A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Posts tagged “Cannibal Corpse

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.


Alex Webster – Extreme Metal Bass (book & cd)

Apologies in advance for what turned out to be a lengthy write-up, but I was really excited to receive this book. I’ve been looking forward to it as soon as I heard that it was being written, and it makes me regret more than ever the months that I took off from practicing.

So, I preordered Extreme Metal Bass by Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse from Amazon in July, and today, it arrived! It was supposed to get here in September but was pushed back for some reason. Anyhow, I put off answering some client emails for a bit this morning and read the book (I got back to the emails afterward). I really like what he’s done. Here’s an overview:

Introduction: Some background on why he wrote the book (much of it has to do with a lack of material covering this genre of metal as a whole). He also speaks about how the techniques used in metal bass playing aren’t defined by hard-and-fast rules and encourages experimentation.

Notes: This goes a little into genre and the umbrella term “extreme metal”. It describes extreme metal as originating in thrash and moving on to death and black metal, and even deathcore and metalcore, but also says not to get hung up on any of this – the techniques are applicable to many styles of metal (and I’d hazard to guess other kinds of music as well in varying capacities).


Lesson 1: 3/31/2011 – Ex. 11 (E String)

I fell off the boat again for the past 2 days due to house stuff, editing wifey’s statement of purpose for another grad school and work stuff. Earlier today, I picked up the HL Method and went over what I’d worked on the other day. I did the open string exercises (while reading the music) pretty quickly and moved on to the E string again.

I’m trying to go slow, for now. So, I did the first exercise (Ex 10) , which was just E-F-G-F-E on the E string using whole notes. For those of you who just do tab, that’s 0-1-3-1-0 on the bottom (thickest) string. Its easy enough. I’m beginning to understand the differences between tab and notation now though. With tab, I’d never have been able to say what kind of note to play on that string. I don’t know of a way to indicate whole, half, quarter, or whatever in tab. However, with notation (especially since I’m so new to it) I don’t know which E to start on. There are E notes on other strings on the bass, and if you’re using standard tuning, there’s an E on the E string, up at the 12th fret. If the book didn’t specify to use the E string and first 3 frets, I’d have probably been lost. Maybe, as I learn more, where to play on the neck will be made apparent.


Alex Webster (bassist for Cannibal Corpse)

Interesting video of Alex Webster where he goes over how he plays and mechanical theory:

 Alex Webster Interview/Lesson in Sick Sounds Issue 1

Alex Webster is one of the more famous bassists in death metal. He is one of the original members of Cannibal Corpse and also plays in an instrumental outfit called Blotted Science. In the accompanying video interview for Sick Sounds, he goes over right and left-hand technique, and describes some of his playstyle.