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learning jazz

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by le-gasp, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. le-gasp


    May 5, 2007

    so i want to expand my bass playing into jazz, i know the basic arpeggios and things like tension and passing tones, etc. anyways im looking for somethings to do (exercises, etc.) to help me with creating walking bass lines and what not

  2. trasser


    Dec 13, 2005
    As said 1000 times before, Ed Friedlands book on walking bass lines is the way to go.
  3. listen to all of Jaco Pastorius' work.
    or at least go by the album
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    I even have a post further down here praising the book.
  5. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    +1 to Friedland's walking book. Another idea-Aebersold play-along books/CDs are very helpful.
  6. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you want exercises besides Ed's book the others have recommended check out Chord Studies for Electric Bass by Rich Appleman and Joseph Viola. Also go to Jamey Aebersold web site he has a great Jazz Handbook that is free, he also makes lots of Jazz learning materials people have be using of decades.

    Jamey Aebersold Jazz Handbook
  7. need4mospd


    Dec 22, 2005
    +1 on the Aebersold material and play-along books/CDs. Doing that has improved so many different aspects of my playing. In order of importance in improving my playing, 1. Playing Live, 2. Teacher, 3. Aebersold play-along books.
  8. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    This is terrible advice for someone learning to play jazz :eyebrow: Jaco did a lot of things, but listening to Continuum or Portait of Tracy is not going to teach you anything about jazz.

    1. Get a teacher -- a working jazz musician. Not a guitar player who teaches bass, not a guy who says he plays jazz, a gigging, working jazz musician.
    2. Buy a lot of jazz CDs or otherwise find a way to listen to lots and lots of music. Go to the recordings forum and do a search there, the whole "Recommend me some jazz" thing has been done a million times there. I noticed your profile says you listen to Mingus -- he's a great start. You might want to look into him and see who motivated to become the musician he was, and then check out those people (here's a hint: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington.)
    3. Find some guys to jam with -- hopefully older, more experienced musicians. Jam as much as possible with these guys over ballads, swing tunes, etc. If you're no good at transcribing tunes, get a real book for the time being and get rid of it as soon as you've started transcribing.
  9. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Who plays Jazz!

  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Agreed - a great album, maybe - but there is not one single, walking bass line on it - and the OP was asking for help with walking bass lines! :eyebrow:
  12. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Couple good books, expensive but good stuff. Ready, Aim, Improvise! and How To Improvise both are by Hal Crook who helped put together Berklee's improve program. The books kinda work together, but second book How To Improvise assumes you already know basics, its more on refining things.

    One other that is a bit hard to find but only $15 for a book that will take years to finish. The book is Improvising Handbook For Double Bass, by Putter Smith published by Ludwin Music. Don't let the "for Double Bass" scare you off its for any bass, the publisher only puts out book for DB. The book has all the basic chords using in Jazz, the related scale, a pattern to practice it in, the related arpeggio, and how to practice it all. When you take the basic chords and multiple them by 12 keys you have about a 100 chords. Take one or two chords a week and it will take awhile to get them in your ear and under your fingers. As Putter says just spend a few minutes a day on the chord(s) for that week. That is why it takes so long to complete. When Putter teaches it he write little three-plus chord progressions of one bar each chord. Then gives a range on the bass like from third fret on lowest string to twelfth fret hight string. Then you play useing the scale, arpeggios, or patterns through the progressions from low to high and as chord changes you use the closest correct note to continue. It is harder than it sounds especially with arpeggios or the patterns. Google for Ludwin Music and look in the complete catelog you will see the book listed.
  13. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    The best theory book in my opinion, not bass, but general Jazz Theory, is Dan Haerle's "The Jazz Language".

    Aebersold sells it

    The Levine book is also good, but piano centric...

    I can second the Friedland book, the Ron Carter book, and I used Rick Lairds old book over 20 years ago...
  14. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    IMHO, the best way to learn would be:
    Get a basic jazz book (Ed Friedlands' book is a good choice)
    once you can follow a chart, take a real book and start playing through some songs.
    Once you can handle a few songs pretty well, immediately start to play along with other musicians.
    Oh, and a teacher that specializes in jazz would be ideal to have through all of this.
  15. boyet


    May 15, 2007
    Three words.

