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Which bass books to improve improvasition, reading, and constructing jazz lines?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by malabito, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. I decided to spend about 60$ on some bass books which will help me improve my bass skills,(improvasition, reading, and constructing jazz lines).After doing some researh I have narrow my searh to the following books:

    -Sher Music Concepts for Bass Soloing" - Chuck Sher, Mark Johnson

    -Hal Leonard
    Ron Carter - Building Jazz Bass Lines


    If you have work with any of this books or have in mind any other book which could be better, I´ll really apreciate any help or advice.

    Thanks.... :D
  2. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    To be honest, I don't there's a book, or a range of books, that will unlock the secret to it.

    I think oyur best bet regarding sight reading is to focus on sight reading with the books you already have - cover the tab and go from there.

    Regarding improvisation, a good book would be bass guitar scale manual or IF you can get it Improvising Jazz Bass by Richard Laird - volume 91/music for millions series (although it is from about 1981, I found it on ebay by chance for £1.50). Also, books by chuck rainy may be handy although they are written in a rather hard to follow way (compared otther books, in my view anyway).

    As for constructing jazz lines, I suppose joining a local jazz band may help (although watch your ego - the amount of pretentous teen-age jazz musicians I know is unbeleiveable :/ ).
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have that one and it is the most useless book I ever bought!!I have never used it really, although I have had it for decades!!

    I think we are luckier now that there are many more good books about - like Ed Friedland's "Jazz Bass" and his series on walking lines. So - Laird's book made no sense to me for years, but Friedland made a big impact when I started playing Jazz and helped me establish "the basics".

    But I think books can only go so far and playing with other people, listening to what the greats have done and trying to transcribe this and apply it to your own playing will be far more help.
  4. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Bruce - yeah I'll agree Rick Lairds' book is fairly useless...except for sight reading maybe?

    He is basically covering 2-5-1 in diffrent keys and so forth but it's displayed in a pretty non-pedagogical manner I think.

    A good book to get would be Mark levine's "Jazz theory" (or mayhbe its called soemthing else?)
    It covers the basics as well as some nice tips for practicing and some reharmonization parts and so forth. And it's not really aimed directly for bassists either - which is a good thing IMO.

  5. ChildoftheKorn


    May 21, 2003
    hmm i recomend the improvisers bass method by Eddie Gomez, Rufus Reid, Richard Davis, Paul Jackson and David Friesen

    I highly recomend this book since it will definitly helped your sight and music reading since....heh there no tab in the book...but it covers basic to advanced theory and technique and even have transribed bass solos and lines but some of the legends: jaco, jamerson, pops popwell. pick it up definitly.
  6. Thanks for the replies, i know their aint a book that will unlock the secret to it, I am just looking for some new material through which I can learn some new stuff an improve others. :)

    Happy New Year :bassist:
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The book is "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine published by Sher Music Co. One of the many things great about this book is the exhaustive list of jazz recordings that will help in your ability to appreciate and understand jazz in its many permutations. There are also extensive sections on improvisation and reharmonization.

    I might also mention that Jamey Aebersold has a catalog of numerous jam along CDs designed to help you with reading, improvisation and ear training. Check:

  8. Hi, do you know were i can get the The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine published by Sher Music Co in miami, which you have all mention, since I wont have the opportunity to get it through mail, just directly through a store in the miami area such as samash or guitar center, and the aprox price.

    Thanks. :)
  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Here are some books I enjoy:

    Finding a Teacher by I. Canfinddamunny Ifaytry

    Teacher's are the Better Value: Gettin the Most Bang for Your Buck by The Associated Press of Saving Money You Would Normally Spend on Lattes, McDonald's and Movies

    Books are Fine, Teachers are a Thousand Times Better by Sven Ding Munnywizely

    Hey! I Learned More From a Teacher in 5 Lessons than a Book Could Ever Do by Aymnow Improved.

    I don't know ISBNs, but good luck!
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The Mark Levine book is expensive. It costs $38.00. As you cannot get it through the mail--an impossibility in Venezuela--you will have to try to buy it through a music store or the university of Miami book store in the Miami area. Unfortunately, I cannot be sure wich one will have it. To save foot steps, I suggest you check the Yellow Pages while in Miami and call each store to verify.

    Although Jazzbo's response is both funny and true, I know you have said in the past you have had difficulty finding a capable instructor in Venezuela. I had hoped you would be able to locate Churdy Toledo, my former teacher. You couldn't get a better instructor.

    The only other thing I can guess is try to find one of the classicly trained double bassists who play in the symphony orchestra in Caracas. Many of them double on electric bass. Also, some of the bassists in Caracas salsa and merenque bands might be able to teach you the basics of technique until you can locate a more suitable instructor for your needs.

    Without a teacher, the Mark Levine book might be hard for you to interpret alone, because you do need some context with which to understand it and put it to use.

  11. I know teachers are much better than to be self tought through books. I been playing bass for 9 years, and only in the last two years, in which I have been receiving lessons, I have learn more than twice of what I have learn in my other years alone :( . I am just looking for some material to compliment my studies.

    Sorry, whats ISBNs?

    Thanks :)
  12. Boplicity, thanks for your interest. I did not tried to make any contact with Churdy Toledo, since I was lucky enough to find two great bass teachers in my area, one even studied for some time at the bass collective in New York.

    I talk to a friend of mine in miami and he is going to get me The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine and Music Concepts for Bass Soloing by Chuck Sher, through www.jajazz.com, so that wont be a problem.

    Thanks :)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I tend to agree - I didn't start to understand it until I had done a couple of years at Jazz classes with a very good teacher.

    Whereas, I felt I could understand and use Ed Friedland's "Jazz Bass" book, before I had even tried to play Jazz - it is very good as a beginner's book and I have since loaned my copy to several BGers coming from rock to Jazz, who have also found it helpful.

    The Jazz Theory book is a great tool for learning and reference - but I think you already need to know a fair amount before you start and you really need to be able to pick out chords on a keyboard as well....?
  14. Thanks for the advice, but that wont be a problem, I already have some knowledge, not much, but I think the necessary to understand the book. I know some theory, and to recognize a fair amount of chords. Also If I have any questions I´ll simply ask my bass teacher.