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Beginning Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MattStonewall, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. I read some good reviews on this book. I'm looking to learn more jazz and walking bass line work. Anyone used this book?
  2. Beginning Jazz Bass Lines by Dominik Hauser
  3. MosGuy

    MosGuy Keep it low and thumping..

    Dec 26, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Not familiar with that particular book. Some well known and typically recommended ones are:

    Building walking bass lines - Ed Friedland
    Walking Bassics - Ed Fuqua
    The Evolving Bassist - Rufus Reid

    A lesser known one: Constructing jazz walking bass lines - Steven Mooney

    Which is split into a series of five books. I found them a good second step, they cover concepts BWBL doesn't. From what I've heard Walking Bassics is good after the basics are learned. Evolving Bassist is older but a classic.
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Have not used the book. Yes to Ed's book.

    Spend some time on Scott Devine's web page. He has several videos on making/using walking bass lines. Making and then using are two different things. I think it all boils down to which and how many chord tones to use and of course that depends on the song and how far down the jazz road we have traveled. On this video Scott talks about locking with the drums - pay attention.

    This free e-book is a must have. http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JAJAZZ&Product_Code=FQ#.U0-xbywo8qQ While at this site you may want to look around. Jazzbooks.com is loaded with good "stuff". Be warned a lot of it is advanced material. I have a couple of books I bought years ago and I'm still not able to really use them.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'd also recommend checking out this. It's an exercise that works on getting the sound of the harmonic progression in your ear, so that you're NOT making note choices by pulling random notes out of a pile of things that are "supposed" to work with a specific chord. When your ear starts guiding your note choice, based on what you, yourself are hearing on a given progression, your line starts to develop a melodic arc that is both responsive to your immediate aural environment (what everyone is playing) and moves the music in a forward manner. It really helped me to STOP speaking gibberish and start making sense when I played.
    triviani likes this.
  6. timobee4

    timobee4 Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Cairns, Australia
    Walking Bassics by Ed Fuqua. Spend some quality time with this book. Practice front to back, back to front, upside down :) re-write, substitute, screw with it, make it yours! After 3-4 months of book study hardcore, I guarantee that anyone who understood the basic in the first place will be able to walk trough any jazz play along or construct great lines over any progression.

    Attached Files:

    Ed Fuqua likes this.
  7. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    squidtastic likes this.
  8. MosGuy

    MosGuy Keep it low and thumping..

    Dec 26, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    From what I've read of the Ray Brown book in the DB forum. It's more of an etude type with little hand holding. Since the OP is looking for a beginner book, it may be a little advanced to start with. It does look good once the basic concepts have solidified. I've considered picking it up myself, tho with 8 books on walking I probably have enough :laugh:
    bluesdogblues likes this.
  9. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    It's for beginner actually
  10. MosGuy

    MosGuy Keep it low and thumping..

    Dec 26, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    That's good to know. The Amazon preview gives a different impression. It just shows a bunch of scales, arpeggios etc. Without mention of describing the theory behind concepts. If it indeed does, that makes all the difference for beginners.
  11. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    I can't call my self a Jazz player, but IMHO to (begin to learn to) play jazz, the most important thing is to listen to (and absorb) as much (good) jazz music, records and live shows, as possible. And chose the 'right' or the 'good' ones. Maybe more than learn, copy some. Not just the bass line, but more important is the whole context, the melody, the chord, the everything. (Some great bassist even told to learn other instruments solo than bass solo if a bassist would like to learn to play 'bass solo').

    That's where the problem occurred for beginner (like me). There are so many, and We don't know which jazz records to listen to.
    Term of 'Jazz Music' itself is blurred these days. Is it the old Jazz music?
    (I tend to think it as an 'Improvisation Music with 'classic' Jazz music structure' now. but that's me).

    Perhaps a guide from the Jazz Musicians about list of records/live that 'must' to listen and learn to for beginners would be a great help. Although I'm sure that different Jazz players may point to different list. But I hope there still will be some similarities.
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    You NEED to listen a LOT before you 'look' at any books.

    Did you start speaking English by first reading a text book?
    squidtastic likes this.
  13. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    This...is what I mean :)

    Learn from a book can be good or even a must along the way, esp for 'Jazz" which has complex 'music theory' behind it to play. But for beginner IMHO "Listen A Lot" is much more important to do first.
    How often these days that I see Somebody plays Jazz that not felt as "Jazz" for me. It's not easy to grab, Jazz.

