At a time when there are tons of books dedicated to the music of specific bands, it is very refreshing to find one that gives you a comprehensive look at more than just songs; Jon Liebman’s Rock Bass does just this.
Rock Bass opens with a forward by bass legend Billy Sheehan, after which Jon shares his vast musical knowledge on this topic. He breaks down rock music as it has evolved throughout the decades, starting with the ’50’s all the way up to the ‘90’s.
Jon summarizes precisely the politics and culture in each decade, as this so strongly influenced the creative environment of each historical period. Personally, I found many of the details fascinating; as I grew up during those times, Jon helped to fill in gaps in my own knowledge.
Next, there is a detailed description of the music of each decade, with the key influences and characteristics of that time; essentially you get a panoramic view of rock and roll and an understanding of how it progressed as it did. This approach is an essential step in preserving the essence of this musical genre. Yes, you can ‘play’ any kind of music, but understanding the history and culture that influenced the music, brings life to the notes and phrasing, in-turn adding depth to your playing.
Once you have the foundational concepts behind each period, Jon gives you the specific grooves from each of these decades and you can see how they fit into the iconic feel of each rock variety, in the styles of many notable players. All the music is notated in TAB and standard format.
This book comes with a CD that includes the guitar, drums and bass for each groove. You can tune down the bass and play that part along with the rhythm section or you can turn the rhythm down and hear the detailed nuances of the bass.The CD includes 99 full tracks and 131 music examples so you have a lot to work on!
Lastly, you will find an extensive overview of the gear that made the sound of rock what it was. This comes in especially handy if you are trying to replicate a specific feel and are tired of a trial-and-error approach.
Jon Liebman’s “Rock Bass” is an absolute must read if you call yourself a rock bassist; you owe it to yourself to fully understand the roots of this music. For non-rock bassists, there is such a wealth of music included that you too will come away with serious growth in both musicality and technique.