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The VALUE of "24 variations" - a testamony

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington [archive]' started by sonofabass, Dec 31, 2011.


  1. sonofabass

    sonofabass

    Feb 10, 2006
    California
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    As both a student, and as a teacher I have seen the 24 variations widely disregarded. I should say that I USED to disregard them!

    Here's where the value is coming in from "do every day" practicing:

    I'm closing out 2011 with the Kev Choice ensemble. Subbing for phenom bassist Uriah Duffy (google him and you'll see how big those shoes are to fill). Kev Choice is a Bay Area Hip Hop artist.....who has a master's degree in piano performance. (quite rare) This means that playing an emcee that often raps from the keys and has elaborate arrangements that include really slick soli lines means being able to comprehend and execute ideas and lines quickly. "Shortening your reaction time" - as Anthony says.

    At the first rehearsal it was quite obvious how practicing the 24 variations and pentatonic in a diligent and focused manner have paid of so far.


    Thanks, Ant. Happy New Year
     
  2. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    Yo Blyss,

    Thanks for your kind words and believing in the curriculum. You were already a great player when you started studying with me. But like all good musicians and athletes,...we can always get better. It's an impossibility to have technique that is 'too' good as it is impossible to shoot free throws 'too' well. A basketball coach is never gonna' tell a player that he shoots free throws too well and that it's a detriment to the team. That's just never gonna' happen.

    I'm always working on my technique and my knowledge base. Like with many endeavors in life, musicians benefit greatly from 'shortening our reaction time'.

    But I have to say this too,...

    I don't care whether a student/player embraces having good technique or a vast amount of knowledge. I don't and will never have an attachment to anyone's playing but mine. I'll show anyone everything I know,...but I'm not gonna' make anyone do the work. That's for the individual to decide. My job is to dispense information. And I do that better than most people. But becoming a better musician happens when the teacher isn't around.

    I'm a math geek so a long time ago I figured that there 336 half hours in a week. I tell my weekly Bassology students that I have them for 1 or 2 half hours. That leaves 335 or 334. And that where 'getting good' happens. But so does eating, sleeping, working, being a good son, being a good parent and watching the Redskins game,....REAL LIFE! So it becomes a time management issue. That's right, becoming good at anything is a time management issue. I could go on at length but I won't. At least not now.

    Happy New Year!!!

    peace&blessings,
    anthony
     
  3. sonofabass

    sonofabass

    Feb 10, 2006
    California
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    You're the man Ant! Happy new year - we just finished eating waaaaaay too much And bout to hit the stage! "see" you soon bro

    B
     
  4. Anonymatt

    Anonymatt

    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I guess someone could disregard this exercise because it seems ostensibly to be about dexterity--which some personalities would find a lesser end to practice, but I'm sure you would totally learn the sound of all those little licks inside of the minor3rd.

    When I played guitar, the shred manuals all gave similar advice for exercises. Maybe that's why I haven't thought about this stuff much since beginning the bass and being more into jazz. Thanks for the reminder.
     
  5. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    Hey Anonymatt,

    I think of the '24 variations' strictly as a dexterity exercise. First, and foremost, we have to physically interface with the instrument. You can have the best ideas in the world in your head and in your heart but if you're not physically interfacing with the instrument in the most efficient and logical way a lot of those ideas won't come to fruition. That's the plain and simple truth. If you have a ton of interesting thoughts and sentiments to express but your lips, tongue, larynx, diaphragm and other parts aren't working properly then those thoughts don't always get expressed.

    peace,
    anthony
     
  6. sonofabass

    sonofabass

    Feb 10, 2006
    California
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    That's how I look at it also. I was just really happy to be able to pull off lines that he threw out with much more confidence than I would have when I did not pay as much attention to dexterity exercises; because my hands did what I wanted them to do - not what "they" wanted to do.



    On another note:

    I hope that all who read this thread today are having a wonderful 2012 so far. I woke up with the pacific ocean outside my window after an awesome gig. I am so so thankful for the chance to play music and share ideas about the instrument I love with like minded folks.

    Heres to a great year!
     
  7. somecallmejosh

    somecallmejosh

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sounds awesome. Where can I learn more about the 24 variations?
     
  8. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    The 24 permutations are based on the math concept Nth factorial. The concept basically shows you how many 'permutations' or combinations you based on a series if numbers. Since we have 4 fingers on our left hand the formula shows us that there are 24 permutations we can move our fingers in without repeating(4x3x2x1=24). The goal is to get your fingers equal comfortable moving in all 24 combinations. None should be easier or harder than any other. Of course they can be done as a single string exercise or combinations of strings, ascending or descending the neck. The idea is that everything you'll ever have to play will be snippets of the 24.

    This is just one of the many ways to use permutations. These and many more ways can also be applied to notes, scales, rhythms, etc.

    peace,
    anthony
     
  9. somecallmejosh

    somecallmejosh

    Dec 2, 2009
    Awesome. That makes perfect sense. I've adopted Mike Mangini's clockwise/counterclockwise system for drums (I'm a drummer) in my bass practice/warmup routine. It seems to be a similar concept. There are only 12 permutations in my exercise, because it only alternates between two fingers at a time, making each a lead finger and a "following" finger.

    Each of the following represents alternating finger patterns played over a full bar of 8th notes, in 4/4:

    4-1 (4 is the lead finger (pinky))
    4-2
    4-3
    1-2
    1-4
    1-3
    2-3
    2-1
    2-4
    3-4
    3-2
    3-1

    The "clockwise" applies to the lead finger, because it progresses through the exercise in a clockwise motion. Alternatively, the following non-lead fingers progress in a counterclockwise motion. It's helped my out quite a bit. The 24 Variations sounds like a monster!

    Looking forward to our Skype lesson on the 16th, Anthony.
     
  10. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    Yea Joshua, we'll touch on this and many more concepts on the 16th.

    -aw
     
  11. Octavian

    Octavian

    Sep 25, 2009
    Congrats on a great gig sonofabass!

    Anthony re-introduced me to the permutations a few months ago and my dexterity has greatly improved...and keeps improving. Like most everything else in life, it's the simple basics that create the most effective results.
     
  12. sonofabass

    sonofabass

    Feb 10, 2006
    California
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    Danke - yes indeed. a "simple" exercise that goes a long way. One of the most overlooked and, frankly, poorly taught concepts around.

    Have a great week.
    B
     
  13. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    Just think,...

    If we had 1 more finger there would 120 permutations!

    That sounds like fun!!!

    -aw
     
  14. sonofabass

    sonofabass

    Feb 10, 2006
    California
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    My man, you do love math ! Lol
     
  15. Where does one find the 24 variations written out?
     
  16. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    You probably can find it in any math related website. It's a math concept, not a music concept. I just use it for music.

    You may even be able to find it in some of the better bass or guitar sites.

    But it's also simple enough to write out yourself.

    peace,
    anthony
     
  17. JimL

    JimL

    Jan 19, 2011
    Cupertino, CA
    From an old Adam Nitti lesson
    Code:
    1 2 3 4     2 1 3 4     3 1 2 4     4 1 2 3
    1 2 4 3     2 1 4 3     3 1 4 2     4 1 3 2
    1 3 2 4     2 3 1 4     3 2 1 4     4 2 1 3
    1 3 4 2     2 3 4 1     3 2 4 1     4 2 3 1
    1 4 2 3     2 4 1 3     3 4 1 2     4 3 1 2
    1 4 3 2     2 4 3 1     3 4 2 1     4 3 2 1
    
     
  18. somecallmejosh

    somecallmejosh

    Dec 2, 2009

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