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Bass Edu

Rhythm Drill Down!! Part 2

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Kevin guin

A few of you bass fanatics out there might be old enough to remember the infamous words “fuzzy math”. That’s all fine for the math wizards of the world. But if you are playing bass in the rhythm section then please be kind to your band members and stay as far away from “fuzzy rhythm” as possible! 

In my previous video lesson I detailed the use of rhythm-pairs to setup 16-bar exercises in rhythmic contrast. The format of the exercise is to play each rhythm off the other in equal 4-bar sections. 

The purpose itself of these rhythmic contrast exercises is to thoroughly learn all of the basic rhythmic values.

You could call these basic rhythmic values the “seven colors of the rhythmic rainbow”:

  • Whole notes
  • Half notes
  • Quarter notes
  • Quarter-note Triplets
  • Eighth notes
  • Eighth-note Triplets
  • Sixteenth notes 

My claim is that you can make a massive dent in learning these necessary rhythms by investing six-months of daily study at about 20-30 minutes per practice session. Not only that, but you will get excellent practice improvising the phrases as well. Setting up multiple benefits in your practicing is a smart way to go. 

An important point that needs to be emphasized for these lessons is that the principle of “restricted note choice” is an incredibly valuable thing to use in your studies. In fact, the use of one, two, and three-note solos is something built into many of the musical studies that I construct for my students. 

My experience is that the use of restricted note choice can give a major boost to the quality and effectiveness of many different musical exercises. When you subtract harmony from the equation your awareness of rhythm will skyrocket. 

If you are not accustomed to studying a specific rhythm, ie, quarter-note triplets, it can be difficult keeping your focus. Getting lost in the weeds is easy, and trying to solve more than one problem at a time will do it in no-time flat! 

The surest two ways to blow an exercise in rhythmic studies is to get tangled up with harmony or to start fishing around the fingerboard. Please work to keep these wayward excursions to a minimum. 

There’s no shame in doing one-note solos to lock in your rhythmic values. You will be surprised at how it forces creativity in your phrasing.

Great improvisers can whip an audience in a frenzy with the rhythm and phrasing of a one-note solo!! 

Since rhythm is the primary element in music, why not subtract harmony from the equation and concentrate on what’s truly the most important thing of all?

As far as this month’s video lesson is concerned, take note of the fact that although my opening clip pairs quarter-note triplets and sixteenth notes, the actual rhythm-pair of honor today is eighth notes and quarter-note triplets. 

Click to Download Link To Play Along mp3s

If you need a streetwise method to get quarter-note triplets under your fingers you can start by simply tapping quarter notes and then singing half notes on top. When you are comfortable with that then simply learn to replace a half-note with three notes and continue from there. Each half note gets a quarter-note triplet. You’ll figure it out! 

Notice how you need to almost drag the triplets to get them to slot out evenly in the measure. Indeed, musicians of an earlier age called them “drag triplets”. They seem to float over the rhythm section and have a very particular effect. And when you can learn to subtract one or more of the quarter notes from the triplet you will be getting into some very interesting rhythmic territory. 

Words of wisdom to musicians young and old: Please take your time with these materials and cultivate patience in all of your practicing.

Kevin

ps Don’t forget to download the play along mp3s below if you would like some help with comping materials for the lesson:

Click to Download Link To Play Along mp3s

Visit Me Online at basslessonswithkevin.com/

Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 5

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James Rosocha

Continuing our lesson of Approach Notes, Part 5…

In continuing with the concept of approach notes being applied to chord tones, this lesson approaches the root, third, fifth, and seventh degree of each arpeggio inversion by incorporating a double chromatic approach from above, and a single chromatic approach from below. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and a single chromatic approach from below -before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above/ single below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

Be sure to pace yourself with these lessons to avoid burning out.

Being overly ambitious with your practice schedule can lead to unrealistic expectations. Try learning one approach note concept and one chord type a week. Change your practice routine as necessary and tailor it to your needs as a musician. Good luck!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES – The Blue Notes (Minor Blues Scale)

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jaime Vazquez

Hello bass players and bass fans! Happy New Year 2024!

In this issue, we are going to study the blue notes.

In blues, jazz, and rock, a blue note is a note that (for expressive purposes) is sung or played at a slightly different pitch from standard. Typically the alteration is between a quartertone and a semitone, but this varies depending on the musical context.

The blue notes are usually said to be the lowered third(b3), lowered fifth(b5) and lowered seventh(b7) scale degrees. The lowered fifth(b5) is also known as the raised fourth(#4). Though the blues scale has “an inherent minor tonality, it is commonly ‘forced’ over major-key chord changes, resulting in a distinctively dissonant conflict of tonalities”.

Blue notes are used in many blues songs, in jazz, rock and in conventional popular songs with a “blue” feeling.

Formula:

The A Minor Blues Scale

1 – b3 – 4 – (#4/b5) – 5 – b7

A – C – D – (D#/Eb) – E – Bb

The grades(blue notes):

b3, (#4/b5), b7

C, (D#/Eb), Bb

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thebluenotes, #minorbluesscale & #bluesscale

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Staccato for Bass

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jaime David

Staccato for Bass…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the technique known as staccato.

When we talk about the staccato technique, we are referring to a form of musical articulation.

In modern notation, it signifies a note of shortened duration, separated from the note that may follow by silence.

* In 20th-century music, a dot placed above or below a note indicates that it should be played staccato.

* The opposite musical articulation of staccato is legato, signifying long and continuous notes.

Fig. 1 – An example of a normal notation.

Fig. 2 – Is the same example but now with the staccato articulation

Fig. 3 – A basic groove played and written in a normal notation.

Fig. 4 – The same basic groove using the staccato technique.

So, at the end of the day, you as a bassist will decide what type of technique you will use depending on the effect you want in your performance.

See you next year for more full bass attack!!! Happy Holidays & New Year 2024!!! Groove On!!!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Legato Slide vs Shift Slide

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jaime Vazquez

Legato Slide vs Shift Slide…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue we are going to study how to read the swing eighths.

When we talk about slide techniques, we are referring to what is known in classical music as the glissando.

• Glissando = a continuous slide upward or downward between two notes.

There are two types of slides, legato and shift.

Legato Slide = strike the first note and then slide the same fret-hand finger up or down to the second note. The second note is not struck.

Fig. 1 – Legato Slide – Upward

Fig. 2 – Legato Slide – Downward

Shift Slide = Same as Legato Slide, except the second note is struck.

Fig. 3 – Shift Slide – Upward

Fig. 4 – Shift Slide – Downward

So, at the end of the day, you as a bassist will decide what type of Slide you will use depending on the effect you want in your performance.

See you next month for more full bass attack!!! Groove On!!!

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 4

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James Rosocha

Bass Lesson: Part 4 of Approach Notes…

My previous lessons on the topic of approach notes covered approach notes from above, approach notes from below, and approach notes from below and above. This lesson flips the concept around to approach notes from above and below. Don’t make the mistake of only learning this material in the major keys. As a starting point, these exercises should be applied to major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, minor 7 b5, and diminished 7 in all 12 keys for all inversions. If you are just starting this lesson, I recommend you go back to my first lesson on approach notes and follow them in sequence. My lesson on arpeggio inversions lays the groundwork for the approach note concept to be applied. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and below- before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above and below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above and below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above and below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

These lessons take a very long time to complete so pace yourself and don’t give up. Good luck!

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