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Question about chromatic approach notes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tombolino, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012

    Think of Jaco's playing for this question. I am trying to find out if there is some kind of rule of thumb on knowing when I can approach in quick chromatic notes the target note....

    when does 3 chromatic notes work well before target note?
    when does 2 chromatic passing notes before target note?

    Yes, of course, Im aware that it depends on the chord in play, but having said that, I wonder if there are some rules of thumb?

    Thank you
  2. go with the force Luke...
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Time signature rules. If 4/4 you have four beats per bar, i.e. how many beats do you have to finish your walk and be on the next chord for the chord change is what you have to take into account.

    You have been playing root-five R-5-R-5, R-5-R-5 and it is now time to go to the next chord.

    The three note walk. Going from G to C. I target the C and miss it by 3 frets. My last bar of G will be R-5-R-R (best to start your walk from the old root) then take off G#, A, jump up to the A string and grab the B note and then be on the C note for the change. Going from C to D R-5-R-R then back up and grab B, C, C# and land on D.

    Going from G to C with a one note walk. My last bar of G will be R-5-R-X. X being one note from the root C. One way X could be the B note, Coming from the other direction X could be the C# note. Easy way is to target the next root and miss it by what ever walk length you want to use.

    Another way -- X can be the dominant 5th of the next chord. So R-5-R-X if going from the D to the C. The X would be G as G is the 5th of C and the G note pulls you into the next C chord. This takes a little thought and I seldom go the dominant 5th draw route.

    A one note next to the next root is an easy walk. Two note walk is not all that hard just miss the next root by two frets then walk - and be on it for the chord change.

    Leave enough room to walk and be on your root for the chord change. Learning curve comes into play with how you play the last bar before the walk and knowing when to leave. Hint, mark a lyric word as your leave spot.


    Mar 29, 2006
    Good answer to that question.

    I take a whole step before going chromatic to get more of a feeling of initial movement, but I play as low as I can, so the sonic difference probably woulnt be that noticeable.

    EX: E F# G G# A

    Another translition I like to use, at least for I to IV,
    is to hit the I, then using the above pattern, return to the I between each ascending note, using 8th or 16th notes.
    This keeps the I as the dominant chord, while still providing a feeling of movement through the ascending notes.

    EX: EE F#E GE G#E A

    Youre welcome. :bassist:
  5. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Don't worry about a rule, just worry about whether it sounds good or not.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Certainly. The problem comes in when you don't know how it's going to sound until after you play it.
    The "rule of thumb" is to actually "hear" the notes you want to play before you play them. It doesn't matter how many appoggiatura or mordents or upper neighbor/lower neighbor etc etc etc you memorize, it still doesn't lend any meaning or intent to your playing.

    So how do you hear the notes before you play them? Ear training, ear training and more ear training. Not just transcription, but sight singing, identifying intervals, triads and chords, singing intervals, triads and chords until the sound and where those sounds live on your fingerboard have a relationship that you don't have to think through every time you want to play.
  7. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks everyone and thank you Malcolm and Thundergod! I can hear some of this in my head but my fingers cant quite do it. :)
  8. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    There is some techniques, exercices and rules you can apply.

    here are some: Play Chord-tones on downbeats preferably with a chromatic approach from below like this for C Major:

    b-C d#-E f#-G

    Then play a diatonic (scale tone) from above your chord-tones:

    d-C f-E a-G
    Then mix the 2 approaches in 2 ways:
    1) chromatic to diatonic to chord-tone: b-d-C, d#-f-E, f#-a-G
    2) diatonic to chromatic to chord-tone: d-b-C, etc....

    To add more chromatism, play a passing tone between a diatonic approach and a chord-tone when the interval is a whole step, like this: d-db-C, d-d#-E, a-ab-G.
    Then you can add up to start with the chromatic note from below or above like this: b-d-db-C, f-d-d#-E, f#-a-ab-G.

    Hope this will get you started. Aim for the CT on downbeats at first or finish a phrase on an upbeat with a CT for a better jazz rhythm.