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What I learned from a week at Berklee

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

  1. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    YES YES YES! Great advice. Every single young player I talk to, is completely hung up on slapping/tapping/playing 32nd notes. I tell each and every one of them, "those are really neat tricks, but if you get in an actual gigging band, and get paid for it, you'll use those tricks about 2 minutes a night. Concentrate on timing and groove, and you'll be IN DEMAND."
  2. Thanks for this thread, Dave.

    It makes me feel good that the advice I am giving my 11 year old student about keeping it simple, focusing on being rock-solid with time and that any band he plays with will LOVE him if he holds down the bottom end this way.
  3. JPaulGeddy


    Sep 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    All good/motivational info here, good thread. I was one of those that really didn't care for jazz growing up - and still don't - but am starting to broaden the horizons a bit. Not so much because I enjoy the music, just to get outside of the box so to speak. Have an old yamaha fretless that I'm gonna throw some flats on and start plunking around in that milieu.

    Regarding Sheehan et al., Billy himself will be the first to say (and he has), don't learn from him, learn from the people he learned from. I was a total Sheehan nut growing up and still respect him immensely, but as he'll say, he is not the be-all, end-all. He also frequently mentions Jeff Berlin as the best bassist he's ever seen.

    Of course, from what I hear, so does Jeff Berlin. :D
  4. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    But only half as much as quarter notes. :)
  5. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Considering I've made a lot more money playing lounge jazz versus driving rock and roll, I beg to differ. ;)
  6. hey thanks for sharing dave
  7. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Glad to :)
  8. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    Well, I don't think that's the right mentality over it. You should practice everything possible. What I think should be said is "how are you going to play 32nd notes, when you can't play quarter notes right?" Everything is built on top of a solid foundation. Focus on being accurate with basic etudes and move on from there.
  9. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Amen. And really the reverse of your statement is true also. "How are you going to play quarter notes right if you can't play 32nd notes".
    I know it sounds slightly crazy at first, but when you break it down to exactly what is going on, the difference between the player who 'grooves' or is playing in the right style comes down to exactly when the quarter (or eighth) note is played... and I'm not talking about a difference in rhythm that could be notated. I'm talking about that very slight adjustment that puts the note 'right where it belongs'.
    In other words, being able to play with well controlled speed is part of technique... the other part is knowing when to use it.
  10. play4zero


    Dec 29, 2005
    Edorsing Artist: Eden
    The ability to lay down a groove and perform the basics of your job as a bassist is what will keep you employed. I don't slap, tap or do solos, and I've got all the work I can handle while guys who can play circles around me are sitting down at the music store waiting for someone who cares to give them a gig.

    What I try and do as a bassist is to have the audience watch the soloist while their heads bob in time with what I'm doing. If an average audience member comes up and tells me what a great job I did, as opposed to what a tight band we have, I'm probably overplaying.

    Again, most of you could probably play rings around me, but I'm old, fat and ugly but I can lay down a groove and I'm playing.
  11. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Dave, how much did this Berklee program cost to be a part of?
  12. +1..
  13. I've been in a practice rut for a week, I am having a hard time balancing upright bass practice, electric practice, jazz practice, rock practice etc into something that covers all the bases (no pun intended)

    I will def. print this list out and use it, not as good as going to berklee but the next best thing! thanks
  14. myhot4


    Jul 11, 2006
    Sydney Australia
    Thanks for sharing, It all sounds simple, yet you've given me a lifetime of stuff to work on from the OP.
  15. mattblissett


    Jul 18, 2006
    And I've found that grooving feels better, I tend not to play rather than overplay when I'm part of the rhythm section, some lines have been open notes on the one, for the hip hop material we play, locked in with the kick and it makes people move!
  16. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    True, but there is something to letting a kid be a kid. Why don't you tell him to quit playing the bass and focus on getting into medical school, because he'll make more money?
    It's just music...it's supposed to be fun.
  17. the_hook


    Apr 9, 2008
    I'm glad to have found this thread, lot's of great advice here from people that live it. I quoted the above statement because everytime I see a 5, 6 or more string 'bass' and guys with these beasts on youtube playing solos, to me that's not a bass player, it's some hybrid bass/guitar soloist.

    To me a bass comes with 4 strings and stays in the background, and if the band/song permits will come to the forefront with a few quick riffs, then moves back again keeping the groove. I tried to be wowed by these bass solos and lot's of extra strings, but it doesn't work for me.
  18. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Banned

    May 8, 2008
    Jazz, where rock bassists go to die.
  19. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC

    I guess thats cool "for you" but it's certainly NOT the definition of a bass or bass player in my book. I'm no Vic Wooten by far but I won't subscribe to that way of thinking. :ninja:
  20. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Banned

    May 8, 2008
    Geezer wasn't a 'busy' player. I'd hardly call chugging root notes and unision lines with fills here and there 'busy'. Nonetheless, he was one of the first to break the mold of bassists being in the shadows. You have to give him credit for that.

    Besides, a lot of Sabbath songs are really good despite not knowing tons and tons of theory. The ultimate test, the record-buying public, agrees with that. A lot of people forget who you're making an album for.

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