MY favorite bass books

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by basskopf, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. I have been playing bass for three years. Have had some lessons on and off but don't always have time. I have used several books very effectively and would like to share some of my favorites.

    I consider myself to be a solid intermediate player now but still refer back to these books often as they offer a lot of good basics and it never hurts to review and reinforce. Aside from that, there is a lot of material here and I will never get through it all. I use the books selectively for specific topics.

    Obviously the list is heavily weighted towards the styles that I prefer, blues and jazz, but of course a lot of modern music is based on this anyway....

    Here is my list:
    - Bass for Beginners, Glenn Letsch / Hal Leonard publishing: my early bible, lots of good info on technique, scales, etc.
    - Blues Bass, Ed Friedland/Hal Leonard; outstanding book, has been a very fundamental guideline for me, great combination of theory and practice, with CD
    - Fretboard Roadmaps, Fred Sokolow/Hal Leonard; several good exercises for understanding the fretboard, scales & chord structures better
    - Blues Bass, Complete Method by Jon Liebman, Hal Leonard publishing: very nice introductory section on the history of the blues
    - Building Walking Bass Lines, Ed Friedland / Hal Leonard; Ed gets a lot of respect from me, very well laid out, very helpful
    - Jazz Bass, Ed Friedland / Hal Leonard; excellent book with very clear explanations, also with CD
    - Hal Leonard Bass Method (combines books 1,2,3); again lots of good basics with CD, the Hal Leonard books always seem to be very well laid out to me
    - The Jazz Bass Book, John Goldsby, Bass Player Musicians Library: a very comprehensive authority on jazz bass, lots of exercises, examples of all the great players; you could spend years on this book alone
    - Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Bass Book, Earl Gately/Mel Bay publications; lots of fingerboard exercises, very structured; again you could spend a long time on this book only

    By the way, always seems to have a very good selection, dependable delivery and helpful people.
  2. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    thanks for this list!

    Definitely going to checkout the 2 blues bass books.
  3. GregBlach


    Mar 5, 2009
    If I may I'd like to recommend to 2 books by Josquin des Pres:

    - J.S. Bach for bass (Mel Bay, ISBN 978-078662843-8)
    - Classical masterpieces for bass (Mel Bay, ISBN 0-7866-2890-1)

    They are both great in training technique and developing the ear, I think. They include complete tabs so being able to read music is not required.

    My 5 cents... :smug:
  4. BargeOn


    Mar 19, 2004
    I'd add Gary Willis' 101 Bass Tips to that list.
    Especially, but not necessarily, if you play fretless.
  5. jonster


    Nov 12, 2008

    Thanks for your kind words about my Blues book. Contact me anytime if you have questions, problems, concerns (or even positive things!).
  6. The ones I have gotten the most out of are:

    1.Stuff! Good Bass Players Should Know by Glenn Letsch

    2.Music Reading for Bass by Wendi Hrehovcsik

    3.Bunny Brunnel's Power Bass Soloing Secrets

    There are more in my library but these three have been the most useful to me. I have learned a lot from them and as a result, I have grown tremendously in my bass playing abilities.
  7. Oscar Stagnaro - The Latin Bass Book
  8. jamespopali


    Feb 22, 2010
    1) Nicolas Slonimsky Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns

    2) Bass EncycloMedia
  9. Steady Eddie

    Steady Eddie

    Jul 27, 2009
    Theory for the Contemporary Bassist by Tracy Walton.

    Published by Alfred.

  10. It seems to me like anyone who would want to learn to play classical music on bass would also either already know or want to learn to read music. The idea of Bach in tab makes me feel dirty.

    More on topic, Josquin des Pres has a book called Bass Fitness that has given me a great warmup routine, its basically a big list of permutations.
  11. TonyRockyHorror


    Nov 25, 2009
    When I was starting out, I found a book called "Bass Fitness." It's just pages of exercises to promote dexterity, finger independence, speed, and accuracy. Great for building yer chops.

    Be warned that the front and rear covers is ridiculously silly, but it's a great tool for practice.

    edit: beaten by thunderbolt!
  12. Rufus Reid - The Evolving Bassist
    Jonas Hellborg - Chord Bassics
  13. the_hook


    Apr 9, 2008
    I have a few bass books, my current ones are:

    Evolving Bassist, Rufus Reid
    Walking Bassics, Ed Fuqua