Why do you even care?
Is playing jazz chords on bass really that necessary? The truth is that understanding the mechanics of building chords and voice leading helps you in many ways to be a better bass player. Particularly if you like to jam, improvise or compose your own basslines. Being able to play jazz chords on bass is like having a cheat sheet for melodic ideas and finding musical connection points from one chord to another. It doesn’t matter if you want to improve your solos, bass fills or basslines. All three will benefit from the fretboard knowledge and harmonic understanding that you gain by figuring out this chords on bass thing.
The Secret Sauce
As always, I give you a couple of exercises that can help you every step of the way. You can start out with just learning the chord shapes and exploring the sounds you can create or you can start by playing guide lines to understand the concept of voice leading.
But the magic happens when you bring the two together. This is where the “What The Fuck” experience (yes, this is a scientific term used in neuroscience) turns into an “Aha” moment. You start seeing maps of possible routes to take as well as all the available target notes.
One thing that you can immediately take advantage of is creating your own backing tracks. I found this to be priceless when I’m teaching. Whatever comes to mind, I can record it and have the student play over it. Not to say that I don’ use it for myself. I agree with Victor Wooten that you should practice in a musical way. So even when I’m practicing scales or arpeggios, I always create a backing track that I can jam to and make the exercise sound like music.
About Mischa Marcks
Hey Basshacker, my name is Mischa Marcks and I'm the founder of MMEducation. A place where I share my personal experiences and the lessons I learnt from players like Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller and Gary Willis. Read more...
In this video you'll learn:
- An introduction to voice leading
- The two main shapes for the most important chords in jazz
- How to find the best chord shapes in a chord progression
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Love & Bass
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