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The next step (Jaco/Thundercat Level)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Grapevine921, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Grapevine921


    Feb 8, 2011
    Hey Everybody! I've spent plenty of time and money and effort on all things gear related, now I've finally come to the conclusion that the only thing I'm lacking in is.... **drum roll**... musical vocabulary! I've been riding one the same set of chops, comps, and licks for more years than I would like to admit, and after attending a Thundercat show (truly amazing! Go see him if you have the chance!) I've decide the next thing in the chain that I need to upgrade is myself! I have the speed and dexterity to play most finger/slap lines that come to mind and I'd consider myself competent and interesting when jamming/improvising, but I feel like nowadays I am settling for the same style and voicing I've gravitated to for a few years now. I love playing bass and I would consider a core part of my personality as being a musician, and it breaks my heart to feel like I'm lacking in an area I spend so much time in. In short, where do I go to open my fingers and my mind to new musical territory? The most exciting things I'm hearing (because I don't understand them) come from every Jaco line ever and more recently to Thundercat. I know these guys are very fluent in jazz, so my question is where do I start to attain that same or similar vocabulary of note choice?

    For reference, I come from a background of learning all the Primus, RHCP, Parliament lines in the book. How do I go to the next level?

    Thank you all for the kind wisdom I'm sure to receive on this forum (as always)!
    LowActionHero, JimmyM and Clark Dark like this.
  2. Jaco lines are hard to learn and harder to use his lines in a standard musical context. Pick one melodic bass player and go deep into their style for a few weeks/months. Find the essence of their playing by learning a 1-2 dozen of their songs.
    eg. Paul McCartney, Nathan East,

    Joe Osborn
    Favorite Joe Osborn bass lines?

    Wilbur Bascombe
    Starts at 0:41.

    Lesson & Sheet Music.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
    Alex Bass and Potomuss like this.
  3. Pino Palladino

    Dee Murray
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
    Skillet and RyanOh like this.
  4. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Even though the scales may not be to your liking, go pick up the instructional book Alex Webster wrote. No slap, but hella finger exercises written by a guy that can, frankly, shame most players when it comes to pure speed, intensity, and musical know how.
    Go to about the 2 minute mark.
  5. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Oteil Burbridge:

    Rev J
    Viggo51 and Groove Doctor like this.
  6. Two words:

    Charlie Parker
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Great answer, and one that reflects at least one specific tune I'm working on at the moment, Billie's Bounce. I think really fluent horn players in general are a good place to look. So for me: Bird, Coltrane, Steve Coleman, and David Murray are pretty deep wells. Can't really go wrong with just grabbing a Real Book and learning as many heads as you can take, IMHO.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  8. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    +1 to both Groot and Passinwind - no offense, but the best place to truly come into your own is to go beyond other bass players. Surely you have other musical influences. For me, it's Ben Webster, for example. Tenor sax player. Rip them off as hard as you can, and in time you won't sound like yet another Jaco copy or just a random bass player. Drawing your influence from unlikely places is something that will put more individuality into your playing, if that's your goal.

    Other than that, to understand what Jaco is doing, can't go wrong with Charlie Parker. Some say Rocco Prestio from Tower of Power was an influence on the 16th note style of Jaco too, but don't quoteme on that because I'm not so sure if it holds any water.
    Axstar, Grapevine921 and IamGroot like this.
  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Get a good teacher that teaches advanced students. Put together a lesson plan to achieve your goals and start practicing.
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    00 images2b2.

    jazz is your huckleberry. there are all kinds of 'jazz'. good luck! :thumbsup:
  11. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Learn horn licks. Thats what jaco did and thundercat as well.
  12. kalanb


    Dec 17, 2012
    if you can read, transcribe songs. Writing a part out and reading it is a great way to speed osmosis.

    Also, learn stuff outside your favorite genres.
  13. Next step is understanding why are the bass lines like they are. If you aim to create your own lines, you'll learn to understand bass line construction. I like Talkingbass.net. Lots of simple and ready to try out theory.
  14. This x 1,000,000.
    Re goals: create incremental, achievable goals with your Mr. Myagi. This will help you keep focus, make steady progress, stay motivated, and feel good about where you've been and where you're going.
    it's a long road you're walking but you can do it.

