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Music Books! : Book and Media Reviews

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I have been doing a lot of reading lately and you have see that most of my previous reviews have been ” reading” books or bass instruction books. Now I get to have some fun and explore some Music Books!

First, let me share some cool stuff from Alfred Music Publishing Co. “Pink Floyd” and “Rush” Ultimate Bass Play-along books and CD’s. The first book has 9 tracks and the second has six. Of course they’re some of their greatest hits but I will make you look them up if you want details! The music is written in standard notation and Tab.

Now, we all have seen play-along CD’s but these have a new, very cool, feature called TNT (Tone ‘N’ Tempo Changer). When you put this CD in your computer (windows or Mac) it has a Player that will slow down (or speed up) the tempo without changing the pitch! If you want to change the pitch to a different Key, you can and the whole song will be in that key! You can even mute out the bass entirely if you want to! This is a sweet feature without having to have a Player that can do this for you.

Next lets talk about three prime examples of the “Authentic” Bass Tab Editions.

These are:

The Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (21 songs)
Rush: Deluxe Bass Tab Collection-1975-2007 (22 songs)
The Best of Jack Bruce (13 songs)

OK, so these don’t have the CD, but they are loaded with lots of your favorite tunes from these Rock icons! The format is written out in both standard notation and Tab and is easy to read! If you really want the tune downloading from your favorite source should do the trick!

Next on our agenda we have “What Duck Done…That’s Soul folks!” by Tim Tindall from Bass is Bodacious (publisher of Bass studies).

This puppy has thirty-three R&B classics as played by Donald “Duck” Dunn himself! If you are a fan of Booker T & the M.G.’s you will dig this book with two CD’s. The tunes are written out in both standard notation and Tab. This is great if you are working on getting that soulful sound and feel that was Ducks trademark. (Always makes me want to re-watch the Blues brothers) This one is a lot of fun and you will end up knowing everything there is about the Duck… read the appendix!

Now we must explore some serious bass books. I have “Secret Chambers, a comparative Analysis of Paul Chambers’ Bebop Style” and “12 keys to Success”. Both are by Jim Stinnett.

Lets address the first of these. Paul Chambers has been called “The Bird of Bass” and I will ashamedly admit that I didn’t know the full extent of his work. (Better stated, I didn’t realize that I had heard him on so much of the jazz I have listened to.) A quick online review of his impressive bio and listening to samples of his musicianship quickly convinced me that he was a force to be recognized!

Now, Jim has masterfully and thoroughly transcribed 76 solos for us lucky readers. Not only do we have the transcription, but also an insightful dissection of what made Paul the amazing upright player that he was. If you are serious about Bebop and Jazz, this book is for you!

The “12 keys of Success” was written” for the bassist who wants to master the instrument. This book contains seventy-eight etudes designed to develop solid technical efficiency. The accompanying CD features Jim’s very dedicated students. There is some serious work here, but if you are serious about our chosen instrument, I don’t think you will find any practice reference more complete!

Another available book featuring Todd Johnson (and once again Jim Stinnett) worth checking out is “Fishin’ For Grips“. This text centers on melodic harmonization for bass guitar. Todd’s organization for jazz harmony and it’s applications to the bass are first-rate, and provide a unique approach to any player looking to step into this harmonic approach to playing. It’s comprehensive, it’s laid out in a practical and easy-to-understand method, and the accompanying DVD is pure icing on the cake. It’s written for a six-string, or a five-string with a high “C string” for the voicing’s, but I see no problem transferring this information to a four-string. This is an excellent reference guide for those looking to investigate this approach to playing.

Last but not least, lets look at “Walking Bassics, The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing” by Ed Fuqua. This book and CD give s the beginning bass player a foundation to create solid walking lines. There are two main sections, one with the principles of walking bass line construction and the other with the transcriptions that are on the CD. This book is simple yet very thorough. Definitely, a good choice if you are trying to grow your walking bass skills.

But wait…. There is a late entry! One more? Of course! Enter “The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass” by Jon Burr. Here we have Jon’s very insightful approach to breaking down the structure of harmony and rhythm. This book gives us a solid how to create bass lines, melodies or patterns in any style although the main focus is Jazz.
Let me quote fellow Staff Writer Jason Heath here: ” The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass is an outstanding rethinking of how expert Jazz bassists actually conceptualize and navigate chord changes. Written from the perspective of a seasoned jazz veteran but set forth in a straightforward and engaging fashion, this book is an excellent addition to the library of any jazz bass student or teacher”. Thanks, Jason, I couldn’t have stated that any better!

Well, there is something here for everyone! Pick up a book (or a few) and enjoy the lifelong joy of learning. I know I will!

Happy Second Anniversary Bass Musician Magazine!

