Daily Licking 004: Altered Dominant ii-v

bass lick tempo 120 4/4 | Em7 r8 e- [ g b d ] [ f# g f# ] e d | A7 c# e# d# c# c bb a g | Dmaj f#1 |

bass lick tempo 200 4/4 | Em7 r8 e [ g b d ] [ f# g f# ] e d | A7 c# e# d# c# c bb a g | Dmaj f#1 |

As before, pick it apart and see what the notes are in relation to the chord.

First one is slower at 120, second one is up an octave and faster.

Don't Buy Staff Paper Ever Again

Here ya go. Download and print/photocopy for as much bass clef staff paper as you want. Free.

Should look wonderful thanks to http://www.lilypond.org


Daily Licking 003: Miles Davis Lick

bass lick tempo 120 4/4 | Dmin7 f-8 g a c e f e d | G7 c# e d c b a g# f | Cmaj e1 |
bass lick tempo 200 4/4 | Dmin7 f8 g a c e f e d | G7 c# e d c b a g# f | Cmaj e1 |

Another ii-v one lick for ya. This is the same lick two times, the first one is a bit slower, at 120 bpm and the second time it is up an octave and sped up to 200 bpm.

The best thing to do on these licks is pick them apart and figure out the function of the notes being used. For instance, in this one:

On the Dmin7, the ii chord: The lick starts on the 3rd of the chord (F), and goes up a F Maj 7 chord, but throws in a G along the way. Also, it uses chord tones on every downbeat (f, a, c, and e). Its a lot easier to remember licks when you look at them in the way, in relation to the chord. You will quickly start seeing patterns and creating your own licks. That is really what this is about, it's not about just copying someones lick, but about figuring out why it works and then adding your own spin to it.

On the G7 the v chord: The lick starts on the #11. Well, la-de-da. Fancy. The next time though, it uses a C natural instead for an interesting contrast. The lick ends on the b7, which is, what do you know, a chord tone. This lick includes the #11, and the b9 of the chord, which is a G#/Ab (same note).

And if you think that copying other players is not how it is done, well, guess again. EVERYONE has done some of that. Take a listen to what George Benson thinks about learning other peoples licks.

It's part of the process.

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat - More Free Bass Tracks Than Your Hard Drive Can Hold

I should say "more free legal bass tracks than your hard drive can hold".

As we all know, there are many sources for music on the internet, some are totally legit and some, well, not so legit. The tracks I am talking about here are all 100% legal, legit, and in many cases supplied by the band themselves (or their record company) from soundboard recordings of their own live shows.

What am I talking about - The Internet Archive

If you are a Dead Head, you already know about this place, but there is a lot more music available up there than just Jerry canoodling around mid-hallucination for 27 minutes over G7 to F7. There are some killing bass tracks up there, no matter what your definition of killing is. And it's FREE.

In this bass players opinion, the reason these tracks are so cool is because the tracks are all live, no studio tricks, no punch-ins to fix it, no beat-detective/auto-tune shenanigans, you get to hear how people REALLY play. You get to hear their tone, groove and notes, raw, as they played (or sometimes misplayed) them.

So who can you hear, stream or download for free? Um, how about:

  1. Bela Fleck and the FleckTones. They have some bass player, what's his name again, Vernon, no, wait, Victor something... hows about 301 live shows (as of today) and just about every one of 'em with a Victor Wooten solo feature in there somewheres. Listen to the current title holder of the only-have-to-use-his-first-name-and-everyone-knows-who-you-mean crown on bass these days. Get ready to hear some sextuplets!

  2. Oteil and the Peacemakers. Don't know Oteil Burbridge? You should. Here are tracks with him playing in his own band, (his "day job" is being the bass player with the Allman Brothers) and he is as funky as you would expect guy to be whose name means "Peace" in Egyptian. This band does funk, jazz, even kinda gospel-y, groove, rock and throws down. Check it out.

  3. Derek Trucks Band. Killer slide/blues player, who is the son of an original Allman Brothers guy. His band also mixes blues, rock and sneaks in some jazz if they can. Their bass player has a textbook amazing tube tone and super great feel. Check out "Volunteered Slavery" for a unison line as an example of afore-mentioned great feel and tone. Derek is married to Susan Tedeshi, another smoking blues guitar player, so she shows up on a few of those shows too. They have over 800 shows up there.

  4. 311. For the kids, ya know, with the rock and the roll. Hear P-nut doing his rock/ska/reggae/slap thing on his Warwick. Lots of live shows from the boys from Omaha. I think that is where they are from.

