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9 Ways To Improve Your Bass Playing

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This month I will share 9 Ways To Improve Your Bass Playing…

9 Ways To Improve Your Bass Playing… We can sometimes get into a rut when it comes to playing bass. As someone that has played for over 14 years, I wouldn’t still be playing if the passion and drive were not there. Sometimes we need to take a step back and evaluate how we want to improve our bass playing. 

Whether this is from lack of motivation, being too busy or simply not knowing what to play, here are some fun and valuable tips to have you excited to play!

Learn Music Theory

This is one of my favorite tips to give to anyone wanting to learn music and any instrument. 

Knowing the components of a song from start to finish will help build your composition abilities and help you to learn virtually any song that you want. 

Whether you want to get better at ear training, reading sheet music, or just overall theory, it is never too late to start learning. 

If you need an easy-to-understand guide for music theory, scales, and more check out my book, “No-Nonsense Guide to Music Theory, Scales, and More!”

Work on or Learn a New Technique

This takes away from the monotony of just playing the same style or technique over and over again. If you are a pick player, you may decide that you want to learn to play with your fingers or if you’ve wanted to dabble in drop-tuning you could try out that type of sound and style.  

There are so many techniques, music genres, types of basses, and much more out in the bass world to keep your playing fresh and exciting. 

My YouTube channel and Bass Musician Magazines YouTube channel have a ton of videos and exercises for learning to play different techniques. 

Learn To Read Music or Enhance Your Music Reading Abilities

There are lots of online resources to purchase sheet music or read it for free. Depending on the type of music, artist, and genre you want to play will be tailored to the resources available online.

This is great to learn music in a way that isn’t ear training. Take the time to properly identify the notes, key/time signatures, different musical terms, and more when reading beautiful sheet music. 

There is no reason not to try to learn to read music. It can open a lot of opportunities including playing in a studio, orchestra, 

Private Lessons

If you have the financial ability, getting private lessons from a reputable instructor is a great way to improve your bass playing. There are many instructors on Bass Musician’s website that you can reach out to get amazing instruction. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help in your playing. Constant improvement is key to getting better and becoming a stronger musician. 

Listen To Your Favorite Songs

Sometimes listening to your favorite songs and bass riffs can light a fire under you to play. You may hear a familiar melody or something new that you want to experiment with. 

Try To Learn The Basslines To Your Favorite Songs

In combination with the previous tip, trying to learn your favorite basslines will build confidence, repertoire and make you more likely to want to keep playing. 

This will not only build confidence in your playing, but you will be able to see the different progressions, rhythm, time changes, and other musical qualities. 

This does take time so don’t get discouraged if things don’t sound good right away. You can do it!

Watch Video From Your Favorite Bass Players/Teachers

A free and enjoyable way to improve your bass playing for sure. 

Whether you want to better learn the double thumping technique from Victor Wooten or want to play Dawn Patrol by Megadeth, finding your favorite artists and teachers online is a valuable resource. 

There are so many free instructional videos on YouTube that you can reference. 

Jam With Friends

This one may be a bit tougher to execute with everything going on, but you can still make it work. There are apps out there where you can jam with other musicians from around the world. 

Of course, if you can meet up with your friends or other musicians to jam this is a fantastic opportunity to progress further. Whether you are writing some songs or just jamming, there is never a bad outcome when it comes to playing with other musicians. 

Check out these apps to connect with other musicians:

Meet Other Musicians Online & In Your Community

There are different online forums where you can communicate with other bass players about different guitars, styles, education, advice, and more. A few websites that have great forums include Bassbuzz.com, Talkbass.com, and Basschat

Social media is also an awesome place to interact with other bass players and musicians. Facebook has a few bass guitar-specific groups that you can join. 

Meetup.com has groups from all around the world that meet to play guitar and enjoy music together. 

If local shows are going on in your area, this can be another great way to meet and interact with other musicians.

I hope these tips help in your journey as a bass player. Keep rockin’ on friends!

For more information on music theory check out my e-book and paperback, “No-Nonsense Guide to Music Theory, Scales and More!” available on Amazon

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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