As musicians, we spend thousands of thankless hours practicing our butts off. Sitting in a small room with a metronome, some sheet music, or some tabs isn’t everyone’s idea of fun.
In fact, it isn’t most musicians’ idea of fun, either. The only things that keep us coming back is the challenge, and a whole lot of heart.
But heart can only go so far, and after a while, it isn’t enough; we want to showcase all of our hard work, and put it to practical use.
First things first; rhythm. If you don’t have a steady sense of rhythm, you don’t yet have the tools to play a bass solo or improvise a bass line. Why?
You won’t be able to follow what is going on. Take for instance a 4/4 groove consisting of three eighth notes, two sixteenth notes, a quarter note, and a quarter note rest. If you don’t have a fully develop sense of rhythm, how do you think you will do if you try to play over that measure?
This is because you won’t know how to match notes and, more importantly, how to stay within a given time signature no matter how confusing the notes values within may seem.
If you have trouble, it is best that you take some time alone with a metronome to develop the basics of rhythm. Learn to keep your note values even, and learn to stay within a time signature.
Once you know these things, you can start to construct a bass solo or an improvisation. Believe it or not, improvisations and solos are nearly identical in structure; they both consist of a set of chosen techniques meant to outline the structural aspects of a song.
This means that, despite the name, improvisations aren’t actually improvisations; they are planned. Your fingers use muscle memory when improvising, which means that any technique you use is preexisting within your mind. For a solo, your structure will be made of preexisting techniques as well.
The important thing to remember is this; stay in key. No matter which bass playing techniques you use, the only thing that will remain constant is your key. If you play A Major over a C Major progression, it will sound wrong. Likewise, if you play A Minor over Bb Minor, it will sound off as well. This is because, other than their relative scales, scales all have different properties. Keep this in mind.
The important thing to do before approaching a solo or an improvisation is to choose a set of techniques and stick to them. You don’t want to use up your entire bag of tricks all at once; it will make your playing boring. Be conservative, and use taste.
All in all, there are no set structures for bass soloing and improvisations; creativity is spontaneous, and cannot be forced. As musicians, most of us already know this, but for those of you who try approach guitar as a science or a math, you may find it hard to write a pleasing solo, as there are no set formulas.
Keep your key in mind, keep your mind open, and listen with a foreign ear; don’t tell yourself something is simply good enough. Make each solo count, and have fun with learning bass soloing. Good luck!
#ad – Master The Art of Soloing And Shining On Stage Access lessons and masterclasses direct from the masters. At Jamplay, you get an army of teachers ready to help you achieve a higher standard of playing the bass.
#1 - Playing Bass Solos and Fills Isn’t That Difficult
Being a bass player means that you are usually hidden behind the glamour of the guitarist and lead singer. However, when it is your turn to shine, you want to make an impact with a great solo or fill to light up the stage.
#2 - Legato Playing – How to Use Them In Your Improvisation
The legato technique is basically a series of notes that is played in a fluid motion. This involves the use of the fretting hand and the notes are played without assistance from the picking hand.
#3 - Making Your Own Bass Line From Scratch
Coming up with your own original bass lines isn’t easy. Just like art, creativity cannot be taught but there are certain guidelines that we can teach you to help you set your mind free and make improvisation easier.
#4 - 3 Simple Riffs to Learn And Apply to Your Improvisation
Even the greats start somewhere and are inspired by their idols somehow. In this article, we will reveal some of the easiest bass guitar riffs that you can learn and learn to play some cool sounding fills.
#5 - Three Upshift Exercises You Can Perform to Fire Up Your Skills
What are upshift exercises? If you had ever notice a bass player stretching his hands to the limit to play huge intervals, this places heavy strain on your hand. With upshift exercises, it will enable you to play your licks without hurting yourself.
#6 – How to Structure a Bass Solo to Make It Appealing to Listeners
How many times have you heard a solo that goes on and on without any sense or rhythm? In this lesson, we will show you some tips and guidelines that you can use to keep your playing interesting.
#7 - Top 10 Bass Solos That You Must Listen to
Let’s face it. When we are starting out learning the bass, I’m sure everyone has the desire to play like your idols. By looking at the best and learning from them, we can learn alot about the kinds of techniques and feel that goes into them.
#8 - How to Extract Grooves from Drum Parts to Follow
The foundation of every great piece of music has a great part played by the rhythm and background music. In essence, this is the result of a close collaboration between the drummer and bass guitarist.
#9 - Creative Sounds That You Can Make on Your Guitar
It’s true that we musicians like to come up with some fresh and new every day. Personally, I love experimenting around with my bass to find new sounds and tones that I can incorporate in my playing.
Concepts and Ideas to Help You Get Creative in Your Playing