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How To Play More Melodically

You’ve been there. You’re in the middle of playing something – either a bass line you’ve made up or a solo you’re taking – and you realize…

It just doesn’t sound very good!!!

You sound stilted, and robotic – you’re just not making any sense!

At least that’s how Eugene, a Become A Bassist email newsletter subscriber, felt when he sent me an email. But what can you do to sound more sensible? More musical? More melodic?

In this lesson, you’ll learn the surprisingly simple process for more melodic playing. It’s also a great way to get ‘unstuck‘ in your playing.

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 Click Here To View The Play-Along Track From The Lesson

That’s right – if you want to play with a better sense of melody, you have to think more melodically. Hopefully after watching the lesson, you have a pretty good idea of how to go about it. You see, the music doesn’t start at your bass – it starts at your mind and comes out of your bass.

Do you see the difference?

Now that you know this, you can free yourself of the patterns that you always play and the stale licks you’re getting sick of. In fact, whenever I get into a rut and feel like I’m just playing the same things over and over, this is the process I use to get out of it and start playing new things! It’s incredibly useful.

I’ve written about conception and execution before, but this lesson is a very hands-on guide to putting the ideas and concepts to work.

Now tell me – do you ever do the things I talk about in the lesson? Have you ever found yourself just ‘playing shapes’ and not making sense? Let me know in the comment section below and tell me how you dealt with it. I’d love to hear from you.

Also, if you’re new to Become A Bassist, make sure to sign up to the BAB email newsletter. You’ll get first look at all the latest lessons from Become A Bassist as well as a whole heap of exclusive subscriber only content. You can sign up below or in the box on the top right.

Good luck with the lesson, and happy playing!


Bass chord

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10 Responses to How To Play More Melodically

  1. Rob April 8, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    Thank you sooo much,why didn’t I think of that before.That’s a huge light bulb moment
    for me.My copying riffs and learning songs verbatim,is about to go to a whole new level.
    I’m 60yrs young Luke, and an amateur bass player who loves to play bass with friends or
    by myself.I hope you know that you really are a talented,natural teacher,well done and thanks again,

    • Luke McIntosh April 8, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

      That’s awesome Rob. I’m glad I can help out. Keep me in the loop about how you go with it – I’d love to know how this makes a difference to you playing!



  2. Petteri April 9, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Very awesome tutorial, thanks. Glad I have subscribed to your mailing list 🙂

    • Luke McIntosh April 9, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

      Awesome to hear Petteri – Glad to have you with me! 😀

  3. Jerry Wills April 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    Hi Luke… Just want you to know how greatly you and your lessons are appreciated! I’m now at that point where singing and Bass playing are the next step. I have never been able to do that. But now, with what you just showed us, I have a plan on how it can be done : ))

    You have made such a difference. Thanks for your efforts, guidance, and friendship.

    Bassist for The Jeff Byrd Project

    • Luke McIntosh April 10, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

      That’s awesome Jerry! It most certainly CAN be done – sometimes all you need is to be shown how it’s possible, and it seems like you’re on the right track now.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I really do appreciate it.


  4. ije April 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    awesome tutorial, thanks.

  5. Izzy August 5, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Luke!

    First of all I´d like to congratulate and thank you on your efforts to make us understand better the secrets of bass playing. I find it super useful!! One question about the melodic soloing lesson: what are the chords playing in the backing track? You said it is G dorian – but what key is the backing track in? I don´t understand this concepts good, so do you have any lessons about using the modes and the chords as well?


    • Luke McIntosh August 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      Hey Izzy,

      First of all, thanks so much for your kind words. It’s great you’re getting something valuable out of all the lessons.

      As far as the chords in the backing track, you can think of it as a G minor or a G minor 6 chord. That’s a G minor chord with an added E (the 6th of G) in there. You can find the backing track here:

      It’s just one of many that you can find all over YouTube. I wouldn’t say it’s in a particular ‘key’. Rather, this backing track is kind of ‘modal’. It’s based around the Dorian mode rather than being tied to a key. In this case, the ‘root’ of the track is a G, and it’s definitely a minor sound, and with the E that you can hear in there, you can pretty safely say that it’s based around G Dorian:


      Does that all make sense? If not, feel free to email me directly or leave another comment here. I’d be more than happy to help you understand any hazy concepts.

      I actually do have some lessons on scales and modes that I’ll be releasing very soon, so keep checking back here and make sure to jump on the email newsletter if you haven’t already.

      Thanks again Izzy!


  6. Di May 24, 2016 at 3:26 am #

    Hey Luke,
    Thanks for a fantastic lesson – I’ve known about this concept for a while but never managed to apply it effectively – but the way you demonstrated it has opened the door. Well done on always explaining things in such a way that is easy to understand and apply.
    Big fan!
    Di from Cape Town

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