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Bass Book Reviews: In this Issue

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Review by Raul Amador –

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One of the fun things about book reviews is that I get to experience lots of interesting and varied material! That said let’s have a look at what we have in our “Book-Bag” for this issue.

“Practice Made Perfect” by Roberto Moretti.

No matter what you do, you have to practice to get good at it or to grow enough to reach your goals. This applies to Bass playing but also carries over to anything in life. Roberto has dissected the whole process and by doing so, he can help us learn to practice more effectively and easier.

We start with an explanation of how learning happens.
Next, we have a “System” that we can apply to our particular skill to enhance our practice efforts.
Lastly, Roberto covers a list of additional things to consider.
This book is an easy read and full of useful tips that I intend to apply to my practice routine as well as to life in general. It might help you too!

“The Les Paul Guitar Book” by Tony Bacon

OK, I know this is not about Basses, but in honor of Les Paul who passed last August 13th, I want to mention this book.

Here is a photo-illustrated book that covers the entire Gibson Les Paul story. Loaded with details and well organized, this tome guides you through the evolution of these guitars.

There is a massive reference listing that covers models from 1952 until 2009.

This book is a must if you are a Les Paul Guitar fan and still a good read even if you aren’t!

“Green Day… 21st Century Breakdown” music book from Alfred publishing

Are you a “Green Day” fan? Did you enjoy this CD? Do you want to play it? You read TAB?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is the book for you. It covers all the music from the May 15, 2009 release quite nicely. There is no CD with this book, but then you probably already have it…Enjoy!

Now lets discuss some books that will help build your musical foundation and take you further along the path of musical growth.

“Theory for the Contemporary Bassist” by Tracy Walton

This book is intended to be ” The ultimate guide for Blues, Rock and Jazz bassists”. I think it does a great job at covering an area often overlooked…. Theory. Written to start at the beginning and using an easy, step by step approach, there is a ton of information here for you to get under your belt!

Topics covered include:
Scales, Keys and Key Signatures
Intervals
Introducing chords, 7th Chords, Expanding your Chord Vocabulary, Chord Progressions
Pentatonic Scales, Major Scales, Minor Scales
Modes of the Major scale
Passing tones and Approach Notes
The Twelve Bar Blues
Rhythm Changes
Bebop Scales revisiting Slash chords

Lastly I will point out that this book has worksheets for self-study and presents examples in Standard Music Notation as well as TAB.

“Foundation Exercises for Bass” by Chuck Sher

Here is a book that is for every kind and style of bass out there!

Beginners:
I find that this book would be best if used with a live teacher. There is a lot of very concentrated information and it is all Standard Music Notation. Working with your teacher, you can get a lot from this book.

Intermediate level players:
The content here is designed to help you improve if you already have some kind of foundation.
This book is structured so it can be used in lessons and offers the flexibility to be custom tailored to each students needs.

So, all you teachers out there, you might want to check this one out to see if it fits with your teaching approach!

“Intro to Polyrhythms. Contracting and Expanding Time within Form” Vol. 1 by Ari Hoenig & Johannes Weidenmuller

Here we have a very interesting DVD/Book set. Well beyond beginner’s levels (best for intermediate to advanced players) this one works on the more percussive, advanced rhythm element of music, Jazz in particular.

Double bassists and drummers will benefit most from this one but there is material for pianists as well which can carry over to all instrumentalists.

If Jazz trio stuff is your cup of tea, here is a big teapot! Check it out!

Well, that is it for now… Happy reading!


All Books Available at: www.Bassbooks.com and Amazon.com

Interested in Bass Books, CD’s and DVD’s? If so,
Join the discussion in the Bass Musician Magazine Community!

Bass Books

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

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Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

I was intrigued when The Bastard Instrument showed up on my desk… let’s dig in!

When we dive into the history of our beloved instrument, the bass, we find roots that go back as far as the 15th century. This instrument was a member of the violin family and was for the longest time, an acoustic instrument. As the years passed and music changed, there was a need for the instrument to evolve and the electric bass was born.

Comparatively, the electric bass is a relatively new instrument with its earliest appearances dating back to the 1930s and it is exciting to be an electric bass player while this history unfolds around us. Fortunately for us and future generations to come, Professor Brian F. Wright has taken on the herculean task of documenting the trajectory of the electric bass with this excellent book.

The Bastard Instrument presents an extraordinary amount of fine details about the instrument itself, the development of the amplification to handle its output, the pioneers that dared play it, the rapidly evolving music that flourished because of its presence and so much more. 

When I first started reading this book, I noticed that it felt a tad academic, like a textbook (it might be one someday) or a doctoral thesis, but to present all this information accurately, this approach is more than appropriate. Another detail that might be a bit of a spoiler is that the book only gets us up to the late ’60s. I was left wanting more as we know that so much has happened in the bass world since that time frame; I hope there is another volume in the works to get us up to the present!

All in all, “The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass” is a must-read for all of us who play electric bass and understand its essential place in music.

I found that there was a lot that I already knew but also quite a bit that I was unaware of. I believe that to know and understand where you are, you must know the history of exactly how you got here.

Highly recommended.

The Bastard Instrument is available at Amazon.com (beginning July 2024)

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Bass Books

Review: The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health

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Review: The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health

I have often thought that it would be great if the doctors who delivered us as newborn babies provided us with a user manual to help us navigate through life in the best way possible. Now Dr. Randall Kertz, D.C. has produced a manual specifically designed to address the many possible afflictions plaguing us bass players.

Many of you will remember volumes 1 & 2 of this book and our first review in 2007. The new complete guide combines the two volumes and features over 20 pages of new material including interviews, techniques, and conditions.

If you play bass, you can read this book cover to cover and walk away with a ton of relevant and helpful knowledge. Another option is to search out issues relevant to you specifically (I found quite a few of my own with helpful options). This is possible because the book is very nicely organized into six chapters that address Pain, Conditions, Techniques, Road Issues, Inspirational Q&A with some of the biggest names in the bass community (too many to list here) and finally How to get relief.

All said, this book is essential if you play either electric or upright bass to the point where they should issue you one when you get that first bass in your hands.

Lastly,  if you have this book and you have specific questions, Dr. Kertz is readily available through his website, www.drkertz.com. As if that was not enough, he has a wealth of knowledge you can find right here on our website at bassmusicianmagazine.com/author/randallkertz

Get this book… Live long and play bass well into the years! Available on Amazon.com

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Bass Books

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

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The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health is now available!

A compilation of Volumes 1 & 2 of the acclaimed Bassist’s Guide with 20+ pages of new interviews, techniques, and conditions, The Complete Guide puts everything in one convenient place.

Available at Amazon.com and from our friends at Bassline Publishing

Follow Dr. Kertz’s Bass Player Health at Bass Musician Magazine

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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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