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Bach on bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by lola99, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    I love classical music, grew up playing classics on the piano, and I was wondering if anyone can recommend a JS Bach book transcribed for beginner/intermediate bass players. I've googled and there are a few things out there; any suggestions as to which ones may be appropriate? :help:

    I've been learning on my own since Dec 2005, and I know that's a major no-no, but finances are finances :rolleyes:
  2. airrick


    Dec 4, 2005
    get all bach/classical pieces from cello parts, its in bass clef, and thats all you need.
  3. v-12


    Mar 3, 2005
    FL Panhandle
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I have the Josquin Depres book. While I appreciate the author's tabbing out the songs, some of his fingering choices (especially the avoidance of open strings) is, to me anyway, a little strange.
  5. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Thank you very much for the advice! I was wondering about the cello sonatas, and I have seen the Josquin Despres book. I can read music, but the tab comes in very handy as I'm still not entirely familiar with the neck and all the fingering possibilities there :meh: I'll get Despres and do an online search for free cello sonatas. I can't wait :hyper:
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Why the heck would that be a no-no? Some kind of classical music tradition?

    Some of the most accomplished musicians ever are largely self-taught. It has its limitations - but also its liberations...

  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I've got one in my libary: J.S. Bach / Fifteen 2-Part Inventions for 2 Basses, by Bunny Brunel (Mel Bay Publications - stock # MB9697BBCD), with instructional CD - $22.95.

  8. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    FWIW, I'm doing Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G for my senior recital in a couple of weeks.
  9. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    I'd definatly recommend for the Cello suites, but they're not for the beginner. just remember their music rather than an olymic event - sure they're tough and will stretch you but the point is to make them sound like music, rather than getting though them as fast as possible. There are a couple of mp3's on bassists websites which play the suites lightning fast, but they sound awefull - it the work is in the phrasing, not the tempo.

    I'd also agree that you don't need to go for "official bass guitar" versions. If you're ready to take this stuff on then you're past ready to learn/improve to read. Get the regular cello versions for next to nothing, and spend the money you save on a book on reading music (Ron Velosky's Sight Reading for Bass Guitar is great). Even if you end up writing the cello suites for yourself in tab you'll learn more that way, and it'll pay off in the long run.

  10. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    +1 on all that, great advice. There's no sense in just 'doing the notes' Bach wrote some wonderful music, but you really have to work to get it.

    As added advice to the Cello Suites. DO get the cello music. There are several editions out for DB arrangements of this music. I spent a good bit of money on one edition which is exactly the same as the cello music, but written in Tenor Clef so that the sound would be a the same octave. You can decide if that is a musically viable thing for you, it might be for DB but I doubt if the time spend to learn Tenor Clef on BG would be worth it.

    If you are writing them out, some of them are betterl in other keys to make use of open strings. And it's OK if you change the key or even make arrangements of the Suites. Bach's fame is secure; you won't do him any damage with your bass.
  11. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Thank you for the Brunel suggestion; I didn't know about that one.

    To Dkerwood, how did you change the cello sonata to make it work for the bass? Good luck in your recital! :)

    Happily I can read music and I love Bach, so I wouldn't use his music as scale practice, that would be blasphemous.

    My problem is that I'm a beginner and my familiarity with the neck is sketchy at best. The tab comes in handy as a suggestion for fingering etc. I think I'll go ahead and butcher the cello sonata in G which deserves better. I'll have to change it a bit to make it work on a 4 string bass.

    I know I'll burn in hell for this, damn damn damn :crying:
  12. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Well, I'm doing the Cello Suite no. 1 on a 5 string. I'm playing as written, an octave below where it was intended.

    There are a few places where I modify a few things - I think it's on the Prelude where there's a series of open Ds and As... I drop the As an octave to accomodate it on my instrument.

    I also throw in a few thirds here and there on the chords - after all, playing them as open fifths and octaves is a weakness of the cello, not on my baby... lol... I don't want to presume that Bach would prefer them with the full chord, but I know I do.

    Tell you what, though, there's nothing like slamming down to that low C on a 5 string. :D

    The biggest challenge I've faced is trying to figure out fingering - since it was written with cello firmly in mind, some of the passages are awkward at best, darn near unplayable at worst. I've had to get creative with harmonics and take full advantage of all five strings to get close.

    And this WILL get you more familiar with the neck... by necessity.
  13. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Thank you Dkerwood; it's nice to hear that it's OK to change the piece so it accommodates your instrument. Of course you sound like you know what you're doing, and I haven't a clue, but still...thank you :rolleyes:

    I hope and pray that Bach has better things to do nowadays than worry about what 4-string bass players perpetrate on his music :meh: On the other hand I like to imagine that he would have enjoyed the electric bass, 4-12+ strings. An inventive man, by and large.
  14. clockworkwar


    Mar 20, 2006
    I just take the guitar/piano cleff and then move it into the bass clef a octave higher it sounds cool!
  15. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Heck yeah. A few years ago, when I started dinking around with this piece, I transposed it for an alto sax playing friend of mine who needed something for an audition.

    Imagine that - a cello suite for alto sax!

    Make it work, man. I don't think Bach would get upset if you play his music on something else... I'd think that if he was around today, he'd be writing electric bass suites as well...
  16. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    not available anymore :(
  17. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    For really basic reading that still gives you a taste of Bach's genius for bass lines, you can read the bottom voice in the four-part chorales, which are easily available.
    You can also read the bottom voice in the two-and three-part inventions, but that takes a bit more reading ability.
  18. lola99


    Jan 28, 2006
    Cool! And the great thing is much of this stuff is available online for free :D I got the cello suites for free, anyway, and there's lots more out there.

    I like to think that if Bach were around today he'd be writing loud, gorgeous pieces for the electric bass along with other instruments. I think he would have loved electricity!
  19. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Just imagine what he could do with a Korg Triton... :eek: Or with a Roland endorsement...

  20. I also have that book, and was wondering about something...

    I play a Ric(20 frets), and I run out of frets in some parts towards the end of the first piece....this may sound stupid, but should I just play those parts down one octave from how it's originally transcribed?

    I really enjoy playing from this book!

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