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30-day Bassworkout book

Discussion in 'Ask David Overthrow' started by skeptikal, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. skeptikal


    Jan 24, 2008
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Well I bought this at my local GC when I bought my bass and then registered on this forum not realizing that you are the guy that wrote that book! I have looked over the exercises and they look really helpful but I had a question.

    What would be the best way to work through the book? You list several different ways to do it, but I'm looking for a way that will strengthen my fretting hand and make my plucking hand move more in unison with my fretting hand. I guess a speed/accuracy exercise. I just figured I'd ask the man himself.

    Also, would you recommend the use of a metronome with these exercises and if so, what speed do you suggest? I have been playing for ~2 months and I want to step it up a little bit

    Any help would be greatly appreciated (sorry for the long winded post).


  2. Hi Brandon, These are good questions. The book has exercises that target both the left hand (Bassercise) and the right hand (Bassrobic). The Bassercise exercises concentrate on the working out and strengthening the left hand while the Bassercise exercises focus on improving the speed and agility of the right hand, or plucking hand. For left handed players this is in reverse. Some of the Bassrobic exercises double the rhythm of the notes the right hand is playing, so in these cases each pitch is played multiple times to create speed in the plucking hand. In other Bassrobic exercises the pitch changes with each plucked note, therefore your plucking hand will be playing in "unison" with your fretted hand. The book is designed to focus first on each hand separately and then as you get deeper into the book more left and right hand unison exercises can be found. This book is one resource for you to focus on building strength and agility in each hand. You can also play all scales- major, major scale modes, minor scales, natural, harmonic, melodic, diminished scales, whole tone, pentatonic, all arpeggios both triads and 7th chords- major, minor, diminished, augmented, Major 7th, Dominant 7th, Minor 7th, Minor 7 b5, Diminished........... This should give you plenty of material to practice exercises in which the left and right hand move "in unison".

    Although I'm a proponent of warm-ups and strength building exercises, don't let exercises be the majority of your practice time. When you're practicing scales and arpeggios your thinking about music vocabulary and that's important. When your practicing tunes, whether it be jazz, funk, rock, blues, reggae, music from mars, you're playing music, which is why we play the instrument! Technique is important, which is why I wrote this particular book, but don't let technique get too far ahead of your musical ideas.

    With regard to playing the exercises in the book with a metronome, I would start each exercise at a tempo which you can comfortably and easily play the exercise. After you can do that a few times, raise the tempo by a click or two and do the same. If you document the tempos you started with and the tempo you finished with after a few days if not a week, you'd be amazed how much of an increase in tempo you've achieved. This is a methodical way to build speed and agility.

    Keep in mind, you have been playing for two months and have plenty of time to accomplish your goals. If you got the DVD that is available with the book, that can be helpful. What genre of music are you interested in and what style of playing do you aspire to be good at?

    Keep playing and let me know how things go. Maybe I'll see you at one of the bass seminars I'll be teaching at the National Guitar Workshop this summer.

  3. skeptikal


    Jan 24, 2008
    Fort Wayne, IN
    In all honesty, I am not interested in learning to play any 1 particular genre of music. But just to be able to play any type of music. Now granted I understand this will take much more time, but I'd rather answer the question "Hey, can you play (insert any music here)" with a "yes" rather than a "i don't play that type of music", if that makes any sense.

    I'm very driven to learn this instrument and to really make it my own, not just an instrument I play. I aspire to be good at the instrument and any sound the instrument can make, again if that makes any sense.

    I'll definitely continue to use the book (havent even opened the DVD yet which I should probably do) and work through all the exercises.

    I'll have to check out the National Guitar Workshop. I'm sure the people on these boards are as passionate about the bass as I am it would definitely make for a good time. Any dates or a website you could point me to?
  4. shatterd


    Feb 24, 2008
    David is also one of the bass instructors over at workshoplive.com They have awsome bass lessons over there. I'm using that site for lessons and have been making good progress.
  5. Brandon, It's good to hear you are going after a variety of genres. Keeping an open mind is simply an advantageous quality for any bassist and if you want to make a living or just be successful at playing the bass, the more genres and styles you can tackle, the better.

