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!  

Looking for good exercises for horizontal movement

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by lordradish, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    A few weeks ago, I was watching Gary Willis' video that he did with Scott Devine at Scott's Bass Lessons, and one of the things he showed, when discussing his technique is, when soloing, the importance of shifting hand positions on the neck, horizontally. I think he mentioned something about making sure he doesn't play more than 4 or 5 notes without a position shift.

    I sat down and just tried that technique, and it reinforced something I've known for a long time... even after playing 35 years (I'm no slouch, been playing semi-pro for 2 decades), I do tend to be limited, more than anything else, by my lack of good horizontal movements, I think it really limits me, melodically - it keeps me 'bound to the box', so to speak, as well as makes me tend to focus too much on the tonic.

    So, I was wondering if any of you had some good advice/technique/exercises for getting better horizontal movement technique. I know about learning scales up and down the neck, I generally have no problem doing that, but it's more fundamental, for me, about re-envisioning the way I approach the fretboard, overall, so I'm looking for something along that lines, not just running scales. I play 5 and 6 string.

    I've been stuck for a long time on this, without fully realizing how much. Thanks, in advance.
    teh-slb, George Dennis and seang15 like this.
  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Try scales on 2 strings 1 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. Play them around the circle of 5ths. After you're comfortable with that, do the same thing do all 12 keys (going around the circle, not chromatically) starting on the E string. Then the A string, then the D string.

    Another game with scales is playing the major scales slowly, but displace each pitch by at least an octave and/or string. In other words. C on the A string, D on the D string (at the octave), E on the D string, F on the A string, etc. (for extra points, work this until you can do it with your eyes closed)
    lucas303 and George Dennis like this.
  3. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
  4. Erik Asma

    Erik Asma

    Jul 20, 2019
    Try playing some songs on as little a string as possible.

    Learned that in my early days, G string broke, no money so I had to wait and I then lost the saddle leaving me with a three string.
    You adapt and overcome. But you get that movement down.
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Yes, knowing the neck is key.
    Try playing a G major Scale thru 2 octaves.
    3rd fret to the 12th, across 4 strings. Fingure out a good fingering.
    Once you are comfortable do it in all keys..cycle of 4th's.
    ErikP.Bass likes this.
  6. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    I can do all of that, already, for a while, but I think it's more about breaking out of my thinking and habits, more than anything else. Thanks!
  7. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I play notes, A, B, C's and 1, 2, 3's. Place the Root (the A, B or C) then play generic chord tone (R-3-5-7) going up to the 8, 11 & 13. Or two octaves. The two octave box spreads you out more.

    Visualize your two octave box up the neck.

    Happy trails.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
    lucas303 and lordradish like this.
  8. brstma

    brstma my dog is an awesome dog Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2008
    In the last year I’ve started using slides a lot more when doing runs and solos and it has helped me with this.
    Seashore likes this.
  9. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    I've been doing that too, can actually sound really tasty.
  10. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Just to eliminate suggestions of things you have already tried...

    What have you already tried that either did or didn't work?
  11. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
    Grab a Shakeweight in each hand and get after it!:woot:
    teh-slb likes this.
  12. Analyze your playing and figure out what you usually do. After you have done stop doing that and find other ways to play. Write down your fingering and learn a different fingering. It sounds simple but habits are hard to break.
  13. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    Actually, it's hard to pinpoint. All I can say is that I can play 2 octave runs up the neck pretty easily. That's not translating to me moving out of the box when I'm actually doing playing, almost like they're not related, in some way (they are, but I'm not making the connection in a way that I need to). I might venture down or up a whole step, here or there, but I just don't seem to have that natural instinct like I do when in the box. I wish I had more to tell you! I haven't made a lot of an effort, outside of the scales, as I'm not sure what would be the most effective/efficient things to practice.

    I do think this ties into me hanging around the root so much, it's as though I can't shake my initial habits when I was a half-assed guitarist in my teens. It's amazing I've come as far as I have, considering all this, as I can generally get good gigs with good people. Perhaps that's because I've been a groover, for the most part, but I've been getting better at soloing, lately. Getting the 6 string 2 years ago kind of pushed me in that direction, a bit more.
  14. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    If you are now soloing on a 6 string, just do more of what you are doing now. Melody using scales related notes instead of chord tones is hard for me as it is just another World I've not waded around in.

    You mentioned being tied to the root, might use some inversions to force yourself into the melody (scale) notes. Other than that you are already over my head.

    If you are thinking, and using scale tones instead of chord tones for your solo, just keep doing more of it. Instead of starting each measure on the root try starting on the 3rd. This was a hint in a study piece I just read.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
    tinyd, lordradish and George Dennis like this.
  15. drumvsbass


    Aug 20, 2011
    How far in are you with the GW master class? The particular thing where he talks about shifting positions frequently is when he is using pentatonics to have them not sound as academic. Otherwise, he uses these micro shifts between the '2nd and 4th finger major shapes' as he calls them to achieve economy within the closest range without large fingerboard shifts. It's a brilliant system. And a really good course. There is a bit in there about shifting positions and when and why. Either way have fun. Gary is pretty funny too in a dry way.
    George Dennis likes this.
  16. This is a very basic beginners exercise, but it is very good for horizontal movements. This example is very simple, however it can be expanded in many ways; 7th chords, extended arpeggios, chord progressions, etc. This example is G Major chord progression triads up and down the neck.


    Work the triads both ascending and descending the neck (I didn't feel like tabbing it out for the descend! lol). This should get you out of the box and headed in new directions . . .

    Best of Luck!
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  17. Horizontal movement.

    so that’s what the kids are calling it these days.

    bah dum pish.
    teh-slb and lfmn16 like this.
  18. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    could you link the video you speak of?
  19. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    Not an expert in this (I'm kind of in the same boat, feel like I play the same poopie all the time) but chord inversions and their positions might help.

    A chord on the bass can be expressed as the root, the fifth, and the tenth above (minor or major). You can invert these chords by starting them with the third, and then the fifth, playing them up the neck. You can use chord tones and scales in these positions as well. There's a video somewhere, I'll find it.

    Edit: It's this GospelChops video; look at the way he uses chord inversions to build licks. This is something I'd like to incorporate myself - it's a matter of actually practicing instead of playing all the time.

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019

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.