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Summertime: How To Learn The Iconic Standard

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Kevin Guin

Summertime for Bass…

When you are adding another tune to your repertoire, especially one that will stretch your abilities, it is best to build on something familiar to help smooth out the process.

Summertime, the iconic Gershwin tune which has become a standard of the jazz idiom is something that you don’t want to leave to chance if only for the reason that somewhere on your gig, someone is going to call the tune and you are going to want to have a slammin’ version of it no matter what. 

The form of the tune is what I think of as an extended blues form – a 16-bar blues form. It has minor “one” and “four” chords as a minor blues would naturally have. And it is also frequently played with major chord to kick off the turnaround line. 

When playing in standard blues situations here in Chicago, I noticed that a rare minor tune would be 1,4,5 minor. But in the most basic jazz form of minor blues the turnaround goes from b6 to 5. In Cm that means going from Ab7 to G7. 

But something to be aware of in the jazz idiom where chord qualities are modified quite a bit more often is the prevalence of the major 7th chord to kick off the turnaround (followed by the dominant V7) which gives a genuine air of sophistication to the sound of the harmony. 

The major 7th chord in this context, especially if it is played as a Lydian chord (with the #11) is such an incredibly poignant sound! Take note that this is what I have put into the accompanying pdf chord chart and play-along audio files for our lesson. 

At any rate it will help those of you who are new to thinking so much about the numerical aspect of chordal harmony to understand how a 12-bar blues can become a 16-bar song form. 

The easiest way to describe how the four extra bars are added is this: you add two 2-measure 2-5’s. First you add one of them after the four-chord to set up the one-chord, ie, the resolution/return to the one-chord is delayed. Then, after the one-chord you add another 2-5 to setup the turnaround line. That adds the extra four measures to give you a 16-bar form. 

The extension of a standard blues was a very smart way to modify a 12-bar tune and it worked like a charm for George Gershwin! Thank you in absentia, Sir. 

And speaking of smart – the best way for bass players to begin getting a tune form under your fingers and in your ears is the following: 

  • Sing the roots
  • Sing the roots and fifths
  • Play and sing the triads
  • After you have gained some confidence see if you can sing in time with your instrument as you play lines.
  • Of course you should learn the melody. You will find that this is an approachable tune in every respect. 

I hope that you can find meaning in the study of these great, iconic standard tunes. In so doing you will develop your musical abilities in a noticeably strong manner. 

If you truly need, as a developing musician, to go the distance for your musical skills then you can write out the chord chart for Summertime in all twelve keys and play walking bass lines through each form. You could do 2 keys a week and you will be rocking the entire bass in no-time flat! Your knowledge of your bass instrument will go through the roof. 

Make sure to check out my video lesson for learning Summertime and to also click the link to get a download of the pdf chart and the audio play-along files. I try my best to make them as helpful as possible. 

Click here to download accompanying pdf and MP3 files for this lesson

It is my wish that you make a friend to take along with you to dig deeply into these materials, cultivate patience in the learning process and also have a great time. 

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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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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