How are Chromatic and Whole-tone Scales differing from major scales?

WHole Tone Scale on the Piano, differing, Ariane Cap

Got a request to answer how symmetric scales and major scales are differing

Fun one, with sound samples!

For bass players in particular, symmetric scales are awesome to play with!

  • They help understand the fretboard and how notes relate between strings
  • These symmetric scales sound great
  • They are symmetric, so you can move cool licks around by the interval they are symmetric in – so move up and down strings and betwen strings to your heart’s content for some fresh sounds
  • They help understand how notes relate in general. The piano is a great visual aide here – look, color-coded!

Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to How do chromatic and whole-tone scales differ from major scales? on Quora

The One-Finger-Per-Fret-Controversy

One-finger-per-fret or not?

Almost every week I get questions about the one-finger-per-fret system of fingering. Why am I using it and advocating for it in most playing situations? How can it help you? What about upright fingering?

Enjoy my article on in which I go into all these questions and more, with pictures.

In this article I talk about the advantages, disadvantages and the one big enemy – tension.

I have seen a lot of confusion and misinterpretation come from one-finger-per-fret done incorrectly. Do it correctly where appropriate, make it a healthy habit, and watch its powers unfold under your finger tips when reading, improvising, grooving. Have a small hand? I have tips for you there, too. My hands are tiny, so I speak from experience.


The Wall Chart and the Book: Interview with Bass Musician Magazine

Bass Musician Magazine interviews Ariane Cap

Live Talk…

In this half hour+ interview with Raul Amador of Bass Musician Magazine we talk about

  • my book, Music Theory for the Bass Player
    • how it is unique and how it came about
    • how my students inspired me to write it
  • the significance and content of the wall chart
  • teaching, playing and loving both of it
  • I even give you my 2 minute run down of cracking the modes right then and there!

My expression in the still is epic, haha. I get passionate, what can I say 🙂

Wall chart : Available fpr $24.95 with free domestic shipping.
International shipping available: postage will be computed for your country at check out. The posters ship in tubes to protect them, hence for some countries rates are quite high. 5 posters ship for the same price as one. Share with a buddy to save on shipping rates!

Staring at the Wall has never been so productive 🙂

Check the post on Bass Musician Magazine

Purchase the book.

Order the wall chart here.

Bass Musician Magazine is an awesome online bass magazine that keeps us connected and always has relevant and interesting content. It made me discover lots of great players and resources. I have submitted one of my own articles to them as well. The story behind that is that I teach a yearly Jazz and Blues camp to women at the Berkeley, California Jazz School (AKA California Jazz Conservatory). The stories of the women inspired me and I was looking for a place to share it. BMM embraced the story and published it in their magazine. Read: An All-female Jazz Camp – What gives?

Can you pull off Pull-off Pentatonics?

Pull-off pentatonics Pull-off-pentatonics

Pull-offs & hammer-ons are some of the coolest sounds on bass. Use them in a pentatonic context, though, and you may run into limitations…

Watch Pull-off Pentatonics to break free!

Sometimes box shapes can be a bit limiting because they offer just two notes per string. What if you want to do hammer-ons or pull-offs for more than two notes? You have to be on the same string in order to pull that off (pardon the pun!).

In this Talking Technique Episode I show you how to break free. Let’s connect them so that you can play pull-off pentatonics at your heart’s content. The idea is to combine the box shapes.

Don’t let fingering limitations direct what you can and cannot play – where there is a will, there is a way! It all has to do with the best fingering, as well as being fit when it comes to hammer-on and pull-off technique! It pays off to check this one out. Then come up with a few cool riffs!

Click here for the PDF

Click to view the post on notreble..

Handy Guide on Ari’s Key Concepts of Bass Technique

Ari's Key Concepts of Bass Technique


Ari’s Key Concepts of Bass Technique

Conscious • Connected • Coordinated

Minimize Movement Maximize Relaxation

Breathe • Think ahead • Practice slowly with a click*

Keep posture roughly the same when standing and sitting

Left Hand

  • Keep fingers close to the fretboard
  • Plan fingering to optimize shifts
  • “Feel at home” with common structures (scales, triads etc, music theory on the fretboard)
  • Don’t squeeze the neck – provide counterweight with right arm Thumb is there to guide
  • Don’t kink fingers*
  • Place fingers close to frets*
  • One-finger-per-fret position*

Right Hand

  • Rest arm comfortably on bass body*
  • Have a plan for your plucking pattern (middle/index alternating)
  • Know your dominant finger
  • Keep fingers close to the strings
  • Make different plucking fingers sound as evenly as possible
  • Pluck toward the bass for bigger tone
  • Find strings without looking
  • Have a plan for thumb placement
  • Don’t kink fingers

Download the Easy-Print Guide

Click for full size download (8.5 x 11)

Ari's Key Concepts of Bass Technique Easy Print

Download the Colorful Guide

Click for full size download (8.5 x 11)

Ari's Key Concepts of Bass Technique

Fretless Bass for an intermediate Bass Player?

