might be a fallacy - not sure yet.)
    Oddly likes this.
  9. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-22 - Sunday.

    Not much today. Did Bass Fitness exercise #121 up and down the fretboard, and did exercise 1 at 60 bpm, then 120 bpm, then 180 bpm just for the exercise. Played along again with some jazz bass backing tracks. Rediscovered an old song that I liked - Bluesette - and I can't remember who did the arrangement that I heard and liked, but I'm going to add that one to my limited repertoire.

    More work on some of the music practice tools that I'm creating for my own benefit, but not much focused feature work (lots of refactoring).
  10. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-23 - Monday.

    Yesterday was kind of a crapshoot - more programming than music, which is depressing.

    Today - I picked up my new book, Single String Studies for Six-String Bass Guitar by Bruce Arnold. (It's spiral-bound - a really nice touch, as it stays open on a music stand.) I did six exercises in Bass Fitness at 120 bpm - exercises 1 through 6 in Section A - and I realized a couple of things:

    1. I'm having to fight to keep the bass angled the way I desire. I did recently reposition a strap button, which has helped a little bit - but I'm still pushing down on the bass with my plucking wrist, and my fretting thumb is under strain from holding the neck in place. This impedes relaxation and speed (and actually affects my muting as well). So I'm gonna have to figure something out here.

    2. Playing high or low on the neck requires me to actually reposition the entire bass - playing above the twelfth fret can be an exercise in frustration unless I'm only using the top strings. I didn't really realize this before, but these exercises run from the B string to the C string, and at the twelfth fret, fretting the B string with my pinky isn't really great. If I went further, I'd end up hitting the heel, and I feel as though my fretting arm is already bound up towards my body at that point. Physically shifting the bass causes me to mess up, though - timing errors, fretting errors, etc. (I suppose physically shifting the bass happens all the time, but regular basslines aren't as demanding? Or maybe I only tend to use specific portions of the fretboard in a given range? I don't know. Something to think about.)

    3. While I can do the exercises at 120 bpm (and possibly faster) quality suffers. I'd wanted to take them really slow and focus on minutiae....but it takes so much time to do exercises at 60bpm. I think I'm going to back down to 90bpm or 100bpm to fix some of the issues I'm hearing and seeing (mostly with shifts and a bit of string buzz when fretting with ring or pinky fingers on the lower strings due to the stretch, and sometimes during OFPF at the nut).

    I checked out the Bruce Arnold book and did a quick exercise out of it, attempting to sight-read music for one string and play it (in this case, I did the A string in C major). It was dire. I set a metronome at 30bpm and I can't sight-read at that tempo; between my bad vision, my reading chops (improving, but not great) and my lack of orientation on the fretboard if I'm not looking at it, I can tell that these exercises are going to kick my ass and be really frustrating. I don't know if I'll really develop the muscle memory for these big jumps, but we'll see.

    Part of me thinks that starting with C major will be the easiest - but another part of me is thinking, if you don't start with stuff outside of your comfort zone, you'll never move to it. So I think that in this case, I may start with the exercises for the high C string (physically easiest, and also tuned to C) but start with the F#/Gb exercises (least comfortable, and the reading for this string has both bass and treble clef) and work my way back around to C major.

    Hasn't been a bad day overall - the weekend was a bit slow and I wasn't necessarily feeling the happiest, but today feels a little better. I plan to do some ear training tonight using TonedEar - I'm supposed to have perfect pitch, but I feel as though I've been losing it lately, and that can't happen. I'm nothing without my ears, so I gotta save 'em.

    If anyone is reading this, thanks for listening to me ramble!
  11. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-24. Tuesday.

    It's been a while without outside music and it feels like it's going to be a while longer.

    Yesterday, after the post above, I did ear training practice on TonedEar. Although my perfect pitch has suffered a bit, it's still good enough for the perfect pitch test on TonedEar with chromatic notes not to be challenging. However, I discovered the functional ear training "intervals in context" exercise that plays a progression and then an interval - that was actually a lot more helpful than I expected (and became challenging), so I'll be doing a lot more of that. (It's a little janky - it uses a piano voicing that has overtones, and sometimes it'll use the lower keyboard register - so it's sometimes difficult to pick out notes, or sometimes I'll pick out a note and its overtone and get a question wrong. But it's good.)

    I also watched some Drumeo videos on Youtube - I rewatched the Billy Cobham interview, the Art of the Rhythm Section, and I watched the Matt Garska interview where he talks about training methodologies. Even though these are drum videos, I've found that many of the topics can be helpful for all musicians; Garska's talk helped to give me some perspective about practice.

    Today, did 9 exercises out of Bass Fitness Part A at 90bpm (eighth notes). Felt like it took forever. I know that practice isn't supposed to be a quick thing - it's measured in hours - but I felt my patience wearing thin after a while. Part of this is due to my bass positioning - I still have to figure that out for occasions that I'm not wearing a belt. Part of it is just playing the exercise from B to C back to B for frets 1 to 12 back to 1. It's just tedious and I have to take a small breather after each exercise. Perhaps that'll get better. I guess I'll keep slogging through. (This is where Matt Garska's talk helps. Sometimes practice is boring, repetitious, slow, and frustrating.)

    I plan on doing more ear training tonight - 100 questions on TonedEar.

    Some thoughts - I find myself losing a bit of motivation because I don't have a personal goal to work towards. I've been jamming along to the Real Book recordngs on Youtube, and I've been studying some theory and practicing, and doing this other stuff - but it feels a little hollow mainly because I won't be able to play with an ensemble for the foreseeable future. Bass is still fun....but I honestly have more fun noodling to guitar backing tracks and practicing soloing. It's unfocused, but it feels better as a solitary activity. (I think part of this is because I can pick up songs outside of jazz fairly quickly due to my ear - if it took me a while to learn material, I'd probably find it more rewarding during this time. But the point of learning material on bass is to go out and play it with other people, so I can pick up a lot of stuff...only to not play it.)

    Other than that, I think the piano may be on the way in the coming weeks and I'm picking up another bass method book tomorrow.

    More tomorrow.
  12. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-25 - Wednesday.

    Yesterday, after posting - did 100 functional ear training questions. Ended up with something like 92 out of 100 correct, but I was hoping to level up quicker and test myself with more intervals. Some stupid mistakes in the beginning hindered my progress (you only level up if you get a streak of questions correct - wrong answers set you back a lot) - I once answered a 5-2 perfect fifth interval as a 2-5 perfect fourth, I got some close intervals in the lowest piano register which threw me off, and one time I heard an overtone that wasn't the actual note.

    Today - Bass Fitness and a bit of the Beast exercise (lazily, though). Gonna structure my Bass Fitness practice a little differently - Part A can be split into three sections; fingers ascending, fingers descending, and fingers alternating, each with four exercises. So today, I did all four from fingers ascending, and tomorrow, I'll do the fingers descending exercise. That'll help me cut down practice time.

    It's been a while since I've done something like The Beast, so that'll be helpful in some ways. I think it'll also be helpful for me to set the starting note sequence on different strings other than just the B and C - so one round might be BEADGC (and back down - CGDAEB), while another round might be from EADGCG (and back down - GDAEBE), then DGCGDA (AEBEAG), etc. I think this'll help in terms of fretboard knowledge, and it might address a weakness that I know I have - descending fills.

    Not the best day, but better than nothing.
    Oddly likes this.
  13. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-26 - Thursday.

    Weird times. I'm not sure if I miss human contact or if I just miss musician contact. Been watching more TV lately, which is just a distraction, but at this time it's fairly worthy. (Entertainment keeps us docile, I suppose.)

    Part A descending (5 through 8) today from Bass Fitness. Got my other book today - the six-string bass guitar concept - and I'm going to try to work that into the routine starting tomorrow. Also did 100 ear training questions - got 94 out of 100 right this time, but still annoying because I only leveled up to seconds and sevenths in addition to roots, thirds, and fifths. (I leveled up to sixths with two questions left, sigh. That penalty is brutal.)

