Category Archives: Scales

How Far Do The “Basics” Go?

I took a somewhat unusual path to bass. I started as a guitarist at a very early age – 51/2! I spent a few years with a cello in elementary school. In high school, the jazz band director asked me … Continue reading

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Practice Tips

Practicing isn’t really a “whatever works for you” type of skill. It is a vital skill that we all need to use more efficiently. I’ve been revisiting the jazz standard Donna Lee (originally attributed to Charlie Parker but seems to … Continue reading

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Diminished Scales and More: Nicolas Slonimsky

The diminished scale has always fascinated me. I understand the 8 notes, half-step, whole step or whole step, half step variations. Lots of musicians from many different genres have used it such as John Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa. But after seeing a post by … Continue reading

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Transcription: A Necessary Process

I received a couple of questions on the sight reading post that bear some further comments. Most of them are answered by transcribing music. Transcription is an important tool for all musicians in all genres. In some genre, all that is … Continue reading

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The Chromatic Scale – The Underlying Key to Western Music

The chromatic scale is important due to its very nature. Western music generally has only 12 different pitches. Other music such as Northern Indian Classical and some Middle Eastern music have more. We only need to deal with the 12. … Continue reading

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More on Chord Substitutions

Let’s summarize from the last few posts: Interval – the distance from the root note to the note being named. The list: a)      Unison – the same note, same pitch. Perfect, augmented (½ step up), diminished ( ½ step down) … Continue reading

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I IV V Progressions with Substitutions

The next part of our adventure into harmony deals with chord substitutions. We’re going to take the typical blues-oriented I7, IV7, V7 progression and do some substitutions for the IV chord. The chords in this progression are (key of C) … Continue reading

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The Major Scale – Modes and Chords

The next chapter of our adventure into harmony concerns the Major Scale and its chords as well as modes. The major scale is a sequence of 7 notes than operates in a specific whole step/half step pattern across the octave. … Continue reading

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The Blues Scale

The Blues scale is critical to both rock and jazz, although there are some variations between the two genre’s usages. The concept of a “blues” scale is different from most other scales in that there are 2 notes in the … Continue reading

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Scales – Part One, Pentatonic Major and Minor

There are lots of treatises and scholarly writings available about the subject of scales. I have a slightly different approach to introducing scales to students. I always start with the most basic scales for bass guitar, begining with Pentatonic scales. … Continue reading

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