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Jazz bass - Any good books on walking bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LooFunk, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. LooFunk


    Jan 3, 2017

    I feel it is criminal that I haven't learnt to walk after years of playing. I've seen a few sources on walking bass but they're never that good. Does anyone know of any books that teach how to walk from beginner through to advanced? I'm looking to learn Jazz standards. I have Ray Brown's book but it's just full of crazy patterns and not an instruction on how to walk.

    Thanks guys!

  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    For starting off, I'd highly recommend "Walking Jazz Lines for Bass". It starts with the basics and works from there.

    Mel Bay Walking Jazz Lines for Bass: Jay Hungerford: 0796279075350: Amazon.com: Books

    When you finish with that book, you can progress on to "Building Walking Bass Lines" ...

    Building Walking Bass Lines (Bass Builders): Ed Friedland: 8601400675656: Amazon.com: Books

    ....and/or.... Ed Fuqua's "Walking Basics".

    Walking Bassics: The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing by Ed Fuqua | Sher Music Co.
    mambo4, INTP and LooFunk like this.
  3. Need not go beyond what has already been mentioned.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  4. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    It's true that the books mentioned are excellent suggestions, but Walkin' by Bruce Gertz will also give you some great insight into possibilities over standard jazz changes. It's full of examples that you can translate/transpose/transcend. I studied with Bruce for some six years about 20 years ago and he really helped to focus my ideas and then to expand them.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  5. MixBass


    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    The Paul Chambers book is great too. It's so interesting to see the ways different guys skin the same changes.
    old spice and LooFunk like this.
  6. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Any of the books that @fearceol mentioned are fine. Then practice the information every day for about 5 years. That will get you started, anyway.
  7. GastonD


    Nov 18, 2013
    Belgrade, Serbia
    +1 on this! Also great are the books by Mike Downes and Joe Hubbard.
  8. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    If you're not listening to Jazz and transcribing solos, you may as well throw out those books. Cause you can't play what you can't hear.

    Perhaps you're already listening, then disregard. But if not, forget the books.

    Listen and transcribe. Books are merely supplemental to that.
    old spice and Jloch86 like this.
  9. Transcribing does not teach you the theory behind creation. If you are reading a chord chart, having transcribed a different song will do you no good.
  10. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    New Jersey
    This is the best I've seen. Entry level and easy to understand. Specific, practical walking bass concepts start at 29:07.

    "It's not rocket science"
    - Rufus Reid

  11. LooFunk


    Jan 3, 2017
    cool story bro
  12. LooFunk


    Jan 3, 2017
    cheer up pal, it's not that bad!
  13. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    I actually completely disagree 100%. If you have the chord chart, and transcribed what Ron Carter did on that song, then you know what Ron Carter thought was a possibility for that progression. Do that 100 times, and you have 100 options at your disposal.

    Sounds like the OP has been playing for years, so I'm assuming OP understands basic chord structures and scales. Not much else needed other than to emulate the greats. If the OP doesn't understand chords, the circle of 4th, and scales, well, time to learn that information first.

    Music Theory is exactly what is say, a set of "theories". Historically, and I'm talking way way back, the interval of a tri-tone was considered an interval of the devil, and was not allowed by the church. Now tri-tones are in jazz like salt is in the ocean. Theories aren't rules, they are an attempt to describe what someone has done in the past. Theory is ever changing.
    Jloch86 likes this.
  14. LooFunk


    Jan 3, 2017
    Some interesting views there. I would love to be able to sit and transcribe bass lines but unfortunately I have a full time job, married with three kids. Learning from books is probably the best option. Although I'm not a fan of learning everything note by note, you should be able to take another persons work and improvise on it and turn it into your own.
    Basstards likes this.
  15. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    For certain students, those with needs (yours being time), adjustments do have to be made. The world is not perfect.

    I have a full time job and a long-term girlfriend who's very supportive. When I learn new tunes, I make an iTunes playlist, and listen on my drive to and from work. This will help, and will educate your children as well on different forms of music, if they are in the car with you. That, or at the gym. Whenever you can listen, if you want to learn, that is your gateway. You literally will not be able to play jazz without listening to it. It has to be in your ear before you can play it. So listening is 100% crucial.

    You can purchase or download transcriptions, so that will save you time there. Then you can practice the transcriptions. Again books should be supplementary to all this, and do have their benefit. But they can't teach your ear, only your mind.

    Good luck.
    MixBass likes this.
  16. Transcribing is good for wrapping your mind around the choices other bassists have made. If you want to play exactly what someone else did on a song that is fine, but this will not teach you how to build a walking bass line.

    The theory teaches how to make your OWN choices: Do I want to start on the root in this measure? the third? the fifth? is it an 11 chord, so I want to start or end on the fourth. What is the next chord? What would be an interesting way to resolve into this chord change. Do I want to walk chromatically? pick a note corresponding to both chords foretelling the upcoming change? Do I want my lines to progress ascending the associated scale or just hitting the notes of the arpeggio? When or do I want to harmonize?

    That is just the "notes" part before you even get into the rhythmic styles.

    Transcribing will show you all of these things, but you will not know what they are until you learn them.
    T-Funk and vishalicious like this.
  17. MixBass


    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    One great irreplaceable facet of transcribing is the intimacy you will develop with the part. In the process on transcribing you will hear many nuances that usually aren't on paper. That is unless Anthony Jackson did the transcription. Man his piece in the Motown book was uber detailed!
    Also it takes much more listening to transcribe and a consequence of that is a better internalization of the part.
    Basstards likes this.
  18. Amplified


    Jan 19, 2014
  19. Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
    Lanky Tunes likes this.

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