Connect with us

Bass Edu

Bass In The Spirit – James Jamerson

Published

on

Bassist Kevin Guin

Bass In The Spirit – James Jamerson…

In our small world of bass playing the life work of James Jamerson will always remain an undeniably rock-solid foundation upon which to build your own creative musical personality. 

When you study Jamerson bass lines there are always a few curveballs thrown in – downbeats missing, upbeats strung together, counter-intuitive rhythmic combinations, chromatics, and so much more.

It was said by his band mates that Jamerson was something of a practical joker.

After studying the lines of this master I truly do picture Jamerson chuckling as he yanks the rhythmic rug out from underneath your feet. He likes to get you thinking of the last two repeated rhythmic figures and then switch it up like a left jab out of nowhere! 

This incredibly musical rhythmic whiplash effect is exactly the type of spirit-element in Jamerson bass lines that sets him apart. To study it and isolate it as a conceptual skill would take a very serious musical research effort. 

From my own experience with him I feel that it is Jamerson’s rhythmic intensity, the quality of his rhythmic feel that is the most readily available musical skill to benefit a serious student of bass. Jamerson bass lines explode off the fingerboard! 

The purpose of this lesson is to give bass players a bit of a push to take on the study of Jamerson’s masterful bass lines and to also give several examples of bite-size things that can be done to begin to improvise bass lines with some of Jamerson’s moves and signature rhythmic intensity in mind. 

If you can work to emulate these rhythmic moves you stand to get a scrap of this incredible musical spirit into your playing. And just a scrap of spirit from this master bassist is enough to last a lifetime. 

The bass line in question for our lesson is from the first verse of I Heard It Through The Grapevine, the Gladys Knight version. If you concentrate repeatedly on the original recording of this Jamerson bass line you will be amazed with the rhythmic intensity of his playing. 

The very first rhythmic couplet in the verse of the tune is a good way for a student to start working with a small chunk of the Jamerson rhythmic technique. Alternating between the root and lower fifth using short stabs of sixteenth-notes is a smart way to generate a readily available source of energy for your own bass lines. 

If you look closely in the video sample you can see that I am not using raking to complete these sixteenth-note couplets. For normal mortal bassists, using a dedicated index or middle finger on each string gives better separation between the notes. 

One of the better known bass line figures of which Jamerson had near sole-proprietorship in the world of rhythm and blues is where the root is played on the downbeat of a dominant or major chord and then the third, fourth, and sharp-fourth degrees are placed on the upbeats to dramatically bring in the five-chord. 

This “upbeat pulsing” is one of the signature Jamerson moves that in one way or another is probably derived from Count Basie-inspired Ray Brown lines, who was one of his original bass heroes. Please allow me to suggest that bassists hereby refer to this move as “The James”! 

One of the other prominent rhythmic devices used in this great bass line is pivoting from the octaves with the internal added fifth. 

Would you like to know how to have access to punchy functionality while dive-bombing from higher to lower registers? Look no further because if you can accustom yourself to expertly raking across three strings you can develop combinations between the octaves and fifths that are very useful in creating powerful rhythmic propulsion. 

Now, if there were one thing that would keep you from appropriating this masterful Jamerson bass line then it would probably be the infamous 16th-note raking riff across all four strings from the chorus section. 

LESSON: Bass In The Spirit – James Jamerson

Before getting started, please click the orange button below to sign up for the download materials. There is a nice cache of mp3 audio play-along files and pdf charts of exercises and bass lines from the video lesson. FREE: SIGN-UP FOR LESSON MATERIALS

Please remember to get the download for the lesson materials.

In the chart of my opening playing clip, I have developed a fingering specifically for this knuckle-busting riff. It’s a very close transcription to the original and it will definitely help you tackle it. 

There are so many other things to discuss but I must mention something that deserves an entire treatise, and that is Jamerson’s deft use of open strings. As a serious student of bass you will find that this is a thorny skill to master. But it is also a very smart play which will help you to move effortlessly between open and closed positions. 

My purpose here was to bring forward these few things as an orientation for the start of your Jamerson studies. With careful listening and a stout heart you will be able to advance your rhythmic skills to a remarkable degree. 

I truly hope that this lesson is helpful to you, that you always remain willing to return to the James Jamerson musical legacy, and that you can also find a friend with whom to share and study this great music. 

Thanks for stopping in.

Kevin 

Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part II

Published

on

Jaime David Vazquez - Lessons For Bass Guitar

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part II

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

In the last lesson, we were studying triads in their fundamental position. This time, we are going to study what is known as the first inversion of the triads.

The first inversion consists of the third going on the bass in the triad, as we will see below:

C Major Triad (1st inversion)
E – G – B
C Minor Triad (1st inversion)
Eb – G – B
C Diminished Triad (1st inversion)
Eb – Gb – C
C Augmented Triad (1st inversion)
E – G# – C

See you next month for Part III… GROOVE ON!!!

Continue Reading

Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 6 

Published

on

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! 

Continue Reading

Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I

Published

on

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
Continue Reading

Bass Edu

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

Published

on

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!”

Follow Online

FB @FoetalJuice
TW @FoetalJuice
IG @foetaljuice
Youtube: @Foetaljuice
Spotify
Foetaljuice.bandcamp.com

Continue Reading

Bass Edu

Bass Lines: The Circle

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading