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Q&A - How does the IFR method apply to the bass?

Hi David,

I am a bass player with about 15 years of rock band experience whose first love has always been smooth jazz. I am working to move in that direction but my improvising skills are weak at best. I want to know if your book would help this bass player realize his goals of being able to improvise at will and gather a much better musical understanding.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.


David's response:

Hi Michael,

Thanks for writing. The IFR method is ideal for the bass, and we have lots of bass students!

The most important thing to understand is that harmony is the same for all of us. The knowledge and understanding that a bassist needs to freely improvise beautiful bass lines is the exact same understanding that a sax player needs to improvise melodic solos, or a guitar player needs to improvise chord-melody arrangements. It's just that each instrument has a unique voice and a special role in a musical group, so we end up focusing our ideas and energy in different ways. But what enables all of these musicians to enjoy creating music on their instrument is an understanding of our musical system, which is the same for all instruments.

You should start with the IFR E-book Package. When you begin improvising over the jam tracks you can practice doing this in two different ways:

As as soloist: Whenever you practice improvising melodic solos, you can use our jam tracks just like any other instrumentalist would. This is an important experience for you to have, because improvising melodically is one of the best ways to learn about chords and harmony. As a soloist you don't have the same obligation that bassists have to provide the foundation of the music, so you can explore sounds much more freely. This is the ideal environment for learning all of the most important lessons about harmony.

As as bassist: Then when you're ready to practice improvising bass lines, our jam tracks will let you do that too! In the IFR Jam Tracks, we always put the bass part in the left stereo channel. So just by sliding the stereo balance on your audio player all the way to the right, you can eliminate the bass part from our recording. This lets you occupy this role yourself, and you can practice improvising your own bass part with the group. The important thing to realize is that everything you learned from your free melodic soloing will now be available to you in your bass lines. The only difference is where you're focusing your musical energy.

Thanks for the great question. I hope this helps explain how bass players use the IFR method and learning materials. And I hope you'll join us!


Download “Improvise for Real” and begin YOUR creative journey today!

The complete “Improvise for Real” method is available as a 250 page illustrated e-book and jam tracks which you can download and use on any smartphone, tablet or computer. Just click the link below to begin enjoying a fun and creative daily practice that will show you how music and harmony really work. Discover your own musical creativity and play the music inside you!

IFR E-book Package
$88 $59