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Roy Vogt's Bass Ed Think Tank

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


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i was a good sight reader when i was a kid, but lost it for a few years when i was playing in bands that didn't require reading. then at about age 35 i started taking lessons from dave larue and built it right back up again within a few months. i'm not good enough at it to sightread a broadway show the first time through, but i can hang pretty easily on the oldies shows i do.

    now at age 48 i'm starting to feel a little of that "old dog, new trick" thing creeping in, but i try to fight it and try to learn new activities and keep my mind expanded, and you can, too. getting old is no reason to not keep learning.
     
  2. CDweller

    CDweller

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    The window is still open, and shouldn't really close. Learning to read music is significantly different from learning how to speak a language. Reading and writing a language are also a lot different from speaking it. It's practically impossible to lose one's native tongue accent after a certain age, but there's no real limit on learning how to read or write a different language or music. Just keep at it- it comes. In fact, I'm having success gaining fluency in G clef (I bought a G clef Real Book instead of the also available F clef just for this purpose...).

    I look forward to the freedom being able to read music fluently will give. Just read it and play the head... how cool is that?
     
  3. bassy7

    bassy7

    Jan 29, 2010
    At 30 years old i've been picking up reading very quickly over the past few months. I am spending a decent amount of time doing it, couple times a day when possible. I've made great strides. I no longer just pick up my bass and just noodle on it and consider that practice. The challenge of learning all this is much more rewarding than just regurgitating what I already know whenever I pick up the bass.

    I highly recommend learning to read to any of you. You will be able to get your hands on sheet music and play things that you would never otherwise play, including horn and cello melodies-- and will it will give you a stronger foundation for your general music vocabulary.

    I've never needed to read in any band I've been in and I may never need to in such a situation. But I'd like the option to at least be able to play in some sort of community orchestra, pit band, pickup gigs on the fly, jazz group.... reading will open that option up for me. I've got plenty of time to learn, as my 2 boys are 2 and 5- and won't be giging or getting heavily involved in live music until they are older.
     
  4. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Interestingly, there is some research that seems to support studying Music as a way to keep the brain cells firing later in life with greater efficiency. In my own experience, I totally remade my Upright Bass technique, switching from Simandl to Rabbath fingerings in my late 40s-early 50s. What we lack in assimilation as older players we make up for with patience, determination and (for the most part ;)) organizational skills.
     
  5. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    I'm glad to hear this. Having just turned down a gig because I wasn't qualified has left me feeling somewhat deflated with a bruised ego. The important thing though is that I'm not qualified... YET. It's a huge wake up call being a pro musician in my mid-thirties and having to consider that in order to survive, I need to be qualified to accept all types of work I'm offered because my little niche won't always be forthcoming with regular employment.
     
  6. I'm in your boat with regard to how I use the theory I've learned and my reading skills in general. I am not playing in the pit or a big band. One of the big points from the JB threads was that learning the academic side of music needs to be it's own reward.

    While it can be a means to an end in that learning that stuff can be applied in certain professional situations, there's more to learning about music than just how you use it in performance. My recent desire to dig deeper into music (jazz) theory centers around my personal desire to understand it at a deeper level. Not so much for the purpose of being able to play "better" - and that very well could be a byproduct of my studies - but because I want to know more about music. Because of that, I don't feel any pressure in learning. I just keep doing it.

    On the flip side of that, however, I do plan to audition for one of our community colleges jazz lab bands that run by my former high school band director - a serious jazz aficionado - so toward that goal, my personal studies are probably just what the doctor ordered. My bet - I already have the requisite reading and theory skills necessary to be effective in that role without additional study - but I want more out of the experience.
     
  7. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    I learned to read percussion lines when I was ten and played drums in a wide variety of orchestras and bands over the years. Started playing bass twenty-five years ago but never needed to learn to read. I am now 61 and teaching myself music theory and to read bass clef. It is never too late.
     
  8. I agree with everything here and just wanted to add an angle. The "old dog" thing can refer to someone who believes they're simply not able to learn anymore OR someone who's figured out they've got what they need to do what they want and spending time developing more wouldn't serve their needs.

    Short of brain dysfunction or other extraordinary circumstances, I believe we all can continue to learn no matter what our 'old dog' status may be. But beyond that - the act of learning itself is an extremely valuable activity and has benefits far beyond the scope of the topic one may be learning.

    There are many studies that show how people who continually challenge their brains to adapt to new situations - learn - have healthier brains. This has HUGE implications for those of us who plan to get old. The studies show that continually challenging the brain (meaning taking on NEW learning exercises, not just repeating the same old same old) cause new synapse paths to form - truly exercises the brain.

