Newbie Introduction and Request for Direction
Howdy from Texas! First post here, looking for help from more experienced bass players. A quick introduction might help you help me. I'm a professional BRASS player. My real (pays the mortgage) job is teaching in a public school, and I've got over 20 years teaching experience. I play on the side on virtually any and all brass instruments, having started as a trumpet player as a kid in the late 70s, and blossomed into a pro as a tuba player. I discovered my love for bass lines playing tuba, but...well, to put it simply, I'm a rock and roll musician at heart, but I'm stuck with the skill set of a jazz or classical musician. Nobody is going to hire a tuba player to be in their rock band.
A couple of years ago, I was given a decent bass and amp to get started. The running joke was that I couldn't play it because I couldn't figure out where to put the mouthpiece...
Fast forward to today, and I've learned a bit. Music theory is obviously not an issue whatsoever. Technique is where it's at for me, since my theory knowledge and brass knowledge are way beyond my skills. I want to keep building to a point where I can play my bass without thinking. I just GO THERE, like I can on a tuba. Whatever I think just happens because the instrument is just an extension of my ears/brain/heart.
I've been using the Ed Friedland books 1-3 for a couple of years. I've bogged down a few times, started over, bogged down again, started over again...and it seems as if I'm finally getting to a point where the book's end is in sight. I won't move on until I OWN something, and I can almost say I own every concept in those books now.
So, (finally) to my question: Where should I go next? I can put on my mp3 player and play along with some stuff (Eagles, various bands from the 70s-2000s), but I still have to skip on some stuff (Rush, RHCP, etc...)
Thanks for taking the time to read this long first post, and thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.
Technique is the easier part of bass playing to learn than theory, imho.
Questions:Can you play your tuba lines on bass? Can you play your trumpet and sax lines on the bass?
What do you get slowed down on in Ed's books?
What kind of rock do you want to play?
Have you tackled any of Flea's bass parts in RHCP songs?
What makes you think playing Eagles' songs will help your technique? (Just kidding!)
Left hand or right hand (or both) technique issues?
Do you play horn parts to any James Brown?
Sounds to me like it's time to work on more syncopated parts, and that should be easy with your horn reading skills. I'd work on JB, Chili Peppers, Sly Stone, and then start into Jaco's repertoire, song by song.
If you answer the above questions, I bet you'll get a lot of great suggestions for songs, artists, books, etc.
The one thing that I use for everything is the major scale box with scale degree numbers instead of dots. For example:
I call up fake chord on the song then transpose the chord names to Nashville numbers -- then pull up a video of someone playing the song -- then use my fake chord sheet music to play-a-long with the video. OK this gives me the basic chord progression or the bare bones of the song. Now pay attention to the technique used by the artist.
Playing covers to songs I like helps me with the different techniques used.
Hope some of this can help.
If you need to learn where the notes are, practicing diatonic 7th arpeggios is helpful. Take Cmaj7 and play the 1 3 5 7 7 5 3 1. Up and down = 8 notes so you can play in 4/4 for starters. Run Cmaj7, Dmin7, Emin7, Fmaj7, etc. up and back down. When you go up the neck and back down keep going past C to Bmin7b5, Amin7, etc. Then pick a different key and keep going...
+1 to syncopation and playing covers from chord sheet as suggested.
The reason that you could be getting bogged down in Ed's books may be that they not what you are looking at doing at this stage, I have one of Ed's books and I really like what he does. Going by what you have written you already have the theory, note reading and experience in jazz and classical, what you are wanting is a different skill in playing elec bass rather than just transferring what you know from tuba. I would suggest books like Latin grooves for drums and bass, Essential Styles and Finger style funk, to help play with a different feel to you may have done in the classical setting.
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