    Also: Charlie Parker.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  15. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Amen. And while you're learning the sax parts (this seems to be what everyone gravitates to) let me also throw out, ESPECIALLY if you're going to be playing any fretless, learning some trombone parts. A lot of them would be even better.
    DrayMiles, diegom and AngelCrusher like this.
  16. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Dude’s a MONSTER player. Stupidly musical album too. Highly unknown and underrated band.
    socialleper likes this.
  17. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I completely understand why people wouldn't like his band. I mean, I do, but I'm messed up. However, you are right in that Webster is a very under rated player and theory master. There is a recording session on Youtube where he just rattles off the modal variants of scales. I picked up his instructional book and it is no joke. They had to dumb it down just a hair, but I bet the guy could write as dense a academic manual as someone would let him.
    One of my favorite videos of him is a jam session with Wooten and Steve Bailey. He gives a drummer some instructions and just sets off into this monstrous freight train of a grove. Victor and Steve have no idea what to do with it.
    Alex isn't where you want to go for learning smooth or funky groves, but if you want to murder someone with a bass line, he's your man.
    I kinda wish Ryan Martinie or Nick Schendzielos would do some instructional stuff. They are both monster players and brilliant as far as technique. Erlend Caspersen would be a good one as well. It is a shame that the music biz and publish biz don't take metal players seriously.
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The thing that I would add is that making a musical statement is not about VOCABULARY, it's about MEANING and INTENT. All the big words in the world do you no good if you don't have anything real and true and personal to say. Conversely, there are so many things said that touch that Moment of Universal Truth and Beauty that use the simplest language. It's that way with music too. It's hard to think that you're "driving the bus" if what you're playing is a pastiche of things you've heard other people play in similar situations, mostly because you're not really in the moment with the band you are playing with, you're in your head thinking about what might work. The things that have helped me get to a point where I feel like I'm making some kind of musical sense when I play are HEARING WITH CLARITY (ear training), UNDERSTANDING WHAT I HEAR (music theory), and KNOWING WHERE THE NOTES THAT I'M HEARING ARE ON MY INSTRUMENT AND HOW TO GET TO THEM WITHOUT PHYSICAL TENSION (physical approach or technique).

    Bird is a great musician to study, but to relate a story Branford Marsalis told about working with Art Blakey -

    "So Art never had a problem telling you how sad you were, but he wouldn't just leave it at that, he would tell you exactly WHY you were sad too. I remember I was sitting in the green room at some gig listening to Coltrane on my Walkman and Art says' What are you doing?" I said "Listening to Trane." Art - "Why you doing that?" Branford - "Cause I like what he's doing and I want to get some of that in my playing." Art - "So, what? You think Coltrane sat around listening to tapes of himself form the future to learn how to play like that?"

    Point being, you have to recognize that you have an internal voice that is yours alone, that it's worth something, that it's meaningful and that only YOU can get to it. There are exercises that help you get there. But just building vocabulary isn't one of them...
  19. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Admittedly this is a classic rock Neanderthal bit of advice, but I still think it’s worth at least considering in your position; the really amazing, groundbreaking players like Jaco got to where they are/were by breaking some rules. Doing some dumb stuff, intentionally “doing it wrong”. Since you feel like you’ve established a voice for yourself, something to consider is to take the kind of musical ideas you already know and love and do some weird, wrong s&*t with them. Jaco pulled the frets out of his jazz, Cliff Burton got stupid with a fuzz and wah, Larry Graham beat his instrument with the side of his thumb like some kind of weird caveman. Flea put a sock on his dick and somehow that worked out for him. Do likewise. Maybe more along the lines of Larry Graham and not so much Flea.
  20. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    When you hear something beautiful, listen deeply. Then learn to sing it. Then to play it. Then go read Ed Fuqua's post again. The only vocabulary that will matter in the end will be the music that expresses your intended meanings.

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