How do you go about learning a new genre or bass player?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Alejandro Q, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    Hello guys! New poster here, long lurker in the past. I write this post because even though I've been playing bass for relative low time (almost 2 years), I want to go ahead and start studying the greats of electric bass guitar.
    I'm looking for a good method of study guys like James Jamerson, Jaco or Paul McCartney, but I want to learn more than their awesome licks. I want to know how they would approach a certain chord progression, how was their process creating basslines, which embellishments would they use in certain situations, etc.

    How should I go about it? Any ideas?

    Thank you so much!
    BOOG likes this.
  2. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Welcome !

    I'm trying to figure out the answers to most of those same questions myself.

    Some helpful replies will be coming in soon.

  3. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    First and foremost is listen, listen, listen.

    Jamerson Analysed is a very good site for breaking down Jamerson's lines.
    It displays exactly the kind of thinking needed to apply music theory to learning what makes a certain style tick.

    In general, to learn a style for bass you should also learn the typical drum conventions. It is the rhythm section that defines a style, which is almost always bass, drums, plus a chordal instrument, and often percussion. Lean as many of the other typical parts as you can.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    Ukiah Bass, Atshen, Cheez and 6 others like this.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    1. Find a good teacher.
    2. Transcribe!
  5. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    ^ yup. Transcribe, and you will start to notice patterns among the same players work.
    You're up in University level stuff here, so make sure the teacher is up there too. Chances are good the local music store teacher is not good enough, although I worked in a store that had two bass teachers that were up in BIT category.
    Alejandro Q likes this.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Listen and look for patterns. Each bass line these guys composed was not totally unique. Look where McCartney followed the melody, Jamerson used accidentals [edit] when approaching chord changes, etc.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    Alejandro Q likes this.
  7. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Cool, I get to offer a different approach. Play that material non-stop on the bass guitar. Get a playlist of a dozen representative songs and play along to them over and over.

    Those bass parts weren’t created as academic exercises in “fine bass playing.” They created to be a component of a song. Learn the songs. Play them. You’ll get stuck for how it goes sometimes. Sound it out. You want to learn the language of that music. How do you learn to speak a foreign language effectively? Not from a book. You listen and repeat what you hear. Get it in your ear.

    This is not a quick project you’re proposing. Take your time and enjoy the ride. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.
  8. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    Well, I'm lucky enough to have a very good teacher. I just wanted to know any good aproach to this matter to structure the classes and to know what is good and what is not.
    May I ask you at what kind of University can I study something like that? I'm from Europe and in my country (Spain) the academic side of music is in a very stale state. For what I know, of course.
  9. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    Those are the kind of details I'm interested in. This is great imput.
  10. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    Yeah, maybe I am getting over obsessed with the academic side of this. As an user already mentioned, maybe the key is search for patters. Maybe are those patterns the ones that tell us what makes a master. Great inputs all over, glad I posted here!
    saabfender likes this.
  11. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    If you want to skip the whole transcription bit, the Standing in the Shadows of Motown book will be of great use to you.

    I think one of the keys to Jamerson is being able to think and play in 8th notes but to feel the underlying 16th note pulse and be able to grab notes from there when necessary.
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  12. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    The key is immersion...just listen to only the style you wish to learn how long is up to the same for emulating a certain bassist...just listen really listen and then play what they do..wont take as long as you might think.
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Did you ask them the same question?
    None that I’ve ever heard of.
    It’s as stale as you make it. Learning the fundamentals is not all fun and games. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
  14. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    What’s an incidental?
  15. The basic "rules" are the same for every style. Play in key, play notes of the harmonizing chord, and I know you are asking which notes. The people you mentioned have their own favorite licks, but, they all fall into the "set of rules of what sounds good together" and you already know this. So.... you must study what the artist you want to play like --- did.

    It is the drum beat that sets one style apart from another. Then the bassist plays the notes of the harmonizing chord, for accompaniment, or notes of the key, for a melodic bass line, aka melody -- that he/she think fits this song.

    My point - to find what a specific artist would do you have to listen to his music and transcribe or buy good quality sheet music.

    Jamey Aebersold Jazz: comes to mind.

    Google pulled this up.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I think he meant accidental...notes outside of the key being used as passing tones.
    buldog5151bass and john m like this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If you don't know how to read music yet, LEARN! Then learn some of their best songs and bass lines, and more importantly, transcribe them with the chord changes and notes. You will find that it's not brain surgery, although there is a bit of a learning curve at first.
  18. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Immerse yourself in who ever it is you're trying to decode. Listen a lot more than you play for a while. When I'm learning new songs for an audition, I load up my phone and listen to them during commutes and on my walks. Just get it in your ear. Besides this being good for quick learning, I can't tell you how many times I just jump into a song playing my style only to find out later that the source is actually playing some pretty cool stuff. I'm not a note for note guy anyway when it come to covers, but I still like to find the nuggets. Since you're trying to work out the specific parts, it very critical that you don't rush t play to quickly.

    +1 To doing the transcribing work - you really have to listen when working this out. I found that even just preparing chord charts helps to pick things up quicker. Transcribing forces most mortals to listen repeatedly and with care.

    As far as the individual's approach to chord structures, I think you just kind of have to figure that out while transcribing. Be sure to include chords in your transcriptions - you'll be able to detect how the artist connects the chords.
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  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    Good call on the chord changes. That will provide context for the lines.
    JimmyM likes this.
  20. BlazinJzZz

    BlazinJzZz Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    Lewisville, Texas
    It's always good to listen to the person's influence to understand where their ideas originated.