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Jeff Berlin’s Bass Solo on an Allan Holdsworth Composition – Water On The Brain Part II

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lucaspickfordbio-1When I was a student at the Berklee College of Music waaay back in the day (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth ) it had only been a few years since Jaco Pastorius had died and there wasn’t yet the whole new generation of amazing post-Jaco bass players that exists now. There was no YouTube where you could simply click your mouse and hear thousands of fantastic young bassists from all over the planet. Jeff Berlin had always stood in Jaco’s shadow (as did most bass players save an exceptional few) but I had heard him when I was 14 years old playing with guitarist Allan Holdsworth.

Jeff was one of the very few guys at that time who really had formidable chops on the bass guitar. Jeff was a violin prodigy as a child but sort of rebelled and became a jazz/fusion bass player. Jeff is still around and now you CAN hear him on YouTube playing all kinds of cool stuff. Well this particular bass solo on the Allan Holdsworth composition called “Water On The Brain Part II” (don’t ask if there’s a Part I because there isn’t) from Allan’s mini-EP called “Road Games” absolutely blew me away when I first heard it. In fact, it STILL blows me away today! “Road Games” is out of print but you can still find copies for sale on EBAY.

Jeff Berlin Bass Solo on Water On The Brain Part II-pg1

Jeff Berlin Bass Solo on Water On The Brain Part II-pg1

 

Jeff Berlin Bass Solo on Water On The Brain Part II-pg2

Jeff Berlin Bass Solo on Water On The Brain Part II-pg2

 

Allan Holdsworth-Road Games CD Cover03 Holdsworth Water On The Brain Part Two – Audio File

Jeff’s solo begins at 1:03 into the song and goes until 2:12. It’s a short but incredibly technically demanding solo all played on Jeff’s mid 70’s Fender Precision Bass. Because much of this solo is played in the high-upper register of the 4-string bass, I could have notated it using Treble Clef but way back in 1989 when I actually did this transcription, I chose to notate the whole solo in Bass Clef. However to avoid the excessive use of ledger lines in Bass Clef I used the notation “8va” which means to play the notes one octave higher than where they’re written so pay close attention to where the “8va” signs are. If you have a 4-string bass, you might try learning this solo on it. It will really show you how to use the ENTIRE register of your bass, which I believe is really important no matter how many strings you have. Too many bass players are guilty of only being comfortable in one area of their instrument. I see so many young guys who play 5-string but almost never really utilize the low B string. Why not? Whatever bass you learn this solo on you’ll be a better improvisor for having done so, plus it will give your chops a serious workout. As always go slow, but your ultimate goal should always be to learn the solo so that you can play a long with the track up to speed. Have fun and good luck.

 
-Lucas Pickford

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

Visit Online:

markegan.com
markegan.bandcamp.com
Apple Music
Amazon Music

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Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

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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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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @meridian_guitars @adamovicbasses @anacondabasses @mgbassguitars @xylembassguitar @officialspector @edwinpaanakker @alesvychodilbasses @boyarskycg @dmarkguitars

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Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

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IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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