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Jazz question and a couple others

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Plowboy22, Nov 12, 2005.


  1. Plowboy22

    Plowboy22 Guest

    Sep 27, 2004
    Sarasota, Florida
    Hi All,
    Since becoming a member of TB I have taken a hard look at myself as a bassist and come to the realization that I am mediocore at best. (and that is giving myself a lot more credit than I really deserve) I have been playing on and off for about 10 years. I have played in many local bands and had a great time doing it but I am your typical learn from tab and or ear player. Mostly rock and blues stuff.

    Ok, enough of that....

    1. I want to expand into jazz. What and/or who should I listen too? What do you consider the essential jazz to know?

    2. I am in the process of learning to read music. I am doing this on my own as I can't find a music teacher in my area that is worth a crap! Books, videos etc. that anyone can recommend would be greatly appreciated! I am currently just learning my notes and I am practicing that everyday. Any help or advice again would be greatly appreciated!

    3. Practice for me has always been the typical play what I know, work on new songs for the band, then just generally screw off. Any advice on how to organize my practice time ( I have about 1 hour a day due to job, family, etc.) would yet again be greatly appreciated.

    Now my reasons for all this are two fold. First I REALLY want to take my bass playing and generall muscianship to the next level. Second I have had to turn down good paying gigs because of my lack of knowledge.

    Thanks in Advance!
    Eric
     
  2. I'm no expert, having only played for four years - but I feel i have good advice.

    1. I started getting into jazz by listening to "fusion" - Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Return to Forever, etc...I still am not a fan of jazz, but i dig fusion

    2. How to Play Bass guitar teaches how to read

    3. Finger excersizes - come up with some excersizes such as 1-3-2-4, then mix it up so that its 1 on E 3 on A 2 on E 4 on A, etcetera.
    Then just make up your own excersizes - ones with 12 notes are great because u can play them as eighth notes or triplets


    Hope i helped
     
  3. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    For starters . . . fill out your profile.
     
  4. Whafrodamus

    Whafrodamus

    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Get a real book, you'll thank me.
     
  5. djcruse

    djcruse

    Jun 3, 2002
    Norwood, MA
    If he gets a Real Book, he'll thank you more.

    Anyway, congratulations on wanting to expand your musical horizons. That's great.

    The foundation of much of jazz bass is the walking rhythm and Ed Friedland's book "Building Walking Bass Lines" is a great introduction. The book gets you right into playing and introduces theory as you go, rather than front-loading you with theory before you ever get to play a note. Also includes a CD. Good stuff. I have it and use it. Check it out at: http://www.bassbooks.com/shopping/shopaff.asp?affid=4&id=34

    Here are a few jazz bass player names. I'm sure you'll already recognize a few: Jimmy Blanton, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Stanley Clarke, Todd Coolman, Bob Cranshaw, Israel Crosby, Richard Davis, George Duvivier, Charles Fambrough, Christian McBride, Charles Mingus, John Patitucci, Mark Egan, Jimmy Garrison, John Goldsby, Eddie Gomez, Harvie S, Charlie Haden, Percy Heath, Milt Hinton, Bob Hurst, Scot LaFaro, Cecil McBee, Red Mitchell, George Mraz, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Jaco Pastorius, Oscar Pettiford, Rufus Reid, Slam Stewart, Steve Swallow, Miroslav Vitous, Peter Washington, and more.

    So I recommend getting yourself a good book and dig in to some jazz recordings. Having a bass teacher who is jazz focused will help also.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Plowboy22

    Plowboy22 Guest

    Sep 27, 2004
    Sarasota, Florida
    Thanks for the replys. I bought a Charles Mingus CD and this guy is incredible! I also happened upon a book called "The Jazz Bass Book" by John Goldsby (with CD) and it has almost everything I am looking for. It covers history, styles, technique, and is a whos whos of Jazz bassist. It is also written without tab.

    Stupid question....what is a Real book?

    For Willbuckingham.....What does filling out my profile have to do with the questions I posted?

    Dale....thanks for the list of artist!
     
