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Major Scale Improvisation Exercise #2 (L#78)

In this bass lesson you're going to learn how to use intervalic shapes and patterns within your bass solos, and how important they can be.

When you listen to a great bass player soloing it can seem effortless, almost like the notes and ideas are just flowing out of them. Well that's true to a certain extent, but there is ALWAYS method behind the madness ;)... everything they're playing within there solo is interval related and I guarantee they'll be either thinking of that while playing, or more likely be 'hearing' that while playing. Either way, there is a thought process behind it. Imagine if you spoke without actual thinking about what you were speaking about about... it'd sound pretty strange wouldn't it! Just random words! Well soloing or simply just playing the bass is just the same - there needs to be some sort of thought process behind it otherwise it would just sound like a random mess of notes.

Using intervallic ideas within your soloing lines can really start to open up the sound and texture of your solos and help you break away from just running up and down scales aimlessly. Getting these types of ideas into your soloing lines is a must, and once you do you'll start to hear that EVERYONE... sax players, piano players, you name it - they use these same techniques!

This lesson will take your bass soloing to the next level!

Make sure you haven't missed out on Lesson #1

Full tab/notation & workbook available to Academy members »

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Major Scale Improvisation Exercise #2 (L#78) - Video Transcript

Hey, how are you doing? Scott here from Scott’s bass lessons, again, hope
you’re well. If you haven’t checked out Scott’s bass lessons before, make
sure you do so straight after this lesson. Because there is tons and tons
of videos just like this one all for free, so check them out.

In this lesson, I’m going to follow on from last week’s lesson, and in last
week’s lesson we were discussing the different fingerings of the major
scale, and we are also discussing how to get them into your playing, how to
make practicing scales musical, which is the most important thing. You can
learn scales all day but without making them musical and learning how to
put that into your practice time, you’re never going to be able to remember
them or use them properly within you’re playing. So I’m going to take the C-
major scale, if you haven’t seen the tutorial I’m talking about, by the
way, there will be a link to it on this video somewhere, so click it and
you’ll go straight there.

So we looked at the C-major scale. That was the second finger position, the
first finger position was… there, and the little finger position… was
there. And basically we went through, back and forward looking at the
different positions, talking about how it’s really important to be able to
visualise these patterns on your bass, and then you’ll be able to move
freely between each of the positions and you’re aiming to have a mapped out
visualisation of the fingerboard when you’re playing it. That’s the aim,
okay? You’re aiming to map it out, so you can just look down and you can
see all of the notes that are within any chord. We were talking about C-
major, so that would be all these notes. And using just the different
positions of the major scale and learning the different fingerings to be
able to do what I’ve just done there.

Now in this lesson, we’re going to do it in the key of B-flat, I thought
we’d change it up a bit, make sure you’re learning your positions for
different major scales, not just one, which was in the key of C. So B-flat
major were going to be doing, and again as always, the backing track if
you’re watching this on YouTube, click the link below and it will take you
straight to the page where you’ll see this video lesson and you can
download the backing track straight into the video. It will say something
like ‘Download backing track’. or something along those lines anyway. Yeah.

So what this lesson is about is getting patterns into your playing, and I’m
not talking about licks. Licks and patterns get confused regularly.

A pattern is something like it could be a pattern in thirds, and that’s
what we’re going to be looking at this week. We’re going to be looking at
three different patterns. A pattern in thirds is something like… da, di,
da, da, da, da, da.  I’m sure you can sing it, give it a go, ba, di da, da,
da, da, da.

Now it’s really important that we have these patterns in our playing,
because without them, all melodies, basically, are constructed of
intervals, and it just so happens that these were intervals of thirds.

So when I am improvising a solo, or a melody, I’m using these kinds of
patterns within my improvisation to give it some sort of, to give the
phrasing some sort of a continuity, so every phrase joins to the next
phrase, that kind of thing. For instance, if we were just zooming up and
down the scale all day… Gets a bit boring. Too linear. What intervals do,
when we’re using them, like thirds, they give it a bit more depth. So for
instance, I could play a linear line… And then some thirds… Just gives
it a bit more body, yeah? Again I’ll play another linear line… There,
putting more thirds in. So this is first pattern that I’m going to show
you, and then were going to try and fit it in with our soloing. So the
first pattern in the B-flat major, second finger position… That one. Is B-
flat, D, C, E-flat, D, F, and think about them in groups of two notes, so
you’re going, D F, E-flat G, F A, G B-flat, A C, and B-flat. So played like
that it would be…

Can you see? And when you’re playing this, make sure that you’re looking at
the major scale, you’re seeing this pattern within the major scale. Now
without any gaps. Back down.