    That brought me thinking that 'Jazz book for beginner' perhaps is something for them who are not really a beginner LOL. But instead for somebody who had paid his/her dues in listen and absorb a lot of Jazz before he/she reads the first "Jazz Book for Beginner".

    For all "Jazz" musicians who read this, take my apologize to share this my perhaps odd view here.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  14. squidtastic

    squidtastic Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    Big "yes" to this. I learned more from listening to, e.g., Paul Chambers and Ray Brown than from any book. (Don't know the book you mentioned, but the Rufus Reid book is good.)

    It's valuable to transcribe or copy by ear certain tunes. E.g., pick a modal classic like "So What?" and a bop classic like "Giant Steps", etc., and learn them note for note (do the same for whatever other styles you're interested in). Once you have them down, think about the note choices and patterns you hear. Sometimes there are relatively simple patterns that emerge; e.g., "Giant Steps" can seem overwhelming until you notice the pattern of Chambers' choices.

    I think the most important thing is to learn music that inspires you.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, here's where I run into some issues. When I first was exposed to this music, I couldn't understand what I was listening to, it didn't seem to be in a key, all I could really hear was velocity and that there was some kind of intent in what the players were doing. Getting a little bit of an understanding of functional harmony and chord/scales made it easier to sound like I was playing, but all I was playing was gibberish. Picking notes from a pile.
    What did get me to a point where I can convey some small intent and musicality was studying with my current teacher, Joe Solomon. He has any number of exercises, approaches, concepts that show you how to develop the skill sets tha I think are necessary for any jazz musicans - the ability to hear with clarity, to understand what you are hearing and the ability to convey that to others through your instrument. Ear training, functional theory and physical approach. So what I've tried to do with my book is communicate that with the written word. And that's all any book is, music or otherwise, the concrete communication of ideas. I don't think that they are as good as working with a live human being because they present any necessary information in a static fashion. If I read a book on quantum mechanics and I don't understand something written there, the book can't try to explain it to me another way. And the same thing if I were just standing around listening to a conversation between physicists. But if I were talking to someone who had a deep background in partical physics, they could keep talking around the idea until they hit on the best pathway to my understanding. And it's that way for anything, the more you can interact personally with someone who has a deep understanding, the easier it is to develop understanding your self.

    Now, there have been a diverse number of opinions and approaches offered here, as happens on the internet, how do you figure out which path is YOUR path? I know it has met with some resistance in the past but, to me, this is where being able to hear the playing of whoever is offering advice can help. You can, for example, listen to me play and decide that there is nothing in my playing that speaks to you or that you find compelling. And that means that no matter how much experience I have or don't have, or how well or poorly thought out my approach might be, it isn't the one for you. Or vice versa.
  16. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    I just finished Building Walking Bass Lines/CD from Ed Friedland. I did it after I completed his 3 bass method books. Since then I've been working on his Blues book.
    A few observations about the Building book;
    It is very different that other books mentioned above for a few reasons -
    -100% notation or chord chart format
    -I'm guessing more than 50%+ of the lesson songs involve transposing
    -Several lessons on transposing to multiple keys
    -Serious focus on improvisation

    I spend allot of time listening, writing, correcting then playing vs reading and playing with this book.
    To REALLY get the most out of it you should start with a intermediate reading skill level and a little theory won't hurt either. Oh yea, I was also working with an instructor the whole time.
  17. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Yea,.. it's always nice to have a good teacher in learning jazz.
  18. Just letting you all know I ordered the book by Dominik Hauser listed above as the thread starter. I already had a few years of theory under my belt. I think the book is excellent. It doesn't give you a bunch of extra drivel and gets right to the point and the explanations are easy. I've already learned new things and expanded on idea's I was already aware of. I'd recommend it! Some of my favorite albums to listen to: Ornette Coleman- "Sound Grammar", "Art Of The Improvisers" and "The Shape of Jazz to Come"; Miles Davis- "Bitches Brew" and "Kind Of Blue", Bill Evans Trio "Sunday at the Village Vanguard". Cheers all!