Opinions on MI books

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by r05c03, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. r05c03


    Jul 21, 2005
    Lafayette, IN
    What are your opinions on the Musicians Institute book series. I have purchased three (Walking Bass Lines, Fret Board Basics and Grooves) primarily because that is what the local music shop carries. They are okay, perhaps a bit technical. How do they compare with say Ed Friedland books. Thanks.
  2. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    The ones I've looked at are very good. I highly recommend "Encylopedia of Reading Rhythms" and use that for teaching sightreading rhythms. Before coming accross that book I was using Louis Belson's book. I haven't seen Ed's books but hear they are good as well.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    IMO, the only books that have *really* helped me have been:

    The Evolving Bassist: Millenium Edition (Rufus Reid)
    The Jazz Theory Book (Mark Levine)
    Concepts for Bass Soloing (Marc Johnson)

    And I've had a lot of books.

    Note: This does NOT include things like Real Books, etc. I have a fakebook, the Omnibook (treble clef,) and a couple random leadsheet/score books, all of which are uber-cool.
    Talking strictly instructional books, I have found nothing helpful other than those top three. I have not had any MI books.

    IMO, the best way to learn stuff like that is from a teacher, in person. There's a lot of great theoretical knowledge to be gained that could improve your playing many times over in plenty of books, but the thing is, you can learn it faster, more effectively, and probably for about the same cost from a good teacher. I've had the benefit of having been with several good teachers, and have benefitted accordingly.
    Groove especially. IMO, you can't learn to groove from a book, but you can learn about rhythms and phrasing. It's just one of those things that comes with playing with other people.
    Walking lines are, at their base, intellectually-based enough that you could feasibly learn them to a limited extent from a book, but a good teacher (or transcribing any lines by Sam Jones, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, or Ray Brown) will take you much farther.

    EDIT again: Also, the best way to learn to sight-read is to practice not only sight-reading bass parts, but also sight-singing. I'm three months into a vocals music program at my school, and we're reading and learning new pieces every day. Eventually you'll not only learn to recognize the relationships between notes with your EAR (which is also a great benefit,) you'll also see them on the paper far earlier. I'm pretty lucky in that we have an operatically trained, pop-influenced teacher who cut his musical teeth playing jazz bass in the 80's teaching our class.

    Other than that, just read every day. This is why I enjoy having so many random sources of sheet music -- Chili Peppers, Mingus, approximately sixteen fakebooks, and (just recently) the Omnibook. Every level of difficulty. I mean, I'm ages away from learning anything with any degree out skill out of, say, the Omnibook, but take a little bit of time each day to learn a head from an old Cole Porter or a Frank Loesser tune. It'll help a LOT.
  4. I like Keith Wyatt and Carl Schroder's book, Harmony and Theory. It is my general impression that MI books are first rate.