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Jazz Bass Lessons: Sequential Tempos

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I'd like to talk to you about practicing
sequentially with your metronome.
Building tempos up slowly, so we can take
something that we don't know how to do,
build the coordination by incrementally
speeding up the metronome.
Gain more confidence, coordination,
develop our sound to have a core
sound even if we're playing slow or
incrementally faster,
and faster, and faster.
Even all the way up to the fastest tempos
where we still have sound concept and
pitch, and
a good shape to the line, you know?
We can't have a mechanical rendering of
any kind of passage that
doesn't sound good.
Some people practice incrementally and
they build up to a certain speed, but they
still play the passages with just sort
of a mechanical machine gun typewriter
ethic, and that's not what we want.
So, on one hand we want to make sure that
we incrementally increase our speed.
On the other hand, once we've
built up to a fairly high speed,
then we should be able to go from 0 to 60.
Also sometimes when you're playing music,
you'll play a phrase and
then you might have a double time
phrase that you have to play.
You have to also have practiced going
from the half speed to the double speed,
and be able to do it with a flexibility to
where again, it doesn't sound mechanical.
But first,
I'm gonna show you a simple exercise
in thumb position where we anchor our
thumb and we play various scales.
So that we can get a confidence and have
an anchor in that position pitch-wise,
and also use our ear to hear the scales
starting in different places.
So we're gonna set our metronome
fairly slow right now,
I believe we're at 50 beast per minute.
And here, we're gonna set up and
start on the E in thumb position.
This is our anchor,
where the harmonics are.
So we're gonna play C-major first,
but we're gonna start from the E.
So it's gonna look like this,
we're gonna be going,
[MUSIC] one,
three, [MUSIC] thumb.
Coming down,
thinking about the beautiful
sound of little bells.
Keeping our elbow up, so
that we're not resting our
elbow on the instrument, okay.
So incrementally, you can depending
on how you feel with that, and
how well you're playing it,
and be honest with yourself.
Look, get a mirror too, and watch and
make sure that your forearm
is not laying on the bass.
Then incrementally build it up.
If it's hard for you right now, and
you're not used to holding that thumb
and making the other fingers stay in line,
and the pitch, and all that, go very slow.
If you have to go slower than that,
it's fine.
Then maybe, at first, go incrementally,
like maybe two clicks on your metronome.
Each time a little faster,
a little faster, a little faster.
We're gonna do an incremental
exercise here.
We're not gonna do quite two clicks,
we're gonna go up 10 now, and go to 60.
So here we go.
Now notice I'm
playing quietly now,
I'm just thinking
of a pure sound, and
a pretty sound.
We can do that same tempo and I can play
a little harder too, but without noise.
So there's
a lot of core
sound there.
Watch that pinky, don't let it stick out.
Okay, the tone comes from having your hand
lined up, and having your arm in
the right place, and pulling the sound.
Did you notice, I'm just letting my
arm drop here on the right hand, and
using the weight,
pulling through the string.
There's a lot of power in that if you
just relax and let the arm.
When there's relaxed weight of the arm
dropping, it's kind of like physics,
the gravity can just go.
If it's tense it doesn't really
transfer the weight as efficiently, so
think about that when you're up here.
Okay, let's go bump up another ten,
here we go.
Now we're at 70 I believe, here we go.
Now, let's pretend we've
worked all our way.
What you're gonna do is you're gonna
go each of these things incrementally.
Let's do 130 now.
Let's pretend that we've been working
daily and really getting coordination, and
building our way up slowly and
slowly, and getting a good sound.
Form is good, sound production's good.
Now let's do 130.
Now let's pretend that we've
worked our way up double that,
and now I'm gonna do it half and
double at 260.
And say, keep it going, and
say we worked on even faster than that so
we can do it double.
So notice how I change my sound a little
bit to make clarity of the notes,
I can also play those.
Now I just played it
with a little more core,
it was a little lighter when
I had the metronome on.
These are things you've
got to think about.
When you play up here or anywhere on the
bass, sound is still your biggest concern.
So there I played it with a bigger sound,
I dug in.
So I'm really thinking
about each note singing out.
I'm not playing it like a type writer.
You could play the same thing and just go.
And it would sound like, okay,
that was kinda flashy.
But the tone, I wasn't paying
much attention to the tone there.
You always wanna think about sound,
whether you're traveling slow or fast.
And the only way to get there, what I just
did, is by incrementally, painstakingly,
step by step, working with your metronome,
and thinking about sound the whole time.
Having, there's a core sound
that has to happen in the note.
It can't be just, [SOUND] it can't
be just the shell of the note.
It has to be [SOUND] see,
there's a big difference.
That's just fingers.
[SOUND] Here's with the weight
of the arm behind it.
It's fingers, finger nails now.
Now you can use that as a sound,
like a tonal shading,
but you need to also be able to get it
with tone behind it.
So, please work on that.