The Toccata Technique Workout For Bass

2019-02-02T11:34:08+00:00February 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bass Guitar Technique|10 Comments

This week we’re going to look at a great exercise I devised for working on a whole bunch of different technical problems. It’s based around the opening few bars of Widor’s Toccata in F Major and works through the complete Circle Of Fifths

Widor’s Toccata In F Major

The opening line of this Toccata is a great exercise in itself. Focus on the ring and pinky fingers while playing the first few notes:

Pivot Chords

Once you have the opening line mastered you can add the pivot chord lick in the second bar. This leads us nicely into a transposition of the line in C Major:

 

The Complete Exercise

Once you have the pivot line under your fingers you can repeat everything in C major before moving into G Major, D Major and every other key through the Circle Of Fifths. The pivot chord line leads us into each subsequent key:

Circle Of Fifths From F Major: 

  • F Major
  • C Major
  • G Major
  • D Major
  • A Major
  • E Major 
  • B Major
  • F# Major/Gb Major
  • Db Major
  • Ab Major
  • Eb Major
  • Bb Major

Below we have the complete exercise. This is a great workout for both hands and can help develop all areas of your technique. Learn it slow (no need for metronomes) and take a break if you start to cramp up:

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10 Comments

  1. Warren L Koontz February 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Many years ago, when I was singing in a choir, our organist/choir director once played Widor’s Toccata as a postlude. She really rocked the church with that one! Heard it again played on The Great Organ in Methuen, Massachusetts, USA. Really awesome piece of music. So why not play it on a bass!

  2. Herman Joustra February 2, 2019 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Fabulous! Inspiring en helpful stuff!

  3. Donald Fox February 2, 2019 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    If I could make a comment about this exercise, which, by the way, is very good. The pivot from the key of F to the key of C makes sense. But the pivot from C to G loses its musicality because of the jump from the low F# to high G. My suggestion would be to play the F#, C and D of the pivot an octave higher so that transition is smoother. This would mean that every other pivot would have this same alteration. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this lesson.

  4. Tom Magri February 3, 2019 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Is there a download link for the PDF??

  5. Duncan Macconnell February 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark, please could we have this in a printable PDF please?

  6. pierre lefebvre February 4, 2019 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Love the lesson as usual but i must admit the pivot line was confusing to me and I wish you would have slowed down the transition

    • Kosta Kyriacopoulos February 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      I’m with Pierre, here. I’ve gotten through the above lines twice, but the pivot notes are places where I stumble every time. I’d love to see a slower version of just those specific barres. All complaining aside, it is an amazing workout, and leaves me feeling like I grew an extra thumb where my pinkie used to be.

      Thanks, Mark!

  7. Kosta Kyriacopoulos February 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I’m with Pierre, here. I’ve gotten through the above lines twice, but the pivot notes are places where I stumble every time. I’d love to see a slower version of just those specific barres. All complaining aside, it is an amazing workout, and leaves me feeling like I grew an extra thumb where my pinkie used to be.

    Thanks, Mark!

  8. Steve Hurd February 7, 2019 at 6:26 am - Reply

    Mark, this is huge! Really hits the areas I need work on: notes, circle of fifths, intonation, hand posture and now I know what those other two fingers are for. Great exercise to start every session with. Thanks!

  9. Chris Parkin February 16, 2019 at 12:17 am - Reply

    You suggest there is a free pdf file in the video, but there isn’t. At least, I can’t see a link. Is this a ruse to get us to come to the site and pay to get it? If so, not impressed tbh.

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