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Wooten does it again

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by spark_chaser, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. I was brought up to see music as the organization of sound and silence and that the purpose of music was to create a mood.

    If I had a nickel for eveytime I was told "OK now that you've learned this...forget about it. Let's make music". I'd have a retirement plan.

    At the time I was a drummer so I had bit more abstract view of music than 'real musicians' :>) Just joking drummers.... lighten up.

    I just watched the vids on bassplayer.tv and think the approach he takes is very workable. I bought the DVD today and will see how it goes.

    Oh and to support the notion about notes beng low priority:

    On one of my early big band recording gigs (playing drums)I was so focused on the music(the notes on paper) I forgot to look at the band director. He did everything he could to get my attention except bang on the drum booth window. The notes won.

    Thank God they were great people and laughed at the young and inexperienced newbie in the band. I could read my but off and I wanted to prove it. But hey..... where's the music?
  2. I'll take my own shot at that explanation.

    When someone from a different country talks to you, you can hear their accent. You don't know a single word in their language, yet you still feel capable of roughly imitating that accent.

    You're new to music, you hear something get played. You grab an instrument. Then you work your way through the neck, until you hear the same thing from your own instrument. You might not know what note it is, but it sounds the same.

    You dont need to know a fact to discover something. The great explorers of ages past, they just saw a blank sea. Then they set out to discover it. Would they have traveled out unto the great blue sea, if they already knew what was there? No, they would just travel from Europe to the US just like we do in modern society.
    That's the difference between fact based learning and creativity. You can be creative with the facts, but you can also be creative without them.

    To sum it up.
    The facts that we believe in today, where do you think they came from?

  3. tfmbass


    Dec 13, 2006
    This has been a very interesting thread to read.

    I have not seen the video yet, but, as cheesy as it may seem, Vic changed my life when I first heard Amazing Grace. I sat in my room with my bass for hours on end learning the melody in harmonics and what I realized was that he was not playing anything I hadnt already heard note wise. I knew all those harmonics were there. IT was HOW he played those notes that made a difference.
    To quote the Barenaked Ladies, " It has all been done." Evey note combination has already been played. Whether it is 10%, 53%, or .00004378%, notes are just one little part of the equation.

    Take a sentance like " I am a bass player" and put emphasis on different words. You are still saying the same sentance, but it sounds differently when you change the rythme, tone, dynamics.

    So many of Vic licks that I have learned surprise me becuase I realize that my brain makes it so much more complicated than it really is. I use to spend so much time thinking about all the notes he plays until I got his transcription book and realized that it was his "feel" that made the music different, not the notes. The biggest thing, IMO, that one can learn form him is feel.

    Ok. Back to work!
  4. BassSlave


    Mar 2, 2006
    Chicago via Park Forest IL
    Endorsing artist: Sadowsky Basses & Dean Markley Strings
    Thanks Monken and Tfmbass

    You guys have confirmed some things we all have or should have felt in our own ways. I would like to add that we all have our own senses of creativity and definitely when it comes to feel. So I have been exploring my own feel for over three decades and that's where the personality in music comes from. I still love to transcribe and cop licks and feels from almost every player on every instrument I can get my ears around, but at the end of the day I am working them into my feel, MY way of doing things so at the gig, its my creativity that shines. And we will still get people giving references and comparing our styles, like "I can hear Stanly Clarke in you" or "You sound like Jaco". We can even take it a step further and say that it is all one sound and comes from one source and filtered thru our individual hands and tastes.
  5. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ

    Now for my .2

    His book (which I assume corresponds to the DVD) uses a lot of analogies and perspectives to grant you some insight into music.

    I've been reading things like this in the design world for awhile now as well, since this it is very much a field that isn't taught, its is more honed, just like music. Same as with music you have certain elements, colors, space, fonts, basic shapes and flashy effects and you have to make something visually pleasing that gets a feeling across for your client.

    You can learn color theory and the basic tenants of how the eye processes information but that won't make you a designer. In fact I knew these things for years and all my designs sucked. Eventually through PRACTICE and being aware of the concepts I was employing, I developed the ability to make consistently good looking sites.

    The way that I began to understand music (I was very "left brained" about my entire life for a long time) was by comparing it to design (which brought out the "right brain" in me). I'm glad that Vic wrote a book that approaches music this way, every other book out there is about notes, Vics is about music.

    The only thing that really confused me about his whole book was that "We don't create music".. Now I think I understand why he says this...music is a language, the language already exists we can only speak our stories....hence we cannot create music, we can only speak through it...however does a writer not create his book?....I'm still pondering this and I read the book 2 weeks ago. Also think his choice of words to get this point across really robs ones self of a lot of credit for a lot of hard work, but Victor is supposedly a remarkably humble guy.
  6. Having the video for a few weeks now, i still find Victors teaching concepts too abstract for me to implement practicing with, at this time.

    I enjoyed his lesson on the useage of chromatic notes, or integrating the chromatic scale into practice and his advice about not hunting and pecking to find the key of a song and forsaking the groove until you find it.

    I found that what was redeeming about the video, though, was Anthony Wellington's insight into developing rhythmn & tempo, & subdividing, in his teaching segment block.

    Maybe i am too biased (as i struggled with being able to create a groove from thin air, with just a metronome click, or even with a drummer, still do actually, lol!) but in my opinion, this should've started the dvd off. That's the chronological order i would've placed it at, first.

    I find it a hard concept initially to come to terms with (subdiving) but once you get a grasp on it, you can listen to a bassline and map out how the bassist is subdiving and go and find the notes as best you can. Even if the notes are wrong, it'll still work, as the groove is there.

    I'd rather have a tight groove with all the wrong notes, then have all the right notes, and no groove to it.
  7. tfmbass


    Dec 13, 2006
    Wow! This is getting deep.
    This is a great thread that I think everybody should read and then ponder for a while.
    I think that this thread is a good example of why Vic does what Vic does. He has always been a big advocator of thinking about the music that comes from inside you.
    He will always been known for the flash in his playing, just like many other bassist I admire, but I believe that his teachings are more important than any solo.
  8. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
  9. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I think of it this way. Let us forget about music for a moment and consider language, since we all start to learn that from the moment we hear our first words. By the time we are 5 years old we have a considerable vocabulary, that allows us to express what we want and what we feel - even if it is at a basic level.

    We probably haven't learned to read or write yet, or learned anything about grammar and punctuation, but there is a fair chance (assuming we live in a country where education is accessible) that around 5 years old we will start to learn the rudiments of written language. By the time we reach adulthood we have learned thousands of words (I read somewhere that most fluent English speakers use around 6000 words in their everyday vocabulary). We will have also learned to construct these words into meaningful sentences in order to communicate our ideas.

    Since, in our chosen language, we all know the words and the theory then why are we not all capable of writing a great novel? Why are we not all capable of creating works of literature that are of the same standard and emotive power as Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway or Steinbeck?

    Simply, because we need to have hugely powerful ideas to express before we can use our chosen language to express them. The language is simply a tool to do that.

    That's not to say you don't have to be skilled in using language. Even if you have the world's most compelling story to tell, if you spoke in a flat monotone with every syllable spoken in a metronomic way you would quickly lose the attention of all but the most committed listener. Likewise, if you spoke rapidly without pauses for breath, without constructing sentences properly and using inappropriate words, then your listeners would rightly think you were just babbling.

    To press the point a little further, I think we all know people who can use the simplest language in the most profound and entertaining way, and we all know crashing bores who know all the long words but fail to engage thir listeners.

    Now use that as an analogy for what music is trying to express. It should be about the expression of ideas and emotions that are very hard to define in any other way, but you will not be able to do that if you didn't have anything to say in the first place.

    Using our analogy, we can all think of people who know all the notes, all the scales, all the modes, all the theory (words, syntax, grammar, punctuation) but whose playing is deadly boring. Likewise we all know music that uses very simple constructs but can make your heart skip a beat.

    I'll stop now because I'm rambling, and still haven't said what I wanted to - you see how hard it is?
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
  11. BassSlave


    Mar 2, 2006
    Chicago via Park Forest IL
    Endorsing artist: Sadowsky Basses & Dean Markley Strings
    I like the way Miles Davis used it all to say what he wanted to say. He knew all the scales and notes, however he chose very few to say a lot. Its also referred to in the video. I also like the part where Vic doesn't claim to own the double thump style. His honesty is what I admire most about him. He's putting all the information he has to those who want it and can use it, which is very unselfish and thoughtful on his part. I remember ten and twenty years back that if a guy had a special sound or exciting way of playing, he kept it a trade secret. I've always known technical players had a more simple approach and way of doing what they did but never wanted to share their information. It's great to be playing in a time where musicians can share information more freely. I would recommend buying the video and his books because Vic makes a living playing music and can't give it all up for free, although knowing his personality he would. His brother Reggie who taught him, has invited me and many other guys to his home in Nashville to get free music and bass lessons anytime so it seems to run in the Wooten family to share the info.
  12. erickdan


    Dec 26, 2007
    LOL...I think he's just being an ass on purpose.

    This thread was quite interesting until he got involved...
  13. crow01


    Sep 1, 2008
    amazing video, i am half way through it. And I have to say my playing will change completely from now on. There are so many things I never thought of. From his list, I am only doing 2 and a half.
    I feel like I discovered who is behind the curtains at the wizard of oz.

    Victor is da man!
  14. BassSlave


    Mar 2, 2006
    Chicago via Park Forest IL
    Endorsing artist: Sadowsky Basses & Dean Markley Strings
    Thanks for the heads up JimC, but I could already tell by Zans last comment that he was not open minded even before I read his statement on the other thread. Some people just need to be told to play such and such scale 1000 reps and play this lick over and over and set your bass up like this and put this finger there and do that, etc. It's nothing wrong with that approach either, but you will either never understand why you play what you do, or you will take many many years to understand what it is that you can already do with the bass.

    Jack Bruce, Jeff Berlin and Jaco are pioneers and deserve respect at all times. We know they, like everyone else, has or has had deficiencies somewhere down the line. Even Victor himself stated in the video that he still overplays so he is aware of how he sounds to everyone else, but I really love it when Vic also states later on that he doesn't care what you think about his playing. He is playing for himself and that is why he does what he does.

  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I figured as much, but then he'd say something that actually sounded sincere, so I kind of played along with him. But then he said he got the Vic DVD set and watched it all in one setting last night, so now I'm convinced he's trolling.

    And then he talks crap abotu Jeff in that post you pulled up, and says that his GF went to the Player's School and came back knowing how to play over changes.

    Any coincidence that it's an off week for school?!? ;)
  16. jimc


    Sep 17, 2002
    New Carsmell, CA
    I think not!

    I just got to the part where he asked the students to solo and they were struggling to find the key, that would have been me and 99% of the rest of us I guess.

    I stopped the DVD there, too much to think about. I've since been programming progressions in Band in a Box and calling them up randomly to see if I can groove myself into some changes I don't know. Interesting stuff.
  17. BassSlave


    Mar 2, 2006
    Chicago via Park Forest IL
    Endorsing artist: Sadowsky Basses & Dean Markley Strings
    It took most people two days to digest the material presented on the video. So I know that watching it in one setting either means that he totally loved it or he skipped many segments of the presentation. It seems that Zanz is uder the impression that we are praising Victor Wooten and I know some guys hate him no matter what the guy is doing or saying. I personally don't appreciate Jeff Berlin's remrks or attitudes at times, but I totally respect him and his playing and have learned and copped things from him all the time. Jaco also doesn't win the best personality award, but I like players with spunk and little quirky things about their character and playing that would make them unique.

    If his GF can play thru changes then why doesn't he ask her how to play and not waste his money on a video he can't use? So I hope Zans put the video up in the for sale section because I know it would sell in one day.
  18. I don't really care Zanz "gets it" or not. This has been a great thread.

    I've met Jeff Berlin and he seemed kind of stern and aloof, but it may have been the circumstances. I've corresponded with Carol Kaye and she can be very opinionated and harsh. I'm not sure I would want to hang out with either one of them. However, their playing and their teaching are incredible. I have the ultimate respect for both of them.

    I picked up "The Music Lesson" in a bookstore by chance very shortly after it was released by the current publisher. Perhaps it was because of where I was at in my life, or where I was at musically, that this book spoke to me in a way that no other instructional item has. It told me what I needed to hear. I've since passed copies on to other musicians that I respect. Some have been VERY enthusiastic and others didn't get it. It's all in where you are. Clearly Zanz isn't there.

    My copy of the video came from Amazon today. I have a long weekend ahead and I'm looking forward to spending some time with it. :)
  19. BassSlave


    Mar 2, 2006
    Chicago via Park Forest IL
    Endorsing artist: Sadowsky Basses & Dean Markley Strings
    I like the words you chose and that the book "spoke" to you. Let us know what the video "says" to you as well.

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