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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by patrickroberts, Sep 16, 2000.

  1. patrickroberts


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    has anyone got any tips on how to play solos, fluently and easily, for example, my generation, by the Who, and good times bad times by Led Zeppelin
  2. Cornbread


    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    practice :D

  3. Patrick -

    Whooo.....you've opened a BIG can o'worms here ;)

    Well, to start off with, learn and practice the scales/modes and arpeggios. All music (melodically at least) is based on something scalar or arpeggiated, even though it may be somewhat modified from the "basic" major/diatonic scales and arpeggios. A great deal of the material you're mentioning is based on pentatonic scales, so learning those is a good idea, although they're sort of "inside" the major scales.

    Another great tool is sitting down with the solos you like or admire and trying to learn them note-for-note. It will give you ideas for your own soloing, and will help get your ear trained so that you can hear ideas and then execute them. This does tie in directly with knowing your scales and arpeggios, and having the sounds of them in your head as well as their shapes under your fingers. Don't get frustrated if you can't learn the whole solo at one sitting, heck even if you've only learned one or two notes, you know more today than you did yesterday, right? :) Keep at it, and eventually you'll get it figured out. Also the more you do it, the easier it'll get, just like any other skill you're learning.

    Then put the two together, analyze the solos you like and have learned. Compare the note choices of the soloist (don't necessarily restrict yourself to other bassists, learn solos by anyone, if you like it, learn it) to the chord he/she is soloing over. Get a mental picture of how certain tones sound over certain chords. Even make a point of analyzing things you DON'T like so that you understand them and can avoid them in your own playing/soloing.

    If it sounds like a lot, well....it IS. But look at it this way: learning music is a lifetime commitment. You're not going to learn everything in a week, or a month, or a year. The greatest musicians work on learning something new constantly, right up to the day they die. So put in perspective, spending a few months or a year learning your music theory and scales/arpeggios is a small investment in your future as a musician, whether it's as a hobbyist or as a professional. Hope this didn't bore you to tears, and maybe even a bit helpful.
  4. Gard... great point.
    now i have a question to add... i am in my highschool jazz band, and the main dude (the word for him slips my mind, i dont think in jazz they call him a conductor.. or do they?) really gets a kick out of bass solo's. now i know you choose a scale that you think accomidates the mood of the song (blues scale for blues song...ect.) but what i'd like to know is, when it says the key changes at the top of the bar, does that also mean key change in the scale? like if it said on top c9 and then two mesures later it says fmaj7, does that mean play in the key of c9 with the scale, and when two measures pass switch into the key of fmaj7? or am i totally wrong completly?

  5. It depends on whether you are playing a solo, or an accompanying bass line.Here's a tip it took me a long time to learn- If you are soloing, never try to play every chord change, look at the progression and see what scale will work over it. Let's use C to F to B flat as an example.
    That's a II V7 I progression, and you can play the tonic scale over it.(B flat)I'm not saying it's the hippest thing in the world,but it's a good place to start. Now if you are playing a walking bass line in a High School Band, They are going to need to hear the tonic on the chord change. Actually it doesn't change keys, just chords, so you would want to play the notes in that chord, and progress to playing bass lines from there.
    There is tons more to add to that, and lots of variables, I am just trying to give a starting point.
    BTW, Orchestra = Conductor Jazz Band = Bandleader
  6. Mind you, as I say all this stuff, I'm not the world's greatest soloist, and I'm a pretty lame-@$$ jazz bassist, BUT...

    ...actually this all ties into what I said in my first post. There are two things you can do to get more fluent and fluid when playing over changes in jazz tunes.

    First, work on your arpeggios and their extensions, just keep adding a note, start with the triads (major, minor, diminished, augmented), then add the 7ths (maj7, 7, min 7, min7b5, fully diminished), then 9ths (don't worry, it's not THAT hard actually...), and so on with 11ths and 13ths.

    The other useful thing to work on is to play through the chord changes on a tune using the "color" or "guide" tones. These are the tones that really define the quality of a chord, the 3rds, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths. Completely avoid the obvious notes, the roots and 5ths. This is really the opposite of doing what a bassist would typically do to outline the chords, which is using the roots and 5ths on strong beats (say 1 and 3 in 4/4), and the 3rds and 7ths on the weak beats (2 and 4).

    Here's an example of #2 in action over a simple ii-V-I progression:

    ii7 V7 I7
    Chords: |Dmin7 G7|Cmaj7 |
    Play: F C B F E
    Or: C F F B C
    (this just WON'T line up the way I want it to :mad:...OK, imagine that the first 2 notes are under the Dmin7 chord, the 2nd 2 are under the G7, and the last one is under the Cmaj7...sorry)

    As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities that are half step motion from one chord to the next. This is why they are called "guide" tones sometimes, one note "guides" you to the next. You can just keep adding the extensions as the chords demand, i.e. G9, you'd be able to use B, F, and A (the 9 of G) as your color tones. Then when you get comfortable with this, you just "fill in" around those tones, and viola'.....you're soloing! :D (Well, at least you have a start on things).

    Using reedo's tip of just playing the scale over several chords will work, but won't be as good sounding as playing as the chords are going by. Yes, Dmin7-G7-Cmaj7 are all "in" a C major scale, but if you just run a C scale over the chords, there won't be any real sense to what you've just played, it will just be a string of notes that may work well, or may not (for example, G over the Dmin7 may not be exactly a good note choice....or it may, depends on how things are going harmonically....if it's a Dmin11, it's a GREAT choice though :D). Hope some of this helps....

    [Edited by Gard on 09-22-2000 at 01:49 AM]

  7. Using reedo's tip of just playing the scale over several chords will work, but won't be as good sounding as playing as the chords are going by. Yes, Dmin7-G7-Cmaj7 are all "in" a C major scale, but if you just run a C scale over the chords, there won't be any real sense to what you've just played, it will just be a string of notes that may work well, or may not.
    [Edited by Gard on 09-22-2000 at 01:49 AM] [/B][/QUOTE]

    I should have clarified that you should only use that as a practice tool, to see what works, and then work on note choices like the 3rd, 7th and 9th, etc. Here's a comforting thought related to "Guide tones"- Whatever you play, you'll never be wrong by more than a half step. :)
  8. good times bad times has a solo in it? what that 3 note break, where everyone gives him room for a second. thats not a solo, the hole frigging song is practicly a solo.
    the lemon song, now thats even better

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