Help with theory book

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Nato, Oct 26, 2002.

  1. Nato


    Jun 2, 2002
    Okay i have come to the point that i realize i need to learn theory. I have already learned the basics from several different web sites and beginner books but i want to go deep into the theory and see how everything works together. So that brings me to my question for all of you more experienced people out there. What book should i buy on bass theory? i would like it to be very complete and preferably have tabs (I'm still working on the reading) but not a must, and i would like it to have some kind of practicle practices for everything that you learn so that you can apply it, preferably a cd or something like that to play along with. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    The Bass Grimoire goes pretty far inside the thing.

    Still, I don't like the idea of "bass theory". Theory is theory and applies to all instruments.
    So, I'd rather recommend a simple educational book.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Probably the better theory books will not have tablature. One book I think is especially good is Gary Willis "Fingerboard Harmony for Electric Bass" with CD with 99 examples and exercises (no tab.) Hal Leonard Publications...$17.95

    The book does have fretboard charts that help with some of the introductory material in the book. It is written for four, five and six string basses.

    The one caveat is that Willis plays his examples rather fast for a beginner. I do not know if you are a beginner or intermediate.


    An advanced theory book that will really take you "deep" into theory (no tab; no CD) is:

    The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine. Sher Music Company $38.00


    A simpler, but still complete book on theory (no tab; no CD) is:

    Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Bass Book" by Earl Gately.

    There are no tabs, but the first few pages do actually teach you how to read music in the bass clef. Many examples in the books show suggested fingerings.

    Try the web site.

    I have the "Bass Grimoire" that was suggested above. It presents an encyclopediac charting of chords, scales, modes, intervals,and keys (no CD.). Problem is there is very little help on how to apply the information. For example, if you don't know what to do with a mode, this book won't help you much. It does have fretboard charts.

    I don't believe it has tab, but I'd have to dig it out from my pile of bass books to know for sure. I don't recall that it has exercises or drills either. It is an excellent reference book, though.

    For theory with tab and a CD:

    "Harmonic Colours for Bass" by David Gross,
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    (Guess I used up my space up there.)

    OK, for tab and a CD, check:

    "Harmonic Colours for Bass" with CD by David Gross, $19.95, Warner Brothers

    This is a much simpler, basic approach to theory that does not get into really advanced concepts. It is a good start. It covers scales, modes, the melodic minor scale, the harmonic minor scale, whole tone and diminished scales and the chords derived from those scales.

    All the drills and exercises and examples are tabbed and in standard notation, too. The examples are quite short, mostly just four to eight bars. There are not any charts or lengthier peices in the book to challenge you.

    Gross says with this book you will be able to "...create strong lines and solos..." The book would be a good start. After awhile, you may wish to delve even deeper into theory with the other books I suggested previously or others.
  5. 1. - Check out Jazzbo's material, it's great and it's here.
    Jazzbo's article

    2. - Try to find a teacher. There is nothing better than sitting down with someone that knows this stuff and going through it one on one.
  6. The last few lessons have been really great, I've covered a lot of ground. I might actually be able to play the bass some day.