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Piano Question - Chris F?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Andy Allen, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I bought a piano for my young kids for Xmas (and for me too of course). Its a very nice Yamaha electric - nice weighted piano action, good voices and no fluffy electronic frills. I haven't had a piano since I left my old upright in England 15 years ago, so it's a real luxury.

    The kids love it - we're a minimal-TV houshold, and it has given them something to do indoors during these cold California winter days (hey, it's been all the way down to 50 degrees the last couple of days - :smug: )

    Anyway, my question: What piano tutorials are available that would help me get back into playing piano, but from a bass point of view - to increase my musical knowledge and improve my bass playing, rather than become a 'piano player.'

    I've been working through the piano notes in Rufus Reid's book, but I'd like to take this further - and I don't think I'm really ready to tackle Mark Levine's book yet.

  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Not to put the words in his mouth, but DURRL put up a handout on TBDB when I requesteded the same once. You can find it on his site under the articles section: http://www.chrisfitzgeraldmusic.com/.

    I've also started taking up the piano as well after 10 years of laying off. My teach suggested it and said that it'll help me hear all the other voicings within the chord (9ths, 11ths, 13ths., and all their alterations). I've been working out of Phil DeGreg's "Keyboard Harmony" and learning nothing but left hand voicings in a crash course manner. Pretty cool stuff if you know a little piano already.
  3. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    This book starts without assuming much knowledge or technique. I'm working from it, and finding it useful, and I can't really play piano at all. It isn't a "how to play the piano" book though so much as a "how to understand jazz harmony on the piano", ie it hasn't got much about fingering or technique
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Andy - HUYDIDDLEDIDDLE beat me to the punch. I teach those same piano voicings to all of our Jazz Studies majors at the U. I'd suggest learning them in your right hand first so that you can play the bass notes in your left to hear the complete harmony. Once you get proficient at that, you can switch the voicings to the left hand and play tune melodies and basic solos in your right hand. As with the bass, I'd recommend at least a few lessons on technique from a teacher to get your technique started off in a healthy way. After that....whatever works and doesn't cause you pain. Good luck - it's a lot of work, but well worth it.
  5. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks guys - I printed that article out and played through some of it last night (the advantage of an electric piano is that I can play late at night on headphones). It all seems to make sense - learning it and working through it in all keys is going to be some challenge, though :meh: .

    I think that this and Rufus Reid's chapter on piano should get me started in the right direction.

    You're not thinking of taking a winter vacation in the SoCal sun are you Chris? I could use some lessons from a piano player who is also an acomplished bass player :cool: .
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Whyncha scuffle Chris' band a gig out there? That way you could ax him AND put some digit in his pocket. AND play his LaScala...
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I like Ed's idea better. :D At least that way you could meet an actual accomplished piano player (Todd)...at the moment I'm basically an ex-piano player who can't play much of anything on the ivories anymore because I've been shedding bass exclusively for the past six years. At any rate, just take your time with that piano stuff - it takes a long while to get it, but once you've got it, a lot of harmony opens straight up in front of your eyes.
  8. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    Congrats on the new toy!!
    I think that, if you can read notes, you should indeed go ahead with Mark Levine's book. It's amazing. It has tons of little examples that one could chip away at, each loaded with helpful bits and surrounded by text explanations. Do it do it do it do it!! :>
  9. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    A quick update just in case this is of help to others in my position.

    After working through Chris' (excellent) materials on and off for a month or so I broke down and added a piano book to a Jazzbooks.com order - "Jazz Piano Voicings For The Non-Pianist."

    It's designed to give non-pianists an idea of what's going on in piano land - how the voicings are constructed, etc. I've been playing around with the book for a week or so and it seems that it will help me a lot.

    Interestingly, most of the one handed voicings are written in bass cleff - which may well be an advantage to bass players who don't read treble clef so well. I had classical piano (and bassoon :( ) lessons for many years as a kid, so the reading part has always been relatively easy - it's the learning to hear what's going on and understanding enough to improvise over it that's tricky for me.

    So far so good - when I get through the meat of this book I'll be ready to tackle Mark Levine's tome.