This is one of 20 units of Ari’s course “Music Theory for the Bass Player”.
In this section of the course we go over the material from the book. Navigate the TABS for where we put these book pages to use!
We are doing permutations 1324 and 4231 at tempo 98 on the G string all the way up to the double dots, then we turn around and descend. We are also doing this on the D string.
While doing so we are putting our attention on various details:
Practice with me
In the advanced version I practice “permutating” the whole tone scale up the bass this way. It’s a brain twizzler!
String of the Week: G-string
A great exercise that is very short and effective.
Initially use the keyboard graphics as visual helpers, later visualize the keyboard internally. Play notes on the G string while naming them out loud. Saying them out loud is important because hearing yourself say the note names creates an additional reference and feedback loop to deepen the learning.
Here we are stacking major thirds over all four strings and move them up the whole tone scale.
Create rhythmic figures within each position to create a groove-like figure. Observe that the highest and lowest notes are the same; stay aware of the note name of that note (you can say it out loud for reinforcement).
Grooving over the chord progression from Unit 2, which keeps us on the first three dots of the E and A string. But now we are incorporating major and minor seconds above and below the root into our grooves.
All the notes we are adding are a major second above and below the roots, except for the third fret (first dot), where the variation below the root is a half step.
We will be observing what effects using the addition of the seconds above and below have on the overall groove and how the feel changes depending on which of the notes we place on the down beat.
Note: The included transcription is for reference only. Use it to check parts that interest you, but try picking it up by ear ﬁrst.
Chord progression: || Em | C | D | Am | G | B ||
Systematic wins the day. We vary the back ground tracks, style and assignments with each note to keep it interesting and fresh! It is a great workout for fretboard knowledge and groove creation!
Once we went through all 21 notes we do
Bb and Eb are this week’s creative note finder exercises, but we are extending the range over the entire fretboard now, so go ahead and dive into “above double dots” territory.
Another new variation this week is that we say the fret number out loud.
There are two back ground tracks:
Bb: add the minor third to your groove
Eb: add the major third to your groove
Note: The included transcriptions are for reference only. Use them to check parts that interest you, but try picking the bass lines up by ear ﬁrst.
Here we explore various styles, practice sample grooves and go (I mean WALK, as in WALKING BASS) from pop to funk to rock to reggae and Jazz…
Here is a hip groove starting on the minor third. Then we are adding in major seconds, first from above, then from below. We will do this in major and minor variations. The chords are all powerchords, meaning they have no thirds in them, so they sound open and neither major nor minor:
Chord progression: || C5 | F5 | G5 | C5 ||
Note: The included transcription is for reference only. Use it to check parts that interest you, but try picking it up by ear first.
When you practice, observe what your mind does.
Where does your attention go?
Is there a commentator inside your mind?
What is s/he saying, if anything?
For now, don’t judge your mental activities or try to change what is going on, but pick a focus for your attention which can be any aspect of any exercise (maybe the tone you produce, how tightly you are on the click, the position of your pinky finger or not overgripping the neck) and as you notice your attention wandering to other things, bring it back to the focus you selected.
Just observe and return to your focus of attention. That’s all.
Sound like meditation? Yes. bass meditation. Try it! When we are practicing as we are here, we are training the mind (not just the fingers!) on a very deep level. You might as well go all the way with this and get maximum results.
By the way, this also helps if you are nervous. Put your focus on a select and narrow aspect of your playing and put your attention there. The more you practice this when you practice, the easier it will be in a stressful situation and the deeper your concentration will be. Without effort.
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Unit 4 Matrix
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Do you have a question about the course? How to get through a stumbling point? The best method for your practice?
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Resources: My own experiences with hundreds of students, Wolf Wein’s work with Qui Gong, my own yoga and movement/relaxation activities
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