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  1. #1

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    Although I'm primarily a guitarist, I tend to occasionally pick up a few bass students. I'm sure most bass players would strongly agree with me when I say that teaching bass isn't just the same as teaching guitar but with fewer strings.

    I'm looking for a pedagogical outline of a common jazz bass method, assuming the student is already well versed with basic fundamental bass playing.

    Any and all suggestions are welcome...

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I think The Evolving Bassist by Rufus Reed is a standard text.

  4. #3
    Jazz Bass Method and Pedagogy-jblb_cover_with_frame_low_res-jpg

    The Jazz Bass Line Book by Mike Downes is excellent. He's the bass instructor at Humber College in Toronto. The book is published by Advance Music.

    It focuses strictly on the construction of lines. There's a terrific section where he presents transcriptions of about a dozen bass player's lines on rhythm changes. As well as the transcriptions, there's a section where he puts all the player's lines in score form so you can compare how they approach the changes.

  5. #4

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    Carol Kaye has a slew of books out on playing bass. She also offers lots of playing tips at her website. Most of the tips are for bassists but she offers some for guitarists too----her first gigs and recording sessions were as a guitarist, not a bassist---and many of the tips suit both instruments, i.e., sightreading tips, song forms, the cycle, developing good time.

    The Official Carol Kaye Web Site
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  6. #5

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    i was also going to mention Rufus Reid. Saw him play with Dex a couple of times. great player.

    some other ideas:

    Berklee Press - Catalog - Bass

    Musicians Institute Press > Bass - Hal Leonard Online

  7. #6

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    Ed Friedman is a good author of fundamental bass books, his Walking Bass book is very popular.

    Building Walking Bass Lines (Bass Builders): Ed Friedland: 9780793542048: Amazon.com: Books


    Many electric bass players work thru the Simandl upright book.

    New Method for the Double Bass: F. Simandl: 9780825802324: Amazon.com: Books
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GodinFan View Post
    Jazz Bass Method and Pedagogy-jblb_cover_with_frame_low_res-jpg

    The Jazz Bass Line Book by Mike Downes is excellent. He's the bass instructor at Humber College in Toronto. The book is published by Advance Music.

    It focuses strictly on the construction of lines. There's a terrific section where he presents transcriptions of about a dozen bass player's lines on rhythm changes. As well as the transcriptions, there's a section where he puts all the player's lines in score form so you can compare how they approach the changes.
    +1

    I have read a bunch of different jazz bass books and this is by far the best one. It systematically teaches you the different options for basslines in order of difficulty.

    It touches on thing other than just walking bass, which everyone treats as if it is the ONLY way to play jazz, and alos lays out a bunch of side by side comparisons of different greats playing through the same changes. This will bust a lot of myths about what is "right" and "wrong" when playing.

    This will give you and idea of what the real "rules" are as opposed to what is easy to teach as rules.

  9. #8

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    EDIT: damn, should have checked the date of this thread. Talk about resurection!

    One thing that has struck me about walking bass tutors, is that bass players can use the same lines, but think about their construction in totally different ways. I read Ron Carter's work on walking bass...the way he thought about it all is different from how I was taught. Not to say that one method is wrong and another right, but it's useful to know that there are different approaches...for different students?

    There are little Jamey Abersold booklets with transcriptions of Ron Carter and Rufus Reid. Can't recommend them enough. They supplemented what I was taught and are invaluable resources. Also, transcribe everything you like. It's only bass (you can work out most of it in your head).

    Classical technique helps for the two finger (index middle) approach...too many guitarists play with plectrums when switching to bass.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGerry View Post
    !

    One thing that has struck me about walking bass tutors, is that bass players can use the same lines, but think about their construction in totally different ways. I read Ron Carter's work on walking bass...the way he thought about it all is different from how I was taught. Not to say that one method is wrong and another right, but it's useful to know that there are different approaches...for different students?
    Well, how differently does Ron Carter think about walking bass lines? I don't expect you to give a full lesson here, but what is fundamentally different about his thought process? (I don't doubt you, I just wonder what 'the other way' is like.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Well, how differently does Ron Carter think about walking bass lines? I don't expect you to give a full lesson here, but what is fundamentally different about his thought process? (I don't doubt you, I just wonder what 'the other way' is like.)
    Mark, I would have to reread the book to remember. If I have some time over the weekend I'll have a skim through it and hopefully it will jog my memory.

    One thing I remember from another book about bass lines, is the guy was using auxiliary notes/extensions to ornament chord tones. These formed part of his bass lines. It was really dumb (IMO). Those things might sound melodic, logical and beautiful when taken in isolation, but if a bass player is placing numerous non-chord notes on important beats with stresses on them (which coincide with the rhythm section), then they're screwing up everything going on above them (harmonically speaking).

    I'll make an effort to reply to your question (please be patient).

