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Roy Vogt's Bass Ed Think Tank

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Roy Vogt, Mar 9, 2010.


  1. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    I'm starting this as a continuation of the 3 Jeff Berlin Music Education Threads. This has been such a positive experience for all concerned that it seems only right to continue it.
    Let's try this approach:
    There are a lot of people on TB with lots of teaching experience. There are a lot of people on TB with lots of questions. I'll answer whatever I can and I invite anyone else who has answers or questions to chime in.
    A little about me:
    I've been the Electric (and now String Bass) instructor at Belmont University in Nashville since 1983. Prior to that, I taught at The University of Miami at Coral Gables, where I received the first Masters Degree in Jazz Performance Awarded in the US (to my knowledge anyway) on Electric Bass way back in 1980. I've lived and worked in Nashville since 1980 and have toured with major Country and Contemporary Christian Artists, Rockers like Dickey Betts and Joanna Dean, and for over 7 years with Engelbert Humperdinck. I've also done numerous recording sessions of everything from Jazz and Jazz-Fusion to B J Thomas CDs.
    Along the way I've taught at The National Guitar Workshops, Victor Wooten's Bass and Nature Camps (as a Clinician), The Belmont String Crossings Camp, The Jam at BGA, and have probably taught 1,000 bass students in my career as a teacher. Some of the best-known are Ric Fireabracci (Sir Tom Jones and Chick Corea), Dennis Edwards (Lady Antebellum), Anthony Joyner (Faith Hill), Bob Wray (Muscle Shoals sessions), James Gregory (Michael W. Smith), and for a couple of totally intimidating lessons Willie Weeks (now HOW do you teach Willie Weeks?!?). Along the way, I've been a student myself and have studied with Carol Kaye, Rufus Reid, Ron McClure, Bob Bowman, Ed Garcia, Dan Haerle, Don Coffman and have amassed a library of hundreds of bass books, CDs, DVDs, you name it. I've also released instructional videos for SuperChops4Bass, Master Study Series, and my current series Teach Me Bass Guitar www.teachmebassguitar.com
    One thing that I will share is that I definitely don't have all the answers, but I've been pursuing them on bass for over 40 years so I've acquired plenty of questions.
    Thanks for your kind attention,
    Roy Vogt www.royvogt.com
     
  2. Infern0

    Infern0

    May 13, 2007
    I have many questions to ask you :) what is the best way to contact you?
     
  3. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Well, start by posting questions here. If you prefer, you can PM me, but it's good to share because someone may be reading who has the same question.
    Welcome! :)
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    great idea for a thread, roy! i'm sure you have plenty of answers as well as questions. and i have a question to get things kicked off...

    what is your process for sight reading a chart? how do you make best use of the time between getting it and playing it? is it advantageous to be able to read far ahead of where you're playing, or should you not stray too far ahead?
     
  5. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    Hi Roy, great to see this thread. I'd like to add to the sight reading question above. I've got the chord studies book and I've got cello etudes that I read through but they're all pretty straight without much rhythmic/syncopation emphasis. Do you recommend getting fluent with this before moving on to more complex rhythms or is there stuff you can suggest to work on simultaneously? Do you think it's beneficial to read through standards melodies even those in treble clef? Thank you.
     
  6. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    When I get a chart, I'll look at the general things (key signature/time signature/any DS al Codas and Endings) and then I'll look at the general range of any written parts and try to find a place on the fingerboard where I don't have to move much (that's actually the real reason I gravitated towards 5 and 6 string basses years ago). Then I'll try to stay in one or two positions. I do try to at least have the next measure scoped out so there are no surprises.
    Remember, a lot of sight reading is recognizing patterns. I've used a lot of different books (all of the Carol Kaye books, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Dance Band Reading and Interpretation by Alan Raph, for example) and I've internalized some of their cliche lines by reading them over and over. Some bassists are concerned with memorizing what they're studying so they're not reading. Don't worry about that-that's like being concerned that you don't have to phonetically "sound out" words while you're reading like you did when you were young. In either case, lots of vocabulary that's read and internalized will help out.
     
  7. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    That's the problem with Chord Studies and Classical Etudes-typically they're very rich in harmonic and melodic information at the expense of rhythmic information. You can work on both, but I'd start simply. The nice thing about Chord Studies is that it teaches you the fingerboard (Cello, Trombone, and Bach pieces do so to) without adding a second challenge.
    If you'd like to work only on rhythm reading I would recommend Louis Bellson's Modern Reading Text in 4/4 for All Instruments. It only deals with Rhythms. Charles Colin also has some great Swing Reading Books at www.charlescolin.com. I've also had good luck with Carol Kaye's, Anthony Vitti's and Rich Appleman's books. An absolute sleeper is Alan Raph's Dance Band Reading and Interpretation in Bass Clef (Alfreds)-great book with many challenges! Standing in the Shadows of Motown works well too, but I'd work through all the 8th note lines and then go back to the 16th note lines at that point.
    When I was first starting out, I became fluent in treble clef simply because there was so little material on Jazz and Improvisation available in Bass Clef. Thankfully, that's changed but I don't think it's harmful or a waste of time to be fluent in both clefs (and Tenor if you're playing legit Upright).
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    Roy - Thank you for picking up the torch, and your participation in the Jeff Berlin threads. Jeff will surely be missed for a while (he will be back - we can all hope, can't we?), but your knowledge and insight also contributed mightily to what was the best series of threads ever to grace the pages of TalkBass.

    Due to some rather unfortunate personal circumstances, I was not able to participate as much as I would have liked to other than providing over 100 copies of Jeff's article to whoever wanted it (that offer still stands - just shoot me a PM with your e mail address), but others covered a lot of the questions that I had anyway, so I learned through reading.