DIva fretless by Marleaux
DIva fretless by Marleaux
Marleaux Diva Bass

This is a Diva by Marleaux. It has 26 “frets”. Or, rather, it would be more appropriate to say it doesn’t have 26 frets, since it is fret-less. You get the idea. But any brand will work. My first fretless was an Alembic where I removed the frets. That is a nice way to get used to a fretless model as well: remove the frets from a fretted bass you are used to and fill with a color sawdust (I’d have that done professionally!) that gives you barely visible lines.

If your browser cannot display the text box below read the article by clicking here.
Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to Is a fretless bass good for an intermediate bass player? on Quora


PORA Video: Watch the Method in Action

ISB PORA video

PORA Video (click image below)

Dr. Randy Kertz invited me some time ago to contribute to his monthly blog on ISB. He was particularly interested in my PORA method: PORA stands for: Principles of Rotating Attention. I learned the ideas behind it at the University of Music in Vienna and then created my own way of using and teaching it over the years. In particular, students find this handout (click to download)  useful, where I created a step-by-step formula for it.

Want the fast track to:

  • changing engrained bad habits (over-gripping, pulling up shoulders,…)
  • more ergonomic fingering and technique
  • more concise timing
  • improved intonation
  • better tone
  • better focus everywhere in life?

This works, and fast, too.When I say fast, I mean practicing this way for just up to five minutes in the beginning. Once you have the hang of it it is hard to not be addicted to it. The one thing, though: you have to follow the process step-by-step, details are really important here. You start seeing results in unexpected ways, and gradually, but steadily. Instead of fighting the old, you focus on the new. Positive attitude wins. Check it out, here is the PORA video.

Thanks to Dr Randy Kertz for inviting me, and to Kristin Korb and ISB (The International Society of Bassists).

Music THeory for the bass player course

Music Theory Wall Chart – Taking Pre-Orders Now

Music Theory Wall Chart, Bass

Ariane Cap Wall ChartThe Wall Chart is ready!

Currently Offering Free Domestic Shipping (Save $5.00)!

Please allow up to five weeks for delivery. 

International shipping available.
International customers: postage will be computed for your country at check out. 5 posters ship for the same price as one. Share with a buddy to save on rates!

Wall Wisdom at 17 by 28 inches
for $24.95

An 18 by 27 inch visual reminder of important music theory basics!

Enrich your practice room!

Music theory needs hands-on practicing just like everything else. Just knowing and understanding it “in theory” is not enough. Having shapes under your fingers to use them in a musical situation effectively is where it’s at. To help keep the most important points to remember fresh in your mind, hang this comprehensive and clever wall chart in your practice room: it arranges the most important building blocks of music in a visually appealing and easy-to-grasp chart, with reference to the fretboard.

The Music Theory for the Bass Player Wall Chart is…

  • a stand-alone resource for everyone familiar with the basics of music theory
  • a great add-on to the book to serve as a visual reminder and summary
  • a 17 by 28 inches sized high quality offset printed poster
  • created to be visually appealing, inspiring and informative through the use of fretboard diagrams, photos and examples
  • professionally designed by a team of designers led by the author with input from students and readers of Ariane’s book

Music Theory Wall Chart, BassIt contains, in logical presentation:

  • How notes are organized in a piano as well as fretboard diagram to aide visual memorization
  • Intervals and their inversions with fretboard diagrams, best fingering examples and tips for identifying them by ear
  • A whole new way to think about intervals: Ari’s Interval Formula
  • Triads with fretboard diagrams and best fingering practices
  • explanations of how triads and sevenths chords are built, correctly named and how they sound
  • Scales:
    • major and natural minor scales: how to best think about their construction for improvising and grooving
    • relative and parallel scale relationships
    • pentatonic and blues scales, both major and minor
    • an easy to memorize blueprint for the blues
    • the modes (of the major scale): their sounds and shortcuts for creating them
  • The Cycle of Fifths as well as the Diatonic Cycle of Fifths and how to construct them

Instructions on how to use the chart for practicing.

Octaves on Overdrive (Video)

octaves on overdrive

Cool Octaves to spice up grooves!

In this video I show you how playing octaves using chromatic approaches can sound exciting and cool. Fingering and good technique are of course important – after all this is my Talking Technique column on – and you will see they can be pretty tricky to pull off cleanly.

These are great exercises for shedding scales, and creating cool riffs and grooves with these finger-twisting intervals is where it’s at creatively. This handy PDF gives you the TAB and notes.

Let me know what you come up with using octaves and chromatic approaches!

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