In article <email@example.com>, Mark BrewsterHm. Any set of "rules" for soloing necessarily boils down to a finite bag of tricks, and almost any finite bag of tricks wears thin if you use it too much.
wrote: >Gotta question or two for ya. First off, what are the "rules" to bass >soloing or soloing in general. I'm not much of a muso and only recently >started to do very limited bass solos. That is one song. I'm not into >soloing but I am curious to know what are some of the basic fundamentals >of soloing. Can someone shed some light on this please?
What follows is opinionated, and, as always, YMMV. The point of soloing is to set forth some musical ideas that (1) form a coherent whole, and (2) are naturally suited to a single instrument. You can't do that with a set of rules; you have to develop some musical ideas, and the ability to chain them together, and the only way to do that is through lots of playing (though formal training can help a lot).
There's no shortage of rules of thumb, though. Many of them are tied to particular styles---the large set of useful blues cliches, for instance---and it's hard to say much without knowing what sort of music you're trying to solo over. Thinking in terms of scales---as the paragraph below suggests that you're doing---is a useful approach, though there are things that it misses.
For instance, there are circumstances in which a single scale works well over a whole chord progression---you can play a single pentatonic scale all over a 12-bar blues, and sound just like a low-frequency Eric Clapton---and others where it makes sense to pull out multiple scales over the same chord---bebop, for instance, demands a firm grasp of several scales to play over dominant 7th chords.
At the other extreme, you can eschew scalar lines and think strictly in terms of arpeggiating chords---not just the chords you're playing over, but suitable substitutes as well. For instance, over a dominant 7th chord, the results are interesting if you play a line derived from the 7th chord a tritone away from the root---e.g., play a Bb7 line over an E7. There's a whole lexicon of chord substitutions like this; my grasp of it is totally inadequate, and I won't try to hold forth on it in any real way. But it's there; ask jazz players about chord substitutions.
Build your own scales: Take a couple of chords that show up close together, and put together a synthetic scale around the notes. For instance, if you're soloing over a chord progression that goes from G to B7, you might want to seek or create a scale containing G, A, B, D, D#, and F#. (You'll find, if you mess around with this idea, that E and C are natural passing tones, and you've rediscovered something called the Hungarian minor scale.)
Sideslip: take a regular, conventional, predictable line, and play it a half-step above or below where you normally would. This either works or it doesn't; it's a fairly common jazz technique, and those who use it a lot have figured out how to make it work.
I emphasize that these are *tools* for use in building musical ideas; they aren't very fertile ideas all by themselves. There's a common trap: players work like the devil on understanding specific techniques, and end up playing lines that are *just* showcases for those techniques. (And, incidentally, I plead guilty of this as much as the next fellow.) It's important to explore for different ways to use the tools, and occasionally to throw cogitation to the winds and just play.
>The second question is more practical. If you had to solo in a piece of >music that only had 2 chords. (Terrence Trent D'Arby's Wishing Well, which >goes from Bb to Ab throughout the verse). Where would you, could you, >should you start?I don't know the song, so I'm guessing here. If I wrote a piece that went back and forth between Bb and Ab, the Bb would probably be minor, and Bb minor (equiv. Db major) would be a passable scale for the whole song. If both chords really are major chords, I'd be inclined to play in Bb major or Bb Mixolydian (major scale with a flat 7th) during the Bb, then move to Ab major for the Ab. The challenge is to think of good transitions between the two scales, so you can play phrases that aren't locked into such a tight structure.
>I make sure that I hit the root each chord change and then between >changes work in the major scale. Its a bit of hack, I'm not overly proud of >it but the kicker is that it seems to work.The fifth works as well as the root, especially in a solo, when you aren't as responsible for holding down the harmonic bottom; the third works, too, though it's a little less harmonically obvious, and therefore less comfortable for some listeners.
-- Nathan Tenny Qualcomm, Inc., San Diego, CA Resistance is not futile? firstname.lastname@example.org -Hugh http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ntenny/