How long would it take you to learn this?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BobaFret, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    First off, this is not meant to be a competition or anything, I'm just trying to get a feel for where I'm at and I can assure you there are many people who will be much better than I at this.

    While working on my reading and better instrument note recognition I've been just taking heads to jazz tunes and trying to play them on bass. Nothing pioneering in concept, but it is a good way for me to learn. I kinda do the Berlin thing (work on the notes first, worry about time later).

    My current conquest is Freedom Jazz Dance. I'm a long way from 165bpm but have been getting better every day. I've devoted bits of time over the last 4 days to work on it.

    Can very many people just sit down with a sheet like this and just play it after a few minutes? Should I be focused on something perhaps easier?

  2. Yeah, that's pretty straight forward. 4/4 with eighth note lines. Not much complex rythmically at all. Being that the lines are all pretty linear, the shifts would not even be too much to worry about. I think, at least this excerpt, would be a pretty easy piece if given as a sight reading test.
  3. bassRunner


    Aug 10, 2012
    Urbana, IL
    Cool question, I'll play. I think this would take me somewhere from a few hours to a day to learn this. I don't actively work on my sight reading abilities, and what strikes me as kind of tough about this tune is all the accidentals with no key signature.
  4. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Not sure, I just took the image link and put it between IMG tags.

    I have no delusions about my reading and playing skills so it's good to know how far I need to still go.

    at 165bpm I just can't physically seem to do it. yet.
  5. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    A lot quicker if it were in bass clef. As is, not too long. It's really only 8 bars.
  6. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Do you know what this melody sounds like? Don't bother trying to play it if you haven't heard it and can't already sing along.
  7. Honestly, a long time. Maybe a week and possibly two of intensive practice to get it to 165 bpm and memorized. But I am a slow learner. I would probably start by transposing it to bass clef, too, or at least writing the names of the notes in, so that would take a 1/2 hour off the top.
  8. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Yes, in about 6 different styles. I always start with listening.
  9. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    No key signature, but I take it the whole thing is based on a Bb7 as notated, with alterations. So, suddenly most of the accidentals lose their mystery.

    Personally I could play this fairly quickly, the speed at 165bpm would be the actual issue. My fingers don't move that fast. :)
  10. terranova


    Sep 9, 2011
    Ditto move it to bass clef should be easier to read and faster to learn.
  11. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I'd have more trouble with the "play time" 7 bar walking parts than playing the melody. Playing piano definitely helps the reading so no problem there and the rhythm is straightforward but my walking skills suck. I'll have to give this a shot after work.
  12. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    The head is pretty straight forward. It doesn't help that I already know this tune but any competent jazz bass player should be able to read that head easily and play the tune convincingly if they were just handed the chart.

    Learning heads is great and something so many bass players over look, so kudos to that. If you really want to benefit from learning heads then throw away the book and learn it from records. You'll gain so much more from that process, write it down after you have learned it from the record that way you are working on your reading chops as well. Remember that sight reading isn't an independent skill, it is just your ability to read quickly.

    Learn to read the bass and treble clefs. I have never been handed a chart like that with someone having taken the time to write a bass clef version. You will almost always get a lead sheet written in treble clef. It really isn't that hard to learn both but it is an invaluable skill to be able to read both., If you are a student of mine I make them learn the tenor clef as well. It crops up in some double bass music and even if it doesn't it still benefits you as a player.
  13. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies. Confirms I'm doing some good things, and that there is a ton of room for improvement.
  14. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    That's totally irrelevant and goes against good practice habits for sight reading. If you can read, you'll hear what it sounds like.
  15. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    It's jazz which often has so many key changes that there are tons of examples that have no key signature because you'd actually have to write more "natural" symbols to keep it in said key signature than you would sharps or flats without a key signature.
  16. This is one of those charts that's pretty simple to read but needs a little more planning to play well. Technically it's not too difficult, tempo is fairly comfortable and the rhythms are easy but the descending fourths can be a bit of a pain in the ass if you want the whole thing to sound consistent ie. all the notes form a cohesive whole without scuffed bits here and notes held over each other over there. For instance you might play the first phrase in a more staccato fashion but then the technical hurdles in the second half might force you into sounding a little more legato as you rake down the fourths (this is on a blind read by the way, when you plan these things out it's different).

    Sight reading is great for playing charts with no weird technical problems but even something as simple as Freedom Jazz Dance can force you into planning position changes or experimenting with various fingerings. I've spent a lot of time in the past learning (or attempting) Zappa keyboard parts on bass (St Alphonzo/Black Page/Moggio etc.etc.) and I've spent literally months getting the fingerings the way I need them to work on bass. I suspect only a handful of keys players in the world would be able to sight read that stuff fluently and even then there's no way a band leader like Frank would risk it on a gig.

    So don't worry about whether or not you can sight read the chart correctly on the first attempt, it's more important to get the thing sounding good and reading will only be enough to transfer the notes onto the instrument. Making music is about more than basic notes and rhythms.
  17. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Speed is the only issue for me. I can't play anything that fast.

    Suggestion: no matter how slowly you have to play, nail the rhythm every time, even if you get notes wrong (The three most important components of music are rhythm, rhythm, and rhythm.). After you can play the rhythm correctly with all the notes right, then build up speed.
  18. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008

    I think that is part of why I posted this. I'm not convinced I will ever be able to play it smoothly at this tempo. Seems to be a physical limitation.

    I can play it fine slower, though as was mentioned, getting these 4ths to 'sound' the right way is difficult for me. That's why I'm still working on it, even though there isn't any particular reason for it (not planning on playing it live or anything).

    The last year I've been working on a bunch of horn parts to get out of just playing comfortable pieces. It has really opened my eyes to new playing ideas.
  19. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Can you isolate the problem you are having with the 4ths between right or left hand? I spent a lot of time shedding this tune and found that playing the first 4 notes with my right hand fingering as i-r-m-i (strings A-D-G-G) helped with the ascending 4ths.

  20. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008

    I think it's both. I'll try to add in the 3rd plucker and see what that feels like. I think the major hurdle is I obviously skipped practicing scale patterns in 3rds/4ths/5ths which would make something like this less daunting.

    Worth noting: I'm 44 and only started the reading journey a couple years ago. The previous time was all ear training, something people tell me I'm fairly good at. Music is my love, but I don't do it for a living. Therefore the journey goes at a slower pace.