Bass Lessons — Bass Soloing bass tabs
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In this lesson I will show you the techniques I use for playing
bass solos to hopefully help you write your own. So here goes.
Starting from the start you need some knowledge of scales. The
most simple types of scale are major and minor and are played
as follows: major c to c with no sharps or flats (c, d, e, f, g,
a, b, c or tone, tone, tone, semi—tone, tone, tone, tone, semi—tone).
Minor a to a with no sharps or flats (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, a or tone,
tone, semi—tone, tone, tone, semi—tone, tone, tone). Here
are some examples of major and minor scales:
The usual technique for playing solos is to find out what key
your song is in and then improvise or write notes from that scale
over the backing music. When you play over chords you will need
to know what chords are being played, and then play the notes
in that chord. So if you are playing over a chord of c major then
the notes in that chord are the ones, which will sound the best
(c, e and g). You can still use other notes in the scale, but they
will not sound as appealing as the chord notes.
Nearly all of the bass solo's I've heard have included some slap
in them. In case you're new to bass, slap is where you make a fist
and hit the string with your thumb. There are a few ways to incorporate
scales into a slap solo. One, which is the most obvious, is to
play a normal solo but slap it. A few others include left hand
taps (not actually plucking the note but bringing your finger
down and making a sound) and index finger/thumb pops (pulling
the string up and letting go creating a twanging sound). These
techniques will make the solo sound faster, but will require
more skill to make them sound good. Below is an example of a slap,
pop, tap solo in e minor:
S S S S P P T P P S P P
Another way to play a slap solo is to play the notes in a scale but
slap another note in between them. This "offbeat" note can be
in the scale or not. An example is shown below
(this is in a minor)
S P S P S P S P S P S P S P P S P S P S P S
With the last technique you can change the Es or whatever note
youre using for a dead note and it will sound just as good.
This next technique I don't know the name for, when I thought
it up I didnt know of anyone else who did it so I named it myself
as tremolo slap. It is a slap technique but it gives the impression
of a tremolo pick on guitar. What you do is play the normal slap
note, and then on the way back slap again with your fourth finger.
If you can get this fast it will sound amazing with a minimal amount
of effort. I suggest practising scales, but doing them with
this technique to build up your speed.
Moving scales around.
The scales I gave as examples don't have to be played like I've
shown them. These are just the basic majors and minors of notes.
You can play around with these scales, try flattening the seventh
of a minor scale for a bluesy sound, or flatten the seventh of
a major scale for an even brighter sound. The possibilitys
are only as limited as your imagination! Also, the scales dont
need to stay within these boundaries, you can move them up and
down the fretboard as long as you stay within the notes of the
scale. You can add accidentals to the solo but don't add too many
as this will make it sound sloppy and in some cases may even put
it in a different key!
Well that's all, I hope this inspires you to create better solo's
and helps you in the process as well. Thanks for giving it a read!
Tablature player for this song: