Which book? Bass Aerobics/Bass Fitness

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Waster, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Waster


    Nov 24, 2011
    Hi all,

    I'm a very serious bass player; I practice several hours a day and, all being well, will be studying Jazz Performance at a Conservatoire in the UK beginning in September. I say this simply to give you an idea of my standpoint/skill level.

    For a while I've been looking for a book of exercises that I can use to warm-up/cool-down before and after my daily bass practice. At the minute I am considering two options;

    -'Bass Aerobics' by Jon Liebman
    -'Bass Fitness: An Exercising Handbook' by Josquin Des Pres

    Does anyone have experience with either or both of these books? What is your opinion? Are there any similar books that I should be looking at instead?

    Your input is much appreciated!

  2. freatles


    Jan 9, 2014
    I think you dont have enough hours in a day to simply practice mindless finger gymnastics

    note that I am assuming it is music you are trying to create

    the finger gymnastics books I am familiar with are mind numbing stuff with none of the musical content to learn from while playing, who knows maybe those are much better
  3. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I agree. Waste of time. The OP is playing enough already. He'd be better served by some simple stretching exercises. For the record, I do have the Des Pres book and I just don't see the point.

    Edit: I just noticed that the OP's username is Waster. Maybe these books are exactly what he needs. :D
  4. sackvegas


    Dec 1, 2006
    Agree with everyone else. Those exercises are a waste
    Of time. Spend your time as wisely as possible learning stuff you can use on your bass.
  5. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    I have both. Des Pres book will be of little value to you. The Leibman book is a wider variety of styles and is rather musical. I recommend it very highly. Good reading book too. Get it.
  6. Waster


    Nov 24, 2011
    Wow; not the response I was expecting.

    Just to be clear, I do not intend to use these exercises as a substitute for "musical" bass practice, as one poster might put it. I already devote a lot of time to this; studying jazz standards, solos, bass lines etc. I also play live a lot.

    My intention, rather, is to use these books as warm-up drills in the ten-or-so minutes before and after each practice block; to refresh technique and to help avoid injury.

    With this is in mind, would you still respond the same way?

  7. Waster


    Nov 24, 2011
    Thanks for the advice BassChuck! I'll keep it in mind.
  8. suckybassplaya


    Jun 24, 2010
    I have both as well, and agree 100% with BassChuck. The Liebman book is the way to go.
  9. vishalicious


    Mar 31, 2011
    Yonkers, NY
    Hi Waster,

    Replies #6 and #9 in this thread have some information about what you're asking.


    I got the book about 2 months ago, but haven't started it yet. I looked through it though, and its divided into the following chapters:

    1. Chromatics
    2. Scales & Arpeggios
    3. String Crossing
    4. Slapping & Popping
    5. Advanced Bass

    Each of the exercises begins with a line about the type of music that the exercise sounds like or with some advance warning of what to expect from the exercise. Its different from Bass Fitness (which I've had for years and also haven't completed), which is focused more strongly on pure dexterity without necessarily sounding musical.

    As an aside, if you order from Jon's website you can leave a comment/instructions. I asked if he would autograph the book and he did. ;)
  10. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    Avoid injury ????:confused:

    IMO you will injure yourself if you use these books as a warm up exercise. I can only speak for the "Aerobics" book but AFAIK the "Fitness" one is similar. It is really a great book for improving technique and stamina, but IMO should only be used AFTER you have warmed up sufficiently using a different method.

    Stretch the hands and fingers (search You Tube for lots of clips) for a few minutes, then do some slow chromatic scales above the fifth fret.

    Diving headlong into the complex and physically demanding exercises in these books is asking for trouble.
  11. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    I have both. I think the point most people are missing on this thread is "application". If your goal is finger independence and solid playing then the fitness book is great.

    No disrespect to others on this thread but if you haven't worked the 21 permutations ( which what the fitness book is based) you are missing something. Take 6 months 20 minutes day on permutations and you will be shocked on much a better player you will be. Seriously better. You have to work your right hand in conjunction.

    Professionals and serious hobbiest alike know the benefits of permutations.

    A better book than the fitness book if you go the permutation route is this one. It has every conceivable variance.


    Enjoy and work it!
  12. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have the DesPrez book. It is is built on a very specific, and fortright idea: left hand finger independence on a strict 1-fret-per-finger (but crossing all strings) principle. if you can think of every permutation of that principle and jot it down, you have just written that book yourself.

    I personally find 1 finger-per-fret very limiting (I am much more interested in making big interval leaps across the fretboard sound as 'easy' as scalar/semitone sequences) but to each his own - I can see it helpfull in developing consistency and motor skills.

    To warm/up, prevent injuries, I believe you are much better served by a good teacher who really understands technique and knows how to apply it to your particular physique. (I for example took one lesson with a good teacher whose simple suggestion after observing me to always keep a straight wrist in my left hand, helped me to get me rid of years of shoulder pain)