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Big band!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by anonymous278347457, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    I started playing bass for my school big band (im 14) and i was wondering what sort of stuff should i try and learn(out of school) that will help me improve my playing. Also i kinda suck at sight reading off score. this is kinda strange since i also play piano and clarinet. But i think its mainly finding the notes on the bass that i find hard. also the constantly moving basslines.

    so what can i do to improve?

    btw. i usually play rock/metal
  2. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Find a song you really, really dig. Then get the tab/notation for it, or figure it out for yourself. Play the heck out of it. You'll really start to understand the bass if you have fun with it.
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    There are lots of great Big Band stuff to listen to, but I personally enjoy anything by Buddy Rich. This one, for instance, is a great album:


    Speaking of Buddy Rich, Neil Peart (Rush's drummer) produced two tribute albums some years ago. They're called "Burning For Buddy" and are excellent versions of Buddy's work (Don't miss "Slo Funk". Terrific tune!):


    Hope this helps.

    (Off topic: Message composing tools aren't working after last night's maintenance)
  4. dirkjonker


    Nov 3, 2005
    If you play in a bigband you should definitely learn to read. Buy or copy sheetmusic and read as much as you can!
    This is also a good program by Gary Willis to help you read ahead: http://www.garywillis.com/pages/lessons/read.html
    It's very annoying to do but eventually it's worth spending a little time every day on reading.
  5. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    To each his own; I've always though Buddy Rich had one of the worst "big-time" big bands... very "academic sounding" and without a good groove. Saw them in 1972 and they rushed the hell out of everything they played, and the soloists just seemed to wank without much to say.

    Buddy Rich WAS a great drummer, though, in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

    But, back to the topic. The more songs you can learn on your own, the better. There are many valid paths. My path would be to purchase a "greatest hits" collection of, say, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. Try to find charts for the songs on the recording. Now, deconstruct them. Spend an hour or two with each song analyzing the chord changes and look at how the bass might connect those changes. Play along with the record.

    I also think that most of us would agree that, to play in a jazz style, one must know the blues AND how to swing. These two things are stepping stones to jazz. Find yourself a few records of swing blues, e.g., Joe Turner, Count Basie, Jay McShann, OLD B.B. King, etc.. Listen and play.

    Latin is also good!

    Ray Charles's Atlantic recordings might be a good basis for all these things, now that I think about it.
  6. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    I did the same thing back when I was your age. Sight reading is the #1 most important thing. Big band scores rely on the bassist playing the the lines as written. I had played lots of combo style jazz before I joined the big band at my school, but all of it was improvising bass lines over the chord changes from the Real Book.

    When I showed up in the band room for the first rehearsal, it was quite an eye opening experience. I started by walking lines over the changes, and the director quickly put an end to that. "Play the lines as written" was the edict. At the time, I could read, but certainly not sight read. I struggled to get up to speed, nearly quit the band, but in the end I stuck it out and honed my skills. I'm really glad I did too. It was a very rewarding experience that I would not trade for anything.

    So, work on your sight reading first and foremost. Secondly, work on your chops and timing. Take the sheet music home and work on the parts to get familiar with the lines as written to come up to speed more quickly. Learn the different rhythm structures of the kind of songs that the band will be playing (swing, salsa, bossa nova, waltz, etc).
  7. Although i'm sure you've most likely gone over several of these excercises since you're part of a organized band, I myself would practice scales and arpeggios with a metronome until you feel more comfortable with bass, until it almost feels like a inseperable appendage. At that point, once you feel more comfortable I would find tabs (Preferably notation.) to play along with some of your favorite bands, and even though I have a feeling I may get flamed for this part.. delve into as much technique and theory as you can. You should start to notice relationships between some of the music you're playing with some of the exercises that I mentioned.

    But above all bro... practice consistantly, preferably daily.

    Have fun--