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Using Geometric Shapes Within Your Bass Lines - Lesson with Scott Devine

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by devine, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. devine


    Aug 22, 2006
    Hey guys, time for another lesson... I'm on a roll at the moment lol!

    This week I was teaching a guy who was simply AMAZING at reading music... seriously... he could make music by reading the dead flies on your windshield!

    He's a professional bass player who mostly does theatre shows and musicals where reading music is an essential skill. But... he was really struggling with creating his own bass lines, grooves and fills.

    I sat down with him and chatted for a while about what the issue could be, and within a few minutes it was obvious...

    He was making the same old mistake many players do. In fact, in the past this is something I suffered from too.

    Here's a clue... It's all about geometric shapes... ;)... Geometric shapes!?? Yep... Take a look at the lesson HERE.

    PS. Within this new lesson I'm using a funky backing track that you can download from my website... details are on the video.

    Brand New Video Lesson.

    Over and out,

  2. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    Absolutely wonderful tutorial Scott...how, why...play it..Thank you!
  3. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Great lesson,
    I really appreciate your no nonsense approach. Over the years I have been accused of being a pattern player more than once. It's nice to see this addressed in a positive light.

  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Patterns aren't a bad thing...total dependence on patterns is. But they are a good jumping off point until you get more knowledgeable about what you're doing.
  5. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    I had not looked at pentatonics this way. Quite interesting.
  6. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    i think that is why it came naturally to me; i think in patterns as well. but i also know the notes
  7. Great video!

    When improvising, patterns are my fallback, and I'm pretty good at it. Arpeggios or pentatonic or diatonic scales or the "jazz" scale (pentatonic minor with a flatted 5th thrown in), I use them all and I can almost do it without thinking.

    Other times, when I have time to think and we're trying to nail down a new song, I'll approach it differently and construct a line deliberately.

    In your video, Scott, you said your student was great at reading. Back when I was starting out my teacher had me do a lot of scales and arpeggio excercises, and he drew all the "shapes" in my notebook. That has stuck in my mind even since. After I lost the notebook I picked up another one and wrote it all down again. My reading is for the birds; it takes me forever to get through a few bars, but once I get oriented I can lean on the patterns to get moving along.
  8. Ninjabot


    May 22, 2012
    Johnson City TN
    Thanks for posting this lesson. I never really thought about playing in patterns before but after watching it I realize that this is something that I do naturally. I've subcribed to your site and can't wait to dive in to see what new tricks and techniques I can learn.
  9. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks for another great lesson. I play by shapes in my mind, but instead of dots, I think of numbers for the scale interval. For whatever reason, I find the letter names of notes to be hard to follow while improvising, but the intervals/shapes just seem to match what I hear.

    The one thing I would emphasize is to practice moving between shapes on the fretboard. Learning the shapes is a great first step, but if you cannot move between them, your playing will seem rather monotonous.
  10. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Great Stuff , Scott. Being musically challenged, I now realize that I had been thinking this way all along, but it took your lesson to make it concrete.
  11. devine


    Aug 22, 2006
    Hey guys... the next part of this lesson is coming VERY soon so watch this space! I'm going to show how to expand this concept and start adding in the 'sexy' notes!

    See ya soon!

  12. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Thanks Scott. I love your site and your teaching style.
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Teaching in shapes instead of notes.... don't tell Jeff Berlin! :D
  14. devine


    Aug 22, 2006
    Lol... no, don't get me wrong... I'm definitely NOT saying don't think intervals/notes etc... in fact, I think in intervals ALL the time... but, this lesson is just the starting point of something much bigger ;)

  15. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    This isn't the first time that the most valuable thing I've come away with from one of Scott's lessons wasn't the thing that the lesson was actually about. Sure, I found the idea of breaking a scale down into a set of shapes very useful, but what the video really drove home for me was that the particular notes you play constitute only one (small?) aspect of playing. When he demonstrates soloing using only four notes, and makes it sound amazing, it's a vivid reminder of the importance of technique, feel, articulation, rhythm, dynamics, and so forth. We could argue about whether Wooten overstates the case when he says that notes -- including scales, melody, and harmony -- represent just one-tenth of what playing is all about, but there's no doubt that many of us spend disproportionately way too much time studying and practicing notes and not enough on all those other things. So I came away form the video motivated to work not on notes and shapes, but on all those other non-note things!
  16. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005

    Completly out of topic... what bass are you playing? looks like a shortscale jazz with a really growly E string...
  17. Egbert89


    Aug 30, 2012
    Absolute gold! thnx!!! Subscribing right now :p
  18. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    My music theory (note names of specific chords and scales) is weak, and have pretty much always processed my playing with shapes and patterns. For me, this lesson expanded some of my approach. Thanks!!
  19. I have always viewed the fretboard basically as a piece of graph paper and the various mappings of scales and their harmonized chords as shapes on the grid. It just seemed like the natural thing to do as I was getting more advanced. But it wasn't as though I was told to think like that. I think most players probably think this way.
  20. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA

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