Bass Books

Music Book: 365 Days of Practice

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Music Book: 365 Days of Practice
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365 Days of Practice…

365 Days of Practice is a unique guide on how to deepen your practice routine from one of the masters of contemporary jazz! This book is the result of a project by Rick Margitza in which he posted an idea online every day during the year 2020.

The exercises cover a broad spectrum of musical ideas that range from basic bebop language to its transformation into contemporary jazz. See sample pages below.

The lines are often totally unique and will enlarge your melodic pallette considerably!

Includes an extensive introductory chapter outlining Rick’s practice method, learned from Gary Campbell, who was also Michael Brecker’s teacher.

The book also includes access to audio files for each example that Rick created and plays along with. Very helpful for ingraining the sounds of these exercises in your musical memory!

365 Days of Practice can be used by musicians of all levels, on any instrument. 171 pages. Spiral-bound. Don’t miss it!

“Rick Margitza’s 365 Days of Practice is a masterpiece! It lays out the fundamentals in such a clear fashion and adds a little spice to it as well. If you are looking for concepts and music to practice to expand your horizons as well as your vocabulary, this book will be your friend for life. Thank You, Rick!”— Jerry Bergonzi

“His new book: 365 Days of Practice by the great saxophonist Rick Margitza, explains in depth his methodology for expanding one’s Jazz Vocabulary. There are not only 365 audio play-along examples, but also the clearest, most concise and to the point explanation of this daily method of practice, and it’s genesis, that I’ve yet seen. So please avail yourself this unique learning opportunity, and check out this book!”— Randy Brecker

“Rick Margitza is a wonderful saxophonist with a unique sound and approach. He has laid out a year’s worth of daily practice exercises that pinpoint various areas of focus in the art of compositional improvising. This is a fascinating book. I look forward to absorbing the contents!”— Bob Mintzer

365 Days of Practice is available at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

Bass Book: Walking Bass Line Construction – F Blues

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Bass Book: Walking Bass Line Construction - F Blues
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Walking Bass Line Construction – F Blues by Bob Sinicrope

The most helpful beginner’s guide to walking bass lines ever published! A ‘must’ for teachers and students!

Each exercise introduces one new advancement to help you learn how to create your own bass lines. The book progresses step-by-step from simply playing roots, all the way up to complete blues choruses in the style of 18 bass legends – from ‘Pops’ Foster to Ron Carter!

Choose from four different, professionally recorded backing tracks: 1 — piano, drums; 2 — guitar, drums; 3 — B3, drums; 4 — drums only

Exercises include concepts of approach notes, enclosures, passing tones, and forward motion.

Access to detailed explanations of each concept, plus how to practice, playing with spirit, how to deepen your groove and much more!

TAB included for beginning electric bassists. Range limited to high C (1st 5 frets for electric players).

“An amazing book for anyone learning to walk jazz bass lines. A very simple but unique approach!”— Victor Wooten

”Teaches what the bassist needs to do to be musically successful. It is quite thorough and will teach the user to be an excellent bassist/musician/listener.”— Rufus Reid

”Bob Sinicrope presented this unique and effective teaching approach to creating walking bass lines many times at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Workshop. The ideas presented herein will help bassists create their own functional bass lines. I highly recommend this book.”— Lynn Seaton

Walking Bass Line Construction – F Blues is available at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar

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20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar
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20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar by Alvaro M. Gómez A…

If you like salsa and also play the electric bass guitar, then 20 Salsa Basslines is for you. Whether you have no experience in the genre or are a dedicated salsa bassist, there’s a lot to discover here. The content printed in this book will show you in detail what the bassists who contributed to immortalizing the pieces chosen to make up this music material decided at the moment of capturing their performance in the recording studio. Total attention and meticulousness have been put into the creation of these transcriptions, written down with both bassists with formal musical training (standard notation) and bassists who play strictly or mostly by ear (tablature) in mind. Certainly, in general terms the only things that an expert bassist needs to play these pieces while reading a piece of sheet music are the harmonic guide (chords) and the obbligato parts. But the intention here has been to write down with the highest possible accuracy what was left for posterity in the recordings, which, among other things, is a good way to know the style of the scrutinized bassist in-depth and eventually find playing options that may not have been thought of.

If the seasoned bassist may find this book useful to enrich his/her arsenal, the material contained here will undoubtedly constitute one of the main bases for building vocabulary and style as a salsa bassist for anyone who’s just starting to approach this genre, either out of pleasure or curiosity.

