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Soloing problems

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Murf, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Hi Guys/gals,
    Something which has been bothering me for a while now.....Anytime someone posts a thread here on TB about "Soloing How to's" the main advice given is to "sing" the part before you play and this will help your solos. Now, this is great advice BUT, what if the musician in question has been raised on a diet of say rock or metal and has to solo in a say jazz context??

    Basically what I'm saying is some of the best/classic "jazz" solos will/do sound "wrong/strange" to a non jazz bassist (even though they're theoretically and musically correct but if your not used to playing or listening to that idiom they make no sense (case in point younger musicians can relate better to a flea bass "solo" than to a pastorius/steve swallow/ray brown solo).

    I've done sessions where a bass solo was required on a certain track and I've had to take into account the style of music and tailor the solo part accordingly...I've learnt this through trial and error, having being raised on jazz/funk and fusion I "seem" to hear melodies differently and as I found what sounds perfectly acceptable to my ears sounds "wrong" to say a "rock" musicians ears.


  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think that - OK, ideally, you should sing your solos and play what you hear in your head - but this is a pretty advanced state and what to aim for, certainly - but you have to start somewhere.

    So - what helps is looking at chords as to what notes are available to you. So - if certain chords are being played straight - as triads - then it's proabably not a good idea to add in remote extensions of those chords - even if they are theoretically correct.

    So - if you stick to the notes that are actually in the chords being played - maybe adding in the odd passing note, then you can't go wrong really.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    If you want to play a particular style of music, you've got to understand the idiom. Listen to that style of music and figure out how to play some of what other people have done before. Even if you limit yourself to chord tones and a few passing notes there's still a bewildering range of choices so there's no substitute for listening in getting your head round another genre.

  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You're right - but I was just saying that the chord tones are a good starting point to help you get your head round this and can help you construct a fairly "safe" solo - but this is just the starting point on a path of continuous development! :)

    So what I was thinking of, was that I could sing a melody line to myself that would fit over chords but had virtually none of the chord tones - but as you say would have nothing to do with the style/genre - whereas, if you only use the chord tones actually being played, then you have more chance of playing something that will sound right - although of course you still will have to work at it and listen carefully etc. etc.

    I probably shouldn't have said "you can't go wrong" at the end - I was trying to be upbeat and optimistic - but should have said - "you have less chance of going wrong".... ;)