Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been a bass player for so long, playing in the pocket, that I have a really bad sense of melody. I can read heads all day long but if I try to improvise a melody over even the simplest of I-IV-V changes it sounds like scales or bass lines.
That's all. Just sharing a self observation.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
Learn the pentatonic scale. Even if you're just noodling on the pentatonic it's hard to not sound melodic. And/Or Listen to a bunch of ballads played by great ballad players -- Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, John Coltrane. These guys aren't playing changes (bebop) on this pretty ballad stuff. Play along with these recordings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
I guess you were asking for a way to find a melody. Do you ever find yourself humming a tune that doesn't exist? Try to play that to start out with.

Start with rhythm. Play one note and treat it as a drum. Once you can do this and make it somewhat interesting, add another.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
mattbutler said:
Don't play changes for now. Deal with melody only.
Well, yeah. The I-IV-V is just so basic that staying diatonic (or pentatonic) minimizes the possibility of wrong notes. So I'm not trying to play through changes. It's just hard to break out of the rhythm section bass player mind set.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
mattbutler said:
Start with rhythm. Play one note and treat it as a drum. Once you can do this and make it somewhat interesting, add another.
I'm all about rhythm.
In the right groove, I can ride a single pedal tone over some very rocky terrain and love every minute of it. When the trail starts getting hilly, up and down, is where I get into trouble.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,319 Posts
I saw an excerpt(sp?) from the video Jaco Pastorius made and he discusses how he just played melodies of songs on his bass so eventually his lines became more musical and melodious. He suggested the listener do the same. Check it out on UTube.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
I'd say abandon the ii V I for now, too. Even if you just allow the progression to float by underneath it's still like learning to swim with a tshirt on. You might thing of coloring one reference note but don't think of it like a pedal tone or you might hang around it too much.

I should have you come play with my group one week, this is what we work on; all melodic development.

I'd love to hear your bass playing. Do you have something online that I can listen to?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
mattbutler said:
I'd love to hear your bass playing. Do you have something online that I can listen to?
Nothing online. Really, nothing recorded to even put online.
But...
You can see me live. (Mellow Mushroom, Tinseltown, Thursdays 6:30 - 10:30)
It gets pretty interesting for other musos to come see us sometimes. We play a lot of singer-songwriter stuff (Damien Rice, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, etc) but other stuff too.

A lot of the time our singer/guitarist starts playing a song I've never played before. Often, he'll start playing a song I've never HEARD before. So I'm really winging it.

Our drummer/percussionist doesn't listen to any of this type of music and is completely unfamiliar with the pop-rock genre so he wings it even more than I do.

Sometimes it crashes, but mostly it makes for some very fun versions of songs that end up being very different from the original artist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,880 Posts
teledyn said:
stop trying, start listening. You learned the bass by listening, so learn melodics by listening, watching, learning. you just have to do it, to step into the role of the melodic and the best way to step into any role as a novice is to step in with a role model.
If you heed this advice you WILL be playing melodies soon enough.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
2,892 Posts
Play melodies. All the time. Open the Real Book(s) and play. Learn to think like a horn player, as opposed to a member of the rhythm section, by practicing like one. Eventually you'll get there.
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
Even more basic, take a tune and instead of improvising on the chords, just embellish the melody. Do that over and over, getting a little more away from the melody with each repetition. You might find this discussion by Lee Konitz helpful: http://www.melmartin.com/html_pages/Interviews/konitz.html
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top