  5. Garaj Mahal. Listen to hours of Kai Eckhart playing in 11/14 or lord only knows whatever time signature parts of the song "Poodle Factory" are in. This band mixes together rock, funk, blues, jazz, and indian solkattu then bastes it all in Kai's juicy broth of world class bass playing and turns out a patchuli scented mixture of sophisticated improvs over very serious grooves. But NOT the bad kind of jamband-y grooves, the very very good kind. Everyone in this band is a musico grande ridiculoso ( from the Italian meaning "to be a ridiculously sick player"). This band should be waaay more famous than it is. Over 300 shows up there.

  6. Alex Skolnick. Want some jazzy shredding? There you go. Lap it up, Alex's guitar trio live and in action. Terrifying licks of all kinds, but mostly the contain-lots-of-notes kind. Where else are you going to hear Kiss's "Detroit Rock City" done as a jazz tune with a bass solo? Thank you internet!

  7. George Porter Jr. Fire on the Bayou, y'all! It's the funk man from Naw'lens. He plays bass with a little band called The Meters, and also has his own thing called the Running Pardners.

  8. Lettuce. Anyone I have met that is into this band is really, really, really into this band. Maybe it will happen to you too.

  9. Eddie Brickell & The New Bohemians. Oh, you want some fretless? There ya go. Shows from way back and surprisingly recent. Here what Mrs. Paul Simon is doing these days.

  10. Farko Collective. I would be remiss if I didn't post some local talent. Farko Dosumov is a local bass player that has a weekly gig with Michael Shrieve here in Seattle. This is his own project recorded live with plenty of bass shredding.

You can actually stream many of these with a widget The Archive provides, or you can use VLC, or Quicktime player, or even Itunes (if the files are MP3) to stream to your computer if the widget isn't on that bands page for some reason.

There are literally hundreds of bands up there, so this is just a small sample. Check it out and treat your ears to something new.


Daily Licking 002: Triplets, Triplets, Triplets

Here is another lick that could sound good on a blues, jazz or anything. It is all triplets. Check out many more at http://my.bopland.org. This one I moved into the bass friendly key of E, but you can always change the key by clicking on the lick below.

bass lick 4/4 e+8 | F#m7 [ g# e g# ] [ e c# a ] [ e+ c# e ] [ c# a f# ] | B7 [ c#+ a c# ] [ a f# d# ] [ a+ f# a ] [ f# d# b ] | Emaj [ f#+ d# f# ] [ d# b g# ] [ d#+ b d# ] [ b+ g# e ] |



New Feature: A Daily Licking

I think I discovered how to use BopLand.org to render any lick you feed it into bass clef. Pretty sure.

Sooooooo, I am going to start posting licks by using that service, it makes it much faster to put up a lick, and it has some other advantages:
  1. It auto-generates an mp3. A somewhat mechanical sounding one, yea, but hey, at least you get to hear what the lick sounds like. Way faster than me recording it and uploading an mp3.
  2. It will transpose the lick into any key you want. There may be range issues however depending on what key you go into, so its not necessarily going to be playable. I will make sure the original licks always fall within the range of a regularly tuned 4 string.

So, here is another basic ii-v lick courtesy of David Baker, transmuted into bass clef for you to analyze, consume, and enjoy. This one hangs on the flat 9 on the V chord so make sure there is an Ab in the melody! Or don't, go nuts.

Click on it to get the MP3 and the transposition options from the drop down that appears.

walking bass 4/4 | Dm7 f8 a- d f e d db c | G7 b d f ab~ ab4 g8 f | Cmaj e1 |


New Episode of Janek Gwizdala's Podcast Series Released, #14

Go check it out.


Janek gives examples of developing an idea over a simple set of root notes - G,Eb, C, D and lets you listen along as he comes up with phrases he likes. He also plays a track from his most recent album.

Go check it out. All his podcasts are a gold mine of information. Highly recommended.


Sam Jones's Bass Line on "Autumn Leaves" Transcribed. 219-odd measures of Awesome.


Here it is, served hot on a platter by Basso Ridiculoso, all of it - the famous Dorian intro vamp, the head played by Mr. Miles Dewey Davis, then two choruses of your basic Cannonball Adderley alto-saxophonic melodious rhythmical genius, Miles soloing for two choruses, Hank Jones for only one chorus, Miles playing the head again, a rubato piano break down, and finally Hank Jones gets even and plays what is basically his second chorus on the way out for about 40 something bars over the same intro bass vamp.

The PDF below has what (I hope) are all the notes that Mr. Sam Jones played during that entire thing on his upright bass.

