Scale Runs in Funk Bass to Keep Things Interesting

scale runs in jazzScales are the center of all music. If you don’t know your scales, chances are you will have a tough time writing music or jamming along with friends. That is, unless they can’t hear; in that case you can play a string-less bass.

Knowing your scales isn’t enough these days. You need to know how to implement your knowledge of scales into your playing to create tasteful licks and runs that will showcase your hard work and your knowledge, all in a neat little package.

So, How Can You Use Your Scales?

In this article, we’ll teach you how to approach your scales from the outside in so that you can take a whole new view and learn to construct full runs with them.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are comfortable with your scales. You don’t need to know every scale in existence; knowing the basic major and minor scales is more than enough to make your playing. Not knowing any scales at all is more than enough to break your playing. It is better to know eight scales by heart than it is to have a vague notion of thirty.

Doing Scales in Various Orders And Fingerings

When you play your scales, be sure to play them in both ascending and descending order. Familiarize yourself with the intervals between each note. Count out those intervals while playing the scale. This will allow your ear to pick up on the tonal qualities of each note, and the full scale of differences in between each. You want to be able to memorize which notes are adjacent to which just by hearing the scale. This will help you to hear which notes will sound best when grouped together.

Listen for Correct Intervals

approaching runs in bassWhen you approach scale runs, pay further attention to those intervals. While an octave is a far interval and it sounds good, other far intervals, such as the minor sixth, may sound a little off to your ear. While they aren’t bad intervals and they do have their own uses, they aren’t great intervals for funk playing. This is because they have a bit of dissonance, and although funk is a versatile style, it doesn’t tend to rely upon dissonance.

Remember, no matter how appealing it may seem to throw all rules out of the window, it isn’t the wisest thing to do. While you can break the rules, you need to understand them fully before you worry yourself with becoming a lawless player.

Intervals are rules in and of themselves. The name of an interval can tell you a lot of things about its qualities and about which intervals it best pairs with. Keep this in mind when constructing your scale runs.

The best way to construct a scale run is to practice. You won’t get any better, and you won’t learn anything, unless you try it for yourself. Take your time to construct your runs, and when you craft one that you like, record it. You don’t need any software; a cellphone recorder will do. Listen to the lick with open ears. If something sounds off, adjust it.


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