Want your listener to hear the chord changes during your bass solo?
Harmonic clarity is the key to playing a bass solo that doesn’t rely on someone else to sound out the chords.
Create harmonic clarity and melodic direction with the Rock Climbing Method
The Rock Climbing Method is a method for bass soloing that creates melodic direction.
The best part is, works for any chord progression. You can try this on random chord progressions and even complicated ones, like Giant Steps.
Follow these steps to practice the Rock Climbing Method:
- Map out each chord tone for all the chords in a chord progression.
- Decide which direction you want your line to go. Do you want to ascend, descend, or stay within a limited range.
- Start on your first chord tone, then continue to choose the closest chord tone for your next note. This will create a simple melody. It will also outline the inner voice movement of the chord tones for your chord progression.
- Develop your simple melody with approach notes or other means of embellishment.
This method for bass soloing is the same as voice-leading. I like the idea of rock climbing as an analogy. The stones are the chord tones. As you progress up the wall, you may need to leap the next stone, but for the most part you want to stick with the closest.
When you are practicing soloing on the bass, aim to voice lead your lines. This will make the listener hear the chord changes, even if no one is playing the chords.
Here’s another exercise you can do that takes this concept further:
- Play an arpeggio for your first chord.
- For the second chord, play an arpeggio that starts with the tone closest to the last tone you played.
- Continue for the remaining chords of your progression.
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Smooth voice leading is essential for harmonic clarity and keeping the flow of your lines. Check out this book on Amazon: Harmony and Voice Leading