Re: Improvisation

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Posted by Pat Harrington on March 31, 2000 at 22:38:13:

In Reply to: Improvisation posted by Denny on March 30, 2000 at 17:04:36:

: It's my biggest weakness in bassplaying.....whenever my teacher opens up a section, I have no idea what to do, I have a small idea, but I don't really get it. People keep on telling me about the key and the scale, but I don't know exactly what to do with them. Can anyone help me?

Hey Denny....You've posted perhaps the toughest question there is; Ed's
got it right...The key to soloing is not necessarily learning scales and modes,
but chord construction; learning what notes exist in which chords, and
how the chords relate to each other in a piece of music, and how a *melody*
relates to the underlying chord structure. One of the BEST pieces of advice
I've EVER HEARD relating to this topic was from the master himself,
JACO PASTORIUS...and I quoteth..."The only way to learn how to play
bass melodically, is to learn melodic bass lines...A lot of bass players
just listen to a bass line, you know they're just playing (plays typical bass line)
" The bass players should learn all the parts to a song, the keyboard line,
the guitar line, vocal line, whatever"......GOOD ADVICE!!!!!.....Take a piece
of music, learn the parts OTHER THAN THE BASS LINE....You can
take something as easy as a Beatles tune, learn those melodies, and
start incorporating them in to your solos...A good source of melodies are
of all things TROMBONE LINES!!!....The trombone parts are bass clef,
voiced close to the upper register of the bass guitar, and usually not so
speedy as where a bass guitarist can't copy them...Don't get so overfocused
on just playing bass lines as to where you're not hearing what the rest
of the band is doing...ALSO....keep things in perspective, BASS is a
SUPPORT instrument...I listen to a lot of JAZZ upright players that DON'T
SOUND MELODIC when they solo....It sounds like they're just playing a
bunch of scales....Scales on their own, DO NOT MAKE MELODIC MUSIC...
They are only a TOOL, and a SMALL PART of soloing....SO, if you don't
have anything to say melodically....Take a solo on a song in which you feel
more comfortable with the chord changes....
Good luck and keep your ears WIDE OPEN....

Pat H

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