1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

looking for a good theory book.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by huckingfuskie, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. huckingfuskie


    Aug 4, 2008
    title says it all. i want to learn music theory. im taking lessons but i would also like to do my own personal research and compare the various things i learn.

    So, any recomendations?
  2. Truktek2


    Sep 5, 2008
    Queens, NY
    I guess it depends how much experience you have, but if you are just starting out with theory like I am (I've always played by ear), I can recommend two books I came across. "The Idiots guide to music theory" explains theory in a RELATIVELY easy manner, and assumes you have no prior knowledge. Also "Music Theory for Dummies" is suppossed to be pretty good too, but some online reviews say it has quite a few mistakes.(not that I would know yet!):bassist:
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Mark Levine's Jazz Theory.
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This fits better under General Instruction - moved.
  5. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA

    Excellent book
  6. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Another recommedation for Edley's (the one in Arizona Jone's link). I love it because:

    A. It doesn't assume you know piano
    B. You don't HAVE to read music to make sense of it (but it will help you improve your reading)
    C. It's well written and uses examples from lots of genres, including folk, jazz, rock, classical, gospel, etc.

    When I taught years ago I used to make diagrams of how to build scales, harmonize them, etc. This book has diagrams just like mine, except more readable and legible!!

    Here's a link to Edley's website...
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    The Levine book is great, but it's not the best for bassists just getting into theory. The book is filled with short examples to emphasize what Levine is talking about, which is fantastic, but it requires you to be able to read some treble clef and play a bit of piano (either that or have a massive jazz album collection :D).
  8. Berklee press stuyding contemperary electric bass. its just great
  9. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    I like EADG4, and hal leonards music theroy for bassist( can't remember the actual name)
  10. magickbass

    magickbass Guest

    May 24, 2008

    Spot on! And the actual name of that book is Essential Music Theory for Electric Bass.
  11. bassplayertom77


    Sep 24, 2008
    "The Improvisor's Bass Method" by Chuck Sher. Published in 1979. It makes my brain hurt.
  12. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    If you're learning theory, you should learn a little piano and definitely learn how to read as soon as you can.

    As for theory books I tend to avoid anything that's instrument-specific - not saying that they're all worthless but they have a tendency to cut corners and skip critical theoretical concepts.

    Why not start with something standardized like RCM?
  13. kangia


    Aug 10, 2008
    I agree. Piano helps a lot. I know that in every Music academy (at least where I live), if you want to study some instrument, like guitar or drums, you need to know a piano too.

    About the theory. Theory is theory. It's not important to search Bass guitar theory book (even if it is specialized). The importance here is to learn to read and write music. When you do that, it's app liable to any instrument.

    About Essential Music Theory for Electric Bass. TalkBAss did say something about it. Here's the link to article.

    Yep. It's a good one.

    Bass Guitar Place
  14. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I agree whole-heartedly. But my experience is that a lot of people don't get to that point because they pick up a typical theory book and see a keyboard layout first thing.

    I also don't like instrument-specific theory books as that's really sort of self-defeating. The real deal with music theory is that it's MUSIC, not bass, not gutiar, etc. Too often we get caught up in our instrument, without considering the whole ensemble. The bass note helps define the chord, but guitarist often miss that. So, if the gui**** plays C, E, and G but I'm hammering A and E, it's probably going to sound like Amin7 instead of C major. And what's the singer (or the sax, the steel player, harmonica, etc.) doing to the harmony?


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.