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When constructing a bass line to a Suspended chord (the 4th “suspended” interval replaces the 3rd ), its a good idea to use another scale than the obvious choice C mixolydian, to avoid emphasizing the major third because when Im playing the mixolydian scale the positions and scale patterns I use are so – root, major third, fifth, seventh based – because im a bassplayer. So to avoid that very “root position thinking” and at the same time getting fresh ideas i use a “scale sibling” * - another diatonic scale based on the same notes.
The Csus13, Csus9, Csus7.. is normally a substitution for the dominant C7, C9, C13… chord.
And that chord – the dominant 7th chord / mixolydian scale is derived from the 5th step of the F major scale (ionian)
So if we look at the diatonic scale/chord steps of the F major scale we get:
FMaj7 chord and the F ionian scale (steps 1, 2, 3 ,4, 5, 6, 7)
Gm7 chord and the G dorian scale (steps 1, 2, b3 ,4, 5, 6, b7) The scale I choose in the creation of this bassline
Am7 chord and the A phrygrian scale (steps 1, b2, b3 , 4, 5, b6, b7)
BbMaj7 chord and the Bb lydian scale (steps 1, 2, 3 ,#4, 5, 6, 7)
C7 chord and the C mixolydian scale (steps 1, 2, 3 , 4, 5, 6, b7)
Dm7 chord and the D aolian/natural minor scale (steps 1, 2, b3 , 4, 5, b6, b7)
Em7b5 chord and the E locrianscale (steps 1, b2, b3 , 4, b5, b6, b7)
The thing to notice that all 7 scales contain the same 7 notes (F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E) – its just the F major scale starting on the 7 different steps and they have these funny “greek” names Ionian, dorian etc
But you should actually just think of it as just a Major scale starting on different steps and since most of us have practiced the Major scale a lot ( i personally never got around to the locrian scale;-)), the thing is to recognize the different Major scale steps.
So here we have it
Csus13 substituting C13, see as 5 step of F major, so then when you improvise you can use all the before mentioned scales derived frm th F major scale
Here im playing ogf the Gm7 dorian scale, the 2nd step of the F major scale – im still emphasizing the root note C but otherwise looking at as a G minor dorian scale
That forces me to invent new fresh patterns since i see the same notes in a new fashion.
Heres soem of the scale choices i frequently use could use when playing over dominant sus 7:
The root scale of course – C mixolydian
G dorian minor, G minor pentatonic, D aolian minor , D minor pentatonic, Bb Major lydian, Bb major pentatonic,,,,
The pentatonic scale are interesting because you allready know that scale so well – try and take one of your blues pentatonic licks and play over this backing track – look above for hints of which you could try
AND REMEMBER ITS THE SAME 7 SCALE NOTES (F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E ), you just view it from different “angles of the fretboard” and trick your brain into playing new awesome licks;-)
* “Scale sibling” is my own expression for a scale derived from the “Mother” of all scales on the western hemisphere – the Major scale)
Ive done the backing track in Mac Garageband using a standard drumloop and playing a Squier Stratocaster;-)