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Start Hearing Modal Color On Your Bass

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Kevin Guin

Modal Color…

If you take your time in music learning there are nice surprises that await your hearing senses. It would seem to be an obvious thing that we learn music because we want to get close to these beautiful sounds. But how carefully are we listening? 

The possibility exists when we are charging through our learning processes that we will miss some of the sonorous byways of sound. As we work to “make the changes” we also run the risk of passing up a different and more subtle part of the musical equation. 

There is a sovereign beauty to each modal sound.

The chords can be voiced in many ways, but the actual sound of the mode itself remains. Can you hear it? 

The purpose of today’s lesson is to give you a few simple ways to get closer to these modal sounds – to begin to truly hear these sounds.

Whether you are more skillful on your instrument or less so, there are things you can do that provide contrast to the basic functional sound of the chord that will help you hear the extensions, the upper structure of the chord – the color!

Click to download the lesson materials – any questions, please visit me online at basslessonswithkevin.com

In the lesson I use a Major 7th(#11) chord vamp, the Lydian modal sound, with easy to understand activities that help the colorful extensions of the mode stand out in relief to the basic underlying major sound. After all, if you play a simple major triad it’s one thing, but when you start to add the various extensions you start getting into much richer territory. 

One thing I demonstrate in the video lesson is to play a phrase such as a scale fragment that ends on one of the colorful tones in the mode. This highlights that particular tonal color and it’s relationship to the basic major sound. 

But what are the “colorful” tones? 

In a general sense anything that is played can be said to have color. But in the sense of this lesson it means something quite a bit more specific. 

The 1,3,5 and 7th degrees have their own basic sound and function. Especially the 3rd and the 7th degrees. These tones tell you something perfectly functional: is the chord Major or Minor? Is it the Dominant chord – the five chord? 

But what about the 9th, the 11th and the 13th degrees?

When you add them to your 1,3,5,7 you are talking about the so-called upper structure triad (in this case it is a D triad). And it is this diatonic triad that has these colorful tones. 

When you experiment by landing on these tones specifically to highlight their inherent colors you move somewhat beyond the function of the chord. You move somewhat outside of making changes per se. You start adding color for the sake of color – and it sounds great. 

That method of experimentation is easy to do.

Play simple scalar lines and end on a color tone. Try the Lydian fourth-degree first – it’s an incredibly colorful sound. It has tension and color and a little bit of something else all rolled into one! 

Now try the 2nd degree – the 9th. Very nice. Not quite as much buzz in your ear but very pleasing. And what about the 6/13th itself? A remarkable sound that is very open in a major chord. It definitely has less tension. It has a more “open” sound but it is still very colorful in it own right.

Describing the sound of these tones in words might be considered futile or even crass in some circles, but we do it out of sheer appreciation. We do it because there truly is a bit of poetry in the sounds themselves. 

Another method in your search for color is to simply play the bare 1,3,5,7 arpeggio and finish soon on one of the extensions – especially with a long tone.

This way provides a solid contrast for your ear to place the tone in a type of musical color spectrum. First you hear the functional sound of the mode and then…wham, here comes the life of the party!  

The functional sound of the basic 7th chord arpeggio played in contrast to the color tones is probably the most obvious way to experiment in this manner but it is a very effective one, especially if you haven’t yet developed much technique on your bass. 

Building up your appreciation for these beautiful modal colors is a refined task for musicians and will add a sense  of appreciation to your daily practicing and playing, whatever the circumstance. 

I truly hope that you can find more music to play and more music to appreciate and that you can also make many musical friends to help you along on your artistic journey.

Want 2 Free Online Bass Lessons? Click Below:

Thanks to all for stopping in.

Kevin 

Remember… if you have any questions, you can always contact me online at basslessonswithkevin.com | View more of my Bass Musician Magazine Lessons | And check out my Try Before You Buy

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 6 

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James Rosocha

Approach Notes – Part 6 

As we move into lesson six of approach notes applied to chord tones, it’s important to go back and review the previous approaches. The constant review and application of these concepts will add a layer of chromaticism to both your bass lines and solos. The approaches need to be burned into your long term/ permanent memory for them to come out in your playing. 

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

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

The next example approaches the G major arpeggio in root position.

The next example approaches the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a single chromatic from below and a double chromatic approach from above -before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, single chromatic from below/ double from above 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 single chromatic from below/ double from above approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, single chromatic from below/ double from above 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 single chromatic from below/ double from above approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, single from above/ double from below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down.

After studying these various approach notes, you will begin to recognize the concepts utilized in your favorite solos. Continue the journey and good luck! 

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I

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Jaime David Vazquez - Lessons For Bass Guitar

Triads & Inversions Part I

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the triads and their inversions.

It is very important for all bassists to understand and master the triads, but it is even more important to understand their different inversions.

In Part I, we are going to learn what the triad is in fundamental position.

The Formula consists of root, third and fifth.

Degrees of the Triad

Major Triad: 1 – 3 – 5
Minor Triad: 1 – b3 – 5
Diminished Triad: 1 – b3 – b5
Augmented Triad: 1 – 3 – #5

Fig.1 – The C, Cm, Cdim & Caug triads
(Fundamental Position)

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I
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Bass Edu

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque

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Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice's Bassist Lewis Bridges - From the Album, Grotesque

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque

Bassist Lewis Bridges Shares…

“Gruesome’s sparse intro marks a stark contrast from the intensity of the rest of the album.  The original intention was to keep the bass simple but colourful, however as I worked on it, the lines grew more expressive and the more striking flourishes began to emerge.  The intensity builds into a harmonic minor passage that takes us into the drop — a signature death grind cacophony.  This is where Foetal Juice thrives.  You’re getting a full-on right-hand barrage to in the face to take you into a groove-laden mulch-fest.

I owe my throbbing bass tone to the Darkglass Alpha Omega pedal borrowed from our sound engineer, Chris Fielding (ex-Conan), mixed with the clarity of the tried and true Ampeg SVT CL.

As mentioned earlier, colourful basslines are important, especially in a one-guitar band. Chucking some funny intervals and odd flourishes here and there brings life into the brutality. There’s no point sounding brutal if it’s not gonna be fucking evil too!

Recording this playthrough was hard work. This was not the fault of James Goodwin (Necronautical), who was kindly filming and is ace to work with, but because in true Foetal fashion, we had stinking hangovers — and that jam room was hot!”

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Bass Edu

Bass Lines: The Circle

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jaime Vazquez

Bass Lines: The Circle…

Hello bass players and fans of bass! This month we’re going to study “The Circle.”

The Circle of Fourths can also be called “The Circle of Fifths or just The Circle.

Practicing the scales, chords, and ideas in general via the circle has been a common practice routine for jazz musicians and highly recommended.

It is a disciplined way of working through all twelve keys.

Plus, many bass root movements to jazz and pop songs move through sections of the circle.

Fig. 1 – “The Circle”

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thecircle, #thecircleoffourths, #thecircleoffifths,#scales & #chords.

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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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