A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for April 7, 2011

Lesson 1: 4/7/2011 – Ex. 16-17 (E String)

I did it. 😉

I did all of the exercises on the E string again, and this time, when I got to Ex 16 & 17, I popped in the CD and, for the first time, played along with it. I only opened the CD packages last night, before writing those last 2 blog entries. Playing with the CD made things work really well.

I warmed up with scale patterns, meaning to do 5 mins, but actually did closer to 15. Then, I grabbed the Hal Leonard book and forced myself to go through the same exercises on the E string again, to make sure I could read each note. That took about 10 mins.

After that, I moved from the note exercises to the “songs”. They’re actually 8-bar exercises with musical accompaniments. The first is called “Little Rock” and the 2nd is called “Kinda Folky“. Playing while reading went by very smoothly with the track playing in the background. Hearing the other instruments makes anticipating the next note easier.



Carol Kaye Interview

BASS PLAYER: Carol Kaye Interview

I came across the above video the other day in a thread on the Talkbass forums. I found it fascinating, especially in light of my worrying over scales. It looks like there’s potentially even more to worry about!

Anyhow, for those of you who don’t know her, Carol Kaye is legendary. She’s one of the most prominent bassists on the planet. Since the late 1950’s, she’s recorded with somewhere in the neighborhood of a bajillion artists and teaches on top of that. She’s responsible for buttloads of many of the most memorable basslines in western popular music and, I believe, jazz. She’s also written a lot of books on bass, including her famous How To Play The Electric Bass (1969).

I found the video interview interesting because of the bass parts she plays and her explanation that those lines can’t be found from learning scales. They’re chordal. Apparently, there’s a whole historic method of playing that was popular in older styles of jazz that’s almost completely gone from our modern playing. It makes me kind of sad to know that, even though I know that everything has its lifetime. Someday, if I gain enough proficiency, I’m going to learn that stuff.

[edit 4.13.2011] I just started looking at other blogs on WordPress and came across a great article about Carol Kaye from a site about Brian Wilson (Beach Boys). Here’s a link to it: Carol Kaye on Recording with Brian

[edit 1.4.2012] A thread was started on TalkBass which explored a key part of Carol’s video which I’ve been pondering (with my limited knowledge) for months: what Carol said about chords vs. scales. I wrote a blog entry about it, with quotes from the thread which helped her perspective make more sense to me:

[edit 2.23.2015] I know what she’s talking about at the end now – its the Cycle of Fourths! I’ve been using that to memorize the notes on the fretboard, but there’s more to it than that.

[edit 4.10.2016] It just occurred to me that I should link this to the other Carol Kaye interview I posted in 2014: Carol Kaye: Session Legend Interview

Practice: 4/6/2011 – I need a plan!

Stagnating. 😦

Too much stuff is happening. The client beta of version 3.0 of our software started on Monday, and now family from overseas is staying with us for the next 3 weeks: 4 adults and a 2-year old girl. They’re nice people and I want to be accomodating but the house isn’t ready yet. Practice came in spurts (see how I did that?) for the past few days. I managed to sneak in an hour, in bits and pieces, today. Yesterday was 30 mins.

The problem I’m having is lack of focus. I think I need to sit down and write out a plan before I go forward. I haven’t moved past the E string in the Hal Leonard book yet. That’s going on the list for this week (get from E, F & G to F#/Gb and G#/Ab). I’ve been doing the same exercises (major and minor scales, blues scales) but its just the patterns. I don’t have the theory solid. I need to keep going with reading and learning the notes on the neck.