How to efficiently and wisely develop a bass guitar solo?

How to play a bass solo

In modern playing, bass solo is an increasingly used musical part in different musical genres – in small and big musical groups. It is often used especially in small groups.

For a long time the bass guitar is no longer merely an accompaniment instrument. That is why we have to dedicate a lot of time to this knowledge and exercise.

A solo is required in double – finger technique, as well as in funk slap playing. We can also use the combination of both.

Solo is usually improvised. It can also be written and learned, but played by heart. Many renowned musicians think hard before they play a solo in front of an audience. No soloist ever reads a bass or any other solo notes on stage!

How to play a bass guitar solo

Do not improvise interminably when playing a solo. Do not play mechanically and become a music machine. Finish an individual musical phrase with a pause or let the sound fade out slowly and then start with a new musical phrase.

Develop and enhance the solo with sense and feeling, to which you add emotions. Be relaxed.

The bass solo must have a pleasant musical (jazz) and logical melodic connection. Take the chord progression into account. Develop your own and interesting modulation. Use the scale tones and any other tones we pass over quickly reasonably. You have to learn the scales and harmonic structures (chord progression) by hearth.

Pay special attention to the blues scale, as well as other major and minor scales. Especially important are the scales deriving from a dominant septachord.

Practice the scale exercises.  Learn to hear the notes before you play them and even sing them aloud. This way we prepare ourselves for improvisation, which is a final musical education of any soloist.

Do not forget – jazz has no limitations, but you have to take into consideration that you always have to be in a certain harmony. A solo can also be played in a modal (in the same harmony). But even when playing in modal, do not forget the chord progression.
Use as much contrasting elements as possible, such as high/low tones, fast/slow in intense/relaxed playing.

In practical playing a solo part most times consists of 32 bars.

Left hand placement

The placement of the left hand should always be in position, which means we do as little as possible jumps on the fretboard; of course if we don’t master the jumps. Most of bass and double bass soloists play in position (play  under the hand).

Use empty string when changing positions or make a pause and then continue in higher or lower position on fretboard.

Don’t forget also the technical exercises beside the harmonic and scale exercises. Without constant technical improvement, you will not see the desired progress.

Watch the timing.

Listen to other musicians (soloists) and try to get accustomed to their playing style and at the same time try to develop our own.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 michael July 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

i want to be a great bassist


2 Letsepe Mpe September 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I want to learn how to play solo


3 Peter April 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I wanna become the best soloist in the world


4 Austin November 18, 2015 at 6:49 am

I wanna ROCK with My Bass


5 olorunshogo moses December 28, 2016 at 12:43 pm

I want to be the best soloist the world has ever known


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