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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by EdgarHons, Nov 24, 2000.

  1. EdgarHons


    Oct 14, 2000
    Hey, this may not be the place, but I figured I might as well try asking here. OK, I know hardly anything about music...the real fundamentals and such. I find music theory and such incredibly boring, I find practicing scales incredibly tedious, and I just play tabbed songs for practice. I don't have a teacher and don't plan on it, but is there some sort of Music for dummies book that could help me get a better understanding of everything? Or a website maybe? I'm going to need to write someday, and I don't think I'll be able to with just knowing what others play, I'd need and understanding of how music works. If you want to talk to me, IM me at TheEyebrow on AIM. I'll of course read replies though, thanks!
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    You might try http://www.harmonycentral.com. Click on "Bass" and one of the choices is "Instruction." It has topics that don't require a knowledge of notation or using tabs. As for your comment, "this may not be the place to ask...," well, it is. There are lots of great people here with tons of knowledge. Sometimes, you'll see someone get hammered for not filling out their profile, unlike yourself (good move). If we can tell someone is a novice, they generally get cut a lot of slack, that is, no dumb questions.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Somewhat good news, Edgar. I checked Amazon.com and found both "Dummies" books on music and "Complete Idiots' Guides" on music. Here are the ones most likely to be of help to you:
    DUMMIES books
    Piano and Keyboards for Dummies

    Guitar for Dummies.

    Opera for Dummies

    Drums for Dummies

    Blues for Dummies

    Classical Music for Dummies.

    Jazz for Dummies

    Plus the Complete Idiots books are almost exactly the same topics. Neither the "Dummies" nor the "Idiots" books, however, have a book on music theory or one on reading music. That's why I say the news is somewhat good. There do exist simplified books on music theory, scales and chords, even ones especially written for bass guitar. Try Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, or Borders.com. Mel Bay is one publisher to check out for books of the type you seek.

    Jason Oldsted

  4. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    I've got a copy of Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Bass Book, and it's a pretty nifty resource. It doesn't have so much in terms of composition or anything like that, but it does great coverage of how to build chords and also has examples of "generic" songs/progressions/rythmns from a bunch of different jazz-related genres.

    If Jazz isn't your thing, I suppose the other Mel Bay bass books are of similar quality and usefulness. Check those out.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually I think that learning Jazz is one of the most "fun" ways to learn about music - even if you don't intend to play Jazz! I think several renowned bass educators proclaim this as well.

    I am quite lazy when it comes to studying theory and find that just looking at books is boring and not very motivating. You have to get out there and play! I found that when I was playing rock/pop - I forgot all the theory I learned at school because nobody ever referred to this.

    But in Jazz, theory becomes far more important and you have to know what you're doing - I enjoy the playing and the need to "keep up" motivates me to learn about what we're actually playing. Without the impetus of getting out and playing it, though, I think it is very difficult to motivate yourself to learn.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    This is NOT a flame, but you should re-read what you just wrote.

    You said you know you need to understand music but:

    1. you find theory and practicing scales boring
    2. you don't plan on getting a teacher

    What's wrong with this picture?

    I'd just put it this way: if you LOVE music, why wouldn't you want to learn as much as you can about it?
  7. Dr_Pepper


    Nov 25, 2000
    i actually agree with Edgar on that. To tell the truth most people play bass for the fun part of it. The way i see it music comes from the heart, not in a book. Sure, learn a technique that feels right for you and practise all the time. If your just playing in a band i don't see the point of even learning notation off by heart when all you want to do is play music. Tab is the perfect alternative and it's something easy to read and pick up. I love music, but it doesn't necassarily mean i want to get through 1000s of pages of musical theory.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Whew! That's a relief. From the post's title, I feared this might be some kind of frigging gap-toothed Madonna thread.

    Brianrost's and Dr_Pepper's replies made me think about my own experience and maybe it is sort of where you're coming from, Edgar. I took piano and guitar lessons and didn't enjoy the ride at all. Even with them, I can't hear a song and pick it out on those instruments. However, while playing guitar, I discovered I was actually playing basslines by ear. So, I naturally took up bass. When I hear a song, I can mentally "see" the bassist playing and replicate it reasonably well, unless the bassist is some very technically proficient artist just laying it flat out, like in a solo. Bass was/is fun, but nonetheless, I took some lessons because my parents made them available to me. Even though they were boring and I would describe myself as self-taught, they made bass playing even more fun. The lesson process wasn't fun, but the doors they opened in terms of techniques expansion, melody construction, and appreciation of other musicians made "bassing" and music in general, especially jazz, more fun. Instead of making me more elitist about the kinds of music I like, they made me more accepting and open.

    You mentioned you'd need an understanding of how music works. Well, I'm certainly no bass prodigy, so my understanding of music in relation to what modest formal instruction I have is analagous to my understanding of my body - I know how it works because I have one AND I know how it works because I studied some anatomy. The former is much different from the latter.

    P.S. I rarely get sick anymore.

    [Edited by rickbass1 on 11-27-2000 at 01:29 PM]

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