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How to Practice Odd Meters and Scales with Jazz Bass

John Patitucci

If you’re learning how to play bass guitar, it can seem daunting to wrap your head around odd meters. Luckily, ArtistWorks electric jazz bass guitar master John Patitucci is here to share his tips for developing your understanding of this key musical element in his online bass lessons. Turns out, it’s as easy as breaking up a simple major scale with rhythmic mapping. 
Rhythmic mapping is a great way to practice your scales while also using some interesting rhythms. To start, play the first note of the major scale, followed by the first two notes of the scale. Then play the first three notes, and so on. For example, if you’re playing an E major scale, you would start by playing an E, followed by E and F#, followed by E, F#, and G#, and so on. Once you have the pattern down, break each segment down into its own unique meter. It should go as follows: two bars of one beat per bar, 3/8, 2/4, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8, and finally 4/4. After you’ve mastered this technique using the major scale, you can try it with other scales, too.
 
John teaches another useful bass technique in his online bass lessons: playing a scale as two separate bars. For example, if you want to break your scale into 3/8 and 5/8, take eight beats and divide them into three and five beat patterns. Start off slow and gain speed until you’re playing a walking bass line. As with the rhythmic mapping exercise, keep going until you’ve aced this scale, then try another one.
 
Adding a little something rhythmically to play with can make a world of a difference in your practice session. Including a Latin rhythm backing track and tapping along while playing is a great way to practice your scales and develop some rhythmic independence in your foot. There are several apps available that can provide similar drum sequences, so try a few out and see which ones you like best!
 
With enough practice, you too can become a master of odd meters. Good luck, and have fun expanding your jazz bass guitar skill set.
 
We hope you are enjoying your musical journey with ArtistWorks, and will consider renewing your plan! 
 

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