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Genre Studies

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mistah_pynk, May 21, 2018.

  1. mistah_pynk


    Mar 19, 2018
    Afternoon all!
    So I watched a video early today that Scott Devine did trying to enlighten some players who have kinda stagnated or plateaued (which I'm kinda right there and trying to get out of it) and in one of his points he hits on prioritizing your practice with 5 suggestions on what to go over. One of them I need some clarification on, what exactly is genre studies? Is it listening to music and trying to figure it out which Iseems to help with some ear training too, or learning licks/songs? Or maybe a mix of everything?


    Also, here is a link to the video if that helps!!

  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Scott suggests breaking down practice into 5 areas:
    1. technique
    2. time & groove
    3. fingerboard visualization (scales and arpeggios etc)
    4. Genre Based Studies
    5. Learning The language (ear training , phrases, theory) and how to practically apply it
    genre studies is ...well, studying genres.
    going deep into the characteristics of particular styles.
    In fact, no 4 and no 5 are closely related. Going deep into a style of music is a great way to learn the language in a piratical way.

    So pick a style and start digging into its bass rhythms, patterns, songs, riffs, etc.
    Are there particular specialized terms for various parts?
    learn the common forms songs take, learn about the sub-genres (what separates delta blues from Chicago blues?)
    find out who the most respected players are in that style, who historically contributed to it
    learn what the drums are doing in that style (and the other rhythm section instruments)
    and of course learn the standard songs of that style

    all of this takes effort and research.
    There are entire books dedicated to the bass role in a particular style -Blues, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Latin, Country etc...
    And a few books cataloging many of the common styles out there (Paul Westwood's Bass Bible or John Liebman's Bass Grooves: The Ultimate Collection)

    You also have access to players specialized in many styles here on TB for you to ask.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  3. mistah_pynk


    Mar 19, 2018
    Fair enough. I will say that the more I thought about it, it started sounding like a musical styles class I had to take once, except it isn't just for classical music styles like it was then.
    Any suggestions on deciding a good place to start?
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Is there a particular song or album that you've always loved, but is a little outside your typical comfort zone? If so, that's a good place to start! :)

    Or, jam with some musicians outside your usual genre. Are you a rocker? Try going to an acoustic open mic. Or do you typically play reggae? Try sitting in at a blues jam. Etc.
    GastonD likes this.
  5. mistah_pynk


    Mar 19, 2018
    Not a bad idea. Makes it challenging but not so much that you might loose interest. I like it! I haven't been out to much jam sessions/concerts lately anyway, now I have a better reason to go!
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I'm biased towards Latin music as a learning exercise, especially if you seek to improve reading.
    • The rhythms are syncopated so you learn cope with complex off beats and rests
    • The note choices are not too far out -lots of Roots and 5ths
    • The subdivisions rarely go below and eights note, so it's less daunting than say 16th note funk lines
    • It exposes your ear to the west African descended rhythms that influence most modern music
    • There is a lot of specialized terminology for the rhythms you learn, helping to anchor them in your brain
    • Has a good beat, you can dance to it.
    Oscar Stangoro's book is probably the best resource.
    JimK, IamGroot and Spin Doctor like this.
  7. This book is kicking my behind... I guess I need to really focus on it, instead of fooling around.
    IamGroot likes this.
  8. mistah_pynk


    Mar 19, 2018
    I was thinking going with reggae, just to solidify some of the basics, but this sounds like a good idea too. I might have to check this out though, I do enjoy Tombo in 7/4!
  9. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Nothing wrong with starting with reggae.
    The much respected Ed Friedland wrote a book about it
    Which is probably very good, based on Ed's rep.
  10. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    I sweated that book too and I am really glad I did. (I actually bought a more recent copy to supplement the one I got over a decade ago). It took a while to get my head around the rhythms, the style and playing relaxed at crazy tempos.

    Break out the metronome and let it rip.
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  11. mistah_pynk


    Mar 19, 2018
    Thank you for the responses, this has been very helpful. Now one other question that isn't applicable to the thread and maybe kind of silly, are there any music books out written in respect to a 5-string, or is it better to just learn to adapt? Seems like working with what you have challenges you to learn to transpose or rethink what and how you are playing?

    Any thoughts?
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Music Notation doesn't have anything to say about how many strings you have (if any).
    You might be able to find Tab for 5 strings but I don't think it's worth bothering with.
    (others may disagree)
  13. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Reviews on this book (amazon) infer its more for advanced players. I'm a beginning intermediate player with beginner reading skills (particularly rhythms). My reading is what I want to work on. Will be working with an instructor - Is this book still a good choice to start out with??
  14. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I still think it's a good choice, especially with an instructor to help correct your work.
    But you absolutely have to slog through the work of deciphering the dots, ties, and rests on your own.

    What I used to do when confronted with a challenging notated rythm
    Is draw two staff lines . On the top line I'd write out the explicit subdivisions
    and then beneath I'd write the ryhtm and try to line the notes up with the subdivison they fell on


    In this way I slogged through deciphering many rhythms until things came by memory
    IamGroot likes this.
  15. mistah_pynk


    Mar 19, 2018
    My bad, I realized reading that I asked my question kinda wrong, I was referring to books more like the bass Grimoire, although I tried making my own scale sheets through Excel to suited to a 5-string but I have to go back and fix them in order to use them.
  16. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    studybass.com has a printable chart app for any scale or chord arpeggio, for any stringed instrument
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I like Genre Studies...Reggae is a good one.
    Then there are other Caribbean styles-
    High Life

    Ask, "What makes these different"?

    For practice/fun, I made sure I could play/fake my way through a 12-bar Blues with each of the above styles.
    IamGroot likes this.
  18. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Getting into Latin/Afro-Cuban styles was a big boon for me. Subdivisions, off beats, crossing the barline, etc. Huge!
    I have Stagnaro's book, too.

    The book that got me going was Lincoln Goines/Robbie Ameen - "Funkifying The Clave For Bass & Drums".
    Last year, I finally remembered to buy the DVD. Mama mia.

    Rebeca Mauleon's "Salsa Guidebook" and her "101 Piano Montunos" are great resources (try playing some of those montunos on bass).
    Carlos del Puerto's "The True Cuban Bassist" is great, too.
    IamGroot likes this.
  19. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    I own the Rebecca Mauleon and Lincoln Goines book but havnt looked at them in a while. Rebeccas book is more piano oriented. Oscars gets looked at often. It was tough at first but worth the effort. It is good sightreading material as well.

    I really dont do reggae but there is a BL in town who wants carribean styles. Hasnt ever given a set list, so Im meh about learning it. Had a reggae style book in the motel this week but never opened it.
  20. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    A few more words on Oscar Stagnaro s Latin Bass book.
    Most style books give you a taste, Oscar gave away the store. Its the best ive seen. It took me a long time to get those fast 220 bpm rhythms under my fingers and much longer to play by ear at gigs based on what i learned from his book. Dont just play out of the book, learn to play like its a gig, by learning the idiomatic chord changes and riffs. Its more than 1 5. Learn to play the notes in alternate positions. You move around the neck a lot if you are playing 4 which is good stuff to know as a bass player.

    And play those 8th notes straight. No swing!
    JimK likes this.

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