  7. Whafrodamus

    Whafrodamus

    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    A Real book is a book of jazz standards. EVERYONE has one. If you want to partake in the jazz community, you need one. It has hundreds of songs that will pop up in your life time and time again. They range from 25$-40$ depending where you get them.
     
  8. Plowboy22

    Plowboy22 Guest

    Sep 27, 2004
    Sarasota, Florida
    Thanks Wha ! I will look for one this week.
     
  9. Whafrodamus

    Whafrodamus

    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Don't get the "legal" one called "the new real book". Get the real one. You cant' find them at any mainstream store. You have to find a small guitar shop and ask for a real book.
     
  10. Actually there are a lot of mistakes in the "illegal" Real Book and some of the tunes are not in the keys that most players like (Autumn Leaves for instance). IMHO you should get the Chuck Sher Real books so the cats who wrote the tunes can get paid.
     
  11. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    So those of us trying to help you have some idea of your age, experience, gear, influences, etc. Regardless of the topic, would you ever give the same advice to a 30 y/o fulltime professional musician as you would to a 15 y/o kid who just picked up the bass?

    I'm not familiar with "the Jazz Bass Book" but John Goldsby is great at writing clear, concise, and valuable educational material.
     
  12. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I think you're right on target with wanting to expand into playing jazz. :) Jazz fusion (Weather Report, RTF, etc.) is great and all but I think it's really important to start working on walking basslines and soloing over "standards" like "Stella By Starlight", "All The Things You Are", "There Will Never Be Another You", etc. Even if you're not particularly interested in playing straight-ahead jazz the thing about learning to play walking basslines and soloing over these types of tunes is that it really helps train your ear so that you hear all the chord tones and upper extensions over the chords. It's also going to help to learn the fingerboard inside and out so you're comfortable with your left hand anywhere on the neck.

    Like Whafrodamus said, get a Real Book, get a teacher who knows how to play jazz (even if you just take a few lessons), and start learning how to construct bass lines over those tunes. The thing is, you want to learn to create basslines and solos that are connected through the chords so that you keep the motion going in whichever direction you're heading. You want the contour of the line you're creating to dictate your note choices so that if you're headed in a certain direction with your bassline you don't have to bail out and jump back to "familiar territory" when the chord changes. That's the biggest challenge when starting to play jazz - we tend to have those areas on the neck that we bail to when a certain chord comes up, so we have to push ourselves and really study where everything is under our left hand wherever it may be on the neck. The beauty of the bass is that it's tuned it perfect fourths and symetrical, so all the information we learn on one part of the neck will apply all over. It's just important to know where all the notes are so that you can see/visualize the notes within the patterns on the neck.

    Study some music theory and analyze the tunes in the Real Book. There are many good theory books out there. I don't think you need to go ape sh@@ with the theory right now but the main thing is to know how chords are constucted (usually in 3rds) and all 12 major scales (and their relative minor scales). You want to know how notes can be stacked in 3rds (every other note in the scale) on each degree of the major scales and learn what the quality of those chords are (major, minor, dominant, etc.). Start with the triads (just 3 note chords) and then add the 7th, the 9th, the 11th, and finally the 13th. You want to drill yourself on things like: Q: What's the 3rd (degree) of Eb (major)? A: G. Q: How many sharps in the key of A (major)? A: 3. Q: What are the notes in an Ab maj 7 chord? A: Ab, C, Eb, G. Q: What is the IV chord in the key of D? A: G (maj 7). You take all this theory you're learning and start applying it to analyzing tunes in the Real Book. E.g, "All Of Me" starts off on a I (one) chord. The 2nd (bar 3) chord is a III7. You start getting in to things like secondary Dominant chords, chord substitutions, modulations and all that stuff by analyzing those tunes. May seem like a lot of stuff but when you start playing those basslines and solos over the tunes it all comes together so that the ear training, fingerboard knowledge, theory, etc. all help each other.

