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Ray brown book disappointing

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by eddododo, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I bought his method book
    Its a very useful text with lots of great exercises and some great, thoughtful pictures included.
    But heres the thing... There are fingerings for the earlier simpler exercises, but not the harder higher exercises.
    I think this is stupid- anyone who NEEDS the fingering guidance in the lower range PROBABLY needs guidance in the upper range, and especially for altered/symmetrical scales.

    I wanted to know how Ray Brown fingered things; I did NOT want a blank book of ****ing scales that I could just google.

    Huge disappointment, especially because I think its a great amount of content and ideas.

    And dont be a smartass, I get that im supposed to be creative and find my own paths, but seriously, if that were the way it worked, no one would everrrr need lessons or rolemodels
  2. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Ray's book for free, but I still have the same issue with it. Don't bitch at me about my fingering technique on things if there is no guidance along the path. If you are going to tell me I am doing something wrong, what are you basing it on? Another book/method? If so shouldn't there be some note 'use along with...' . Otherwise leave me alone to figure out my own way not yours.
  3. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Right? It COULD be a great book, even a staple. But instead its a $20 scale sheet

  4. Perhaps you have not yet reached the level this book requires. You do have to be creative because the book only gives you stuff to play with only basic guidance how to do it??!!? Understand that fingerings scales are done in great many ways? Once you know how to navigate thumb position its up to you what road you wanna take! I play each of these scales every possible way I can think of, suggest you do the same!

    That's is correct!
    Jeshua likes this.
  5. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Iunderstand how I sounded, and I am a young player on the upright, but I am a meticulous practicer, and simply put im not a fool. I have several ways to approach different positions. But I bought , payed for, the ray-brown-method book. I dont need beginner fingerings followed immideatly by long extended scales with no suggestions. I want to know what HE would do. Im not trying to be ray brown, but I want his navigational philosophy. Ive worked through Simandl 3 times patiently, working in Rabbath. I learn heads in multiple keys and positions.
    What I'm saying is that I'm not lost without Ray brown, just dissapointed that the book is not an explication of his philosophy..

    In martial arts if, after studying muay thai, I joined karate and the sensei said 'you know, just punch and kick'
    Matt B likes this.
  6. Explication of his philosophy you hear in every note he played especially when " they put my name outside " Rufus, Ray, Ed etc can only show you the door you have to figure it all out.
  7. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I believe he explained that his reasoning for not including fingerings was so the student would find those that worked for him/her. The more advanced exercises can be done in a variety of ways. Ray had to figure out what worked for HIM but his ways won't work for everybody. It is a fantastic book for the intermediate to advanced player.
    wathaet likes this.
  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I guess HE didn't want to tell YOU. :eyebrow:
  9. I'm sure that Ray left off those fingering as part of his teaching method. He gives you a solid foundation of scales and intervals. He leads you pretty deep into his thinking about how you should move about the fingerboard. Then, he leaves you some room to apply his concepts as you work up the neck. I think Ray is saying "here is what I know, now apply yourself and finish the exercises yourself". We all know that people can't really teach you how to play the bass. We can give you tools and the rest is up to you. You got to the part that was difficult and just started crying. Here's where Ray is going to separate the men from the boys, so to speak. What are you gonna do about it?
  10. jdepriest


    Sep 20, 2005
    Waynesburg, Pa
    I completely disagree with you. It’s a great book. I don’t need spoon-fed fingerings. I know where the notes are and can play most of the exercises multiple ways.
    DrayMiles likes this.
  11. "Ray Brown's Navigational Philosophy Concerning Left Hand Fingering on The Double Bass"....great title fer a book concerning jazz bass playing.

    Which Ray did, IMO, better than any of us.

    "I want, I want, I want." The Mantra of the current musical generation.
    DrayMiles likes this.
  12. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Ray Brown did not study the Ray Brown method. He studied Simandl.
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Hey you know back in the 80s Ray did a 3 set of VHS tapes.... I think it was called the Art of Bass. I have them all (and just realized I no longer own a VHS player :meh:). Jumping ahead, the 2nd DVD was one that featured Rabbath prior to his DVDs on bass, and the last one was simply a jazz concert. I forget who was in it.

    Anyways, the 1st tape... well that was Ray's own approach. He discussed the book in the video and intended it to be for those stuck out in the boonies with no access to a teacher. Similar to what Rufus was trying to do with Evolving Bassist.

