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What I learned from a week at Berklee

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DanielleMuscato, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. Danny Mo is a monster. My mom is an Associate Prof of Voice at Berklee and Danny has played with my mom often both at gigs and on her albums. I've been lucky enough to see him live many times and he is one of the tastiest players I've ever heard. Never a busy player but his note choices are perfect. I plan to take at least a few semesters at Berklee.

    Great thread!
  2. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    I felt Danny was too nice a guy!

    Personally, I prefer the face of evil...Jim Stinnett.

  3. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Jim Stinnett is great... so funny, so helpful, no sugar-coating, but in a good way. He cuts through to what needs to be said to improve your playing and says it. A great teacher.
  4. Muss


    Nov 20, 2007
    so, after reading this thread I felt so inspired.. and today I ordered two books from bassbooks:
    -Standing in the Shadows of Motown (by Allan Slutsky & James Jamerson)
    - Reading Contemporary Electric Bass (Rich Appleman)

    cant wait to get it!:hyper:
    I'll let you guys know what are they like when I'll finish with them!
  5. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    Oh Man...if only you could actually "finish" standing in the shadows of motown. :smug:
  6. whoapower


    Jul 14, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Great information Dave! Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing. Also, the week clinic doesn't look that bad cost wise. Who knows...a thirty something average player like myself might have to see.
  7. manjar


    Dec 8, 2005
    Best TB thread ever. Thanks for posting!
  8. I kinda mirror what Pooploops mentioned in the start of the thread . All of the stuff you mentioned is Jazz/Funk . Call it bassplayer immaturity if you want , but I cannot tolerate either of those, and hell , I'm not even a total metal guy .

    I found some Stanley Clarke stuff , his School Days album , and his Bass Collection . 15 mins into it , and I was out . I'm sorry I couldnt tolerate the extended slap and pop songs and all that .

    I look upto a more melodic bassist . Now I know a lot of you are gonna be like " Funk is Melody !!!" , but when I say melody I mean something like Butler , Sheehan , Geddy and that sort of stuff . Any suggestions on those parts ?? Coz I really cant sit and transcribe 'lines for songs I dont even enjoy . Breaks the first rule of playing music ; Enjoy it.....
  9. *bump*

    Still waiting for an answer to the above.....
  10. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    You don't consider jazz a melodic music?

    Transcribe the horn solos instead of the bass parts if you want melody.
    I suggest all of Miles Davis' solos from the album "Kind of Blue". Technically pretty easy, but you will learn soooo much about rhythm and harmony and melody from each one. When that gets too easy, move on to Coltrane's solos...

    Personally I don't consider any of the bassists you mentioned to be particularly melodic (except maybe Geddy). But, if you like them, then transcribe your favorite lines of theirs. It's that simple. Find something you like and can't play, and learn to play it, exactly, with all the phrasing and inflection.
  11. Actually I do consider Jazz pretty melodic , the same way that I respect Funk for it's groove , but that doesnt mean that I can actually appreciate it .

    Sabbath basslines arent melodic ??
  12. MrLenny


    Jun 10, 2006
    So. N.H.
    30 years ago I took lessons from Berklee's John Repucci.
    He told me the best way to learn was to listen to records(back then)
    and learn a tune note for note then write it out if you can.
    Seems like some things never change.
  13. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    +1. On that album, Miles played very few notes but picked them all carefully.

    As far as sticking to what you enjoy - I get that, but I would also suggest that, especially based on the influences you listed, you might benefit from spending a little time with simpler music. By doing that, you will develop an ability to understand at a more sophisticated level what Billy Sheehan is doing in the Niacin stuff (for example), and eventually you will be able to integrate some of his ideas into your music. But if you are like most people, the "chops guys" are hard to use educationally without a running start.

    My story was the same, by the way - in college I was so into John Patitucci that I had a hard time listening to anyone else. Patitucci is a wonderful player, but he is a very technically advanced player and it's hard to learn much from his playing until you have spent some time with Paul Chambers first.

    As for jazz, I'll stick my neck out here and say that if you want to learn melodic interplay, and how one note works in the context of a certain chord, and how and why some notes don't work, you will have to get that information from jazz. There's no other contemporary style that evidences these concepts nearly as much.
  14. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Busy doesn't equal melodic, in fact, that's really the opposite of melodic (busy isn't necessarily bad though).
  15. mattblissett


    Jul 18, 2006
    Just to say, best thread I've come across on TB
  16. mashed potatoes

    mashed potatoes

    Nov 11, 2003
    Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay here at Berklee! If only I had known that one of the Basslines guys buzzing around here was a TBer. Did they work on any other aspects with you guys other than bass playing? ie. eartraining, arranging, harmony, etc.?
  17. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    It was a short course, so we didn't really get much into the nitty-gritty of theory. We had some varied classes about different things - building walking lines, for example - but it was mostly a LOT of tips for us to take home and chew over later, when we had more time. I'm still getting stuff out of my notes from that week, a year later.

    As far as the comments about jazz/funk, well... It's the role of the bass player, in my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of bass teachers, to study and play that kind of stuff. If you want to sound like Billy Sheehan, frankly, study guitar players, because that's what he's doing, just on a bass (I've done Berklee's summer program for guitar, twice, also - I actually only switched to bass a few years ago; I was a professional guitarist & private classical & electric guitar teacher before that).

    Bass, to me, is about supporting the melody instruments. It's a bridge between straight-out rhythm of percussion and the chord structuring you get from guitar or piano. The goal of the bass, I think, is to hold down the fort while the other, higher-pitched instruments go exploring. Its role in music is foundational, not ornamental. It takes a different personality to play bass than it does to play guitar or trumpet or instruments like that. This is not to say a bassist cannot both explore & hold down the fort - there are plenty of other musicians (keyboardists, jazz guitarists who comp & solo, bassists like Billy Sheehan) who do this, too - I'm just saying, you have to understand why bass is there in a band setting in the first place - to more-or-less add pitch to the drums and form the other half of the rhythm section - before you take it to the lead-guitar sonic space.

    I'm a hell of a soloist on guitar (and on bass and piano, too). But when I'm playing bass in a band setting, I switch modes. My hearing shifts - I'm listening to the kick drum, the hi-hat, the snare, the ride, and I'm pacing those movements. My mind is tuned in to the rhythm and tuned out from that space where you're creating melodies. That's not my job, as the bassist. I'm not saying it can't be, but when I listen to Billy Sheehan playing with Steve Vai, and they're doubling parts, tapping etc... well, he's playing a 4-string guitar tuned down a couple of octaves, man, not bass :smug: It just depends on what your goal is and where you find your voice. I found my voice in the low end, the supporting role, and have little desire to stray from that.
  18. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    Quote: The other big piece of advice from everyone I talked to was not to play too much. The bass player's job very, very, *very* rarely involves tapping, double-thumping, slapping... really, anything except quarter and 1/8th notes. The consensus seemed to be that bass players nowadays get very caught up in the idea of playing fast or being out-front, and that 99% of the time, the bass player keeps time

    I agree with everything except the slapping part. In some genres you simply can't avoid it. (not that I want to! ;))
  19. Bassman7PM


    Mar 13, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Dave, this is a great thread with the best advise for both beginners and seasoned players. I've just started my 12 year old son on bass and this gives me a great foundation to lay for him as well as my other students. My son has an excellent ear and already reads bass clef from playing tuba and baritone in his school band. Even after playing for 38 years I still have so far to go and so much to learn.

  20. sublime0bass


    Aug 2, 2007
    Boone, NC
    1/8th notes pay pretty well too

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