    If your goal is to get comfortable with a variety of styles you probably want to think about getting your theory together and learn to play over chord changes. You might want to check out my Complete Electric Bass Method series or my Total Jazz Bassist book for that. If interested, let me know and I'll tell you more about that series of books.

    Here is a list of dates for Bass Seminars I'll be teaching for the National Guitar Workshop:

    June 28- July 3rd - Virginia Campus
    July 12-17 Chicago Campus
    August 3-8 Connecticut Campus
    August 10-15 Connecticut Campus

    To learn more details about each seminar and exact locations you can visit the National Guitar Workshop website.

    Keep playing!

  6. jeff7k


    Aug 30, 2007
    Orange County
    Hi Dave!

    I too am a fan of the 30-day bass workout book. I've been playing for about a year. I started with an instant gig - I'm a frontman/rhythm guitarist that turned bassist - so your book helped me become a bass player FAST. Now I'm madly in love with the instrument!

    I've just finished a book called "First Bass" written by a local instructor, and now I need the next book. I'd like to learn slap & pop, explore some different styles, learn how to compose better bass lines, and most importantly, take my sight-reading to the next level (like above the 7th fret.) I've been doing lots of shopping and can't seem to find the right book... any suggestions?

  7. Hi Jeff,

    It's been a while since I've been able to respond to posts due to being on the road, traveling, and doing some work on my new Funk Bass Book. Sounds like you want to address a few things to improve your bass playing. My Complete Electric Bass Method Beginning and Intermediate books contain a wealth of information in triads, 7th chords, diatonic harmony, major scales, the modes, pentatonic scales, minor scales, funk, blues, walking bass lines and much more, but more importantly, demonstrate and discuss how each of the musical tools shown in the book are used to create bass lines. Creating bass lines is a process and I think the books do a good job in showing you the process. The Beginning Book starts with major scales and discusses chord types, diatonic harmony, 7th chords etc..and goes on to many other things and the Intermediate book discusses pentatonic scales, blues scales, slap & pop, walking bass, approach notes, passing tones and much more. Depending on your musical journey would depend on what book you would get if not both.

    To address and focus on the slap style I have a book out titles Slap & Pop Bass (A Guide To Modern Funk Techniques). As the title says, the book is dedicated solely to the slap & pop style and discusses the slap, the pop, hammer-ons, pull-offs, double stops, dead notes, and more. I also have a new book I am working on to be titled, Total Funk Bassist. This book will explore funk bass and will have countless bass lines in the slap style from beginning to advanced in terms of level. More advanced techniques such as double thumb and double pluck techniques will also be explored in this book as well as many pages addressing fingerstyle funk and classic funk bass lines.

    With regard to improving your reading skills, I have one book titled Beginning Bass For Adults that is a sort of modern version of the Mel Bay bass book in that it addresses reading in the first couple of positions but differs in that it is a 96 page book and the second half of the book also covers quite a bit of information and bass lines. After you finish Beginning Bass For Adults, or if you think you are already at the Intermediate to Advanced level of reading I would recommend the Simandle I bass book. This book is pretty much the bible of bass sight reading if you wish to approach a reading level of college and above.

    I hope this helps. Let me know how things go.

  8. jeff7k


    Aug 30, 2007
    Orange County

    Thanks for the detailed reply, it's so cool to be able to correspond with an author this way.

    In my impatience I went out and bought The Total Jazz Bassist. This should keep me busy for quite a while. I figure if I can digest jazz theory and put it into practice in a three-piece rock band, my playing and my writing must improve.

    Do you have any recommendations on how to go through the book? The first chapter feels really heavy on knowledge to absorb. Oh my poor little rock star brain hurts.

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