    Right now, my bass routine isn't really consisting of much, and I think it might be time to really change that. In addition to Bass Fitness, I'd like to work in material from the new book, and I think I'd like to up my ear training exercise from 100 questions to 200 or 300 - or maybe more, I don't know. Ear training doesn't take much time, and I think I can do more and get a lot more out of it. (It's something that I can do at any time, actually.) I really need to be able to play with people again, though. I can familiarize myself with jazz standards, which is beneficial in some ways, but it means little when I can't workshop it with others. I dunno - I guess it's worth it to put in some repertoire work, but it seems hollow.

    Miscellaneous - watched this great video, The Seven Levels of Jazz Harmony by Adam Neely which was very well done and very interesting. I'd love to explore more of this stuff on a piano, but due to shipping delays I won't have the piano I ordered for a good while.

    Tomorrow's another day.
  14. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-27. Friday.

    - Bass Fitness Part A alternating at 90 bpm.
    - Went through the first chapter of The 6 String Bass Guitar: mode system concept. I won't get much, knowledge-wise or practice-wise, out of this chapter (although the tetrachord thing was interesting - that might help me with single-string scales, and it might be interesting to check out the other nine combinations that aren't diatonic). However, I think I can improve scale, chord, and arpeggio spelling through chapter one if I go through the exercises and say the notes as I'm reading/playing them in all keys. Also, reading ledger line notes. So many of them. So many lines.
    - Did the perfect pitch practice for five minutes or so on TonedEar in chromatic mode (all 12 notes) - 100 questions, got 98 correct. One mistake was a semitone and one was just a dumb mistake. (However, I think that the functional ear training exercises are actually helping in this area.) Notes I need to work on are G#/Ab and C#/Db - takes me longer to get those for some reason. I've also noticed that A as a note has been sounding "off" to me lately, but I think the functional training will help here.
    - Did functional training at the beginning of the day, 150 questions this time. Unlocked fourths as an interval. Instead of doing 300 questions at once, I think it might be better to do two or three 150-question exercises throughout the day - 150 questions was okay but I felt motivation waning near the end.

    Miscellaneous - finally finished watching this Stanley Clarke live concert - definitely some cool stuff. His tone's great - maybe a bit too "spanky" for me (that's his attack that he uses sometimes), but I love the fundamental voice of his instrument. I might experiment with trying to achieve something similar to his tone - it's got this phenomenal, full-range tone that I really like that I think would translate really well to an extended-range bass.

  15. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-28. Saturday.

    No bass today - bad on me, I know. Crushed a nap in the middle of the day. However, I revisited my home studio and fixed some stuff I needed to take care of but hadn't. I also finally (re)set up my USB hub so that my Microkorg, my friend's Alesis electric kit, and the Helix can all be plugged in to my computer at the same time for maximum versatility. This is a Good Thing (now, it's easier to sit down and do a project rather than jump through the hookup hoops, which is always a barrier to work and creativity.)

    Also revisited an Afrobeat/Calypso-style Ableton project I'd been working on a bit ago, and with the Microkorg, laid down some sweet sweet pads over certain sections. Wonderful stuff.

    Don't know if I'm going to get in ear training or bass practice today or not - probably not bass practice, but it could happen. But I'm happy about the studio setup and I'll keep making progress in that regard.

  16. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-29. Sunday.

    Last night after doing some studio stuff, I grabbed the bass while watching Macross and started to run through some modal fingering exercises - mainly, the three positions for Ionian and Aeolian mode (first finger, second finger, fourth finger). This was good as it was the last thing I was thinking about before I went to sleep. Good for the fretboard familiarity - I know this stuff, but only one out of three fingering for each mode is automatic for me.

    - Woke up and did perfect pitch practice on TonedEar. 100/100 in about five or six minutes. i need to find a way to time this so that I can improve my note identification time.
    - After perfect pitch practice, did functional interval ear training. Got to a streak of 50 or so questions then started making stupid mistakes. (Of note - takes 20 questions to level up, so perfect play with 100 questions means five levels. Missing a question seems to set you back by six questions.) I'm going to level up my starting point from roots, thirds, and fifths to roots, seconds, thirds, and fifths.
    - Tonight - Bass Fitness Part A ascending (#1 - #4) at 94 bpm. Some notes - I've been lax and I did the exercise tonight sitting on my couch instead of standing. Also, exercise #4 gives me a bit of string buzz on my ring finger on the higher frets when descending and crossing strings due to pinky length. I might need to put some work specific to fret 12 up across all strings (B and E are far for my pinky).
    - Also tonight - Dorian study, three positions (1st, 2nd, 4th finger) based on the book exercises. A bit lax though, not sure if this one will stick.
    Colyn likes this.
  17. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-30. Monday.

