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do you really have to learn how to read music to be a good bassist?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tanman636, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. If you read music, the answer to the other thread on whether groove can be taught will be obvious.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. I think reading ability is essential, but I was kind of shocked this week.
    A young guy in music college "remedial piano" showed the teacher a video of him playing a classical recital with fairly complicated pieces made two years ago. He says he has forgotten how to play piano. So being able to read doesnt automatically make you a great musician.

    Really wierd.
  3. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    My $0.02.

    Not essential, there are some top players that apparently can't read, Pino Palladino among them which surprised the heck out of me.

    Can you play like Pino though or have the feel he has? If yes continue on with tabs, if no get your sight reading in order.

    Admittedly I can't read at tempo very well, but I can sit down with written notation and work out whats on there at a slower speed so that when I see it again I know whats going.

    I also find that reading/understanding notation somehow helps me groove better as I can understand /visualize in my mind the subdivisions of the beat.
    DJ Bebop, IamGroot and Old P Bass Guy like this.
  4. consectaneus


    Sep 23, 2016
    This may sound like another "four strings were good enough for Jaco" example but he said on that video with Jerry Jemmott that he went back to learn how to read and it was hard because he could already play.

    Even so he still obviously felt that putting the work into it was worthwhile. I can't say it made him a better bassist since he was already better than good, but I'll bet it made him a better musician.
    IamGroot, Old P Bass Guy and DJ Bebop like this.
  5. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Ignorance is never an advantage. If you are as talented as Pino and have as many connections as him and the respect of the music world, by all means, don't bother learning to read. If you are a mere mortal, like most of us, you should give yourself every advantage you can get.
    IamGroot, Old P Bass Guy and DJ Bebop like this.

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