A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Posts tagged “Alex Webster

Weekend antics

So, this weekend brought some interesting bass-related activities that I haven’t gotten to write about until now. Chief amongst these is that I played with someone else – namely, my wife, on piano, and I tried to apply some of what I was practicing from the Building Rock Bass Lines book to a guitar & voice-driven song from Shelby over at Sound Waves & Spray Paint (formerly Grrl + Guitar).

Beethoven can't hear youI didn’t do anything fancy. With wifey, we’ve always talked about learning instruments and trying to write something together – we’re hoping for doom metal or post-metal once I know which is the pointy end of my bass. She took piano lessons when she was a little girl, but stopped when she was still small. So, its been more than 20 years since she’s really played anything.

I showed her what a chord progression is. We actually just used the one I’ve been doing exercises with from BRBL. Its [Am-C-G-D] [Am-C-G-E]. I tried to come up with something simple, on the fly, which ended up being primarily root notes, and at some point, an approach tone, as I’m trying to use them to kind of walk to the next chord, since reading more about them in that book by Joe Riposo. If I remember right, I started with the notes from an Am triad, and the rest is mostly roots.

What I found interesting, since chord progressions are new to her (I think she was learning more about reading music when she was small, than theoretical stuff like progressions) is that she seemed to also play single notes and root notes on the piano. I think that once we make time, and she gets to brush up more, it’ll be fun to see what she can do with piano chords with me supporting on bass. I’m also curious about moving away from roots and playing more 3rds and 5ths later on… but that’s for another time, and also, only if I can make it fit and sound decent.

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Alex Webster & Steve DiGiorgio

Had to fan-gasm. This showed up on my FB. Alex Webster just posted a pic of himself with Steve DiGiorgio. That’s 2 of my favorite bassists in one shot.

AW & SD

Also – am I the only person not on Instagram yet?


HLBM 35: Notes on the D-String

Busy day today. I didn’t get to practice until late again, and if I don’t go to bed shortly after writing this, I’m going to try to get another session in. I ran through both 12-bar blues exercises in the HLBM and I’m able to play them both fairly fluidly – which is surprising to me because, up until now, I really haven’t worked on songs. I’ve mainly worked on exercises, learning basic theory, fretboard memorization (which I have to really get back to) and recently, reading standard notation.

So, with a basic competence playing the blues under my belt, I moved onto the next lesson in the HLBM: Notes on the D String. Like with the other strings, we’re introduced to the open string and first 3 frets. The notes we looked at were D, E and F (open string, 2nd fret and 3rd fret, respectively).

For some reason, I’m not getting it as well as E and A. I’m playing the two initial exercises (38 & 39) without too much error, but I keep calling out the notes as E, F, G instead of D, E, F. I think its because I never really practiced on the D and G strings much – at least not on the lower frets – so its new to me, and in my head, having an E and F are somehow crossing wires and making me think of the E string. Hopefully, I’ll work that out of my system tonight or in the next day or two.

Also, I was curious about where I was in the method. Its divided into 3 books (they were sold individually until being combined into this Complete Edition). I looked at the table of contents and Book 1 has 51 pages. With these exercises, I’m on page 23, so I’m about halfway through Book 1. It doesn’t always feel like I’ve made much progress until I look at things outside of the book and surprise myself with my ability to understand or figure out sheet music.

I took a little time last night looking through one of Ed Friedland‘s other books, Building Rock Bass Lines, and Alex Webster‘s book, Extreme Metal Bass. They’re on my list for when I finish this method – both of those and Jon Liebman‘s Bass Aerobics. I was able to read the notation for a lot of the exercises that I saw. 😉 I haven’t been introduced to rests yet, but I know they’re coming, and haven’t worked with 16th notes or triplets yet, but I can recognize them and actually read and tap out time accurately (well, as far as I can tell without waking the wife up with a metronome while I read on the tablet at night).

So, progress is being made, but at my snail’s pace. I still have to carve out an evening to get in contact with my guitarist friend, Ray, and work with him this week as well. I do think that I’m beginning to build momentum, so I’m actually going to run off now and start that 2nd practice session.


Alex Webster – Conquering Dystopia “Kufra at Dusk” Playthrough

I love watching Alex Webster play. Here’s a fantastic playthrough video of Kufra at Dusk, from the instrumental act Conquering Dystopia.

Alex Webster- Conquering Dystopia “Kufra at Dusk” Playthrough


Berklee Clinic Jam with Alex Webster, Victor Wooten & Steve Bailey (2013)

I saw an abridged version of this 2 years ago with poor sound quality. This is considerably better and shows Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) holding down the groove with Victor Wooten & Steve Bailey noodling around on top – all on bass. I love all 3 players, but Alex is one of my personal favorites.

For the most part though, it doesn’t look like Victor & Steve enjoy the type of groove that Alex lays down. I think they’re used to jazzier stuff, which is interesting for me to see because I always hear that if you learn jazz, you can play just about anything, but I didn’t see them really get into it like I’d have hoped that they would.

Alex Webster Berklee Clinic Jam with Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey

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The Hungarian Minor Scale

I know, I know. I’ve been posting very sporadically as of late. What’s even worse is that last Monday (3/4) was the one-year anniversary of my starting this blog. I had such high hopes of posting about all of the things I’ve learned over the course of my first year studying bass and looking back at my fumbles. What’s even worse than all of THAT is my dismal practice routine since December… namely, there really hasn’t been one. I’ll confess my sins in a later post though. For now…

I had a little bit of free time this week and dug out Extreme Metal Bass by Alex Webster. I read through the intro again (its been a while) and then went on to the opening “Technique” chapter. The first thing he presents us with is the Natural Minor (Aeolian) Scale. I think that I have a handle on that, although I know it can be better, and I wanted to try something different, so I went on to the next item: the Hungarian Minor Scale.

I have to say… I love it! I love the sound. I can see why its also called the Gypsy scale.

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Flexing muscles long unused

The Road to Nowhere…

Its been a while since I posted, and its been even longer since I last practiced. Until today, I don’t think I’ve touched my basses since sometime in December. Things have heated up a lot at home and at work, and my learning to play has suffered for it… there’s give and take, like so much in life and I’m hoping to be able to take more time again to dedicate to practice.

Work has gotten insane recently. I work six days a week:  Sunday – Friday. Its been this way for 8 years. Next month will make it 9 years for me at my current company, and its beginning to pay off. We’re gaining traction in the industry. Our main product is a clinical electronic medical record (EMR) program for nursing homes which I’ve been presenting to potential clients more as of late, and the maturity of our design is beginning to turn heads away from all the flash-in-the-pan companies with governmental backing and political ties that have surfaced in the past few years (I don’t want to get into the corruption chat, but its a dirty business wherever Medicare & Medicaid dollars come into play – we keep our heads out of that nonsense).

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