starting jazz?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Dec 18, 2000.

  1. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    I'm new to bass and wanna try as much as I can so can I have some tips to starting jazz plz?
  2. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Jazz is all about listening so practice that. When you're out walking listen to how all the sound around you is filling up the space you're in. When someone speaks to you listen without being distracted by what you're gonna say next and when you do say something try to say something that serves the other person rather than something self serving. Listen to Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans to absorb the language of jazz; if it ain't in yer head you probably won't be able to say it. Oh yeah, learn all the major, minor, whole tone and diminished chords and associated scales and harmony and practice with the metronome clicking on 1 and 3. Most important find people to play with on a regular basis.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Basic steps to get you going:

    1. Learn your chords including the most common extensions (7ths, 9ths, 13ths).

    2. Learn your scales and modes.

    3. Learn the blues in all 12 keys.

    4. Learn "rhythm changes" in all 12 keys (start with Bb).

    5. Get a Real Book and start learning tunes.

    6. Find people to jam with.

    Good luck from another pilgrim on the path :)

  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Two questions:
    1)With exposure to the backbeat we get from listening to R&B, blues, jazz, a lot of country and rock do you really feel it's something that is a problem for most folks to find? I'll suggest that if it is a problem then you've been living in a closet and click on 2 & 4 ain't gonna solve the problem.
    2)When was the last time you heard anyone turn around all a-fluster and ask "Hey man, where's two?
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I agree with Ed, that in all the Jazz classes and lesson I've had in the past, the tutors have recommended setting the metronome on 2 & 4 for getting the feel of walking bass lines in Jazz. I think the idea is that, as the bass player you have to get used to supplying the strong beats yourslef in Jazz on 1 & 3, so you put the click on the other notes in the bar.

    I'd also recommend Ed Friedland's books on Jazz bass to any newcomer - he also has some lessons on Jazz bass on the BassPlayer website, like this one :

    But I suppose I'll get a lot of abuse now and maybe the original poster doesn't want to be like everybody else - maybe he wants to be an individual and play all the spaces that are around him rather then solid time. :rolleyes:

  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Nice poem Ed. I think that in the exalted position that you and jeff find yourelves, this sort of thing is taken as read. But I can still remember my first Jazz Summerschool about 3 and a half years ago after having played pop/rock for about 15 - 20 years and thinking I was pretty good, along with a quite a few others with similar backgrounds.

    We were asked to improvise a walking line along with a metronome - 13 or 14 bass players standing around in a circle, which didn't help. Everyone was fine with a click on each beat, but then the tutor put it on 2 and 4 and virtually nobody finished up being on the beat!! The tutor said - now you know what to practice! ;)
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Great lyric Ed, thanks. :)
    I practiced for twenty years with the nome on 2&4. Recent study with a gifted player and teacher has blown that idea outta the water for me. I agree with you that the nome is a tool and that if one has problems identifying the backbeat then use that tool to help correct. However, I gotta stick with the belief that our job in jazz walking lines especially is to lay down 1&3 and that while using click on 1&3 to reenforce that may go against common thinking it really works well and is important to do.
  8. I've never heard anyone recommend practicing with the metronome on 2 & 4. In reply to Bruce (I think): I can't
    play with the metronome on 2&4, I turn around the beat, but the feel of that is different than, let's say,a drummer clicking on two and four. I could walk for a week like that. It's great to say, "oh, I can't do X". But does practicing to be able to do X have any practical result? In this case, I don't see it.

    There's two ways I use the metronome: clicking each beat, and only clicking the first beat. It depends on what it is I'm practicing.

    And Jeff, ain't it cool how the swingin'est basslines manage to reinforce one and three with subtle accents on two and four?
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    In the UK I attend a regular Jazz course at Sussex Univerity and usually go to a SummerSchool at the University of Glamorgan, where you meet people from all over the country and tutors from other colleges in the UK come together from places like Leeds which has a good Jazz course. I also know and play with people who are on a full-time Jazz course in Chichester, to the West of where I live. Now if that wasn't enough, a lot fo the lessons I've picked up on the net, also mention practice with metronome on 2&4 for building the feeling for walking lines in Jazz bass playing.

    OK there are always exceptions and maybe you don't want to be like everybody else, but surely if we are talking about giving tips to newcomers it's better to pass on the "accepted wisdom" rather than "here's what I do". I don't want to labour this, but there seems to be a trend around here at the moment for just contradicting any advice given in the spirit of "helpfulness" (for want of a better word)for the sake of argument or something that I can't fathom.
  10. From cats I've talked to around Philly, things I've read, etc., this thread is the first I've heard anyone recommend practicing with the metronome on two and four only. I'm not
    saying it's wrong or anything though. I usually use it with how I'm tapping my foot, most of the time on each beat. Sometimes I set it on first beat only when I'm practicing a tune in three but I'm feeling in one. Another thing I'll set on only one for is sometimes when I'm practicing soloing and phrasing ideas etc. I don't ever tap my foot on two and
    four, I don't think I'd swing any harder if I did, so I don't use the metronome that way. And I had no idea using
    it on 2&4 only was the accepted wisdom.

    Ed, I'm still in love with the bass, and I love it even more every time I hear someone else's bass.