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LESSONS//Theory

JohnGoldsby'sJazzConceptsBottom'sUp!
BYJOHNGOLDSBY
August26,2013
WHATSTHEBESTWAYTOLEARNTOGETaroundthebassfrombottomtotopandtoptobottom?Arpeggios!Thismonth,welllookatthebesttechniquesfor
practicingbrokenchords.
InhisebookMelodicArpeggiosandTriadCombiningforBass,JohnPatitucciwrites,Ifwecanenjoyworkingonthesecrucialbuildingblocks,wewillbuyourselvesa
tremendousamountoffreedomwhenitcomestoexpression,whetherwearedealingwiththemusicofMozartorColtrane.Patitucciscompactandexcellentebook
outlinestheimportanceofmasteringarpeggios,withthegoalofkeepingpracticematerialfreshandengaging.
BassistJoshFossgreenalsodealswitharpeggiosinhisfreeforthetakingminiebook,PlayDaBass[joshfossgreen.com].Hewrites,Youcanextrapolatetheseideastoan
immenseamountofmaterial:Allfourtypesoftriads(major,minor,diminished,augmented),andallthreeinversions.Youcandothisinanykey,andyoucanplaymostof
thepatternseitherstartingontheAortheEstring.Youcanalsostartatthetopofthearpeggioinsteadofthebottom.Alotofthefunofthistechniqueisintheinfinite
possibilities!
Thecommonmethodforlearningarpeggiosisfromthebottomup,startingontheofthechord,andplayingupincombinationsofeithermajor3rdorminor3rdintervals.In
theseexamples,weusechordstothe9th,whichisoneoctaveabovethe2ndnotefoundinaparticularscale.Forexample,inaCmajorscale,Disthe2ndnote.Ifweraise
thenoteDoneoctavesoitsitsatthetopofaCchord,thenoteiscalledthe9th.
YoucanbuildaCmajor9(Cmaj9)arpeggiobystartingonCandusingeveryothernoteofaCmajorscale:CEGBD(Ex.1).Wecan
alsorefertothesenotesasthe1,3,5,7,and9ofthechord.Notesofascale,andnotesinanarpeggio,areoftenanalyzedbythenumberof
theirscaledegree,somusiciansusenumberswhentalkingaboutchords,i.e.,Dontplaytheb9onaCmaj9chord.
Examples2and3showthenotesinaC9arpeggioandCminor9(Cm9)arpeggio,respectively.Fornow,itsufficestobeawarethatinaCmaj9,the3rdand7thareEand
BinaC9,the3rdand7thareEandBbandinaCm9,the3rdand7thareEbandBb.InnextmonthsWoodshed,welllookatthemathematicalconstructionofthese
chordsandfindoutwhyaC9chordsoundsfunkyandaCm9chordsoundssosadandpoignant.
Inhisebook,Fossgreensuggestsanimportantpracticetipinpassing:Startatthetopofthearpeggio.Thisishuge!Althoughnumerousbass
techniquebooksdealwitharpeggios,mostofthemmissacrucialpoint:Theyareweightedtowardstartingontherootofachordandplayingupthe
arpeggio.Whatstheproblemwiththat?Wemisshalfofthegoodstuffstartingatthetopofthearpeggioanddescending.Asbassists,weareso
fixatedontheroot(whichisagoodthing),thatwemissmanyhipoptionswhenweplayabasslineorsolo(whichisabadthing).Examples46
showgroovesthatclimbupanddownCmaj9,C9,andCm9arpeggios.Playthemacomfortabletempotogettheirshapesunderyourfingersas
wellastheirsoundsinyourear.
Example7turnstheworldupsidedownbystartingthearpeggioatthetop.PlaytheCinbar1,thenjumpuptothe9th(D)onbeatoneofbar2.
Playdownthearpeggio,andlandontheroot7throotcombinationtobringthingsbackhome.Checkoutthetablatureandyoullseethatthis
arpeggiolendsitselftorakingdownthestrings.
Example8avoidsstartingontheroot,insteadbeginningatthetopoftheCmaj9chordandplayingdownthearpeggio.ThisisagiantstepmoreadvancedthanEx.7.Tobe
completelycomfortablestartingonanoteotherthantheroot,youhavetoslowlytrainyourselftoseeandheartheCmaj9,andimmediatelygrabtheDontop.Onceyoucan

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completelycomfortablestartingonanoteotherthantheroot,youhavetoslowlytrainyourselftoseeandheartheCmaj9,andimmediatelygrabtheDontop.Onceyoucan
playtheCmaj9flawlesslyfromthetopdown,moveontoC9andCm9.Thenplaythethreearpeggiosthrough12keysalloverthebass.
Nowthatyouhaveshakenyourcaseofrootitis,youcanbeginexperimentingwithlinesthatstartontheupperpartialsofachord.Example9isabrokenarpeggioline
startingonthe9thoftheCm9chord.Youcanadjustthe3rdsand7thsandplaythispatternoveraCmaj9andC9.
Inventsomeofyourownlinesstartingonthe9th.Youllfindthatthisexercisewillgiveyouanewawarenessoftherealsoundofmajor,minor,anddominantchords.Dont
losetrackoftherootofthechord,andcertainlydontabandonyourfunctionasabassistwhenyouretryingthesetechniqueswithothermusicians.Nextmonth,well
exploremorechordsfromthetopdown.Untilthen,bottomsup!
5BooksToTakeYouHigher(OrLower)
VadeMecumfortheDoubleBassbyGeorgeVance[CarlFischerMusic]
Thismodernclassicalbassmethodusesanorganicapproachtothefingerboard,takingthestudentfromthelowestdepthsoftheinstrumenttoitshighestpeakswitha
logical,easytograspsystem.
ChordStudiesforElectricBassbyRichAppleman&JosephViola[BerkleePressPublications]
DuetothelackofgoodbassmaterialwhenIwasstartingoutbackinthedarkagesofmusicpedagogy,IpracticedoutofthebassfriendlybookChordStudiesfor
Trombone.Sincethe80s,thefolksatBerkleehaveofferedthisarpeggiopracticemethodspecificallyforbass.
MelodicArpeggios&TriadCombiningforBassbyJohnPatitucci[DavidGageStringInstruments]
PatituccisebookisavailableonlyinKindleformat,butitoffersavaluableinsightintohowhethinksaboutpracticingarpeggios.iPaduserscanaccessKindlebooksusing
theiPadKindleapp.
PlayDaBassbyJoshFossgreen[joshfossgreen.com]
Itsshort,itsfree,itsgotsomenicelicksandgoodideasgrabit!
BassArpeggioFinderbyChadJohnson[HalLeonard]
Thiscompleteguidecatalogues1,300bassarpeggiosusingfingerboardchartsandstandardnotation.Johnsonexplainsarpeggioconstructionclearlyandshowsinversions
andmanypossiblefingeringpossibilitiesthroughtheuseoffingerboarddiagrams.
INFO
JOHNGOLDSBY
VisitJohnonthewebatjohngoldsby.comforsoundsamples,videos,andanswerstoallofyourbassrelatedquestions.

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