How do so many people just get up and play stuff and it sounds nice just the bass alone I try to make stuff up but it's always s**t I can do it if a guitar is playing sometimes but I can't just jam by myself and I'm getting fed up playing others stuff.

Where's the best place to start with this.
i see there being two ways to 'come up' with improvisations. one would be 'just feel it'. depending on your ear you might be able to just 'play' something that fits. the other way would be to learn whats going on up and down your fretboard and the rest of the music, in terms of the chord/s modes arpeggios etcetc that would fit in.

one thing i would suggest is to play along to tracks using just the chord or root sheets. then try linking the chord changes with notes inbetween. for example if the music was going F# down to a C instead of just holding the F# until the C chord is hit, you could go F#, E then down to the C. as you get more confident with what notes sound good together or in sequence, you can put together more complex phrases.
i might not have explained it the best way, but it makes sense to me :p

EDIT: i sometimes play along to any old song on youtube that i haven't previously learned on bass. i'll play through with or without the chord chart and try to make a more interesting bass line that just root notes. recently i've been playing through chart songs like Pink, Passenger or even Miley Cyrus just to keep my ear in and see what i can come up with!
Last edited by moody git at Nov 11, 2013,
Improvisation is usually a bit of a misnomer. It isn't just made up but based on a solid understanding of theory and/or stringing together patterns which are pre learned but fitted together in new ways. When improvising within a band situation improv usually either stays all in one chord or is over a simple chord sequence repeated. You can go a very long way just by learning the minor pentatonic and repeating the five notes in different patterns but hitting the root on the first beat each time.

Have a look at this

Some things just come with playing a lot.

There is a lot of tricks which are nowhere written but you just figure them out.

Knowing many small things and combining them can give you epic results.

But for learning many things you need time.

Just play every day or every second day and it comes out natural.
People that can just start playing and jamming have a good ear and they actually know really well what they are doing. When you just start playing, you most likely don't know what you are doing and just play random notes. And it doesn't sound good because the notes are random.

Maybe try basing your improvisation on rhythm. Because bass is a rhythm instrument. So maybe don't focus on the notes you play that much but focus on the rhythm. Really cool basslines can be played with just three or four notes. So maybe start with rhythm. IMO if a bass solo doesn't have the groove, it's not a good bass solo.

But yeah, people who can just start playing are really good at playing their instrument and have a good ear. If they hear something in their head that fits the drum beat or something, they can play it instantly. Improvisation isn't guessing.

So yeah, ear training.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115