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Jazz Bass Lessons: Introduction to Scales

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Practicing scales can either be
a process whereby, we develop connection
with our instrument, and
we work on our tone and
our touch and
our feeling on the instrument.
Or it can be an empty exercise where we
just got a digital scale in our hands and
we don't develop anything further.
It depends on your attitude really.
Scales are the building
block of melody in music.
Let's take a C major scale and
instead of just playing it mechanically,
let's see if we can make melodies with it.
This is one thing,
you can practice this scale in many ways.
Say you started from the low E,
when you play the C major scale.
I'm caressing every note,
making sure it sounds.
Getting core in every note.
so now I'm gonna
play the scale.
I'm gonna try to mix up, skip notes
very slowly, but try to make a melody.
Think of the scale as a collection
of again, as I've said before,
the scale is a collection of
colors on a painter's pallet, and
you pick some colors and
you paint with them.
So here's a C major, but
let's see if we can paint with it.
So I'm
scale to
Instead of just playing the scale
mechanically up and down the base,
fast and slow.
Yes, you do have to do practice where
you're dealing with different tempos.
You build the scales up slowly.
Let's take the C scale just for starting
on the root for purposes of practice.
Maybe at first you have to do even this.
Make sure core sound is over there.
And then you gradually you build it up,
but you don't sacrifice tone.
Now, that's
playing it quickly
with some power.
You can also play light.
Different touch,
I brought my hand up or
I can slur it more.
See, I'm hammering on and pulling off.
So you can use your scales as a simple
building block to try
different effects and
touches on the instrument.
You can go.
See what I'm doing?
I'm just pulling off hammering.
So instead of just thinking
of the scale as a drudgery or
think of it as an opportunity,
again by freedom on the bass.
To get freer, so you can play in tune and
different registers.
Practice your two octaves
sometimes with a groove.
Play them like this.
A scale out, I'm sorry.
playing it off
the off beats,
do you hear that?
I'm going one,
one and two and
on the up beats.
So its a one and two and
in other words,
be creative in your practice.
Make little games with the scales.
So that it's not just running
the scale up and down very slowly.
And then, yes you have to do some
practice where you're taking a scale,
playing at a speed, you set the metronome
down at the quarter note equals 60.
And then you bring it up gradually 62,
63 you bump it up until you can
play it quickly, but the speed and
the velocity is not your only end game,
your end game is control
over the instrument expressive freedom,
and using the scale.
The scales help you map out where
all the notes are on the instrument.
So that if you happen to be up here
on the bass, if you know your scales,
you know that's an E even
though there's a F there.
You also know that if you had to
come down, this is a good exercise,
stay in one position and
see if you can play the scale coming down.
So you're also training your ear.
So practice the scales in
the different positions,
like see if you can play it here.
Or here.
or here.
So what I'm trying to say is,
use the scales creatively.
Yes, practice them slowly,
work them up the tempo gradually.
But use them, as a way to not only
practice just learning the scales in each
key, but also you can practice your right
hand stuff while you;re doing your scales.
You can go
maybe you wanna practice alternating
But make a melody with
alternating picking,
don't just play up and down.
Try to find ways to keep yourself
engaged with your scales.
I've been doing to for
years, melodic ideas trying to create
melodies every time you play the scale.
Play the scale even when you play
it one octaves or two octaves,
when you're going up and down.
Play it like it's the greatest
piece of music you've ever heard.
It's all in your attitude.