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Technique v. Theory books.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by funk_engineer, Dec 1, 2001.

  1. Well, I've been searching through the forums for quite some time now and haven't come up with a good answer to my question. You see, I will not be able to get a steady teacher for at least a couple of months or maybe even more (I'm new to the bass guitar.) However, I do know a fair amount of music theory from playing trombone, enough to get me by for now. I want to find a book (or books) on bass instruction that are more geared towards technique (dexterity, hand position, different ways of sounding notes, fretting hand positions, and exercises that work these) than theory. A lot of the beginner's books seem to spend only a couple pages on this sort of thing, and then the rest goes into using theory to write bass lines. I'm not saying I wouldn't mind getting some more theory, since all I have to do is learn to apply it to bass, but technique would be more beneficial to me.
    Got any ideas as far as books that would help me here? For example, would Mel Bay's Complete Book of Bass Essentials be good for this, or is it mostly music theory?
    Sorry if this post comes out a little wordy; I'm pretty groggy right now. Thanks for your time.

  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I've been pondering your question. I see what you mean by the fact that many bass instruction books give short shrift to tecnique, then pass on to creating bass lines.

    I'm wondering, though, what technique you want. Are you interested in the best way to fret notes or the best way to to apply right hand techniques, such as pick versus finger? Are you interested in slapping and tapping...two techniques I think a beginner should postpone until they have the basics of theory and fingerboard knowledge better in mind.

    I have a pile of books, but I need to go through them to find which ones might be more after what you would like. Give me some time to research them. Meantime, check out bassbooks.com which has an extensive list of bass instruction biooks. You may find one from the description that is what you want.

  3. I'm not too interested in slapping, popping, tapping, etc. right now, as, like you said, I feel I should get other stuff down first. I'd like material that works the fretting hand technique, and fingerstyle for my right hand.
    If a book happens to be based on a certain genre of music, such as rock, funk, blues, jazz, country, whatever, I don't really mind, since my tastes are fairly varied, and I care more about getting good experience playing.
    I have been looking at bassbooks.com, and found it a little helpful...in fact, it prompted me to post my original question after seeing that many books' table of contents kind of skimped on technique, then went into the definition of major, minor, and pentatonic scales and arpeggios and what a 12-bar blues progression is. Some books that might have had more technique didn't have their table of contents listed, so it was hard to tell. If you have any specific books in mind, that would help tremendously. :)

  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm not entirely sure what technique you were looking for, but what about a method book? I used Arban's Conservatory for Trumpet for awhile, but I didn't like the fact that I wasn't practicing reading from Bass clef.

    An introductory book would give you the basics of reading and playing on BG. After you get the basics, (and don't want to move on to the theory section), you could try a DB book, like Simandl. I've used this book, also Rufus Reid's The Evolving Bassist, (a recent pickup), and have found that they work well. Lots of simple etudes. Another option later may be Bach's Cello Suites.

    I'll look through my books, (I don't have them on me now), and see if there's anything in there I might recommend.
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Ya know, NOSEBLOW, that the Arban's method is available for trombone as well. Great reading practice, as well as solid musical foundation work, too.
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I have heard this, but have not been able to find it online nor at local stores. Alas, my search continues.
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Hey buddy,

    Carl Fischer

    ISBN 0 8258 0254 7

    023 - 18.95

    Hope that helps you
  8. I've been playing for a few more days now, mostly trying various scales and a couple of trombone and tuba etudes I have (I'll try to find some more when I go home for winter break). I just feel like my left hand is not...I guess you could say not moving efficiently. Too much skipping around and slowing down. I've been trying to do one finger per fret, but that seems to be fairly difficult in the lower range. Anyone got any books or exercises on learning to make the fingers move more independently of one another and moving faster?

  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    If you can't do lessons now, videos aren't bad for this. I think John Pattitucci has some great drills in this video:


    Also, Glenn Letsch had a great drill he described in an old issue of BASSPLAYER, (I don't remember the month, just that TONY KANAL of NO DOUBT was on the cover).

    Plus, I just saw this article on BASSPLAYER's homepage. I haven't looked at it yet, but here it is:


    Let me try and describe the drill from Pattitucci as best as I can.

    You're using a four finger position. We'll start on the D string, and consider your first finger to be the I. Let's say 5th fret, (G).

    Start with the first finger and play G, then using your ring finger play the fifth, (D: G string, 7th fret). Then second finger play the minor 2nd, (G#: D string, 6th fret), followed by it's fifth, (D#: G string, 8th fret). Then play ring finger on the second, (A: D string, 7th fret), and then the 4th, (C: G string 5th fret), followed by pinky on the A# (D string, 8th fret), then the middle finger on the tritone, (C#: G string, 6th fret).

    Keep playing that pattern, start slow, and the speed it up slowly. Start at say 50bpm, playing quarter notes, then move it up till you can eventually do it much faster, say 100-120 bpm.

    You continue that drill moving up on the D string to the A string, but staying on the G string. So, using intervals, if the first sequence went like this, (in completely four finger position):


    Then you do the same pattern using the A and G strings, so the "I" would now be D. You would be playing:


    Then move up to the E string, and stay on the G string, so now A would be the "I". And so on...
  10. Thanks, Jazzbo. Exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for.

  11. I don't know a book that will give you alot of "technique" but I can suggest the everpresent THe Libster site...

    Anywayz, I remember about 3 weeks ago I was looking for a piece I could use to help a friend of mine who was just starting to play bass and wanted some practice in key of C Major. So I went to libster and looked around, and stumbled around this. It also happens to be a really good piece for finger independence. Use the finger position recommended above the stave (1 is your pointer, 4 your pinky.) You don't necessarily have to play it in 8th notes to start out with. I'd recommend quarter notes, and make sure you get every note down perfect, than quicken it up.

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