This tune is taken from a very famous album named "Somethin' Else" recorded by Cannonball Adderley for Blue Note Records in March of 1958 using all the guys mentioned above, plus Art Blakey on drums. If a person has any kind of jazz album collection, they own two jazz albums, "Kind of Blue" and this album. It is early Cannonball at some of his best. This version of Autumn Leaves is probably the most famous recorded version out there. If you accidently stand next to a piano for too long someone is going to ask you to play "Autumn Leaves", so this is a tune you gotta know. Why not see what went down bass-wise on what many people think is the definitive version then, huh? This version of the song might also deserve to be famous as possibly the quietest Art Blakey has ever played sitting behind a drum set. The man did address those drums directly, didn't he. Boy howdy. But man, does he sound sweet and he and Sam Jones lock up and glide. This is how ya do a slowish, almost-but-not-really-ballad-tempo swing version of a tune.

And I gotta say, after doing this, my respect for Sam Jones has gone up significantly. I am embarrassed to admit I kinda thought of him as the guy they got when they couldn't get Paul Chambers...but not anymore. Boy, was I epic-ly just wrong. The fact he played with Bill Evans should have been a bit of tip off. Mr. Jones has been promoted to a certified 4-Star Generallisimo Ridiculoso with oak leaf clusters and a little ribbon thing on it. His bass line is a thesis in harmonic and melodic bad-assery. Well played, sir!


This is one worth picking apart, examining and really looking at each measure. When you look at the bass line as a whole there is no doubt he was treating it as a melodic line and a spontaneous mini-composition.

Come then, let us probe the magnosity of this grandissimo basso ridiculoso!

Noteable Notes

I think part of what makes it feels so composed is because of his use of repetition. What, you say? He repeats himself? What's wrong, did he run out of ideas? You are supposed to never repeat yourself, right that's bad, right? No. I am gonna go with, no, he did it on purpose. Think about it, when you sing a song, is the melody completely different every time through? No. The melody has a cohesiveness and it gets that from repetition. It is how those songs get stuck in our head, because they have a hook, or a riff, or some melodic fragment that gets repeated over and over and over and over...

How Mr. Jones uses this effect is by playing the same phrase or recognizable arpeggio on a chord every time that specific chord comes around. The effect is that you really know where you are in the tune. Instead of having an endless stream of walking notes which are different in every bar every time through the tune, by returning to repeated phrases it really keeps the tune sounding like, well a tune, like one cohesive thing. Just like the melody of a tune, it repeats! Its subtle, but it really works. Check out a few examples:

Almost every time the Eb Major comes around he plays this phrase:

Picture 12.jpg

on that specific chord, Eb major, and almost exclusively on that particular chord every time it comes around...pretty much. Now this is a pivotal chord because all the chords before this one have been moving in fourths and right after the Eb the tune jumps a TRITONE away to A min. A really big root motion change, so maybe he is offsetting that by giving your ears the same familiar line every time right before to set it up. Either way it totally works.

But BY FAR, his favorite phrase of the tune is this one on G Min:

Picture 1.jpg

He plays that one a TON. It got so I started playing a game where I would just write that line in before the G Min came around, and then play those measures and see if I had to change any notes. Most of the time, I didn't have to, he plays it that often. But he keeps it for just the G min chords as their own exclusive little unique VIP treatment. And pretty soon, it becomes its own predictable melody because it shows up at the same place every time, which is at the end of 8 measure phrases usually, so that familiarity and identifiable part really becomes a landmark and designates a part of the tune as just that, a part, not an endless stream of walking notes like I talked about up there. Its like punctuation, having a period at the end of sentence. Tricky, huh? That sneaky swinging maniac. And look at that - Both his favorite phrases use almost exactly the same chord tones, just in a different inversion.

Another unifying thematic thing he does is start both of the trumpet choruses with almost exactly the same phrase, but he doesn't do that anywhere else, only to start those two choruses.

Picture 6.jpg

Picture 5.jpg

Range-wise, he doesn't go to any note higher than the "D" on his G string until about halfway through the first trumpet chorus. In all the 100-something measures before that you could play almost the entire bass line in the first position (the first 4 or 5 frets) there is just one or two C#'s or D's. And it still sounds awesome. And there are maybe 20-25 notes total above that "C" in the entire bass line.

Some other things to notice:

Hardly any scale-wise movement in the bass line, he barely does any, only a couple of times. Stuff like this is pretty rare:

Picture 7.jpg

Picture 8.jpg

The bulk of the things he uses instead are:

Arpeggios/Chord Tones - playing combinations of just the chord tones of that measure. He does that a lot.