Now it sounds a bit like an exercise played like that. But let’s listen to
the backing track and see how I fit it in with the actual solo. Okay,
linear. Linear. Linear. Thirds. Linear. Thirds. Arpeggio. Thirds. Linear.
Thirds. Linear. Arpeggio again. Thirds. See how I’m fitting in? I’m using
it to link up the linear lines. I’ll playing a linear line, then I’ll play
the third pattern a linear line, third pattern. And again, once more.
Thirds. Linear. Thirds. Linear. Thirds. Hah. It’s hard to say it and play
it. Thirds.

Now, let’s look at the second pattern. The second pattern is up three of
the major scale, and then back to the start,. Up the next note, then the
next note. So you’ve got B-flat, C, D, B-flat. Think about this in one two
three four, in groups of four, one two three four. And then the next one C,
D, E-flat, C. The next one D, E-flat, F, D. The next one E-flat, F, G, E-
flat. And obviously that carries on.

Now again, I’ll play linear lines and then I’ll start dropping on that
pattern. Now I’m not always starting on the B-flat, I could be… Hear how
I fit it in there? Let’s try that.

Linear. Pattern. Linear. Pattern. Linear. Pattern. Pattern. Linear.
Pattern. Linear. Linear. Pattern. Linear. Pattern. Linear. Pattern. Linear.

Now the next pattern, and final pattern we’re going to learn is a, sax
player’s. Sax players love this pattern. I’ll play it for you fast, and
then we’ll slow it down… and again. Slowly, B-flat, D, B-flat, one two
three. Think about it in groups of three. Next one, D, E-flat, D. Next one
D, F, D, next one E-flat, G, E-flat. So all these patterns I’ve been
showing you are based around thirds. F, A, F, G, B-flat G, A, C, A, B-flat,
and again.

So with these patterns, I can either start a line off with them, a phrase,
I can start it off with the pattern, or I could finish it off with the
pattern. Or I could have it within the middle of the, of the phrase. Does
that make sense?

So what I’ll do here, I’ll explain. I’m going to start it off with a
pattern, and then I’ll go into a linear type line, okay? So I’ll start off
with a pattern then into a linear type line. Two, three, four. Again. Now
I’ll start off with a linear line and then I’ll drop onto the pattern, and
then I’ll finish off with a linear line again, okay? Two, three, four.

So that was kind of sandwiched between two linear lines, a linear line, the
pattern and then the linear line. Now I’ll just play linear line and have
the pattern on the end, okay. Two, three, four. Now let’s hear it with the
backing track.

That was all that pattern.

So hopefully you can see there how, I’m, sorry, how I’m weaving in and out.
And obviously the end goal is being able to use all of these patterns
together, which is what I’m going to demonstrate now. I’m going to use
the… first pattern, then the second pattern… and then the final
pattern, all within the improvisation. Let’s take a look at that.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this lesson, and if you haven’t been to Scott’s
bass lessons before, get straight over there, now, check it out, download
this backing track that’s free with this lesson, straight from the link
below this video, and other than that, take it easy. Get in the shed, and
make sure you click like, in a bit.

  • Hi Scott, many many thanks for all the work you are doing for all us bassplayers.
    Just seeing you with your enthousiasm and the pleasant personality that you are is such a joy and a feelgood experiece. I truly hope that one day I will be able to play the bass like you.
    May you have a wonderful christmas and a marvelous new year and may you produce many more of these great videos. From my heart I wish you and your family all the best that this universe has to offer.
    Love and light from a very sunny Lanzarote. (25 degrees with clear blue skies)
    Kind regards,

  • Great lesson, maestro. I will be adding this one to my daily practice regimen. God bless, Scott… and Merry Christmas.

  • Dave C

    another great lesson and as I ran through it it came to me.. and maybe this was obvious or I missed it in the video but work these ‘3rds’ ascending and descending through the scale. Just as I was getting comfortable working them ascending, I tried walking them back down through the scale and made me re-visualize the patterns.

    • Lee K

      I had this same problem while working on the previous lesson: I knew the ascending patterns well, starting with each of three different fingers, but when I tried switching between patterns I discovered that after going up one way, I couldn’t find my way back down another way. It then occurred to me, to my horror, that this is true for pretty much every scale, mode, and arpeggio that I’ve ever learned! I certainly know now what I need to work on….

      I’ll bet that this is a pretty common problem. Scott, maybe it would be good idea in future lessons to give equal time to descending patterns? These are all the kinds of things that one literally has to know “backwards and forwards,” right?

      • scott

        Great idea Lee! Thanks for watching man! Scott ;)

  • Eugene

    Awesome lesson! I pray that you and your family be blessed and victorious in all your doing Scott!

  • Cheryl Muradas

    Thank you so much Scott for another fantastic lesson. I have been practicing this one daily. Have a blessed New Year!

