Author Archives: Joe Hubbard
Why would I serve you filet mignon, when everybody’s lapping up the dog-doo? Because I can! It’s a simple answer to a not so straight forward question, but it’s based on years of investing time and money into my musicianship skills, which include studying with some of the best jazz and composition teachers on the planet, along with playing with some of the best musicians and recording artists around. But this still begs the question of why there is so much “junk science” being peddled as “the real thing” by so many unqualified people, all over the internet, who mostly, haven’t played with anybody of repute or paid any significant dues as working musicians.
Well, it’s that time of year again when New Year’s resolutions start to surface and as a practicing musician, you’re probably just starting to think about new ways of how to improve the ‘quality’ your practice regime. If you are 100% happy with your bass playing and musicianship skills, then don’t read any further. But…if you are looking for new ways to improve the value of your practice habits, then read on!
Understanding that ‘chord tones are king’, is often talked about but frequently misunderstood. The whole premise of this principle is that the first step to understanding how to play over a set of chord changes is to first focus on the chord tones and not the scales as your primary source material to create meaningful and musical lines.
Once you understand this basic concept, then you must start to ‘spice up’ or embellish the chord tones to create a sense of tension and release in your lines. This is tantamount to adding a bit of garlic or fresh chilies to a somewhat bland meal. The source material to implement this kind of embellishment goes deep, but a good place to start is with chromatic approach notes.
There is a litany of finger exercises, but sadly, most of them just serve to wiggle your fingers and nothing more. What you want is something to warm up with that engages all three of the senses and relates to something musically- right?
12-tone rows are a great musical source to sink your teeth into, that are melodic studies relating to the chromatic scale. Music that is entirely based on the chromatic scale is called atonal, but what you might not know is that many of the more modern jazz players use atonal ideas over tonal music!
Finger funk grooves became popular in the 70’s and have continued to be a major source of inspiration for pop, rock, smooth jazz and fusion music. The rhythmical feel suggested by the bass lines has a distinct sound where the 16 note is the main rhythmical subdivision against the pulse. Playing finger funk grooves requires a strong punchy right hand attack where the rhythmical phrases are played with a more staccato phrasing.