    One really exciting result seems to not only be healthier brains - but happiness. If you're challenging your brain and developing new synaptic pathways, you're a happier person in general.

    My takeaway from that little tidbit is if I can continually challenge my brain with things like music theory, sight reading, luthery and such - not only can I USE the knowledge I gain, I also end up being a happier person and potentially stave off things like dementia in my inevitable old age.

    Learning for the brain is literally like a healthy diet and exercise for the body. If you can keep your brain healthy doing something you love, that's a HUGE bonus.
     
  9. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    Don't forget the fiber....:bag:
     
  10. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    Here's one for Roy or any other upright players. Seeing the words Simandl and Rabbath being used, are these references to specific method books or just stylistic teaching methods? If they refer to the former, would they be beneficial to a mere dabbler who wants to learn to play properly or is some training and experience required before they can be approached?
     
  11. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    They are both methods and systems of fingering. Check out some of these Hans Sturm videos on Youtube for an explanation. Here's the first:

    There's a lot of debate in the URB world re: Simandl vs. Rabbath. I'd go over to the Double Bass side of the forum and check out some opinions there.
     
  12. rosanne

    rosanne

    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    I know that learning is possible after 60 since I didn't start playing bass till I was 62. Still, learning to read has been and is really hard for me. Guess I'll just keep plugging away at it.

    And tZer, I agree with you about the happiness aspect. I'm a much happier person since I began playing bass. I've always been interested in learning new things, but there is something about learning an instrument that is particularly beneficial. IMHO
     
  13. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Can someone explain to a newbie how you "read" without playing? Other than writing out the note names (B, C, G, etc...), how would you read and know you're reading accurately.

    I have a very good ear, which I rely on too much in some cases, and if I'm playing notes I can tell if it's right or not by how it sounds (as I'm sure most of you can). But if I'm not playing, then how will I know I'm actually "reading" as just converting dots to note names really isn't music. It's translation.
     
  14. sing it to yourself.....i can't sing but i have a system so i can read and tap the notes while counting out the rhythm....leave your hand down for the duration of the note......it's actually good to look at a chart before you play it,and note the key,key changes,repeats,difficult parts etc.....
     
  15. CDweller

    CDweller

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    I'm still dissecting "Blue Bossa". Can someone explain why after the D-7b5 of the 5th measure the next chord (the dominant 7th) is a G7, and not a G-7? Diatonically, it would be a G-7, but somehow the G7 works just fine to the ear.

    I have no idea what mode "works" for the G7- I'm left with only the chord tones G, B natural, D, and F as note choices. Any ideas or key points that someone can offer up?
     
  16. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    G is the V of C whether C is major or minor. The B natural is a leading tone to the root C and the major third of the chord G. You are dealing with a ii V i in minor.

    This is a case where I found modal thinking cumbersome when I started playing. There are quite a few that will work. HW diminished, super locrian, phrygian major etc.
     
  17. CDweller

    CDweller

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    Yep- got the G being the V of either C chord, as well as the ii (half diminished, no?) /V7/ i progression. I just thought that it's funny how the G7 "works"- sounds fine to the ear, even though it would be a G-7 if the progression were strictly diatonic.

    How did you work around not thinking modally at this G7 chord? Just sticking to the G, B natural, D, and F?
     
  18. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    The progression is still diatonic(up to that point before the song modulates if I remember correctly) but built off the harmonic minor scale as opposed to being strictly modal. What's nice about that is that you can include a b9 in the improvisation over the G7 because in modal terms it would be phrygian but by using the harmonic minor scale, all that happens is that the phrygian's 3rd gets raised to make it major.

    I don't know the correct term for it but I'm guessing that it becomes an altered phrygian mode(?) where the only note that deviates from the mode is the 3rd, leaving the other notes the same and at your disposal. That's why the b9 would be in there. Actually there's a flattened 6th in there too but I hadn't even thought of that before now :)
     
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Eminent, I think they call that Phrygian Major (I believe I saw that term in an Aerbersold book once)...since there's a lowered 6th in phrygian, too ;)
     
  20. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    Thank you. I never even considered how the harmonic minor would affect the modal approach. I've always thought of it as diatonic but that might be because the V7 in a minor key is still adhering to the scale used even if it's not aeolian. It is also traditionally correct in terms of classical chord progressions. Am I correct in calling the harmonic minor progressions diatonic?
     

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