Practice Track – E minor Pentatonic

Here is another practice track for beginning guitarists wanting to sharpen up their E minor pentatonic scale! It is a 16 bar pattern:

|Em        |           |           |           |

|Am        |           |           |           |

|Em         |           |          |            |

|B             |           |         |          : ||

It is at a pretty slow pace, around 55bpm, so you can relax and concentrate on getting the right notes sounding good. In case you need a reminder, here is the E minor pentatonic scale in open position:


And here is the practice track – have fun!


Practice Track for Bassists: D Dorian.

This is a practice track for beginning and intermediate bassists. It is a simple slow rock rhythm track, with drums and two rhythm guitars. The chords are D minor and G:

||: Dm       |           |G           |             : ||

Start by using the root notes of each chord, and play on beat one of each bar. See if you can add to the groove with where you put your notes – listen in particular to the bass drum, and see if you can synchronize with it.

When you are comfortable with this, add the fifths of each chord (A for the D minor, and D for the G).

Then see if you can incorporate the thirds of each chord ( F for D minor and B for G).

For walking bass lines and riffs, experiment with the D minor pentatonic scale, and the Dorian mode of the C major scale.



Practice track for bassists

Here is a practice track for bassists interested in playing jazz. One of the fundamental building blocks of jazz is the ii-V-I progression, and practicing the ii-V-I progression in every key should be a must for every aspiring jazz musician! So here is a start for bass players, a slow (90 bpm) ii-V-I in the key of Eb, comprising a basic drum track with some rhythm guitar. Practice your walking bass lines, and then let loose with your solo ideas. First you will need to have the Eb major scale under your fingers. In the following fretboard diagram, the squares represent the tonic, or the Eb. Start with the open position scale pattern, and once you know this very well, add the 3rd position scale pattern. Once that one is known, add the next, until you have a command of all the scale patterns. If you have got that far, there is an additional scale pattern corresponding to the open position up an octave I have left you to work out for yourself! These fingerings and scale patterns are for electric bass. If you are learning double bass, use your double bass fingering patterns which are a bit different.

Once you have one (or more) of the scale patterns above under your fingers, use the practice track to explore the progression.  I would suggest identifying the root note of each chord first, and then the third, fifth and seventh of each chord. Have fun!

Eb flat ii-V-I practice track


Practice Track for Bassists: F major

This is a practice track for beginning and intermediate bassists in a light rock style, based on a simple two chord progression in the key of F major:

||: F              |F                |Gm          |Gm           : ||

There are two rhythm guitar parts, with the guitar in the lower register playing simply on the chords F and Gm. The guitar in the upper register plays a funkier rhythm part, using the chords F6/9 and Gm9.

In the second half of the tune, a lead guitar plays a melody line based on the F major and G minor arpeggios.

To practice your bass playing, try the following approaches:


(1) Play the tonic (F or G) on beat one of each bar

(2) Add the fifths (C and D) to (1) above, playing special attention to the drums, trying to mirror the drum rhythms (especially the bass or kick drum) on the bass.

Intermediate :

(3) It doesn’t hurt to play through once using approaches (1) and (2) above. Then see if you can play through the F major and G minor arpeggios for each chord, for example:

(4) If you need more challenge, play through the arpeggios using 1 beat notes, for example:

(5) Once you have the arpeggios under your fingers, try a walking bass line. Start at an arpeggio note, and walk up or down the F major scale until you reach the arpeggio note of the next chord. You may have to skip a scale tone to always start beat one on an arpeggio note, as in the following:

(6) Play what you think sounds good – using combinations of the ideas above, or using your own creativity.

Here is the track – enjoy!

F & Gm: Light rock practice track for bassists.

Practice track for Bassists

This is a practice track for beginning and intermediate bass players who are interested in playing jazz styles. I have taken the following four chords:

||:Am7 |D7 |Gmaj7 |Cmaj7 : ||

which are the chords ii V I IV in the key of G major.

These chords are common in many jazz style progressions, and can be found, for example, in the first four bars of Autumn Leaves. To construct a bass line over these chords, take the following steps.

