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Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? #2965466 12/29/18 10:37 AM
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MisterLutherMan Offline OP
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I love the bass, and I want to get into it more with Jazz. I bought a TrueFire course on Jazz Bassline's, where it showed you examples in different styles of Jazz, which is helping.

If you've got any tips, that would be appreciated. Thanks,


Long live the shadow. And let us love it for all its hidden, buried treasure and worth.
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Re: Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? [Re: MisterLutherMan] #2965534 12/29/18 06:16 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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As someone who only recently decided to solo on a fair share of tunes each night vs. just one or two per gig (I thought audiences hated bass solos, but last night's reception proved me wrong), I would say the key is to have a story to tell (though it can go in unexpected directions), and to be melodious, without worrying so much about the EXACT chords (e.g. is there a flat 6 in the chord, etc.) -- if a backing instrument seems sour, then just do a quick grace note to get out of it like it was intentional.

Often the rhythmic pulse of a solo may follow some familiarity with part of the main melody, but only if it doesn't sound too much like it. I'm lucky in that melodies come to me effortlessly, so inspiration is NEVER a problem; simply not getting lost if all the instruments drop out 100% while I'm soloing (something "old schoolers" do but I had young turks hired for last night's gig and luckily they didn't do that). I personally prefer NOT to hint the main melody, except when I'm coming out of my solo and back into the head.

It generally is helpful to at least start your solo above the fifth fret (I try otherwise to play mostly within the first five frets and consider bassists who do otherwise to be encouraging bad technique -- except of course on upright bass where EVERYTHING is different). The harmonics are less complex higher up the neck than below the fifth fret, and the notes usually ring louder as well, making the solo stand out more. Once you have people's attention, playing up and down the entire neck is usually OK and won't get lost in the mix.

The main drawback I find during solos, since switching a few years ago from modern basses to a traditional P-Bass, is that I run out of notes fairly often and it can be tricky to try to force a note above the top fret or to jump down an octave without the phrasing seeming weird. I can't predict in advance that I'll run out of notes, but audiences actually love it and laugh WITH me vs. AT me, because they understand the challenge and appreciate it. :-)

Listening to famous bassists that you like, can help a lot in understanding their mindset at an abstract level, while following a chart and seeing how loosely or tightly they follow the form and/or chords.

The bottom line is that I am trying to discourage you from taking a rules-based approach and learning how to solo "by the book", as that is not likely to result in inspiring solos that speak to your heart and connect with the audience. If you play another instrument, think about how you phrase things on that instrument and it will provide some clues. Rhythmic variation is critical in solos; changing the rate of notes for lots of contrast between drawn-out phrases and fast acrobatics like arpeggios or octave jumps.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, RS520T, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
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Re: Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2965582 12/29/18 10:30 PM
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butcherNburn Offline
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I have little to offer as, on my best days, I'm just a cave man from outer space but I wanted to say "Welcome!" and hope you join in on a few posts and maybe open up some more. Even when there were more of us, this has always been a pretty civil bunch.

You wouldn't happen to be in need of a band name would you?


If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
Re: Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? [Re: butcherNburn] #2965583 12/29/18 10:32 PM
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Paul K Offline
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Band-in-a-Box. No doubt about it. It's like the Jamey Abersold records of yore, only lots better.


Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.
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Re: Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? [Re: Paul K] #2965596 12/29/18 11:19 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Although I've never used it, my former (deceased) bandleader did, and in my presence, so I'd have to concur that Band-in-a-Box is a serious upgrade from Jamie Abersold.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, RS520T, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager
Re: Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2966046 01/01/19 11:33 AM
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picker Offline
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Spend a lot of time listening to Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, John Pattitucci, and Marcus Miller. I think they might be the best at soloing that I know of. A lot of ideas are bound to come out of that.


Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.



Re: Any tips for soloing over Jazz progressions? [Re: picker] #2966088 01/01/19 06:51 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Don't forget Charlie Haden. A different approach, but my biggest inspiration of all personally. He originally had a country music background. It's hard to hear it until you listen for it, but it's there, just as with Pat Metheny.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, RS520T, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager

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