Practicing soloing techniques and how to construct a solo will give you more possibilities and ideas when it’s time for your bass solo. You don’t have to begin with a long line, try to come up with a simple idea and expand it with: Melodic Statements, Enclosures, Chromatic approach, Stylistic Devices and Development.

Melodic Statement 

Start with a short phrase, take a fragment of a scale, a triad or an arpeggio. You can rework your phrase by moving diatonically, re-use just a part of it, inverting it, adding repetitions and alter the phrase slightly every time and you can also use a certain articulation or technique.

Chromatic Approach 

Use abbelishment, passing tones from the scale you are using in between the notes of your phrase, add lower or higher neighbour notes and enclosures.


Alter how the phrase is shaped, for example start on the off beat of one, use ties, finish the phrase on the off beat of four, etc. You can also alter the rhythm adding 8th notes, triplets, 16th notes, displacement and syncopation.

Something that great soloists also do are pick ups and anticipations. Lead the solo to the next chord instead of waiting, you need to try to keep pushing head instead of reacting to the changes.

Other things you should consider when practice soloing:

  • Tonicisation: Adding a chord, if you are playing over a G7 you could add a Dm7.
  • Substitution: Replacing a chord with another.
  • Superimposition: Playing a different chord over it.
  • Pentatonic & Quartal Approach: A great alternative from the modal and triadic approach.

Enclosures: Example in Cmin, use the same approach for all the other chord tones.

Chromatic Approach: Example in F7, use the same approach for all the other chord tones 

Stylistic Devices that you can include in your solos.

Here some of my favourite solos!

Nows the Time – Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker 1st chorus

E.S.P – Miles Davis

Wayne Shorter 1st chorus

Passion Dance – McCoy Tyner

McCoy Tyner 1st chorus

Milestone – Miles Davis

Cannonball Adderley 1st chorus

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