A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Practice: 4/17/15 and some thoughts

Its 2:30 in the AM. I should be sleeping, but if you follow this blog, then you’ve heard that before. I spent the last 2 hours reading Talkbass and watching videos from different bands/ensembles that Adam Neely is in. He’s primarily a bassist and, although young, has produced some of the best technique videos I’ve ever seen. When I picked up my bass 4 years ago and searched the internet for guidance on which side was up, his videos offered me the most clarity and sensible information. Reading up on him back then, I gained an immediate appreciation for his background in music – not just bass, and for his ability to convey information via video.

Anyway, I haven’t looked at his website in a while, and I somehow burned an hour checking out videos from Sungazer, Bright and Loud and Mass Extinction Event, three of the groups he’s with – he’s actually with several more, and not just in a bass capacity. I should take the time to go to some of his live performances. At one time, I wanted to approach him for lessons. He moved from DC to NY to get his Masters in Jazz Composition from Manhattan School of Music, but I think that for now, I’m going to proceed with working through the Hal Leonard Bass Method and see where I end up – if I make it through.

Ok, with that out of the way. After watching some of Adam’s work and being really amazed by his playing, composition and understanding of theory, I picked up my bass and went through the Notes on the A-String exercises in the HLBM. The only one that slows me down now is the last one – exercise 30, or Cattle Crossing.

I can play it through, but I make mistakes when notes switch from the A string to the G string. I really want to have it down solidly before I move onto the next page, so I’m going to focus on it later in the day. I figure, when I get to the point that I can play it through 5 times without mistakes, then I’ll be ready to turn the page. That’s been my test for most of the other exercises in the book. I’ve also come to the conclusion that its a great warm-up exercise for now, and probably will be for some time to come.

I’m looking forward to completing enough of the book that I can jump over to the Easy Pop Bass Lines books that supplement the HLBM and play songs from them. I think that when I finish the A string exercises, I might be able to play Imagine, from the Beatles, because when I looked at it last week or the week before, I think I remember seeing that it only used notes on the E and A strings.

I’m also curious… after I finish book 1, will I be able to read enough to work on the 1st exercise in Jon Liebman‘s Bass Aerobics book? I had started working from that last year, and the 1st exercise was already kicking my butt. I photocopied the exercise and wrote out all of the note names, since I wasn’t reading at all at that point. It still beat me up, and I didn’t know the durations of any notes, so what I was playing, even with the right notes, were definitely the wrong durations. I want to get to the point that I can work through that book, and be able to use it and the Easy Pop Bass Lines books in tandem with the HLBM.

Also, a month from today, I’ll be 40. Get off my lawn.

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