    I can read music well, and have studied the modes, triads, intervals, and arpeggios to death. I am diving into the chord studies in a big way, and this has opened up new doors for me. My question to you is this - what are the best standards to use to apply the chord tone studies to to get started, and how would you go about it? This would be greatly appreciated!
     
  9. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    Great, thanks, I'll search for some of that stuff. I studied music but never had bass lessons, so I learned to write music but never got fluent at playing written music and I've always revered guys who can read while mystifying the process a bit too much maybe. I've got aebersold trombone charts and some treble real book charts as well.
     
  10. bassy7

    bassy7

    Jan 29, 2010
    All right Roy- thanks for the continuation of the Jeff Berlin Music Ed. thread!

    You sort of just cleared something up I was wondering. I am trying to really learn how to sight read. I literally faked it thru 3 yrs in high school orchestra, it was easy to make mistakes reading since there were 4 DB players in my class. At that level we also had to play the same songs so many times that I just ended up learning them. The thing I had going on was I could play things that weren't written and in front of me, and improv. rudimentary bass lines-- the other students in the class couldn't do this.

    Anyways, I was wondering if I should really be conciously recognizing the actual note names on the staff as I am sight reading in real time. I am inclined to think that I should make an effort to think about what each note actually is, at least while I am still in the beginners phase or working on a difficult passage. Then let up on that a lot after I get better at reading in "Real time". You mentioned that a lot of reading is just recognizing patterns. Which is sort of akin to reading written words without having consciously think about each letter in the word. So at my level, should I practice reading while conciously recognizing each note's name on the staff before or while I play it, or should I just skip that step and put my finger where the staff marks tell me to? Or should I use a combination of both?
     
  11. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    That's totally fine-those 100 copies of Jeff's article were really appreciated (I've used those with at least 10 students myself so you could extrapolate that you've helped up to 1000 players :)).
    I think the main thing to do with the Chord Tone studies is to just work them slowly through either the Cycle of Fourths with each chord quality or to pick a Standard Tune (start with something simple like Autumn Leaves) and work all of the possibilities slowly through the tune. It's not a performance exercise-it's just regarding the Harmony differently. I'd particularly avoid starting the patterns on the Root-if you're a good bassist you automatically do that-but instead favor 3rds, 5ths and 7ths especially if I want to impact my soloing. If you think about how all of this will impact studying a tune like
    If you have the Chord Studies for Electric Bass book one thing I've found particularly useful is to record some sort of Chord Pad and play slowly through the exercise listening for the tension and resolutions of the approach tones. Most players can play plenty fast enough, our challenge is to know where to aim all of that facility!
     
  12. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    I have Chord Studies for Electric Bass, and I am working through that SLOWLY, so I can absorb it. I already am performing the chord tone exercises though the cycle of fourths, looking for different fingerings as I move through them. It is more challenging than it sounds!

    I'll get the chart for Autumn Leaves and work through it, starting each chord on anything but the root. Would you recommend that I write out what I am going to do first?
     
  13. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    If you don't know the note names you should definitely stop and deal with that. If, for example, you have an extremely difficult passage you're working on (say, one of Jeff's solos :D) you should probably play it slowly and out of time so you can find an efficient fingering. You'll find that as your experience with reading deepens you'll think about this very little if at all and go from seeing the notes on the page and hitting the notes on your fingerboard automatically, just like you read English automatically at this point.
    Probably at this point a combination of both is what you're doing anyway with some material being heavier on finding the note names and some material being more pattern driven. I'd just continue to practice reading and trust that time spent will return the investment. Sometimes I have to remind myself to do and not analyze....;)
     
  14. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    If you need to write it out at first that's fine. However, since we're generally not reading when soloing or improvising I feel it's necessary to get "off the paper" at some point and just play the exercises on your instrument. It helps if you have some sort of repetitive pattern (I'm using 3-5-R-7/5-7-R-3 with my students). If you need to start simpler 3-5-R-7 has a lot of harmonic "juice" so it's a good pattern to play.
     
  15. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Good info Roy! Thanks!:cool:
     
  16. robboy

    robboy

    Jul 13, 2006
    Boca raton Florida
    +1
    Roy, I too studied with "The Don" at UM and taught for a semester or two as a grad assistant. He used that book and it really helped me get my Big Band reading together. I teach Bass at FAU in South Florida and use the Alan Raph book. Great Etudes and pretty good introduction to swing interpretation. Thanks to you I see that it's back in print. For years I couldn't find it and had to make copies of each lesson for my students.:)
     
  17. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    Yikes, I haven't even thought to try those exercises through the cycle of 4ths yet. I've had the book for two months and I'm still only five exercises into c major. Do you write them out before attempting to play them? Do you stick to one key/chord type in the book or have you been selecting various exercises from all over the book?
     
  18. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    Break each exercise down into 1 or 2 measure "bites", and move through them that way, and then put it together. This isn't a race, and will take time. It's worth it. I like writing things out; it helps my reading, and understanding. It also helps me find other ways other than rote "patterns" for attacking these.

    To get started, try moving through each of the Jeff Berlin chord tone exercises through the cycle first. That makes the Chord Studies book easier to manage. If you need the Berlin article, PM me your e mail and I will get it to you.
     
  19. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Good to have Roy soldier on with the great work Jeff started. Thanks Roy!! :bassist:

    Being a rank newbie, and having no clue about what much of the stuff you real musicians talk about, I'll do my best to absorb as much as I can.
     
  20. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Great to have you on here! :) Good to have some more U of M folks to "represent". I've got 5 years under my belt at UNT (then NTSU) as well but I'd sure welcome some teachers with Berklee, Indiana University, MI and BIT, The LA Music Academy and UNT under their belts to see the similarities and differences in approaches.
     

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