Steve Bryant Bass Lessons | Chords and Scale Degrees

Steve Bryant

Steve Bryant is a Nashville session bass player. He has played several musical styles over his long career including; big band, jazz, country, rock and Top 40. He first worked professionally as a musician in Lexington, Kentucky in the early 1970s. He made the move to Nashville in 1975. He was a member of the legendary bluegrass band Boone Creek. Members of that band also included Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas. In 1978, he joined J.D. Crowe’s band which included members Keith Whitley, who later became a solo artist on RCA, and Gene Johnson, who became a member of Diamond Rio. Steve was a member of Jerry Reed’s band for five years at the height of his popularity. He has toured with many other artists including Linda Davis, Dobie Grey and Buffy St. Marie. He has worked exclusively as a Nashville session musician since 1992. He has played on master recordings and demos for numerous artists, bands and songwriters.

  1. keith says:

    great lesson! The “rule of seven was kind of magical”..when practicing the chord/scale degrees do you recommend going up the neck to the second octave and beyond…I try to say outloud the notes of the chord/scale too..

    • Steve Bryant says:

      Be sure to say the name of the Chord—NOT the names of the notes that make up the chord—very important because the real deal playing is not the ” scale over this chord” but the chord and how it functions in the tune…… i’ve had students come in and can find the notes to all the chords— but no idea how the chords are functioning —and that is the skill that is so necessary for the better studio, stage, and touring work…..

  2. john fricke says:

    I have not been able to watch the last two videos STEVE has done whats the deal?

    • admin says:

      If you are using Internet Explorer, try installing Firefox or Chrome. There is an internal obstacle with the default Internet Explorer video player that we are trying to overcome. Sorry for any confusion, we are attentively working on a solution.

  3. Tom says:

    Hey Steve,
    Thanks so much for posting the videos and for all the great advice. It

    • Steve Bryant says:

      Tom, Thanks for the comments and I’m glad you are finding the videos useful and productive for you. What I am presenting here is to a degree what I teach privately and they are indeed the things you need to know to function in the real world of professional music. I’ve tutored many students over the years and some are working studio and touring bassists now….When I work with a student I am able to give them the ” one on one” that pertains to problem areas and the instant feedback in getting questions answered during a lesson. That aspect is difficult if not impossible to convey with a video presentation..
      I teach privately at home and work around my session schedule and the schedule of the student….feel free to e-mail me at for more info and questions you may have.

  4. Steve Bryant says:

    By the way, I’ll be doing Instruction via Skype as of Feb. 20ll — very excited to offer me at

  5. Andrew says:

    These are good starting points. I especially like how it de-emphasizes rote memorization of scales, which I always felt was tedious and unproductive. I’d like to see more content on how to improvidse under moving chord passages.

    • Steve Bryant says:

      Thanks Andrew! Yes, my point is that i’ve never been hired to play a scale…..and spending a lot of time on practicing scales is not only unproductive, but it can ruin your ear and block you from real progress— Music is in Chords NOT Scales….
      This is the basis of learning the basics of improvisation also– when you build triads on themselves and Chordal subs, etc

  6. Joon says:

    Thank you for this great video!! amazing!

    • Steve Bryant says:

      Appreciate it, Joon! I found there were not many videos out there that covered this subject for the player needing a grasp on this material— the real deal stuff that is truly used in the pro world and is not hard to learn at all….just clarity and applied practice. This is what my student learn regardless of where they are in their playing……

  7. steve Bryant says:

    Please check out my site… for more info and lessons in person or via Skype