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Jazz Bass Etude in E Minor

Etudes (from the French world étude meaning study) have long been used by musicians as a way to improve on certain techniques. They are typically written for one instrument and are comprised of a short musical composition designed for practice and repetition. The idea is that the more you play it, the easier it gets and the more you improve. 

This jazz bass etude will help you get in the swing of things, it's a sample lesson from the Online Jazz Bass School with John Patitucci which features a beginner level bass etude in E Minor. We have the full backing track here that you can play along to, as well as bass notation for the melody, which we also have transcribed for you here.

Watch the video for an idea of how to practice with this backing track. John Patitucci is an expert on this kind of style, so you'll definitely learn a lot by studying his playing. Notice how he's feeling the music with his body and how he channels that into his playing. This actually a very important part of playing bass, and something John stresses that his students learn, so click here for John's lesson on Playing with Expression.

Once you get a feel for the melody, practice it for yourself over the backing track. The piece starts right off with the rhythm section. John Patitucci encourages you to take some risks while you practice this one. Don't worry about the end results, just have fun with it. This is your chance to fool around using your ear, and practice playing four to a bar. 

This bass etude puts all the technique together for you, so don't be afraid to try some different things out. It’s all about experimenting and being adventurous with your music. If you don’t take chances, how will you ever discover new ideas? Be free with the music, the results may surprise you. 


Watch John's Free Bass Lessons

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Fill out the form for more sample lessons and visit for more information about the online Jazz Bass School. 

Study jazz bass online from the master John Patitucci using Video Exchange™ technology from ArtistWorks. Receive personalized feedback on your playing when you submit videos. Watch hundreds of other exchanges with John and other jazz bass students and learn from the advice he gives them on their playing, which might also apply to you too.  

jazz bass lessons with john patitucci