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Any Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by dbap, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. dbap


    Jun 25, 2007
    I am new here and I was observing your community for a quite long time, but now I write my first post ;).
    I actually have doublebass at home and I had a classic db teacher for about 1 year and a "jazzteacher" for about 2 years.
    So my problem consists of not available money. That means I have no money to finance a teacher, but I am interested in getting better in playing db. I got the Simandl-Book, Ray Browns Bass Method and, if you know it, Jazz Conception from Jim Snidero.
    I would describe my skilllevel as a noob, because I can read those simple things and play them, but I cannot play a good solo and I cannot play very highnotes. My rhythmfeeling is good, because I play the drums for about 7 years, so I have no major reading problems. I can play a walkingbass, but only quarternotes - no triplets included!
    Another problem is, that I cannot stay at one fingering. I really don't know which one is the best and so I feel like I dont improve my playing.

    So I am looking for any suggestions how I can improve my playing without spending money, because I really got no money! Maybe you can tell me so good books or good praticemethods.
    If there are questions, don't be shy and ask them. Thank you for an answer!

  2. Nothing has improved my playing more than the community based jazz band that took me in.
  3. musicman5string

    musicman5string Inactive

    Jan 17, 2006
    Hey dbap-
    Are you checking out CD's? If so, they're the way to go: Transcribe a bunch of basslines and solos from your favorites and don't worry so much about the rest for now. That will improve your playing much faster than say going through a bunch of books. Not that that's bad or anything, it's just that when you transcribe bass you are training your ear, getting the best basslines straight from the source, developing a vocabulary that jazz musicians relate to, and are being part of a tradition that is usually passed on aurally.
    If you want specific CD's to check out that will help, let (us) know. Lots of good advice on listening here.
  4. For jazz vocabulary, transcribing is the way to go. For technique just practice the Simandl and follow the fingerings religiously and your technique will work itself out.
  5. dbap


    Jun 25, 2007
    That's a problem, because I live in Germany, but not in one of those big citys but in a small village. There are no jazzcombos here and neither is here a jazzsession. In one year, after I finished school, I will go to a bigger city and there I think I can go to session.

    But thanks for your answers and I will transcribe some bass stuff, but do you suggest solos or basslines? I also think that I should learn all transcribed stuff in every key ;).
    If there are any suggestion just write them here and I will be grateful.

  6. check out the thread on what to transcribe.
    there are some great suggestions.
    a lot of people recommend ray brown
    best of luck
  7. I spent a lot of time in school transcribing Paul Chambers -- not only solos, but walking lines as well. In fact I have transcribed several songs note for note, from start to finish, including "If I Were A Bell" and "Oleo" from Relaxin' With the Miles Davis Quintet, and "Blue In Green" from Kind of Blue. It's time-consuming, and it can feel pointless sometimes, but in retrospect it has done wonders for my general vocabulary and note selection. Kind of helped to "slow down time" for me, like in the movie The Matrix.... if you get what I mean.
  8. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    There's a lot of great people to transcribe/study. My best advice is to listen to all that you can and when you hear somethin that you dig, check out who it is and transcribe from them.

    A few of those guys for me: Ray Brown, Charlie Haden, Paul Chambers, and Charles Mingus. There's a lot more, but those 4 have made a big impact.

    Another thing i'd recommend is when you hear something they do that you dig, start using it as part of your arsenal. When i first heard NHOP-i heard all those slides and how smooth he sounded-so i started doing my imitation of him at times. Now it's part of my arsenal of tricks of the trade.
  9. dbap


    Jun 25, 2007
    Oh sorry for my late reply, but I want to thank you all. I think the idea is that I have to adapt those licks for my play which I like and develop my own style.

    But I have a little question:
    How do you transcribe a solo?
    I just start to transcribe a solo and try to figure out which notes the solist or just musician plays at that time, but I heard of some people who first count the bars of a solo, then start to figure out the rhythm and then fit the "blank" rhythm with notes.
    So I ask you what you think is the best method. Present your own way so I will adapt the method I like most.

  10. musicman5string

    musicman5string Inactive

    Jan 17, 2006

    Those are great ones; I did those as well. In fact, I've probably got a stack of maybe 50 or more basslines that I transcribed from guys like P.C., Ray, Ron, Rufus, Dave, etc.
    Apart from Ray Brown's book, I never got bass lines from a theory book or "building walking basslines" book. Not that there's anything wrong with those; it's just that when you go to the source, it makes all the difference, in the content and in the feel.
  11. Bates


    Aug 10, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Learn to play whatever you are transcribing. Then notate what you learned.
  12. Ludwig


    Aug 17, 2006
    Best to improve is playing in a group and have to play with it. If there are no jazz groups around, try to find a mondolin orchestra. Some of them are playing a great range of music, from classical or barock oarts up to pop, rock and jazz. Even if that is not the music you like best, playing in a group teaches you a lot. An other alternative would be a classical orchestra (streichorchester / kammerorchester) made up of amateurs.
  13. The method of transcribing which was suggested to me was -

    1) Learn to sing the whole solo with the recording
    2) Learn to sing the whole solo without the recording
    3) Learn to play the whole solo based on what you learned to sing

    You can write it out now as an exercise in transcribing the rhythms and it also help to analyse the concepts but if you followed steps 1, 2 and 3 you'll probably remember that solo for life. Writing down is also a nice way to share with others the fruit of your labors.

    But don't forget the importance of transcribing basslines. Most of what we do in jazz is play basslines as part of the rhythm section. I particularly like to transcribe Dave Holland's bass lines because I find he is a master at playing lines that are appropriate to the feel of an individual piece. He can do a half dozen different kinds of swing (maybe more?) all at the same tempo depending on the context (other players, structure of the head, form, etc). In my experience, being a virtuoso soloist doesn't get you very far as a bass player if you can't function as a part of the rhythm section. I'm no virtuoso soloist but I've been told repeatedly that people prefer to work with me over other "flashier" bass players because I have good time and know how to be a team player.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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