Have you ever listened to a speech where the speaker talked in a monotone voice throughout the entire presentation? Just as a skillful speaker will use different inflections during a speech, sophisticated soloists will integrate vibrato along with various articulations including hammer-ons, pull-offs, slurs, and grace notes into their phrases. Instead of just playing the notes without any accents, you can breathe life into your phrases with these articulations. If you don't insert a combination of both melodic and rhythmic interest into your playing, listeners will simply tune you out as they would someone speaking in a monotone voice. As a soloist, your phrasing and the manner in which you articulate the notes should remain interesting and varied. By incorporating these articulation techniques, your lines will sound more fluid and horn-like.
Vibrato is an expressive technique that can bring even the most basic exercises to life. Although there are a few different variations of vibrato, the one used most frequently is the traditional vibrato employed by members of the orchestral family including violinists, violists, and cellists which involves pressing the string to the fingerboard and moving the note side to side by rolling the finger back and forth. Vibrato can be slow or fast as well as wide or narrow. It can be applied to any note within a passage, but it is the most effective when used on notes of greater significance including those at the end of a phrase or notes which are held for longer rhythmic durations. When you apply vibrato to scales and arpeggios, those fundamental components become much more musical as opposed to mere exercises that are played up and down the fingerboard.
A hammer-on is produced when a finger on the fretting hand strikes down against the fingerboard to sound a pitch. The first note is sounded with standard bass playing technique and then the hammer-on is executed by fretting a different note in a higher position on the fingerboard using another finger on your fretting hand.
Pull-offs are performed using a motion opposite that of hammer-ons and are produced by playing the string with the fretting finger of the note located in a higher position on the fingerboard. Place the fingers on the notes to be sounded. Pick the first note with standard bass playing technique. Rather than lifting your finger up, pull the finger fretting the note higher in pitch off the fingerboard in order to sound the lower note.
To play a slur, simply sound the first note with standard bass playing technique and then slide the same fretting finger up or down to the second note without picking it.
A grace note is a very short ornamental note played using either a hammer-on, pull-off, or slur before the target note.
Since the sound produced through the use of hammer-ons, pull-offs, slurs, and grace notes is more legato than what is heard when each note is articulated separately using standard bass playing technique, strive for both tonal and dynamic consistency when employing these articulations. If they are executed inaccurately, the desired effect will not be achieved. ... Subscribe Today & Read More!
Following a step-by-step methodology with instructor Cliff Engel, you will acquire the essential skills and vocabulary which are necessary to connect your ears to the fingerboard, develop ideas, interact with other musicians on a deeper level, and expand the traditional role of the bassist. With these live video bass lessons, you will expand your fretboard familiarity and knowledge of chord/scale theory, improve your sight reading and ear training, and also increase your technical proficiency on the instrument. You will be presented with the fundamental tools that are required to improvise great bass lines and solos on any chord type, chord progression, or song form in any style of music.
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