  • allan

    Body, you are a great brother. Thanks for teaching and sharing.

    Greeting from L.A

  • Maddalena

    wow!!! :))) thanks

  • Ash

    Hi Scott another great lesson,just what I was looking for,starting to make sense.
    You are a great teacher and player too.
    all the best for the new year
    South Africa

  • Ur lessons have really helped me. Remain blessed

  • G-rom

    I got mail and whoooot, amazing stuff like always ! Happy new year Scott and thank you so much !

  • Herman

    Happy new year from Belgium dear Scott and thank you for the great lessons!

  • J

    GREAT Lesson! Thank you.

  • James

    Actually saying, “linear”, “thirds”, and “arpeggio” while soloing has definitely opened up some ideas for my own improvisational pieces. Thanks!

  • William Tiffany

    I tried to download the ‘free’ PDF associated with your new intervallic video but it fails. Actually it tries to put me over to Amazon downloader but hangs up.

    • scott

      Hey William, can you try doing it through a different browser as that could be the issue. Cheers. Scott ;)

  • Max

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share and explain. This lesson blew my mind !
    Happy new year from Paris !

  • Martin

    Great lesson Scott. I just start to practise interval fingerings recently and it helps me to improve speed and precision. I am practising also other intervals like 5ths and 6ths.

    But your lesson takes it to musical level. Keep it, I am watching you :)

  • Steve

    Another great lesson Scott. Many thanks.

  • Love the third pattern! That’s going to be a favourite of mine with all scales for sure! Thanks Scott.

  • Andras

    What kind of effect did you use in this lesson? Your sound is great:)
    Greeting from Budapest.

    • scott

      Just a tiny bit of reverb. The rest is just me and the bass. Thanks for watching Andras! scott ;)

  • Stelios

    amazing how to open my mind this lesson. happy new year and be strong. thanx Stelios

  • Steve Rogers

    Thank you again Scott for another well thought out and superbly presented lesson.
    I hope your cold is gone by now!

  • Another great lesson, Scott. Been doing a bit of traveling over the holidays but after watching your video, I’m anxious to ‘get back to it!’

  • SAUL

    Thanks to its teachings, I learned a lot from them even though our languages ​​are different

  • sean

    class.happy christmas.

  • Nebojša

    I´m gonna practice this to death. You are the best teacher out there for sure. Thanks a lot and take care of that cold, you sound terrible.

  • Dave G.

    Reveals a lot of the mystery behind improv. Thanks for all the lessons!

  • JoshL

    thanks scott these lessons really help keep em coming, but if you could do a more in deph lesson on the modes and how to use them that would be great. cheers.

  • MitchD

    Hey Scott, thanks so much for taking the time to make these lessons! They’ve been the most helpful tool I have found as a guitar player transitioning to bass. I’ve been playing music for the past 8 years but You’ve helped me to get a much deeper understanding of it over the past few months. You’ve re-inspired me to put the work in to really progress! I have one question for you though: What bass do you play? I’ve scoured the web and I just don’t recognize the logo? Thanks again mate!

  • Luis

    Great Lessons Scott appreciate them
    thnx & God bless hope your New Years Rocks!


  • Tino

    Gracias Scott

  • mindthegap

    Great video! you sound great.

    I just can’t get it to sound that melodic. I’ve been playing for about 10 months and my playing is still choppy, my fingers spaz out and do their own thing on the fretboard!

    • Aidan

      Just keep playing man. It’ll take years before your finger and ears are trained to be melodic.

  • Laurence Day

    all i can say is ooh shit! ive been improvising for ages and never really came across these types of patterns, they don’t really come up in rgt grades or anything, but wow my improv skill doubled after one video! thanks very much!!!!!

  • Hey Scott. Why do you wear BLACK gloves sometines? It makes seeing your left hand fingers very hard and in your lesson you move so fast. I am new to your lessons and I hope to get more into how you teach and maybe then I can keep up. I have only been playing bass since 1969 so you would think I would know how by now. BTW, in 1969 I also wore a black glove while playing in a soul band in Muscle Shoals Alabama USA. Great site and thanks for the lessons.

  • Les Walmsley

    WOW! thank you. So much great stuff here. I got the PDFs from donating. It is so nice to have the tab and follow along. Scott you have helped me so much. THANK YOU.

  • Juan Lepiz

    Your lessons are just awesome!! I’ve learned so much from watching this videos! thank you so much!
    greetings from Costa Rica!

  • Ghandimaster

    Thank you. This is harder than 1st one. I dont get how you are talking about Lyonian and 3rd?? I thought this is all B major scale.

  • Thomas C Hunt

    Is there a technical name for these “Patterns?”