Two Great Gifts in one Email (and Solo Bass Night)

I have been gigging and traveling non-stop: London, Austria, Germany, Florida, San Francisco. So, no educational blog this week, but I do bring gifts!

Solo Bass Night VII in LA

(Read on for gifts!)

Solo Bass Night was such a celebration in the Bay Area (sold out!), we are doing it all over again in LA (tickets at Come celebrate the Art of Solo Bass with us

Thursday • November 14th 2019
Gruv Gear Headquarters
511 S. Harbor Blvd. Ste S La Habra CA 90631

Amazing performances on tap from bass giants like

  • Stu Hamm
  • Norm Stockton
  • Josh Cohen
  • Kai Kurosawa
  • Jayme Lewis
  • Johnnie Gilmore
  • Ariane Cap with Paul Hanson.

Gifts/Discounts: use “SBN19”

Have you heard about the BackBeat? 

The BackBeat is an exciting new device that turns your bass notes into vibrations you actually feel!  It’s wearable, portable and self-contained. It adds a whole new dimension to your playing experience!

I am a proud brand new endorser of this truly innovative new product which literally has your back like nothing else!


And here is gift 1:

Use code “SBN19” on BackBeat’s website ( and get their standard BackBeat package plus:

  • $25 off
  • Free cool case
  • Free shipping (US only)

Use this fast, it expires 11-17-2019

And by the way, adding the code will let BackBeat know that you are getting a free case. No need to add one in addition to your order. Using the code means: free case coming your way 🙂


But that’s not all… (gift 2)

My policy is to never offer a gift without adding one of my own to the mix. And here it is: Sign up for my Ear Training or Music Theory Course and get 20% off (offer good until Monday the 18th this month!).

Just key in that same promo code – SBN19 – during checkout to grab your 20% savings.

Choose a Fast Track or Steady Track for the Music Theory course, or fine-tune your ears with my new Ear Confidence course.

All these courses include access to my monthly live “Ask Ari” Q&A session and our interactive Forum.


These two offers are independent of each other. Take advantage of just one, or use both and save big!

Omitting the fifth in chords… Why?

I have a few Quora answers for you today. The first one is for guitarists, but highly relevant for us bassists, as well.

Guitarists/Pianists omitting the fifth in chords

One person commented on my answer: “This is one of the best two-minute music lessons I have experienced, maybe ever…”

Why is the fifth note often omitted from a jazz chord on a guitar, for example, the common voicings of D-9?

I am grateful for the accolade and I think the reason my answer resonated with the commenter is that I touched on a few topics that help simplify the understanding of chords and sounds.

If you are in my ear training course then you know I regard all intervals that are perfect as the “open” sounds. Maybe you have never considered hearing intervals (and chords) in terms of “sound classes” but I have been very successful helping students make sense of the myriad of sounds by dividing them into four unique sound classes:

  1. “tense”
  2. “pretty”
  3. “open”
  4. (and “bluesy”).

The fifth is part of the “open” sound class, as is the octave, the unison and the fourth (as the inversion of the fifth). These intervals do not add a lot of information to sounds. They make a chord thicker and even muddy in certain ranges.

In my answer on Quora, I give concrete examples to help one hear the crucial differences.

In regard to some of the other answers –

Many said, “well the guitarist does not need to play the fifth because the bass player plays it”. File that away for what it’s worth – that many other musicians expect or assume you, as the bassist, to cover the fifth so they don’t have to. I still don’t think the bass is obliged to do so for the reasons I presented, but at the same time, realize that others may have that expectation! Depending on that style, this expectation may well be justified! it sure does not go unnoticed that that can be the expectation.


Read Ariane Cap’s answer to Why is the fifth note often omitted from a jazz chord on a guitar, for example, the common voicings of D-9? on Quora

And I have a second one today for you:

What would you call a minor chord with an added 2 and 4?

There is frequent confusion in naming chords correctly, especially when a “sus” is involved. I wrote a blog post addressing a similar quandary (ever encountered a minor-sus chord??)  recently, and this answer goes right along those lines. Why is this important? To communicate effectively with other musicians, you need to understand these naming nuances. Plus, they are really, really interesting as cracking these questions undoubtedly gives you profound insights into music making.

Read Ariane Cap’s answer to What would you call a minor chord with an added 2 and 4? on Quora

For a deeper dive into music theory (presented in terms of the bass player and fretboard):