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Bassist's guide to the keyboards

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by belzebass, Oct 25, 2013.


  1. belzebass

    belzebass

    Feb 21, 2012
    Hello, fellow earthlings!

    I'm thinking of getting me some keyboard skillz.
    Hell, I've got a keyboard (full-size) laying around, so no financial investment :) And many recent concerts I've been to had keyboard bass, and the players left me strongly impressed and inspired, as well as threatend and insecure :)

    There are a lot of books and courses for keyboards, but I would like some advice on learning bass-centric keyboards.
    My purpose is playing basslines on keyboards (full-size or those smallish 2-octave ones), and, ideally, some chords. Pure accompaniment, no lead or Shopen.

    Has anyone learned piano/synth in that perspective?
    Did you follow a book?
    Did you just play same songs on electric bass and on keyboards, or did you play competely different stuff?
    Any insights/advice/experience?

    So long, and thanks for all the tips!


    PS: Yes, this thread was first in BG section, but unfortunately haven't had tons of replies. Playing piano is often mandatory in classical and jazz backgrounds, so I taking a chance here.
     
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Shopen?

    :confused:

    Anyway... I use an Oxygen8 plugged into (via MIDI cable) a Moog Taurus 3.

    My advice? Just start playing.
     
  3. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    Do you mean Chopin?
     
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    To the OP:

    Learn to play the piano like a pianist, then do with your skils whatever you wish. There's no point in trying to learn the piano via learning to play bass lines on the piano, IMHO.

    When you're playing keys in a combo, you play different things depending on whether or not you have a bass player. If, e.g., I'm playing piano and my son is playing trumpet and we maybe have a drummer but that's it, then you'll find my left hand playing a lot of bass-player-like bass lines. Otherwise, you don't want to do that because your bass player already wants to amputate your left hand. :)

    -S-
     
  5. good basic all around (self-teaching) books:

    "Alfreds All in One Piano Course"
    "Adult Piano Adventures" (Hal Leonard)

    The above are highly and frequently recommended on the piano fora that I follow.

    Good book for a not to daunting intro to specifically rock playing:

    "Intro to Rock Keyboards" (Alfred/National Guitar Workshop)

    A more in depth/detailed book but still self-teachable,

    "Beginning Rock Keyboards" (Allfred/National Guitar Workshop) This one's a blast for us cuz it was written by the bass player for Blue Oyster Cult. Apparently he has an academic background with the piano. Who knew?

    Mugre
     
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I teach piano, and I use a series of books by Faber and Faber. Use the Lesson Books, not any of the others, as your main source. Start with the Primer, then move through Level I, Level II, etc. I think the Faber books are great.

    -S-
     
  7. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik

    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Remarkably good advice
     
  8. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    then I'm glad you remarked on it. :)

    When people compose music, e.g., classical, shows, big band charts, etc., they give thought to this sort of thing. The phenomenon that is the typical rock band or jazz combo far too often assumes that you just play whatever you want on your instrument and that everything will come out sounding OK - it won't unless your standards ... are low.

    -S-
     
  9. belzebass

    belzebass

    Feb 21, 2012
    Well, I strated doing short piano sessions every 2 or 3 days. Mostly playing walking bass or chords to easy standards (not simultaniously). It definitely adds to my bass playing, since it forces me think notes rather than positions and scale degrees :) Playing chords gives new ideas for transitions, too.
    I think I'll use piano to explore musical ideas, transcription and ear training.

    As to learning to play piano seriously, unfortunately, it's just not possible time-wise :-\ That's why I said "bassist's perspective", I want eventually be able to play basslines on a synth, since its sound is more appropriate in many styles, like new reggae, electronic or pop.
     
  10. belzebass

    belzebass

    Feb 21, 2012
    No-no, I meant Shopen, you know, the kind of instrumental piano pieces played in shopen centers :spit:
     
  11. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Well, I'll take back my idea that there's no point in learning to play bass lines on a keyboard instead of just learning to play the piano - there is a point if you want the shortest route to your immediate goal but not necessarily the best thing for your musicianship in the long run.

    You said, " ... it forces me [to] think notes rather than positions and scale degrees" - that's a good thing, and definitely better than not trying it on the keyboard at all.

    You have my permission to carry on. :)

    -S-
     
  12. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik

    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    For example Ray Manzerak could actually play "keyboards". He spent the time to really develop some chops.

    Then there's my favorite Edward, Nicky Hopkins.
     
  13. El Thumpo

    El Thumpo Four strings, no waiting Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    That is an AMAZING book. Really spells out music theory in a casual, accessible way, and keeps the reader connected with the fun of playing music. You're right: it has a lot to teach all musicians, not just pianists.

    Where'd my copy go to? Think I'll order another.
     
  14. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    This thread makes me wanna buy an old Rhodes.
     
  15. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Well I'm sorry if the OP's post about wanting to play bass-centric keyboards as an alternative to playing a bass sort of inspired me to want to pick up a cheap "crummy electric piano" and experiment with it in my band. And since I did start on piano when I was a kid, and took a couple years of piano in college, I think I could probably be ok at it. The "new one" is how you think that I equate my musical knowledge to the prospect of buying a Rhodes??
     
  16. kreider204

    kreider204

    Nov 29, 2008
    I did. :) He's a graduate of Ithaca College, where I attended music school for a bit. He came and gave a talk while I was there. Very cool guy.

    On topic, I also recommend the Alfred "Beginning ____ Keyboards" methods. I have the jazz and blues ones, and am learning a bit myself, and they are very well done. I don't have the rock one, but I've browsed it, and it looks similarly good. It should have the kind of bassline - chord stuff you're looking for.
     
  17. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    This is true, but it's certainly better than not being able to play at all, and they are _way_ ahead of people who can't play if and when they get to the point where they want to do the things you describe.

    I grew up playing both jazz and classical - it's the way it ought to be, says me.
     
  18. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    The only thing crummy about the Rhodes is the weight, as can be attested to by a myriad of hernias and bad backs :D
     
  19. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I remember thinking about buying on of those until I looked it up and saw what it weighed. I don't remember now exactly but it was heavy.

    Would be cool, though.

    -S-
     
  20. belzebass

    belzebass

    Feb 21, 2012
    Are people still using those? A MIDI keyboard and a laptop, and you should be good to go :)
     

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