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Best Bass Theory Book? (Opinion)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by coolrays, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. coolrays

    coolrays Commercial User

    Aug 23, 2017
    A/V Director - Keeley Electronics
    Looking for the perfect bass book that teaches theory.

    What are some of the best, in your opinion?
  2. The bass grimoire
    Bass logic
    Fat Fingers and CapnSev like this.
  3. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    It's not bass centric but Levine's Jazz Theory Book is the best hands down. I also really enjoy Gary Willis Fingerboard Harmony.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  5. The freebie fearceol mentioned is pretty good. First 30 pages give the theory, the next 30 pages give how to use the first 30 pages and the last 30 page deal with modes.

    Good luck.
    Tugboat likes this.
  6. bassplayertom77


    Sep 24, 2008

  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The first post has a dead link, try post #61

    for the first "basic" part, you can also try the link in my signature.
    Leo Smith, jfh2112 and fearceol like this.
  8. Rhythmman535

    Rhythmman535 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Vytor, almadillo, Bioflava and 7 others like this.
  9. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Haven't seen that one before, but judging from the contents page & amazon preview it looks thorough and has concepts organized in the 'correct' order:
    • notes
    • intervals
    • major scale
    • triads
    • 4 note chords
    • other stuff
    Props to Ariane for getting it right.
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    There isn't any such thing as "bass theory". There's only music theory and that is instrument independent.

    The Mark Levine Jazz Theory Book is a good one, especially if you are leaning towards jazz or any other "technical" music like prog rock. It does assume you already can read music and have a basic idea of how chords relate to scales.

    You might find the typical academic theory books to be dry and certainly most only give examples from classical music but the information you need will be there. Your local library might even have one or two.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    If you'd like a little more human guidance than a book provides, Berklee College of Music has a 6-week online intro music theory course you can take for free through edX. More info on it here. It runs peridically so if it's already too far in session to catch up you can always wait for it to come around again.
    Pachap, irjason and Pbassmanca like this.
  12. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    I really dig everything Jerry Bergonzi puts out. Depends on what level you currently are really.

    Edit: Also, there is no best theory book, since there is so much theory that you cannot cover it in a single book.
  13. joinercape

    joinercape Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Consider getting a teacher, you will progress much faster and have to unlearn much less. Best of luck...
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  14. mc900ftj

    mc900ftj Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2014
    +1 on this one...and the videos accompanying the book are very good.
    almadillo likes this.
  15. nbsipics

    nbsipics Very Unorthodox Behavior Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    I don't hear this one mentioned much, but I found it to be very helpful.
    Primarily regards the double bass, but surely it has a lot of carryover to EB.
    This is where I learned to "use the meat"! ( of the fingers, that is )

  16. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I've only flipped through Levine's book, but it looked to me like it had a huge overemphasis on kinda dubious chord/scale stuff and not much on the fundamentals of traditional theory. Seems like an interesting reference for jazzers who already have the basics, are looking for a source of interesting ideas, and are ready to take the theory with a grain of salt. For beginners looking for a good path through the fundamentals, no.

    Ariane Cap's book looks pretty sensible based just on table of contents and some sample pages.

    It's true that none of this is specific to bass. For a college student I'd say "just sign up for Theory 101". That means learning basic keyboard skills and music reading and becoming more familiar with common practice classical music, all great stuff if you have the time and teachers you can trust to keep you on track. But for a self-learner without a lot of time I can see how they could get lost in the weeds, and I can see the value of a book focused more specifically on their interests.
    BassChuck likes this.
  17. I've found this book to be incredible useful over the last nearly 20 years: Serious Electric Bass by Joel Di Bartolo
  18. Buzz E

    Buzz E Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    Agreed. Thorough but easy to read and comprehend as well. It won't put you to sleep like some of the others out there.
  19. Smoove-Groove

    Smoove-Groove We've got bush, We've got bush!

    Jun 18, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
  20. ELLP


    Dec 24, 2015
    What about for someone who has a good ear, is a bedroom player, and doesnt want to or have the patience to learn to sightread? Are any of the aformentioned books tab friendly or no? I couldnt find any specifics when I previewed them on Amazon. Hope I dont get skewered by you guys, I get the importance of sight reading, but its a fairly useless skill for me. I just want to brush up on modes and scales and basic theory without learning sightreading.
    coolrays likes this.

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