20 Salsa Basslines for Electric Bass Guitar is available at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

Bass Gym – 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments

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Bass Gym - 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments

Bass Gym – 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments…

We all know that the bass guitar is primarily a melodic and rhythmic instrument. We can
play fat huge bass notes on it with any finger technique, slapping, picking or tapping. In
most cases, however, we will play single notes that build on each other to form a bass line.
The guitarist or keyboardist is in charge of playing the chords, right? So there’s no point in
playing chords on the bass, because we’ll just be wasting our time.

Wrong! Playing chords gives us a tremendous amount of insight. We learn to hear and also ‘see’ chords. In many cases we will have to adjust our fingering and voicing (the way the chords can be interpreted).

On the bass, we very often play double stops (two notes at once) and power chords (either as a double stops with a root and a fifth or as a triple stops with a root, a fifth and an octave). These are the simplest chords that we can incorporate into our bass lines right away.
For example, Lemmy Kilmister was a master at playing power chords! And the likes of Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten and Justin Chancellor of Tool have many grooves or riffs built around playing double or triple stops.

Purely from the point of view of music theory, a chord is a chord if it consists of at least three notes – a root, a fifth and a third. It is a constellation of the simplest major and minor chords. If we proceed further in the chord hierarchy, all chords with a number seven in their name consist of four notes (the three notes mentioned above plus a major or minor seventh), ninth chords of five notes (we add the so-called ninth note, which is a second played an octave higher), eleventh chords of six notes, and finally thirteenth chords of seven notes. So suddenly you realise that you are actually using all the notes of a scale that consists of exactly seven notes (not including the octave).

Yes, the composition of chords and their whole system is closely related to intervals and scales. It is such a great building block for any playful musician.

So, let’s summarize why it’s good to master playing chords on the bass:

1) Understanding the connection between intervals, scales, and chords
2) Improving the visualization of the fingerboard
3) Expanding the register with new techniques for playing
4) Challenging left hand finger coordination
5) Understanding chord formation and note hierarchy aka voicing
6) Insight into the mindset of guitarists or pianists
7) Understanding the harmonic aspects and structure of a given piece of music

As in all the books in the Bass Gym 101 series, we have a total of 101 exercises
targeting all important aspects of the topic. In our case, chord playing and harmonic
accompaniments. Each exercise is briefly described in the title and consists of a notation and tablature that shows you where and how best to play the exercise.

I recommend being particularly consistent in the way you play the exercises. Begin with small sections – one bar at a time, slowing down and looping. Gradually add more bars and also increase the tempo.

I was especially careful to write each exercise in a practical, musical way. These are not just boring etudes or purely mechanical practice. You can take the exercises and use them straightway in a song or jam session with a drummer or other musician. Or use them in your own original composition. There are no limits to your imagination and creativity.

The main focus is on musicality, challenging progressions, fingerings and combinations which will enhace your playing skills while keeping it real and practical. Often exercises are written as passages in songs – a verse, a bridge or a chorus.

I hope this musical approach will motivate you even more to incorporate chordal playing into your bass lines. Personally, I always immediately think of a new song when playing chords and often end up playing it with the band. You never know, maybe chord playing will inspire you enough to become a songwriter and bring not just grooves or bass lines to the table, but also complete songs and arrangements.

Exercise methodology:

1-10 – practicing double stops
11-20 – practicing double stops and open strings
21-29 – tenth chords
30-39 – chords with three notes – triple stops
40-49 – grooves with double stops and chords
50-60 – seventh chords
61-65 – ninth chords
66-70 – sus4 chords
71-75 – chords using all four strings
76-80 – flamenco style chords
81-90 – voice leading
91-101 – etudes and grooves in different musical styles

Bass Gym – 101 Chords & Harmonic Accompaniments is available online at Amazon.com

All exercises are available as mp3 downloads at basslinepublishing.com/free-stuff

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Bass Books

Review: Hal Leonard’s The Bassist Fake Book

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Review: Hal Leonard’s The Bassist Fake Book

The Bassist’s Fake Book…

In one word…WOW!!! The Hal Leonard’s The Bassist Fake Book is truly remarkable, covering 250 songs from a variety of genres, complete with notation, tab, chord symbols, and lyric cues! The notation and tabs are spot-on and accurate.

If you just have one fake book for bass, this is the one! Covering just a few of the tunes included:

  • All Along the Watchtower
  • American Girl
  • Are You Gonna Go My Way
  • Beat It
  • Billie Jean
  • Brick House
  • Carry On My Wayward Son
  • China Grove
  • Cissy Strut
  • Detroit Rock City
  • Drift Away
  • Hey Jealously
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • Lady Marmalade
  • Limelight
  • Oh Pretty Woman
  • Play That Funky Music
  • And the list goes on!

Hal Leonard’s The Bassist Fake Book would be the perfect gift for any bassist and it is available in both soft cover and as a digital book.

Available online at halleonard.com and amazon.com

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