Experienced rocker wants to start playing Jazz.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by pickles, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I havn't turned up much in searching, so sorry if this has been done.

    I've been playing rock and funk bass by ear for a long time, I play very well (have been in a band on Reprise records), understand very basic theory, but can't really read. My ability to learn quickly by ear has landed me many gigs ... but I want to expand my knowledge and feel a little stuck.

    I love listening to jazz, and want to start learning how to read, sightread, go deeper on theory ... what I'm looking for is a few books that can get me going (or do we reccomend lessons around here?).

    There are a thousand books out there, I'm wondering which might be good for my situation. Most books I see seem either too basic or too advanced for me.

    I've actually considered renting an upright and signing up for some lessons if I can find a good teacher locally. I was thinking the shift might help my brain kick into gear.

  2. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Lessons would be good/great. If you don't want to do that.

    For jazz walking lines-get Ed Friedland's "Building Walking Bass Lines" book. I still use it now.

    I think there's a bit of a brush up on the basics in there.

    For the the sheer basics such as reading in bass clef, there's a tremendous amount out there-most of them are targeted towards beginners. Honestly-i think the best way to learn this would be to get a teacher who can just write it out for you and point you to a book that you guys can work out of that would take into account your skill that you currently have so you won't be playing whole notes on open strings for the first 10 pages. [gross exaggeration].

    That's all-feel free to hit me on AIM.
  3. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    Changing styles AND instruments might be frustrating...

    You can go the lessons route, nothing wrong with that.

    Everyone learns differently.

    I got into jazz by doing, going from 12-bar blues to 8-bar blues to blues ballads to - jazz. Figure out changes by ear or by fake books. Analyze the way lines fit with the changes. Apply. Go to jazz jams and be willing to screw up for the sake of learning. There will never be a point where you will be able to say "I know how to play jazz," because your knowledge and abilities will never be complete, so look at it as a journey, not a destination.
  4. bad_andy


    Sep 21, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    A friend gave me some great advice about learning the doghouse. "Just accept the fact that for the first year or so you're going to suck." It was liberating, because everytime I've gotten frustrated when practicing my upright I can remember what he said, relax, and (if I'm not straight up sucking at what I'm working on) feel like I'm actually doing well. :D

    Tackling both at once will make things more of a challenge, but it will be worth it, because honestly, you can't start playing the upright too early. (Well, walking first would be good.) The best advice I can give you is to start with a good teacher and get the best instrument that you can afford and have it set up by a professional who works with double basses. (Lots of guitar repairmen will be willing to try, but most of them don't know how a good upright setup is supposed to be done.) It's challenging enough to tackle this instrument without a lousy setup on a sh**** sounding doghouse holding back your progress.

    Make sure you spend time playing both instruments every day and then try playing the same passages on both. This really gets the old cross pollenation going between them. Good luck! :bassist:
  5. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA

    I've done a bit of this already, I've learned some jazz and fusion tunes by ear. I can play "So What" along with the recording, and have played Birdland with my cover band ... it was a lot of fun, but it gets frustrating knowing how much easier learning those would have been if my theory and reading was solid.

    I also want to be able to sightread on rock and pop sessions, and ideally, sightsing.

    I've also jammed a friends doghouse and found that I could groove on it, at a basic level ... decisions ...
  6. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    So the consensus so far is lessons? A good book would be more convenient for me since I work 9-6 and have lots of practice time before I head in to the office.