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Newbie Introduction and Request for Direction

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bander68, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. bander68


    Jan 29, 2013
    Howdy from Texas! First post here, looking for help from more experienced bass players. A quick introduction might help you help me. I'm a professional BRASS player. My real (pays the mortgage) job is teaching in a public school, and I've got over 20 years teaching experience. I play on the side on virtually any and all brass instruments, having started as a trumpet player as a kid in the late 70s, and blossomed into a pro as a tuba player. I discovered my love for bass lines playing tuba, but...well, to put it simply, I'm a rock and roll musician at heart, but I'm stuck with the skill set of a jazz or classical musician. Nobody is going to hire a tuba player to be in their rock band.

    A couple of years ago, I was given a decent bass and amp to get started. The running joke was that I couldn't play it because I couldn't figure out where to put the mouthpiece...

    Fast forward to today, and I've learned a bit. Music theory is obviously not an issue whatsoever. Technique is where it's at for me, since my theory knowledge and brass knowledge are way beyond my skills. I want to keep building to a point where I can play my bass without thinking. I just GO THERE, like I can on a tuba. Whatever I think just happens because the instrument is just an extension of my ears/brain/heart.

    I've been using the Ed Friedland books 1-3 for a couple of years. I've bogged down a few times, started over, bogged down again, started over again...and it seems as if I'm finally getting to a point where the book's end is in sight. I won't move on until I OWN something, and I can almost say I own every concept in those books now.

    So, (finally) to my question: Where should I go next? I can put on my mp3 player and play along with some stuff (Eagles, various bands from the 70s-2000s), but I still have to skip on some stuff (Rush, RHCP, etc...)

    Thanks for taking the time to read this long first post, and thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.
  2. angryclown5

    angryclown5 Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    Nederland, Colorado
    Technique is the easier part of bass playing to learn than theory, imho.

    Questions:Can you play your tuba lines on bass? Can you play your trumpet and sax lines on the bass?

    What do you get slowed down on in Ed's books?

    What kind of rock do you want to play?

    Have you tackled any of Flea's bass parts in RHCP songs?

    What makes you think playing Eagles' songs will help your technique? (Just kidding!)

    Left hand or right hand (or both) technique issues?

    Do you play horn parts to any James Brown?

    Sounds to me like it's time to work on more syncopated parts, and that should be easy with your horn reading skills. I'd work on JB, Chili Peppers, Sly Stone, and then start into Jaco's repertoire, song by song.

    If you answer the above questions, I bet you'll get a lot of great suggestions for songs, artists, books, etc.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    The one thing that I use for everything is the major scale box with scale degree numbers instead of dots. For example:
    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    Once I know the key, place the box so the notes of that key are within the box and then I play the scale degrees of what I need; bass line and or melody line.

    I call up fake chord on the song then transpose the chord names to Nashville numbers -- then pull up a video of someone playing the song -- then use my fake chord sheet music to play-a-long with the video. OK this gives me the basic chord progression or the bare bones of the song. Now pay attention to the technique used by the artist.

    Playing covers to songs I like helps me with the different techniques used.

    Hope some of this can help.
  4. bander68


    Jan 29, 2013
    For the most part, yes, but often the things I would play on a brass (no sax btw - it's a woodwind, and it's not one I've spent a lot of time on beyond basic scale patterns) are brass licks that don't really translate because of the way brasses are so dependent on the overtone series. It requires much thinking to do it on bass at this time. As for playing actual written tuba parts, that's not a big issue at all. In the main gig I have as a tuba player, I take a lot of liberties with the bass lines to funk them up, as "bandee" music is a bit lame.

    Moving up the neck away from 1st thru 5th positions always takes me a while to get re-adjusted to. Also switching rapidly between multiple positions.

    The good kind! :smug: Seriously, in a perfect world, I would be able to play along with ANYTHING. I can on a tuba, so why not on a bass? Time and practice, I know...

    Nope. A bit over my head still. I can HEAR what he's doing, I understand it, and have even written brass band arrangements of a few RHCP tunes, but I just don't move that fast yet.

    I call them warm-ups.

    Probably more left hand than right. My right hand technique is pretty decent so far, although I haven't branched into anything beyond two finger stuff yet. Slap bass is one of the last sections in that book to dig into. I'm sure it'll be a whole new set of problems... My thoughts are that the left hand is where the notes are, so that's what gets most of my attention. In my brass-addled mind, the left hand is the notes, the right hand is the rhythm. Rhythm is not what's slowing me down unless it's just a machine-gun bass line (straight 16ths for 5 minutes).

    I dunno, I don't listen to him very often. His brass parts aren't particularly interesting or challenging beyond anybody else's, but I'll dig into some tonight to find out why you brought them up specifically. Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire...those are a whole different story - THOSE are some horn parts!

    I appreciate your questions a ton. You're giving me a headstart on a new direction.
  5. angryclown5

    angryclown5 Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    Nederland, Colorado
    If you need to learn where the notes are, practicing diatonic 7th arpeggios is helpful. Take Cmaj7 and play the 1 3 5 7 7 5 3 1. Up and down = 8 notes so you can play in 4/4 for starters. Run Cmaj7, Dmin7, Emin7, Fmaj7, etc. up and back down. When you go up the neck and back down keep going past C to Bmin7b5, Amin7, etc. Then pick a different key and keep going...
  6. +1 to syncopation and playing covers from chord sheet as suggested.
    The reason that you could be getting bogged down in Ed's books may be that they not what you are looking at doing at this stage, I have one of Ed's books and I really like what he does. Going by what you have written you already have the theory, note reading and experience in jazz and classical, what you are wanting is a different skill in playing elec bass rather than just transferring what you know from tuba. I would suggest books like Latin grooves for drums and bass, Essential Styles and Finger style funk, to help play with a different feel to you may have done in the classical setting.