  12. #11

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    Rufus Reid's "Evolving Bassist" is indeed a masterwork. There are a ton of really cool nuggets dropped throughout the book without spotlights, so even when you're on your sixth time through there is something new to learn.

    Ed Fuqua's "Walking Bassics: The Fundamentals" from Sher Music is excellent and comprehensible. If you're a guitar teacher with bass students, basics is what you want. Nobody combines deep clarity, deep thought and deep groove the way Mr. Few does.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Well, how differently does Ron Carter think about walking bass lines? I don't expect you to give a full lesson here, but what is fundamentally different about his thought process? (I don't doubt you, I just wonder what 'the other way' is like.)
    You should have doubted me Mark. I've checked the Ron Carter book and there's nothing unconventional about his approach. I must be thinking of another book/author. Either that or all that mushroom tea I drank in my early 20s is catching up with me (always a possibility).


    The only minor issue I have with the Carter book is a section where he outlines how to construct bass lines for static minor progressions. He uses non-chord notes on strong accents within the bar (1 & 3). Because they resolve into chord tones on the next beat, the tonality is soon established. Plus, the rhythm section will be comping freely with that sort of music, so there aren't going to be any harmonic car-crashes. However, he isn't explicit in saying that these ideas should only be used in those situations (playing modal music). Perhaps it's obvious to most, but I can see that it could give beginners the false impression that they can get away with all that stuff under any set of circumstances. In the case of big band arrangements, where conventionally you have pianist and guitarist slamming out four-to-the-bar on the downbeats, that approach creates serious clashes and destroys what's going on above (horn arrangements), harmonically speaking. A lot of chromaticism and use of non-chord notes should be kept to solo sections (IMO), with big band writing, unless you use the technique of harmonizing chromatic bass lines (in which case the rhythm section moves with the bass).

    Only a minor issue. I really admire Ron Carter, and his book has some great bass lines in it.

    Anyway, my apologies for getting it wrong.
    Last edited by GuitarGerry; 09-11-2015 at 12:39 PM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGerry View Post

    I'll make an effort to reply to your question (please be patient).
    Don't put yourself out. If there's another way to do it, I'd be interested to hear about it, but this isn't a current priority.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Well, how differently does Ron Carter think about walking bass lines? I don't expect you to give a full lesson here, but what is fundamentally different about his thought process? (I don't doubt you, I just wonder what 'the other way' is like.)
    Not Ron Carter but Bob Magnusson's book takes a different approach. He uses a term called root bound which basically means often playing the root of the chord as the first note when the chord changes. He made his book different in that his lines, exercises, avoid the "root bound" approach.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Walkin.../dp/0793580420

    An amazing bass player with great ears...

    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Not Ron Carter but Bob Magnusson's book takes a different approach. He uses a term called root bound which basically means often playing the root of the chord as the first note when the chord changes. He made his book different in that his lines, exercises, avoid the "root bound" approach.

    An amazing bass player with great ears...
    Bob's a monster player. Here he is playing with Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis.


    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Don't put yourself out. If there's another way to do it, I'd be interested to hear about it, but this isn't a current priority.
    Mark, I addressed this (see post no. 12). Seems like I got confused with another book/author. Sod's law, I can't find the book!

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Not Ron Carter but Bob Magnusson's book takes a different approach. He uses a term called root bound which basically means often playing the root of the chord as the first note when the chord changes. He made his book different in that his lines, exercises, avoid the "root bound" approach.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Walkin.../dp/0793580420
    You know, I think that's the book I was thinking of. IIR, there a whole load of cool stuff regarding sequences. That's something that hadn't occurred to me before (at least not applied to the bass). As you say, it means that (sequentially) different notes of the chord appear on the downbeat of successive bars, so it's not root dominated.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGerry View Post
    You know, I think that's the book I was thinking of. IIR, there a whole load of cool stuff regarding sequences. That's something that hadn't occurred to me before (at least not applied to the bass). As you say, it means that (sequentially) different notes of the chord appear on the downbeat of successive bars, so it's not root dominated.
    There's a guitar instruction book called Introduction to Jazz Guitar Soloing by Joe Elliot. He has an exercise called the connecting game where you play arpeggios and just lands on the nearest chord tone of the next chord when there is a chord change. Bob Magnusson teaches a similar exercise. Introduction to Jazz Guiar Soloing is a MI book and Bob Magnusson also taught for a while at MI.

    I tried the connecting came over a ii V i loop using a bass and quarter notes. It does work well for bass and breaks one away from being to "root bound".

    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  20. #19

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    The Total Jazz Bassist by David Overthrow and Tim Ferguson.

    What I like about it is that it focuses on left hand fingerings for octave and arp runs before discussing anything else.

    Most books I read are only discussing how to construct bass lines, which is for sure what one wants to do in the end.

    but having a good grab of left hand technique is critical to avoid playing the same kind of lines all the times because not being at ease with keyboard navigation on a four string instrument.
    Perfection is in the Details, but Perfection isn't a Detail (Leonardo da Vinci)