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Learning to read music

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Stanleyism, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Stanleyism


    Apr 23, 2008
    What is the best way to learn to read music on bass?
    I play trumpet so I can already read the treble staff really well and I am still sorta new to the bass staff.
  2. +1 Im in the same exact situation.
  3. svenbass


    Dec 12, 2002
    I'm a big fan of the Chuck Rainey book - it is intended to get one familiar with the fingerboard, and bass notation. It is, for the most part, an exercise in reading for the electric bass rather than actual grooves and/or tunes. It covers all the keys and a nice variety of bass oriented rhythms. I use it with my students that are serious about becoming good readers.

    For a real workout on actual tunes, the James Jamerson book is fantastic - assuming you are a fan of Motown / Soul music.

    I'm in the process of becoming a good treble clef reader myself (on the bass) and am using the Real Book and Folk/Bluegrass melody stuff to get it together.
  4. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
  5. For treble to bass- mentally remove the bottom staff line.

    For bass to treble, add one.

    I was once in the same boat, going from reeds to bass. I would copy the bass music ad actually take a ruler and draw the extra line in.

    After a while I could see the line in my mind and eventually i began to read bass clef unaided.
  6. E2daGGurl


    May 26, 2008
    Here's a quiz game that helps you learn.
  7. Well what helped me to learn was knowing the fretboard cold. If you can't think of a note and immediately know all the places you can play it on the fretboard (or at least quickly know it), sightreading is going to be very hard. Of course, one helps the other, but I think I learned where the notes where before getting really into sightreading. FWIW, I played piano for about 8 years before that so I could read both bass and treble clef, but I started bass about 4-5 years after I stopped piano. The point is that I had it somewhere in my head. As far as getting into sightreading, two books that helped me tremendously were "Bach for Bass" by Josquin des Pres, released by Mel Bay, and then "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" by Dr. Licks (I think). The Bach book is simpler, and you can easily get into it. The Motown book is full of transcriptions of James Jamerson lines and comes with CDs to play along with. He was a master bassist, and learning his lines will help tremendously. Some of the lines, generally the shorter excerpts, are much easier than others, so you can jump around and work your way up to stuff like Darling Dear and Home Cookin'. These lines are all played by excellent world class bassists-Marcus Miller, Will Lee, John Patitiucci, etc. Those are two great books for sightreading as well as technique and everything about good bass playing, IMO.
  8. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    You could start by transposing all your Tp music to bass cleff.
    Read as much as you can.
    Reading is nothing you 'l need a dedicated book for I think.
    It is not difficult either. Just a matter of doing it by reading all you get your hands on.
    That's the way I do it but I like some of the others as well.
  9. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    He could do that, but then he's going to also have to remember to transpose it to bass clef in concert pitch. Because the trumpet is probably a Bb trumpet. I think getting one of those beginner bass books would be a better way to initially learn to read the clef and apply it to the bass.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Mel Bay's "Note Reading Studies for Bass" This IS a must own book. Another thing that will help you learn is the Bach Cello Suites.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I completely agree on the Bach but have done quite alright so far without the melbay.
    But for a real beginner it may well be a good idea.
  12. steve66


    Sep 17, 2005
    South Florida
    The Key to learning how to read music is just to devoting some practice time to it. 10 minutes a day will do wonders. It really doesn't matter what you read. Could be your favorite tune, or bass lines. Just cross out the tab if is printed on your transcrpition.
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    The book IMO goes deeper than beginner level. Then again, I don't claim to be a very good reader so to some even the hardest stuff would seem easy.
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    That may well be so.
    It is just not the most musical way to learn.
    The more experienced players I tend to come across usually devise theyr own exercises or use pieces to practice rather than method books.

    What ever suits ones needs best and inspires to work on ones' weaknesses is good I recon.
  15. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    I highly suggest making flash cards of every single note in the bass range. You can't expect to be proficient at reading music if you do not have it memorized to the point that on a glance you can identify the note. Best way to do this is with flash cards and heavy repetition. When Identify the note, quickly locate every fret and string the note occurs on the bass and play it. This is a drill in addition to practicing etudes that will help improve reading for a novice.
  16. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I used Mel Bay's bass method 1, then just cut my teeth on random books :p
  17. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I do similar things with students, except for the flash cards which I don't use.
    I use pieces and point at notes to ALWAYS keep it in the context of music.-
    The aim is for a student to read a piece of music. Therefore that's what i use. This also saves the time it would take to make cards.
    I tried cards a long time ago tho.
  18. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    I know you can buy flash cards at a music store if you don't want to spend 10 minutes with some index cards making your own. The card method typically is one of the best methods for developing memorization and quick recall. For that reason, it's why they use it for memorizing everything.
  19. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
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