  16. lhoward


    Apr 27, 2003
    Western NY State
    Hi Le-gasp, I'll throw my two cents in and maybe it will be of some benefit for you. Here’s some threads that I think you’ll find helpful:

    This thread has good, substantial info in the context of Ed Friedland’s book:

    Dave Muscato was kind enough to report back to the list last week on his experience from the week long program at Berklee's Bass Lines summer program. Although not directly concerned with walking lines, the first three paragraphs have some interesting remarks concerning the current mindset at Berklee WRT bass. Note some of his remarks about recommendations from instructors:

    This is an interesting discussion on learning walking:

    A great thread started by Ed Fuqua’s post on learning a tune; great info and very necessary; reminds me of a saying some older musicians I work with have: “If you don’t know the tune, sing the melody”:

    +10 on post #8 by Aaron Saunders – get a good teacher in your area if you can, preferably a working bassist who has experience in playing walking lines - a lot.

    Consider working profusely on ear training. I’d also recommend listening to recordings of Charlie Mingus, Ray Brown, Ron Carter; Paul Chambers, Oscar Pettiford, Christian McBride, John Clayton and Niels Pedersen (this is just a representative list) learn tunes and the lines, transcribe them and go over them until you can develop some understanding/feeling of what they’re doing. Do the same with their solos. Just note that these guys learned by listening to their influences, sometimes via records and sometimes live, and put it together with their technical training, on whatever instrument that may have been trained on initially.

    There is “Ray Brown’s Bass Method”. Ron Carter has “Ron Carter – Building Jazz Bass Lines”, “The Art of Walking Bass: A Method for Acoustic or Electric Bass” by Bob Magnusson and these are on Amazon, as is a DVD by John Pattitucci.for 4-string electric bass. There is also a series of 4 videos (not DVDs) by the late Ray Brown (1926-2002) called “The Art of Playing The Bass” with guests Milt Hinton, John Clayton and Francois Rabbath. I think it’s a great resource well worth the investment and so far I’ve only found it at lemurmusic.com. No telling how much longer it will be available.

    Take some time to search Talkbass – FAQs, sticky threads; there’s a wealth of information available on this site.

    Have fun learning and playing,

    Lloyd Howard
  17. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    Bruce Gertz's Book "Walkin"


    This is an excellent place to start, if you can read. Each bassline is skillfully crafted and can be analyzed to see exactly what is going on, and what makes a great bassline work.

    Transcribing the guys you like is also a must! But that book is great!
  18. Best advice I can give is to learn tunes - INSIDE AND OUT.

    Buy a Real Book, something with common tunes like Autumn Leaves and All the Things You Are. 'Leaves is a good place to start.

    What I mean by "INSIDE AND OUT" is 5 choruses.

    1. Learn the Melody by heart. Memorize it to the point where you can play it without thinking about it. This will help you move around the bass better, and also is a great method to start soloing. The melody is a set of notes that already work perfectly over the changes, so expanding upon that melody and putting your own flavor on it is a great place to start soloing practice.

    2. Walk over the changes. This is where the Ron Carter and Ed Friedland's books, etc. will come in handy.

    3. Play the scales corresponding with the chords. This helps me to learn how the individual chords function in the tune. EXAMPLE:
    The first four chords of Autumn Leaves (in Emin or Gmaj, the melody starts on E and the harmony ends on Emin, so I consider it Emin) are |Amin7|D7|Gmaj7|Cmaj7| which, in the context of Gmaj I interpret as ii-V-I-IV. So, for the third chorus of your 5 practice choruses of Autumn leaves you would play those chords as |A Dorian|D Mixolydian|G Ionian|C Lydian|. Whereas you played the walking line in 4/4, in order to play the 8 notes of each scale for each chord, play in double time or as 8th notes. Play the scales 1-8, in situations where a chord is held for two measures play 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and descend to the chord 2nd. In situations in which a measure is split between two chords, play 1,2,3,5 of each chord.

    4. Learn the arpeggios for each chord. Take the scales from chorus 3 and arpeggiate them. I still play this chorus in double time and play arpeggios 1,3,5,7,9,7,5,3. For measures split between two chords, obviously play 1,3,5,7.

    5. Play the head out. I like to learn common tags for the heads and whatever else.

    wow, this was incredibly long winded of me and probably too much information, or old information for everyone else. Buuuuuut that's how i like to learn tunes.
  19. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA

    I agree that it isn't the best advice for the original poster, but Jaco's body of work remains to be a pivotal in jazz (and music in general). Musicians can learn tons about jazz from Jaco, although he probably isn't the greatest starting point.
  20. Andy V.

    Andy V.

    Nov 5, 2006
    Nice thread.
    Lots of useful info for the leaning jazz player.
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