    Guess what he does in the video? He describes his approach to playing bass, and he tapes himself playing and showing off his approach.
    1) C Major scale....
    2) D major scale...
    etc. etc. etc. etc

    Straight out of the book! I don't remember if he even got to doing double stops section. Doesn't demonstrate any fancy stuff... rakes, what notes to choose over what progressions, etc. etc.


    It was mildly annoying but I think I need to go rewatch them again. I think there's more than what meets the the eye.
  14. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    It's rather a zen lesson, this book. Want to play jazz on the double bass? Practice scales and arpeggios for hours every day. The book is a supplement to other methods. If you really want to know about Ray, get lessons with one of us who was lucky enough to spend time with the man. No book can convey this stuff, and Ray didn't write the book to be a comprehensive method.

    Since someone referenced martial arts:

    There are no secrets.
    Cheng Man Ch'ing

    Or to paraphrase, Philip Glass said the secret to being a great composer is to wake up early every morning and write music all day.

    Also, what moron is going to leave muay thai for karate? And... in my time in muay thai a surprisingly large amount of the work was just that- punch and kick. A lot.
    Jeshua and Dudaronamous like this.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada

    I bought the book when I was first starting out, and I found it incredibly helpful. The section on "blues" is particularly good. I never found the lack of fingerings a problem at all. I think once you get to that point you should be able to figure out fingerings that work for you. I admit when I was younger I had somewhat the same attitude, but that changed in a HURRY when I started playing with some older cats that have been around for a long time.
  16. John Goldsby

    John Goldsby Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Bassist @ WDR Big Band Cologne, Teaching at Conservatorium Maastricht, NL
    I've just finished transcribing Ray Brown's bass lines & solo (and NHØP's bass lines & solo) from this video with Oscar in Montreux, '77 for the June issue of Bass Player Magazine. Check out the lick that Ray plays at 2:56. It's straight out of his book!

    When I was at a workshop with Rufus Reid in the late '70s, I asked him which books he worked out of when he was learning, and he told me Simandl and Ray Brown. As Damon points out, Ray studied Simandl. It's always a good idea to go back to where your hero learned to play to find their sources. If you want to know how Ray learned, you have to go back to Simandl, and most importantly to Jimmie Blanton.

    A lot of the material in Ray's book comes right from his bag of tricks. Since there are 3 or 4 "good" fingerings for every scale, arpeggio and lick in the book, he's leaving a lot up to your own personal work ethic and desire to grab what you hear in your head.

    I've found that almost every method book is a keyhole look at *some* of the techniques of the author. When Ray wrote that book four decades ago, there were few jazz bass method books (Bob Haggart's, Oscar Pettiford's). Ray provided a basic look at some scales, arpeggios, walking bass lines, and solo ideas used in his jazz style at the time.

    I also see a copy of someone's book as a private lesson with them (although it's usually much cheaper than what they would have charged for a private lesson). They usually put what they think is really important in the book. Sometimes, you have to read between the lines (or notes) or extrapolate on the material in the book. For Ray, it was major, minor, diminished, and augmented scales and arpeggios. If you really master those, then you might be able to play like Ray Brown.
  17. I re-read my post from earlier, and feel I need to clear up my thought process.

    Yes, the book's philosophy is that after awhile, you are on your own with fingerings - this is real world stuff - When the leader hands you a sheet, you need to figure out how you are going to play what is on the page to make it most effective with the least effort.

    I have transfered alot of knowledge of bass playing to the DB from BG, (keeping in mind Simandl) to get through some things. This where I feel I get told I am doing things wrong. Either I didn't make it clear I was using Simandl, or everyone thought I am trying to make the DB a huge BG. Even though it seemed to get ignored, I appologize for the earlier psudo-rant.

    That said, I am sure that at least a couple of you have done the following, so I am asking for...advice, statistics, results, experience or whatever.

    I am planning on going through Ray's book again (the section with the marked fingerings) and transfering them to TP. Replacing the 'O' with 'T' and '4' with '3'. I noticed that he deals with everything below the octave mainly. Good idea? Thoughts? Ray?
  18. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    Did you ever think that those fingerings he gives for all the scales, are the ones he uses while playing? I mean I'm sure he could just give them to you, but that would take all the fun out of watching you struggle with scales... just kidding not meaning to troll, but it just kind of happened.
  19. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yeah, no secrets.

    Ray gives away all the good stuff in the video.
  20. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Quite honestly, this is one of my favorite books. For me anything that gives some insight into Ray Brown's playing is golden, and this is as close to a private lesson with him as I'll ever get. I keep referring back back to this book and find new things and new inspiration every time I do.

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