    - Bass Fitness, Part A descending at 94 bpm. Some parts were a little sloppier than others. We'll see if I'll be cleaner the second go-round this week.
    - Bass Fitness, Part B first and second exercise at 60 bpm targeting the index and middle fingers. These are the string stretching exercises where one finger stays on either the bottom or the top string. Not difficult on a four- or five-string, more difficult spanning the B to C while actively trying to hold the stretch. I "cheated" this a bit for the first go-round to get a feel for it - instead of each exercise up from the 1st fret to the 12th and back, I did them from the 12th to the 1st and back. Gonna start working these in at a slow pace. Next time I'll do the third and fourth exercises out of those, targeting the ring finger and the pinky. These exercises can be split the same way (ascending, descending, alternating) but because I'm doing them so slowly (60bpm) I'll probably do two a day instead of four a day. We'll see.
    - Ear training, functional interval training. Started with roots, seconds, thirds, and fifths, and leveled up to include sevenths, sixths, and fourths. Got 96 out of 100 correct, but my identification isn't always super-snappy. It is getting better, though, and I can see the progress, so this will continue.

    Miscellaneous - I'm skipping the perfect pitch training today. It's good, but I need more. That's not saying that I won't do it, but it's more of a game for me than an actual training tool unless I can get time feedback on my answers (which TonedEar doesn't provide). Maybe I can make my own tool to do this, though. I think I might also try the chord progression training on TonedEar - it seems like it's okay, but it's limited to triads and sevenths, when I'd like to really train hearing extended chords (or better yet, chord inversions - specifically, being a bassist wanting to be able to lock in with unknown jazz piano changes more easily). So I don't know. This might be okay, but it might not be the tool I'm looking for.

    I jammed along with a few of Briggs' backing tracks on Youtube today, and I realize that I think I need to revisit my right hand technique. It's not so much the way I pluck as the consistency - I feel as though I don't have as much control over my fingers as I'd like to, and so I feel that my plucking is sloppier than it could be. I dunno. I'll work something out for it.

    While jamming, I tried to actively use alternate finger positions (1st, 2nd, and 4th finger) for the major, minor, and Dorian stuff. I definitely have my "comfort" fingerings for all of the scales I do, and so I guess I'm going to have to force myself to use the other fingerings until they become my comfort fingerings as well.

    Still kind of lacking inspiration. I don't have a way to do online collaboration other than recording tracks, and in my experience, I'm better basswise when i have something to lock in with - either a melody, or a chord progression. I've never really been one for just bass and drum grooves (because, where does it go? need some harmonic content or melodic content). So maybe it's time to talk to my bandmates in the originals band and see if we can't start sending stuff back and forth. (We already do this in the Afrobeat band, but that group is really more about performance than writing.)

    Tomorrow's another day.
  18. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-03-31. Tuesday.

    Not the best day practice-wise. Really felt like I was just going through the motions to get it done. But something's better than nothing.

    - Bass Fitness, Part A alternating at 94 bpm. A few fingering mistakes as usual. If it's egregious I'll repeat the phrase. Somehow, people are able to play without making mistakes - I don't know how that's done. For me, it's not that I can't play a phrase correctly, but it's either a focus issue (focusing too much) or a loss of focus issue (not focusing enough) and I'll inevitably misfinger something (or finger something from another pattern). But there's progress, and I can actually feel the strength in my ring finger and in my forearm from doing these exercises daily.
    - Phrygian study, all three fingering patterns (1st, 3rd, and 4th finger). For the longest time, I only really played the modes from the 1st fingering position, so these exercises are really helpful in terms of getting the new patterns under my fingers and unlocking the fretboard in a way that I hadn't before. I truly wish I'd done this like, ten years ago.
    - Functional ear training. Felt like a chore today. Got 95/100, made it from root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th to all diatonic intervals. Should have gotten farther, but kept killing my streak around the 30-question mark (dumb mistakes, like literally clicking the wrong thing from not focusing).

    I'm not sure how I'm going to incorporate the modal studies into my playing. Certain fingering patterns just aren't as efficient as others (usually, the five-fret variants in the lower registers). However, on a six-string, it's definitely handy to practice connecting the patterns via two-octave scales in a single position (something else I'll have to work into the rotation as part of the modal studies).

    Interestingly, the book I bought on modal study only uses the 1st finger positions for individual mode practice in chapter 1 - my comfort zone. Chapter 2 is supposed to tie them together. So I've been doing the scale exercises from Chapter 1, but I've just been doing the set of exercises for each finger position. (I haven't really done this in a structured way, but it's been happening.)

    I worked on finger strength and dexterity really early on - before I played bass, I started learning classical guitar, and did a lot of OFPF exercises which I brought over to bass. As such, I feel like I have good fingers; I use all of them and they're fairly dextrous. But it's been a while since I've actively worked on improving left hand strength and dexterity, and I can tell that Bass Fitness is definitely having a great effect. I should have worked on Bass Fitness Part B today (and I'm kind of tempted, since I have the time) but my fingers are definitely feeling it. They're feeling good, strong, but I guess I don't want to overdo it and I think my forearm and fingers have already gotten a good workout (especially my weaker ring finger) - they feel slightly sore, like a good after-gym feeling. So I might try to take it easy tonight and not do any more gymnastics.


    Piano situation - I'm not getting that thing until the end of April, unfortunately. Nothing to be done about it. I was hoping to use it to further my understanding of jazz theory and actively work on inversions and voicings of common chord extensions. It's easier to do on an actual piano. But not impossible without.

    Bands - nobody's meeting now, but one of the keys players in one of my bands has reached out to me with the idea of doing a small jazz quartet after COVID-19 has passed, so if we decide on a repertoire we might be able to collaborate online somehow. He sent me an album by Rachael Price called The Good Hours, and it's a really nice album and she's got a killer voice. Doing something in that vein would be really nice (but I'd have to really improve my walking chops).

    Tomorrow's another day.
  19. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-04-01. Wednesday.

    Good day.

    - Bass Fitness - Part A, ascending at 94 bpm. Smooth finger action, little overall hand movement (everything done by fingers), felt good.
    - Bass Fitness - Part B, exercises 1 and 2 at 60 bpm. Still very rough, but good exercise. (Also, started from the first fret this time, ascending to twelfth and moving back down - no cheating.) Really focused on the stretch here and making the fingers do most of the dexterity work instead of making hand shifts. I also have an issue with flappy fingers on this exercise, so I won't be starting these at 90 bpm like the Part A exercises.
    - Bass Fitness - Part B, exercise C at 60 bpm - only did half of it (first fret to twelfth fret). This one's hard because of the ring finger stretch - I can't yet do it on the six without a lot of hand movement. I'll just keep working on it at 60 bpm.
    - Modal studies - Lydian in all three finger positions (1st, 2nd, and 4th). Did this in a slightly more regimented way today, working from the 6-string bass guitar book and doing the Chapter 1 exercises, but repeating them for all positions. Also ran through connecting the patterns together across the fretboard.
    - Functional ear training. Bad day today - rough performance (intervals after a chord progression on TonedEar). Got 90/100, which is not as good as I usually do. Lots of dumb mistakes today (I got the first question wrong - the first question!) and I kept messing up my streak, so only got to add sevenths and sixths.
    - Perfect pitch review - did 50 questions, got 49 right. Marked a Db as a D.

    - Functional ear training - for this exercise, I use the "simultaneous" setting, which plays both notes of the test interval at the same time. This can be rough in the lower registers - TonedEar just -loves- to give you cluster intervals in the lowest piano register. Maybe I should switch this up every now and again; there's an option for ascending and descending intervals, which plays the note one by one. Might be good practice - might not be, I don't know.

    Began watching the Chordal Harmony Masterclass by Janek Gwisdala on Youtube today. I currently play chords, but I don't really incorporate them into my regular, everyday playing - it's always felt like a separate thing and I've always wanted to incorporate it more. There's a lot of great stuff in the video so far - I'm only halfway through, but I feel that I've gotten some good takeaways:

    - Chords don't have to be full, multinote chords. Although they're fun and can sound amazing (I mean, who doesn't love Holdsworth chords and a five-string 1-5-9-3-7 voicing), simple intervals like tenths can go very far. I use tenths, but I tend to add the fifth to "fill out" the sound, which may not always be necessary. Using "naked" tenths might be a better way to actually incorporate chords into my regular playing instead of them being a separate thing.
    - Simple exercises - the vocabulary fundamentals - are paramount. If you don't have those, you can't express chords on the instrument. He did a simple diatonic exercise in tenths through the scale - and while I can do this, I can't do it as quickly or smoothly as he can (I have to think about it a bit). If I want to get better at chords, it's time to practice the fundamentals. (I can actually incorporate this into my modal studies.)
    - Practicing chord inversions - specifically triads. He did a good exercise where he chose a jazz standard and played the changes using a chord and its inversion for each change, which I thought was a brilliant functional way to incorporate and practice chords (and definitely not something i can do easily). That's a challenge and a separate journey, and the beginnings of comping on bass.
    - Approaching chord voicings from a melody-first perspective (top-down) - using intervals to imply harmony, and then using more notes (more sonority) to either enhance the harmony, change the harmonic implication (the complexity), or simply add dynamics. There's some good stuff here. He did a quick exercise over Autumn Leaves, playing the melody and adding a bass note to imply the harmony, which is a great way to add chords in a functional way to one's playing. He also took a A minor interval - the root and tenth - and experimented with adding a third note, changing the character of the chord. This is the type of stuff that lends itself to harmony and composition, a way of breaking out of my current boxes.
    - Janek said that you should always be honest with yourself about your abilities - that resonated with me. There are a lot of things I can do on bass....but I don't always do them fluently or consistently. Being honest about these shortcomings is an opportunity to move forward.
    - He also said that it's okay to suck at something! In fact, it's the best thing, because you have the opportunity to make it that much better. This has always been a weakness - I have always tended to shy away from the things I'm bad at (I bet I can trace this to my childhood experiences) but lately, at least with bass, I feel as though something's changed. I recognize that this isn't a quick journey, and I guess the big change is that there's no actual endgame - I'll probably be doing Bass Fitness exercises and other stuff for the rest of my life as a bassist. That's okay.

    I'm definitely going to have to check out other videos in the Practice Room series for inspiration. Seems there's a lot of good stuff to learn, and I feel like Janek's in the place where I would like to be from a player's standpoint.

    Also - his singlecut is GORGEOUS. Man. My god.

    I feel good about where I am and what I'm doing. I'm actively working on my physical abilities and limitations, and I'm slowly improving my vocabulary in various ways. It's not quick, and it's not perfect, but I think I've finally realized that this is a lifelong journey. Just gotta keep moving forward.

  20. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    2020-04-02. Thursday.

    Felt like I phoned it in today.

    - Bass Fitness - Part A, descending at 94 bpm. Decent. Ascending is smoother than descending (as it's always been for the 10+ years I've been playing) but it's good. Bumping everything up to 98bpm next week, and +4 every week until I need to slow down and revisit.
    - Bass Fitness - Part B, exercises 3 and 4 at 60 bpm. Exercise 3 is really tough control-wise due to the ring finger. I thought exercise 4 would be more difficult because of the pinky and its reach, but it's actually much easier for me than exercise 3. Looks like I'll be at 60 bpm for a while on Part B until things get smooth. (Exercise 4 is actually harder on the higher frets than the easier frets because of the neck taper - short pinky problems.)
    - Modal studies - Mixolydian. Wasn't as rigorous today. Ran through the three positions. First position for this one is a bitch as it's a five-fret span for the whole thing. Should have run through tenths, didn't.
    - Functional ear training - simultaneous intervals. Did it first thing in the morning, got 93/100, got to full diatonics. I think it's time to start with all diatonic notes and work my way up.

    Not the best, but something got done, so it's a non-zero day and it counts. Maybe more will come tonight. Probably not. I dunno.

    Tomorrow's another day.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 27, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.