ok first of all i looked but i wasnt positive as to where i should put this thread but i hope here is ok, now then, i have been trying to learn improvisation lately, ive tried sitting down with my bass n just messin with somethings and ive tryed learning some music theory (which i completely didnt understand) and i was wondering if anyone has some lesson books or dvds that they have used and they think would help me out. thanks alot. peace , good things.
When I just sit down and play, I like playing funk cause its so much more exciting and fun to play than pop puink or blues. Learn the notes on the fretboard and improvising will become much more easy.

And when you sit down to play, just play the next fret that feels natural. I've managed to go on for about 45mins doing this before I needed a toilet break and lost my flow.

Improvising by yourself is probably the best way to think of new bass lines. And improvising with a guitarist is the best way to write a song, so long as you have a good relationship, good relationships help with jamming because you feel so much more connected.

And oh yeah, screw the music theory. Play what sounds good, not what's "technically correct" to rules that were invented 150-200 odd years ago.

Also if you mess up in playing summit, just carry on, do NOT stop. If you stop, you won't be able to start well again.
Music theory isnt about whats 'technically correct'! It can help to teach you which notes will sound good together, and in which contexts. If you learn keys and notes on the fretboard, it WILL help. Nobody ever said you have to stick rigidly to these guides though.
Quote by ozzyisagenious
so learn like what frett to play G-A-B-E and stuff like that, then just mess around????

Yes, learn what sounds harmonic and than variate and mess around.
Good plan to me
\\>Viva Los Tioz<//
Quote by Jonnomainman

And oh yeah, screw the music theory. Play what sounds good, not what's "technically correct" to rules that were invented 150-200 odd years ago.

Your advice was perfect up until this statement. I'm of the opinion you need to know the rules in order to break them properly. if you learn your theory, you dont need to "mess around" until it sounds good - you KNOW what will sound good. Improv is about thinking ahead - what notes am i going to play in the next bar? Should i stay in this position, shoud i slide up to the octave? or perhaps down to the relative minor? Should i stay in Pentatonic or move to Major or Blues? Should i speed up the rhythm or slow it down, what notes SHOULDN'T i play, what happens if i ghost that note instead of fretting it, how does it change the feel of the line?

there is nothing like jamming on your own to a drum track (apart from having a drummer and a guitarist that it!!), it helps in your playing so much.

when i jam, i try an centre it around a theme, so i will revist the same bassline often in the jam.. i think of it as a theme, the main flavour of the jam, and then i embelish it to buggery. use lots of techniques, hammers, pulls, trills, a few pops here and there, double stops etc..

i find playing with a drum track helped my improv play hugely, it's gives you something to lock in with.

and one more thing, when it comes to groove.. Ghose notes are your friend

good luck, post some stuff up if you want and we can let you know what it's like

edit: as i am so nice, i'm posting a drum track i created h e r e for you all to download and jam to. Hope you all enjoy it
Last edited by Applehead at Jun 25, 2006,
both approaches can work well, but in the context of a band, to solo you really need to be able to stick to the chord symbols

i don't mean rigidly to the chords, passing notes and all are well and good, but if you listen to the greats soloing, usually you can clearly hear when they change chord, even without the acompaniment...

if you had no idea what chord symbols, passing notes etc are, then it's probably worth thinking about finding a teacher, or at least a friend who can teach you about theory, it's well worth it!! and yes, learning the fretboard is very good too
k thanks ill learn some scales n such but trying to learn theory without a teacher is hard like im so confused by it. but i guess ill get through it
Well at this point, if you haven't found that you have the gift of playing good improv (Billy Sheehan has it), I would just quit. Put the bass down and go find something else.


Do you know all your scales? Maybe try on working scales into your improvs and switching them, or using that Hopscotch method. There's a lesson on UG about that.
learn about Keys. U can't improvise if you don't know what key you are in.learn about the modes of each key.
Music theory is the rules.

you can't break em without knowing them

you're playing a minor penatonic and suddenly you hit a note that sounds good but you KNOW isnt in the scale. lets say you're in G blues. this note is C#. you're 100% its not in the minor scale. well youre right, its not in the minor, its in the blues scale. just by hitting a note by accident you're learning theory. i know this gave ME a good feeling, because ive learned something, and from then ive been studying theory religously to learn more aand be able to write better songs and for hundreds of reasons that i dont feel like listing.

thats what i believe when someone says e "Why Theory?" if you catch my drift.