    My advice with learning (or getting better) to read is to learn to read rhythms seperatly. There's a great book called "Encyclopedia Of Reading Rhythms" that I highly recommend. You can put away your bass for this and just break out your metronome and clap the rhythms out. There are many good books out there for learning the notes on the neck and how they are notated. Try to read anything in bass clef you can get your hands on. Start in the half position or the open strings and first four frets. Most methods start here. If you're having trouble reading something check that you can play the rhythm first and then add the pitches. Be aware of the different places things can be played on the neck. Scan the music to pick out the tricky parts. Make sure you get in to the best position(s) so that you can play the highest or lowest notes in the various sections. Attack reading in 2 ways - 1.) non-realtime. Slow it WAY down and make sure you are playing the right rhythms, using the best fingerings, playing the correct pitches, and nailing it then gradually work it up to tempo. It's only really sightreading the first time you read through it anyway. :) 2.) realtime. This is where you set your metronome and play through the chart. Don't stop if you make a mistake. Don't lose your place. The most important thing is to get through the chart, even if you only play 50 % correct notes. Of course, the second way is practicing how you would sightread it on a gig.

    As far as the practicing thing, man, I've never been able to get in to the whole "15 minutes of this, 15 minutes of that" thing. I know I should. I should probably join the gym or jog everyday too but I can't get in to that either (the only chance I have of getting any exercise is if I do something fun like hiking or playing basketball). Same story with my music practicing, I guess. What I do do is sort of have a plan of what I'm going to work on. I know I want to touch on some different things. I just sort of go for it and start playing. I'll improvise until I find some things I like and run with it. Then if I find something that I'm hearing and having trouble executing I'll loop it and make a little excersise out of it. I think practicing is a very personal thing and what works for one won't always work for the other. I would say the important thing about practicing is too always keep it fun so that you can't wait to do it when you're not doing.

    Already some good advice on what to listen to. Any of the Miles stuff with Ron Carter or Paul Chambers is great stuff to wet your appetite. John Coltrane's Blue Note stuff is great. Listen to a lot of different stuff but try to find a couple of records you really fall in love with and listen to the sh@@ out of them so that you can sing the solos.

    Sorry about the long-@ss post. Was gonna take the kids golfing today but it started raining.
     
  13. Plowboy22

    Plowboy22 Guest

    Sep 27, 2004
    Sarasota, Florida
    Wow, thanks for the replies!!!! Willbuckingham sorry, I now uderstand what you were asking. In a nutshell I am a 36 y/o family man living in Sarasota, Florida. I have been playing about 10 years. Mostly rock and blues. I have a 95' Ibanez SR1205 with flatwounds(the only strings I use) and a OLP 4 string with flats also. As far as a local teachers are concerned....there are none. The couple I have found are guitar players that teach a little bass on the side and none read music. I am still looking and won't give up.I really do appreciate all the advice.

    BTW, the Mingus CD I picked up is awesome. It has a feel that I have never experienced in music before.

    Thanks Again Everyone!
     
  14. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    Hey no need to apologize. Good luck, and if you need any jazz charts, feel free to PM me, I have a lot of charts in PDF format.
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree with that 100% - the Sher real books are accurate, well-researched and money goes to musicians and their families !! :)

    Whereas, I have played with a few people using illegal fake books and noticed mistakes so obvious - even I could spot them!! ;)
     
  16. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Agree 100%, Bruce & Stretchcat.
    ...can't believe anyone would opt for anything else.

    And Plowboy-
    If you go to www.shermusic.com make sure you it's the "C-Version" you buy.

    FWIW, I have check out the Goldsby book just about everytime I hit my local B&N; very good stuff.
     
  17. Bass EC

    Bass EC

    Aug 8, 2005
    Hey Plowboy, small world. I'm in Sarasota as well. I'm just the opposite though. I feel like I have a good amount of knowledge when it comes to music, but I just can't get gigs. I try, but noone wants a 17 yr. old in their band. Oh well, I'm leaving Sarasota when I graduate (in 6 months), so no worries.
     
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    One reason to use the Real Book is that it's ubiquitous - everyone uses it. There was a discussion a few weeks ago among musicians here to the effect of since everyone's been playing out of the Berklee book (the illegal real book), alot of the 'wrong' changes are now the 'right' changes. Meaning, everyone else on the stand's going to be playing the wrong change. There are exceptions, of course - some of the really bad ones, but many of the bad changes are now accepted.

    YMMV