Bass, Lessons — October 15, 2011 10:06 pm

Bb Major Scale Exercise and Approaches

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This weeks lesson will cover the next in the series of flat scales, Bb Major. Along with the major scale I have also included some exercises geared towards introducing the idea of “Approach notes”. These are notes used when traveling between chords and help to offer a smooth transition from one chord to the next.

First let’s check out the Bb major scale. This scale contains Bb and Eb, all other notes are natural. I wrote out two octaves of the scale and included a specific tab to help guide you up the neck through a few different positions.

Building bass lines is just about one of my favorite things to do, when constructing lines I ask myself these 2 most helpful questions, Where am I right now and where am I going? These questions on a philosophical level can be asked about life in general everyday-but that’s another article in itself.

Where am I?

Here is where we ask the questions, what key am I in? What chords are being used? What scales correspond with these chords? Some of those topics have been covered in previous lessons on chord tones, major scales and their exercises.

Where am I going?

In order to get to my next chord, how can I make the smoothest transition? There will be times where you want a smooth line and there will be times when you’ll want chopiness, prepare for both……..I just got a fortune cookie the other day that read “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Not a bad suggestion!

When you are using these approaches sometimes you will find them to be diatonic (in the key of the moment) or non-diatonic. Typically approaches happen on the final beat or some part of the final beat of the measure, even if your approach note is non diatonic, it will still flow smoothly as long as you don’t hang on it too long. Your ears will guide you through this.

1. Chromatic (half step) above or below our target note

2. Whole step above or below our target note.

3. Double chromatic above or below the target note.

4. The 5th of the target note.

Below I wrote a groove in the key of Bb major, I use the I chord “The Tonic” and the V chord “The Dominant”. I wanted to use the same groove so you could easily see how it’s modified with each new approach. In the recording each exercise is repeated four times to help make it easier to play along and really start to hear each change.

Underneath the exercise is an Mp3 of the scale and approach exercises.

Audio: Bb Major Scale and Approaches

Hope you enjoyed this latest addition and will add it to your bag of tricks.

Enjoy your BASS!!!

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