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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
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Cello Lessons: Gypsy Jazz Bass Line: 1-5

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The traditional way to play
a bass line in gypsy jazz,
is with what's called
the one five bass line.
This also is how we would play
bass in a bluegrass band.
This is a really common
sort of a folk bass rhythm.
And so basically we're gonna start with
the root of every chord, remember that's
our primary goal as a bass player,
is to play the roots on the downbeat.
But on the backbeat, on two and four,
we're gonna play the fifth scale degree
of every chord, and if at all possible,
we're gonna play it lower than the root.
So in the solo changes,
our first chord is A.
We're going to pizz our root as
low as possible on the instrument,
find the lowest A, and
then our low 5 under it.
The fifth scale degree of A is E.
So if I was going to vamp this bass
line on A It would sound like this.
Probably sounds familiar,
cuz it's in a lot of music.
But it's always about one, five,
one, five.
You always wanna do that fifth
scale to be lower, if possible, so
that the root note really
pops out as the high note.
The one thing I'll say about doing
this kind of rhythm stylistically
is you wanna mute your sound
halfway in between each pitch.
I know I talked about this in a slapping
pizzicato lesson briefly,
because we're gonna slap [SOUND]
halfway in between.
But before we even slap,
we're just gonna mute.
And you can mute by like,
touching the string with
your upper fingers, or
by releasing the pressure off
the string with your left hand.
Or both.
If I didn't mute the string
halfway in between these notes,
my bass note would
resonate the whole time.
And I'll demonstrate
what this sounds like.
It actually does not sound very grooving.
There's not enough definition.
But listen to how different it
sounds when I mute on the off beat.
Suddenly our rhythm
has a jump to it and some clarity.
So if I was gonna go
through the chord changes,
I would apply this one,
five bass movement on each chord.
So D would be here.
[SOUND] [SOUND] E would be here.
You could use this lower E here.
[SOUND] But again if at all possible,
you wanna go down for
the fifth scale degree,
which you can do up there, and back to A.
[SOUND] Then D.
[SOUND] Back to A.
[SOUND] The D chord is another one where
you have a low D here [SOUND] which
requires you to go up for the fifth.
You might do this in the course
of jamming all the times to sort
of create some variations
in your bass line but
your default should always be to
go high enough with your root so
that you can go down for
the fifth like that.
B flat to E, to A.
Maybe on that last five,
I would do a low E.
So let me demonstrate, I'm just gonna
play through this chord progression once,
just actually by myself, without
the backing track so you can hear it.
And then you can practice
it with the backing track.
Okay, so this is what it sounds like
to pizz the bass in the solo changes.
One, two,
a one,
two, three,
So I'm always muting on the off beat and
I'm always pizzing with
my arm to the right.
Pretty down far the finger boards that
it would get that thuddy [SOUND] sound.
[SOUND] All right.
So when you're in a jam,
you can try accompanying
somebody else with this really
great gypsy jazz bass sound.