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The Bass Players Guide to Scales & Modes by Stuart Clayton – A Review by Rhayn Jooste

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This is a review of the iPad version of a book The Bass Players Guide to Scales & Modes written by Stuart Clayton and published by Bassline Publishing in 2012. It is slick, well thought out, with a clean design, utilizing the iPad’s many innovations, such as multi gesture, indexing of pages and its ability to embed multi media within the pages. The book’s content was inspired by Clayton’s teaching for the Brighton Institute of Music in the UK, and it does exactly what it says on the tin, and more.
The production of this book is current, distinct and on the iPad ver. 3 is nothing short of breathe taking. The pictures and illustrations are crisp, the video is inspiring and the layout of the notation is clear. The pages can be pinched closed or zoomed in with the merest touch of your fingers with absolutely no latency or lag. The notation and copy is large enough to read, and Clayton has kindly tabbed out all examples. There is the ability to add notes and highlight sentences or sections. This not only aids learning but allows for a more personal interactive approach to utilising this book on the iPad. Also included is a handy flash study cards section, so you can test yourself or your students on the terminology found in the glossary.
Each chapter progresses on from the next, starting with the humble C major scale and its mode, then moving into more advanced topics such as harmonic and melodic minor, diminished and whole tone scales, as well as favourites such as the pentatonic and blues scale. He covers arpeggios, how to pattern scales, play through the cycle of fives and most importantly how to utilise all this knowledge musically. This is all not only based on Clayton’s teaching but also on how he was taught himself. If you have ever seen his playing you will instantly see that this education has paid dividends.
The book’s subject matter is well laid out, each chapter beginning with a concise introduction of the topic covered which moves swiftly into the practical aspect with examples and then into musical utilisation in the form of licks. A variety of genres and musical situations are covered. The book’s strength really starts here. Gone are the days of learning from books with either a cassette or a CD attached which had a miscellanea of tracks, examples and backing tracks to help you. 
 No longer will you need to search through to find the example you’re working on, hold the page open and then grab your instrument. Each example on this version, that has music, has a player embedded in the page. So you can set the iPad up, read the dots, play the main track and then jam along to the back track. All with a couple of pushes and never having left your chair. Its real strength is in the ability to add notes and highlight text as you go. This insures that what you learn is retained in the manner in which you first read and understood it. The iPad’s ability to be packed and carted around with you means all of this is available to be poured over wherever you are. A handy thing if you travel a lot.
This book has been considered in its design and its presentation of the content, from the opening video to the musical examples, each chapter advances from the next. The prose is succinct and set out clearly, with concise and relevant illustrations and examples. However it is not for beginners, and Clayton himself stresses this in the introduction. To really get the most from these “essential tools” you need the basics of music theory in place, you also really need to know your fretboard inside out, as there are no boxes or geometry in sight. However Clayton stresses that his method is a “more thorough and musical way of learning scales, modes and arpeggios”.
If you are looking to complete your knowledge of scales and modes and want a more musically based syllabus, then this iPad book is for you. It has been written as a “complete guide” to the topic and so even professionals will find something of use within its pages. Its design and ethos are the perfect tool for teaching this sometimes arcane topic and has been well grounded in musical applications. A perfect tool to add to any iBook library.

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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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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