Book Recommendations Beyond Theory~

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by opium89, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. opium89


    Jan 27, 2004

    I've been playing for about 20 years or so, have read numerous books, taken a lesson or two but I am in a major funk. Seems all the books I have read teach you theory and how to play bass in a vacuum. Well darnit, I already know scales and chords! I would really like to find a book (web site, tape, DVD, etc...) that can explain how to apply the theory and knowledge to playing bass as it was meant to be played, ie: WITH OTHER INSTRUMENTS!

    Any advice?
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I think, your absolutely best bet, would be to discuss theory with other musicians that you play with. If you know the most, educate them, if you know about what they know, work with them, and if you know less than they know, learn from them.

    a lot of people get caught up in this idea of learning a bunch of scales and chords in a vacuum then being like "okay, now, how do I apply this?"

    That's not an inherently poor approach, but it can get inbetween actually creating music. I prefer to approach theory from a "okay, I am creating music, now, how would I quantify it? oh... like that, okay cool, that's my theory"

    There are standards, and systems and formulas, and common chord progressions, commonly accepted cadences...etc...etc. But all that theory is the culmination of what hundreds of composers(thousands?) over the years have produced musically. When they were making their music, they didn't think of it in terms of 'how am I applying this theory?", it wouldn't be till later someone says "okay, so that dude did that really cool thing, just what was he doing exactly? oh it was such-and-such, cool, well, I like that idea, I wonder if I can take that and use it with such-and-such, hey, that sounds pretty interesting"...etc..etc.

    In short, there is no 'how the bass was meant to be played', there is a collection of how various composers and performers have played the bass over time and what we call all that stuff and ideas on how those ideas can be applied, but don't confuse that with being some sort of rule book.

    Of course, this is just my opinion, I ain't been playing 20 years, but I've studied theory for 7 or 8 years and I have found that the most progress in my playing has come from putting theory in the back of my mind and not worrying too much about whether what I'm doing is right or wrong theoretically, because, if I can hear it, it's right. :)
  3. opium89


    Jan 27, 2004
    Been there, done that...No one yet has been able to explain to me why things work the way they do. I would love to find a book (or anything) that would lay out a bunch of chord progressions on guitar with accompanied bass lines and explain why those bass lines work with those progressions based on the theory we all know. So someone needs to write this....Any takers? =) If you know of something already in print please share!
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Wait. There is a disconnect here. You say you've approached theory from a practical angle(been there done that), yet you don't know how to approach it from a practical angle? did I misread that.

    Are you looking for this book to improve your playing? or just to study theory from a scholarly aspect?

    Sorry I can't help with the book suggestions, however, 'the jazz theory book' does exactly what you're looking for, it's just not bass centric. But it takes lots of examples from tunes and breaks them down.

    That said, if you have studied theory as much as you said, figuring out the why is a practice in and of itself. Spend some time analyzing charts on your own, put your knowledge to use. Or have you not had experience analyzing charts? I'd like to help if I can, but I'm a little confused. heh.

    The simple answer to why things work the way they do is because we are familiar with them. We have these systems that have been made based on what people have mutually thought sounded good over time. No one is really right or wrong, so it's all kinda relative. You can look at some things like tritone subs and say "okay yea, we do that because it gives the bass a chromatic motion as opposed to jumping intervals" But, that doesn't account for why or why not to do it, that's just one reasoning behind it, some people want that sound, some people don't. Shrug. Theory is some stuff.
  5. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Fairly board question, but this dude has some useful suggestions.
  6. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Have you tried the Jamie Aebersold books? They may not be the total answer to our question, but could be a help.

    The only difference between THEORY and PRACTICE is that in theory there is none.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    IMO - the only way to get this stuff in your head is to do it - that is, get out and play music with other people that really stretches you!! :)
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I am truly sorry but I am not allowed to talk about it

    Mike Dimin