String Skipping Arpeggios – Another 6-String Bass Exercise – Bass Practice Diary – 18th May 2021
This is another 6-string bass exercise featuring string skipping. The last one involved playing scales and skipping strings after every three notes. This one is a bit more difficult. It involves playing arpeggios and string skipping on every note. I first came across this exercise years ago when I saw it featured on an instructional video by the great guitarist Frank Gambale. It’s a tricky exercise to play on guitar or bass, but it sounds great. When I was thinking of ways to take my string skipping on bass to another level, I remembered this exercise and I set about trying to adapt it onto 6-string bass.
I’ve played the exercise in the key of A minor, which is the same key Frank Gambale plays it in. The exercise uses notes from the A harmonic minor scale arranged into three arpeggios. Chord I, A minor, chord IV, D minor and chord V, E. The A minor arpeggio is played as a triad using just the notes A, C and E. But the IV chord includes the note B on a D minor chord, which makes it Dm6. The V chord is really E7, but the exercise only features the notes of the major triad, E, G# & B. It’s played like this.
6-String Bass Exercise – String Skipping Three Notes Per String – Bass Practice Diary – 4th May 2021
This is one of those exercises that you do when you know a scale well, and you want to find a new way to practice it. There are two techniques I’m practicing here, string skipping and three notes per string. You can use this idea in solos. It will help your scale lines sound less like scales.
Three Notes Per String
The three notes per string idea works really well on 6-string bass. Three notes per string across six strings gives you eighteen notes. So, with a seven note scale like a major scale you can achieve two octaves plus a fourth without shifting positions on the neck. The idea does also work on four strings but you only get twelve notes per position which is a range of less than two octaves.
String skipping or crossing strings, is what I call playing consecutive notes on strings that are not next to each other. So, playing a note on the fourth string and then one on the second string, for example. You need to cross the third string to be able to do it, and it can be awkward at high tempos. There are plenty of other ways to practice that. You could play a scale using 6th intervals for example. But I choose to add this element to my three notes per string exercise, partly because it’s an essential technique to practice, but also because it sounds cool.
If you’d like to see more 6-string bass videos and exercises. I’ve put all of my 6-string bass videos into one playlist on YouTube. You can find it here.