Join John Patitucci for an in-depth discussion in this video Chord voicings on the six-string bass, part of John Patitucci: Electric Bass Complete.
- The six-string bass also enables one to play chord voicings, similar to a guitarist or a piano player, in that all the voices can be squashed together in a cluster, like this A minor nine voicing. Here's a low A, open, there's the fifth of the chord, the E, is on the D string, second finger, the fourth finger is on B-natural, the ninth on the G string, and the first finger is on C-natural, the third on the C string. And it sounds like this: (plucking of individual guitar strings) Now, if you just move the C-natural up to C-sharp, you have an A Major nine. (plucking of strings to make new chord) Back... If you noticed, even though the voicing was rich, and it was clustered together, it still had a clarity. That's because of the added range of the six-string bass. Up on the higher strings, we are able to get a nice clear and definite tone, and we can drop a low bass note underneath to make it sound full. Six-string is great for these kinds of voicings, because it doesn't take that many notes to have a nice full and rich sound. You just merely stick with the color tones, the ninth, the third, and possibly the seventh. And if you drop a nice bass note underneath the chord, it is very complete-sounding. So, for chordal things, the six-string really excels. With the added range of the six-string bass, the bassist is presented with a new challenge. Instead of just two or three octaves to take care of, he must now learn to feel comfortable in four octaves. So, I've developed a couple of exercises that I think are a big help. We'll utilize again the melodic minor scale. This time, we'll play the melodic minor scale from the lowest note on the instrument, which is a low B, to the highest note within the scale, which is the top C on the instrument. By doing this, we're learning the scale modally, too, because we're going from the seventh degree of the scale, the seventh mode, if you will, to the seventh degree up top, and then some. We'll start with C melodic minor, from B to B. (plays individual notes in melodic minor mode) Now let's do one more exercise. Using the G melodic minor scale, we'll play from the lowest note to the highest note. This time, it'll put us at the fourth mode, starting on low C of the G melodic minor scale. Now again, we're going to strive for a nice smooth fingering up and down, and really concentrate, making all the notes come out clearly. (plays individual notes in melodic minor mode) Finally, one of the most effective and challenging exercises that we can do is the arpeggio exercise. Here I'll just simply show you a four-octave B major arpeggio. (plays arpeggiated chord in four octaves) If you practice these all the time in all keys, all over, up and down the bass, you'll find out very quickly how familiar you are with your instrument. Another important thing to keep in mind would be the issue of how to dampen the strings that you're not playing. While playing on the higher strings, I've adopted this method. Most commonly, I've caught myself, because this, this kind of evolved naturally. 'Cause I dampen the B string with my thumb, and I'll use the little finger on the right hand to dampen the E string. The A string, in turn, will be in, by the ring finger, it'll be dampened. And the D and the G are played then with the first two fingers. (plucks D and G strings quickly) Now if I have to play on the lower strings, the other ones move aside to let the first two play them. (plays higher notes) And then they go back into place kind of naturally, I've found out. It's really interesting how this evolved, because I didn't even notice it until one day, one of my students asked me, "Well, how do you dampen the strings when you're using the other ones?" And I had to look down and I noticed that my right hand had naturally evolved into this position. Hopefully this will be a very good position for you. Now, just watch as I play the C scale, how the other ones get dampened. (Plays C Major scale) It's actually quite natural, and I think an excellent way to solve the problem.
This course was created by Alfred Music. We are pleased to offer this training in our library.
- Left-hand dexterity builders
- Right-hand picking exercises
- Time and grooves
- Playing off the bass drum
- Chord voicings on the six-string bass
- Ear training