Funked-up Exercises for Dummies
So, I grabbed wifey from the train after work, as is our usual routine. She asked if we could go to Barnes and Noble before heading home, because she wanted to look for a graphic novel from a writer who she’s having present at her workplace tomorrow. She organized an initiative to introduce graphic novels and some manga to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she’s a librarian, a few months ago. That project has since been passed off to someone else, due to some political rationalization, but she decided to help with tomorrow’s showing, because even though she’s hands-off, it was originally her baby.
Anyway, en-route to the store (or more precisely, while I was in the store), wifey stopped off to look at dresses or shoes or something at a lady-store. I went through B&N, and, after getting sucked into the science section as always, I pulled myself away and headed into music. The result of that journey is that I picked up two new prizes:
1. Bass Guitar Exercises for Dummies by Patrick Pfeiffer
I’ve only had this book for a few hours now and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy it earlier. This is essentially the companion to Bass Guitar for Dummies (2nd ed). It has practical exercises (as per the title) for many of the concepts introduced via theory in Patrick’s first book. I’ve looked at this book several times when I was in B&N before, but always passed on it because I thought that I had enough books with exercises and the whole internet at my fingertips.
Well, all I can say now is, I wish I’d grabbed this when I bought the first book. BGE has exercises for scales, chords and arpeggios, groove patterns that also splice in scales and chords, different musical styles, exercises to help with learning intervals and extended scales and tons more that I’m not going to be able to describe with meaning until I’ve done the exercises and locked them into my poor tender head.
I actually sat and read the entire book in 3 hours. I didn’t even mean to do that. Wifey was reading a magazine about lady stuff and I was reading next to her. My intent was just to get a feel for what’s contained inside. I went through the contents, skipped to the end (you’re advised to do so because a chapter on constructing practice sessions is at the end, and I read the chapter after it as well, which listed 10 songs and their bassists as examples to reference when exploring certain concepts in the book) and then went back to the beginning and ended up reading it straight through.
A lot of the book is repetitive, but that’s not a bad thing. It introduces topics, like scales, gives you instructions as to how to play them, then exercises to accompany them, and then suggests playing each through in different keys (in every key, actually) and then links them together into music later on. In a very thorough way, it expands on the practical aspects of Bass Guitar for Dummies. There’s no theory in this book. For that, you should get the first one, but what this does have virtually guarantees physical command of each concept. Combined with the theory in Patrick’s first offering, it becomes a very powerful resource. I’m looking forward to using this as one of the main sources for my own practice, along with Hal Leonard’s Complete Bass Method.
Anyone interested in a more detailed overview of the contents of the book should check the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon’s website.
2. Bass Player Presents: The Funky Bass Book (edited by Bill Leigh & foreword by Bootsy Collins)
Now I haven’t had the chance to go through this book yet, but what it promises is a collection of “interviews and analyses from both groundbreaking old-school innovators and ongoing revolutionaries”. The names on the back of the book include Larry Graham, Anthony Jackson, Chuck Rainey, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten, Meshell Ndegeocello and Andrew Gouche. I’d buy it for Bootsy alone though. 😉
The book is supposed to include interviews with a bunch of bass players who are versed in funk to some great extent and through the course of its contents we’re acquainted with their influences, techniques, inspirations and insights and other such points of interest. I love reading about musicians, and when they’re bass players, its even more enjoyable, so I’m sure that once I dig into this, I’ll come back smiling. Maybe I’ll do an update later on, with interesting tidbits from each interview.
[edit 10.26.2011] The Funky Bass Book can be bought at BassBooks.com: