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Not covering enough real estate on the neck

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by L1nk42, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. L1nk42


    Dec 23, 2013

    I wanted to try this forum out to see if anyone can help me with a few things.

    I'm in a covers/party band that do cruises, hotels etc. We play alot of different music and I'm getting frustrated that I don't have the guts/knowledge to improvise.

    We play alot of rock n roll which I thought it would be quite simple to improvise over, my fellow band members have no trouble soloing over a I,IV,V chord sequence. I've been looking for videos tutorials on youtube to see if it will give me some idea on what to do but I'm either not seeing it for what it is or im looking in the wrong places.
    I'm comfortable with scales and can walk over a Jazz Standard E.g. Fly me to the moon, Wave, Autumn Leaves, All Blues etc. So if i can be confident in looking at a chord and knowing how to walk over it then how cannot i improvise a simple I-IV-V sequence.

    One of the problems is that I've realized when i see a chord i see a scale box that only covers one octave.

    So the bottom line is I don't know how to go about improvising and how to get out of these scale boxes ive got myself into.

    If anyone can point me in the right direction, or perhaps give me some ideas on how to approach these issues I would be very grateful.

    Kind Regards

    L1nk42 :)
  2. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Rather than look for tutorials, although there is nothing wrong with that, why don't you transcribe some I, IV, V bass lines that you like? Learn those lines and then mix and match. The next thing you know you'll be able to improvise.
  3. Learn and practice arpeggios across octaves

    Then work out the passing tones

    Learn to start on the 3rd, 5ths 7ths etc

    Find the 9ths, 13ths etc

    Practice them up and down the neck and ditch the scale approach

    All of that will help open some doors in your playing and then when all that doesn't bear fruit pray for Devine intervention, use your ears and risk hitting some bum notes for a while

    Those little box positions keep us safe but hellishly hard to break out of...

    It can be hard to overcome an attitude of. 'Keep it safe'

  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Speaking of "Devine intervention," nothing has helped me more with the problem you described as a couple of series of videos by Scott Devine. (His approach has much in common with "Pac-man's surefire scale practice method," which is stickied in the "General Discussion" forum," but the videos spell everything out in a more detailed, step-by-step approach).

    Anyway, the key ideas are: (1) Learn three different fingering patterns for the major scale: one starts with the index finger on the root, one with the middle finger on the root (this is the one you're probably locked into, as I was), and one with the pinky on the root. (2) Once you know all three fingerings, practice the scale ascending from the root across all of the strings; that is, don't stop at the octave, but rather continue until you run out of notes that can be reached within that position; (3) When descending, again do not stop when you reach the lower root: keep going until you've played all notes available within that position. (4) Once you get this down, start linking the different fingerings together: For example, when you get to the highest available note within a given position, shift up the neck one or more frets and then descend using a different pattern. Eventually the goal is to be able to move up and down the neck, switching freely among patterns.

    Some people have suggested focusing on arpeggios rather than scales, which is also a good idea. The same ideas described above can also be applied to arpeggios. In either case, the goals are to break out of thinking about scales and arpeggios as starting and ending on the root, and to be able to play them using different fingering patterns all over the neck. An extra bonus is that if you (as you should) pay careful attention to what notes you are playing -- not just the fingering patterns -- it turns out to be a great way to really learn your fretboard.
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Simply listen to melodies, listen to all forms of melodic music learn to humor whistle what you hear....after all if you cannot do it without an instrument what makes you think doing it with one will be any easier?

    Your issue is an internal one, judging by your experience, not any technical one. Put simp!y you cannot play what you cannot hear in your head, so listen more.....but listen more closely to the syncopation and phrasing....as said try transcribing parts, but ultimately find something to say and something worthwhile for other to listen to. : )
  7. L1nk42


    Dec 23, 2013
    Thank you all so much!

    These ideas are great! I will try them all and force the ones that work for me into my practice sessions
    I will no doubt come back to this thread and go over everything that has been said.

    It's nice to know that you guys knew instantly what i was talking about (goes without saying i guess).

    Thanks again :)
  8. MusicEd


    Nov 30, 2012
    Victor Wooten, in his book "The Music Lesson", cautions about thinking too much. He points out that there are 12 different notes within an octave and 7 of those are in a given scale. If you happen to hit one of the other 5, you are only a half-step from getting back to a scale note. He explains it much better, but I think what he means is learn to stop thinking too much, or "stop worrying and love the bomb".
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I think part of the OP's problem is thinking of scales in boxes rather than notes. I'm still not all the way there myself, but it can be very freeing to 1) know the NOTES in your scale, not just positions in the box, and of course then 2) know your fretboard. If you know you've got an F# in your scale and you know where all the F#s are on your fretboard, you'll be much more free to move around the neck.
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Maybe try "singing" your solo idea in your head and try to play that, rather than approaching solos as something that should fit a specific pattern on the neck?
  11. Lobomov


    Aug 2, 2013
    I usually dont solo when I play bass, so in principle, I know not what I'm talking about.


    My main instrument is guitar, and if you happened to be a guitar player, that said to me ... Hey dude, we play a lot of rock n roll and I'm at a loss on how to solo.

    Then my advice would not be to learn major scales in 3 different positions, nor would I talk of passing notes. I simply would say grab a minor pentatonic scale and let it rip. (So for a rock n roll tune in A, I'd just go berserk on a A minor pentatonic scale (or the blues scale giving you an extra note).
  12. ejmy


    Nov 30, 2008
    Carol Kaye has an interesting approach on improvising, all about chordal notes :

    (starts around 15 minutes)

    Works very well for her.
  13. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013
    I was going to say something similar... Just jumping octaves but playing the same thing seems to sound pretty cool even though simple. I have gotten into a habbit of jumping two octaves actually then decending back to the middle octave before going back to where I started.
  14. superfly8564


    Sep 23, 2013
    Learn all of your scales one one string, two strings and three strings. You'll be forced to move down the neck and once you are there, the patterns are still there.
  15. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    First off make sure your bandmates are cool with you improvising over the chords. I have found most don't :rolleyes:

    If you are a solid bass player and it sounds like you are sometimes moving outside of what your band has come to know from you gets you the stink eye.
  16. +1


    Definitely check out his videos on scales, walking bass lines etc. He does an excellent job at getting you where you want to go. My friend taught me in a similar fashion and it helped me advance much more rapidly than the others I play with who either dont want to learn or practice the wrong things