(1) First have the G major scale under your fingers. You can use the open position, or any moveable scale shapes that you know.

(2) Play through the progression playing the tonic of each chord on beat one of each bar.

This very simple bass line is the foundation upon which many things can be built. To this we can add a note leading into each new chord.

(3) On beat 4 of each bar play the note of the G major scale below the note of the chord root you are about to change to. For example on beat 4 of the Am7 bar, play a C, the note below D.

(4) On beat 4 of each bar, we can also play the note above the chord root we are heading for:

(5) Once you are familiar with both of these, you can mix them up, leading into some notes from below, other notes from above.

This technique makes for a strong bass line, particularly when going around the cycle of fourths, as in the progression above. One reason is that the diatonic (i.e. from the major scale) leading note is either the fifth or the third of the current chord in the above progression. The only exception is the change from Cmaj7 to Am7 in point (4).

(6) Now try combining two leading notes on beats 3 and 4:

(7) To play a simple walking bass line, simply add scale notes in between in pitch, between the other notes, making sure that the note on beat 4 always leads into the next chord:

The above are only my examples – there are a great many variations on bass lines you can create using this simple technique – and they will all sound great over these chords and over many other jazz style progressions. Using this technique you can play something different on every run through the chords, but always strongly working the changes. That’s one way you can create interest and dynamism in the music!

This is only one “concept” for constructing bass lines, and you will need to develop a selection of such approaches. As you gain experience in listening and playing, your ear will tell you more and more what will sound good in any given situation.

And here is the practice track to try these techniques with – for best results, get completely comfortable with each step before going on to the next!

Autumn Leaves First 4 bars

If you find that the chords are changing too fast for you, try the following track, which has the same four chords, but each chord goes for two bars:

Autumn Leaves First 4 Bars – 2 bars per chord



Practice Track: Blues feel – G7 and C7

Here is a practice track in a medium tempo blues feel. It is suitable for beginning and intermediate bass and guitar players to work with.  The chords are

||: G7             |                  |                    |                   |C7            |               |                |             : ||

A distinctive feature of many blues styles is the triplet feel – each beat is divided into three parts, counting 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a etc.

Free MP3 download: G7&C7 blues feel at 80bpm

There are two rhythm guitar tracks accompanying the drums. One plays a typical shuffle rhythm accompaniment:

The other plays G7 and C7 chords on the first beat of each bar and on every beat of the bar leading up to each chord change. This will help you to anticipate the chord changes, and adjust your playing accordingly!

For bass players:

(1) Start by playing a bass line using only tonics, G for the G7 chord, and C for the C7 chord

(2) Then try using tonics and fifths for each chord.

(3) Explore using the b7 for each chord. F for the G chord, and Bb for the C chord.

(4) Explore anticipating the chord changes with chromatic or diatonic runs up to or down to the new chord root (use the mixolydian modes built on the root of each chord for diatonic runs).

(5) Use G7 and C7 arpeggios to create bass lines.

For guitar players:

(1) Use the G minor pentatonic scale over both chords

(2) Use G major pentatonic scale over G7 and C major pentatonic over C7

(3) Use G and C mixolydian modes over G7 and C7 chords respectively

(4) Use a G minor pentatonic scale but add a B (major third) over the G7 chord, and an E (major 3rd of C) over the C7 chord. These notes can be obtained by fretting, or by bending from a note in the minor pentatonic scale. Here is a diagram in third position:

The G minor pentatonic scale notes are in black, with the major thirds added in white.

Have fun!

Practice Track: Reggae

Here is a basic practice track for beginning to intermediate bass players in a simple Reggae feel. It is to help you practice your reggae bass lines. The chords are A and D:One way to get a reggae feel happening in the bass is to be sure to hit the root note of the chord on beat one of the bar, or at the change of chord. Use octaves and fifths as the main notes of your line. Avoid thirds and sevenths, and use sixths and seconds for runs – as in the following fingering chart (root notes in boxes):

Slide from the lower position with finger 3 on the 7th fret, up two frets so that finger 3 falls on the 9th fret, where the 2nd and 6th can easily be played. Don’t forget to leave plenty of space!

Here is the track:


Have fun!