Felix Pastorius books?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by project_c, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Has anyone read any of the books by Felix Pastorius? All 3 look intriguing, but there's barely anything about them online apart from very general descriptions. Might grab one out of curiosity anyway but it would be good to get a bit of info about them.

  2. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor In Memoriam

    Nov 14, 2008
    Southern Maryland, USA
    Go for it. I can imagine they are written from an entirely different point of view... Let us know how they are.
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  3. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    First one is on its way, probably the most straightforward of the 3 but it should be fun anyway. Will report back in a few days.
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  4. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    So what is the book like?
  5. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Sorry for the delay, I wanted to spend a few days with it to get a feel for it. I got the Hot Dog Dinners book, which is the first of the 3 books. So far I like it, and despite the minimal approach, there is much more depth to it than I was expecting, which is a good thing. Here are some thoughts:

    There is virtually no text in the book, apart from a few choice words of wisdom it's all music. The actual content is stuff you might already know - variations around major / minor modes and arpeggios, voice leading, chords etc. But the way it's written and arranged is very musical and rhythmically playful in places, which initially makes it a little tough from a reading point of view (for me anyway), but it also makes it much more interesting than just running scales up and down endlessly. If you're a good reader, you will find it fun. I'm not a great reader so I'm finding it tough in certain places, but what I'm discovering is that each little segment works as a starting point, and you can't help but start exploring ideas that stem from it. So by the time you get to the end of page one, you already potentially have a bunch of new ideas for playing through the modes of the major scale, and those ideas involve not just notes, but rhythm and chords as well.

    Overall - it's not an instructional book, it's a book for exploration and for triggering ideas for practice. It's great if you know your scales already, and don't need detailed explanations of everything, or if you just want to improve your reading, but for me it seems to be working well as a starting point for ideas, kind of like an antidote for mindlessly running scales up and down.

    The only criticism I have is this: I like Felix Pastorius, it would be nice to have some thoughts or insights or just some writing by him. This book is basically him saying "here is all this stuff, I'm saying nothing, go and explore it for yourself". That's fine, and I don't think the contents of the book need an explanation, but I'd just like to read what he has to say about music, or life or whatever. Maybe he thought this book wasn't right place for that, but I think it would fit in there really well.

    Other than that, it's great, it's going to keep me busy for a while and I'll most likely buy the others too.
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  6. Tom Likely

    Tom Likely Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2019
    I would echo all of this...got all three myself and starting with Hot Dog Dinners...could be way off but they seem like an elaborate puzzle and I am obsessed with putting the pieces together. :woot:
    project_c likes this.
  7. Tom Likely

    Tom Likely Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2019
    project_c - thanks for the like!

    How goes it with the book since you have had a couple of months to check it out?
  8. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I got the book after reading this post. It's a very different approach. Probably not a 'main staple' kind of book, but interesting. More explanation would have been helpful. But that's kind of the charm since it one of the main ideas is to prompt creativity. (YMMV)
    Tom Likely likes this.
  9. Supertzar


    May 30, 2019
    does anyone could talk a little more about Felix books after using them for a while?
    I got the "Uneven triads" books for free from his FB page a couple of years ago. Tried to use them but failed to understand the concept, it's basically some quite complex melodic sequences. I tried to reach out for him to have some explanation and maybe a Skype lesson but I never got any response, too bad because I love his playing and he looks like a very humble guy, wish everybody stops to talk about his father and start to talk about Felix music and style, he deserve it!
    p.s. I started back with uneven triads last week and got a bit obsessed with it, some pretty strange ideas but surprisingly they stick to my playing and come out on its own while improvising!
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  10. DarkStar90


    Feb 4, 2008
    Basically, what I gather from these books, is that the concepts on the page are like little cells of information be they conventional or not, that could help you develop areas of playing that you may not have previously encountered.

    He does have the paragraph at the beginning of the books where he says that these pages are to be used to as a launchpad for introducing new shapes or ideas into your playing. He leaves it up to you. He wants you to play it, so you discover whats going on rather than being told. I did notice that he kind of forces you to think about the plucking hand dynamics and articulation a bit more than your standard scale or pattern book (through the use of dynamic and articulation markings), and found them to be the some the only books I've encountered that have scalar exercises that are special because of what they are doing for the plucking hand, so pay attention for that. We sometimes forget that its not always about fretboard work. I would start with one pattern at a time, play it until i understood the concept, then practice it all over the neck.

    Some of his instructions or lack thereof could seem confusing, but the concepts are usually simple once understood. I find them to be Felix's bass specific approach to practicing patterns you may have discovered in the Slonimsky Thesaurus of Scales. If you are unfamiliar with that book, its basically a book of scales constructed and varied by dividing an octave in mathematical and intervallic patterns. Jaco used to get ideas from it, from what I've read.

    The Slonimsky book doesn't tell you what to do with these scales, but just presents them and instructs you on how each scale in constructed. Felix's books are kind of like that, but presented in patterns and passages that can be played in the range of a bass.

    One example of Felix's that I liked was the dynamic or articulation markings notated above some of the strange passages. They remind you that they can make something dissonant or weird sound more musical. Something as simple as applying stresses to a scalar pattern make strange lines challenging and fun to hear. One passage in particular placed stresses on every other note in a sequence of triplets while you ascend a fourth, move up a semitone, descend a fourth, up a semitone, ascend a fourth an so on. It was harder than it seemed, and seemed to give my plucking hand some work.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  11. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Are there any example pages from these books?
  12. JamesBass78


    Mar 25, 2020
    I realize that this is an old thread but wanted to add my two cents. I got the “Hot Dog Dinners for 4-string Bass” book by Felix Pastorius today and started working through it. I am a big fan of his work with Hipster Assassins. The book is a great way to gain a window into his shedding approach of playing arpeggios through the modes of important scales including harmonic major and melodic minor. This book will likely keep me busy with practicing for a long while. There are some nifty and practical scale pattern charts and good opportunities to practice reading rhythms in here as well. I am already gaining insights about symmetry of the fingerboard and modern harmony approaches from this book. Highly recommended - thank you Felix!
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  13. Tom Likely

    Tom Likely Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2019
    In going back thru HDD and the mode exercises at the very beginning, it's blowing up the compartmentalization area of my brain because the exercises are not in any particular time signature.

    Thinking I am thinking too much. DOH - there I go again!
  14. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    PVG Membership
    I've only checked out Hot Dog Dinners and there is a good chunk of meat on those dogs. I think some of the formatting and beaming of the notes leaves a thing or two to be desire at times but having said that the concepts are all good. I liked that you basically got the exact same line played through each major and minor mode with E as it's root.

    The vast chunk of the book is basically arpeggios from the root, third and fifth and starting on different degrees of the scale and going through the scale. It's hardly the most groundbreaking of material but I don't think it pretends to be either, it's basically giving you different approach to make sure you really know this stuff inside out and breaking out of thinking a scale/mode exists as just root to root. So Felix is making sure that you are serving the most nutritious hot dogs you can but whatever you want to put in that hotdog is all up to you.
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