Progressive Bassics by Gary Willis

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by romac, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. This video I have seen recommended once or twice on here but on most of the blurbs it just says something like this:

    Could anyone elatborate a little?? What exactly does he cover. This video is £23 (about $40 I think) so it's a bit pricey. Do you think I'd be better of getting 2 or 3 of Willis' books instead? Or both?

    Also what's everyone's opinion on the John Myung video. Some say boring, others say very informative......You thoughts???
  2. I understand you scepticism - it's funny cos I interviewed Willis once for a music website and he was a lovely guy but when I mentioned his video and that I owned it he immediately "Oh, sorry about that!" Mainly due to the fact that even the director (who according to GW was a bit of a snugglemuffin) had a problem with exactly what the tape was to be about.

    So in essence Willis covers the stuff that he has put out in his books - finger board harmony i.e. playing in position, scales, etc. Then there's a section on his picking technique which is really good, then he does a bit on fretless, playing in tune etc. There are two full length tunes 'Renegade' and 'Self Defense' that come with transcriptions - no tab mind - and he really plays beautifully, i.e. loads of tasteful lines and some brilliant chops and technique. The outro features a mellow vampish thing that is also cool - overall I think you will get something from this.

    Lastly given that there's so little Willis stuff out there like this (PLEASE RELEASE SOMETHING SOON WILLIS - ESPECIALLY A TRIBAL TECH DVD!!!!!!!!!) this is definitely worth a look. Compared to somthing like the absolutely sh** Myung tape (that I partly downloaded) which is so bad you should save your money and learn the scales yourself.

    Willis is a subtle guy with a hell of a lot of technique and music going on - thus his music reveals more depth every time you listen or learn it - this is a long haul tape not a quick chops fest.

    Hope that helps (phew!)
  3. Yeah thanks mate that really helped.

    Would you recommend me getting his books as well as his video though??

    And as for the Myung video I think that's the nail in the coffin for that. I'm sure I'll learn a lot more with EADG4 by John Falstrom and Jazzbo's article :)

    ps. When you say picking technique, is that his 3 finger one??
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I have two Willis books. "Fingerboard Harmony" and "Ultimate Ear Training." Both come with CDs so you can hear how the drills are played.

    Both books are excellent and detailed. I warn you that the examples Willis plays are very fast, at least they are for me. I bet Willis THOUGHT he was playing slowly, but for those of us not in his league, they seem fast.

    You will learn a lot, though, but you may have to progress very slowly through the book to grasp every idea he teaches. Of course, I do not know your present level as a player. But I feel the beauty of the books is that you can progress at your own pace...faster or slower depending on your need and ability.

    I have several bass videos but tired of having to incessantly rewind. Books have the distinct advantage of allowing you to pause on a page or passage until you feel ready to move on.

    While I don't have the Willis video, I would guess that having one or both books as an adjunct to the video would only enhance your learning experience.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I too recommend the books over the video. They're more in-depth and don't focus as much on his (hard-to-duplicate) right-hand technique.
  6. Yeah I've always prefered books. That is why I thought I should get some videos. I'm definetly getting the Video Progressions Tapping video and Billy Sheehan on Bass but I think I'll just get some Gary Willis books instead of his video.

    Thanks for the help.

    ps. Is Willis' right hand technique this pattern???

    I - M - R - M

    I = index
    m= middle
    R = ring
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The thing is that he has no real rigid pattern.

    Two-finger system with auxilliary third finger describes his technique better than three-finger system.

    The third finger damps adjacent strings and often anticipates the next note on that string, ready to pluck.
  8. Certainly sounds complicated. I may just stick to 2 fingers, I'm easily confused............
  9. Unfortunately for us mere mortals who haven't been picking the way Willis does since we were 12 (add on about 30 years for practice) his 3 finger technique is bloody difficult.

    Having said that since I have been getting into Matt Garrison's ideas (I think he is another awesome bassist) I have been experimanting with both configurations of Billy Sheehans more obvious 3 finger thing and a softer version of Wooten's thumb and two plucks - rotating the first beat of every four on different starting fingers, and I'm getting some good results - but it's all about playing it in context and with a drummer or metronome.

    I just wish Willis would bring out a new CD or DVD - or just come to the UK and do another clinic - the guy is amazing.
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  11. I'll try and get it - I'm still digging some of that old Tribal Tech **** - it's good but the keyboards can grate sometimes - NB I do listen to all types of music - not just Willis BTW - I don't want to sound like a comeplete fusion freak here! Oh well, damage done already I suppose...cheers again