Passing tones/leading tones - a.k.a notes a half-step away from the next chord. He uses half-step approaches like crazy all over the place, down from the fifth, leading into the next chord, he does that one a lot.

Mr. Super Hip

He plays an E natural on the C minor chord a lot. During Cannonballs Solo chorus and the piano solo. That's kinda weird. He doesn't use it when he is leading into the F either, (although he does do that too) but as an arpeggio.

Picture 4.jpg

Also check out how sometimes he plays an E natural when he is walking up on a D chord, and sometimes he plays an Eb. b9's baby, the last dissonant frontier!

It depends on which part of the tune he is on, if that D is part of the key of G Maj (and so needs an E natural) or if it is part of Gmin, and needs it flatted. He picks the notes that give it away and uses it to play off the difference. Crafty.

But those particular parts were the most tricky and the ones that might get corrected by some wise guy, some of the notes were like an Eb-and-a-half, so maybe some I wrote as Eb's might be E naturals. Some are absolutely Eb's though.

Why this tune?

A couple of reasons, first, as I mentioned above it is pretty much the definitive version of this tune and a classic. Ya can't go wrong with that line up. And I couldn't find a complete (or free) version of this floating around on the net. Maybe it is out there, I am sure many have transcribed this before I. Before me. Whatever. I couldn't find one.

Second, the mix. On most Blue Note/Van Gelder recordings everyone was literally playing into two mics (for stereo, but some were even mono) but it wasn't like there were different tracks for each instrument, it was just two mics in a room, everyone was on the stereo track all smushed together. You needed less bass? He had to play softer. More piano, he had to play louder. No Pro Tools nonsense, just guys playing to tape.

But, on this recording, the bass is panned all the way to one side, so you can hear it a lot better than some recordings. I just panned to that side and was able to hear the bass as pretty much a 200-something measure solo. They gave the soloists their own mic, and the rhythm section must have got the other one completely to themselves.

I would suggest to play along with the tune that way, drop the track into Itunes, or Transcribe! (which is what I used for this. Hands down the best transcription software around) and play with the stero/balance settings and listen to the bass and drums isolated. Then just read or play along. It will sound like the trumpet and alto are facing away from the mic and behind some baffles. Cannonball is still loud though, but the trumpet pretty much disappears.

Kill the Clams

Now, I checked this over and played along to it several times of course, but some mystery notes or clams may have snuck through. If you find one, let me know and you will get props here for taking me down a notch for writing down the wrong note. I don't have anything like a t-shirt or a gym bottle or goodies like that, but I will post your name for the world to see. Also, if you notice any interesting motifs or phrases post those for people to see also. There are a lot more gems in this thing, there are rhythmic things he does during the head that set the stage for the notes he uses on those same chords throughout the entire tune. He really knew what he was doing.

When I went looking for a copy of this bass line on the internets (and didn't find one) I did find that Rob Gourlay has this tune in one of his transcription books, so if anyone has that, it would be interesting to check this version against his and see what is different. I, uh, trust Mr. Gourlay's ears.


But really the process in and of itself is incredibly beneficial, even if a few clams made it through. I mean, it needs to be right and I will correct anything that is wrong, but the learning that you get during transcription is like taking musical steroids. So, what are you transcribing right now? Not "are you transcribing" but "what are you transcribing" because you need to start.

I gotta few others transcription ideas in the pipe, I may do the trumpet solo from this tune and put it in bass clef. If there is interest, I am happy to do a post on the transcribing process I use and maybe even a screen cast about it.

So there you have it. Please comment and let me know what you think. Also, this is for educational purposes, so don't repost it anywhere as your own or anything lame like that and of course the performance is all Mr. Sam Jones's. Please attribute and link back here to Basso Ridiculoso if you want to mention it online. Or I will come to your house and pee on your lawn.

Also, Basso Ridiculoso is on Facebook now as well, so feel free to add/like/friend me or whatever one does.

Edit 10/1 6 PM PST: TalkBass user StickPlayer rightly pointed out some low E's that were not marked as E naturals. So those have been fixed now. Any low "E" is a natural, not flat.

Edit 12/12/12 It looks like the place that hosted the PDF died, so here is a new link to it.
Autumn Leaves Transcription

"Too Much Time On My Hands" Bass Line

I have absolutely no idea why I wrote this one out, unless it was as a chart making exercise or something. Well, here it is in all its arena-rock bombastic glory. Ohhh look, there is tied eighth note in bar 53. Prepare yourself! Meh.

If you are in a band that has to play this song, you have my deepest condolences. Either way, here is the bass line.