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Bass Guitar for Dummies 3rd Edition


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Table of Contents

Foreword xv Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 3 Icons Used in This Book 4 Beyond the Book 4 Where to Go from Here 5 Part 1: Getting Started With the Bass Guitar 7 Chapter 1: The Very Basics of Bass 9 Discovering the Differences between the Bass and Its High-Strung Cousins 9 Understanding the Bass Player's Function in a Band 10 Forging the link between harmony and rhythm 11 Moving the song along 11 Keeping time 11 Establishing rhythms 12 Looking cool 12 Dissecting the Anatomy of a Bass Guitar 12 The neck 13 The body 14 The innards 15 On a Need-to-Know "Basses": Gearing Up to Play Bass 15 Coordinating your right and left hands 16 Mastering major and minor chord structures 16 Tuning your bass 16 Combining scales and chords 16 Playing Grooves, Solos, and Fills 17 Creating grooves and riffs 17 Treating yourself and your audience to solos and fills 17 Experimenting with Different Musical Genres 18 Stocking Up on Some Bass Gear 19 Buying a bass 19 Getting an amplifier 19 Accessorizing your bass 20 Giving Your Bass Some Good Ol' TLC 20 Chapter 2: Gaining the Tools and Skills to Play 21 Getting a Handle on Your Bass 21 Holding Your Bass 22 Strapping on your bass: Strings to the outside 23 Voila! Standing with your bass 23 Sitting with your bass 24 Placing Your Hands in the Proper Position 25 Positioning your left hand 25 Positioning your right hand 27 Reading a Fingerboard Diagram 33 The language of music: Scales and chords 33 Viewing a diagram of the major and minor scales 36 Playing open-string scales 37 Finding the notes on the neck 37 Identifying intervals: They're always in the same place 39 Tuning Your Bass Guitar 41 Reference pitch sources to use when playing alone 41 Reference pitch sources to use when playing with others 43 Tuning the bass guitar to itself 45 Playing a Song on Your Bass Guitar 53 Making some noise with the open strings 53 Closing the strings 54 Chapter 3: Warming Up: Getting Your Hands in Shape to Play 57 Understanding the Sound Your Bass Makes 58 Performing Right-Hand Warm-Ups 58 Right-hand same-string strokes 59 Controlling the strength in your striking hand: Right-hand accents 61 Skating across the strings: Right-hand string crossing 62 Coordinating Your Left Hand with Your Right Hand 63 Doing finger permutations 64 Muting the strings to avoid the infamous hum 65 Putting it all together 66 Part 2: The Bass-ics of Playing 69 Chapter 4: Reading, 'Riting, and Rhythm 71 Reading Notation: No Pain, Much Gain 71 Chord notation: The chord chart 72 Music notation: Indicating rhythm and notes 72 Tablature notation: Showing strings, frets, and sequence 73 The vocal chart: Using lyrics and chords for a singer or songwriter 75 Finding Any Note in Any Octave 75 Using the Metronome: You Know, That Tick-Tock Thing 80 Setting the metronome 80 Playing along 80 Dividing Music into Phrases, Measures, and Beats 81 The quarter note 82 The eighth note 82 The sixteenth note 83 The half note 83 The whole note 83 The triplet 83 The dot 84 The tie 84 The rest 85 Discovering How to Read Music 85 Rhythmic chunks 85 Interval chunks 86 What comes up must come down 88 Playing Your First Song While Reading Music 90 Chapter 5: Understanding Major and Minor Structures 93 Building Major and Minor Scales 94 Major scales 95 Minor scales 96 Building Chords: One Note at a Time, Please 97 Triads: The three most important notes of a chord 98 7th chords: Filling out the triad 101 Getting your kicks with boogie licks 104 Inversions: Down is Up, and Up is Down 106 Major chord inversions 106 Minor chord inversions 108 Spicing Up Your Sound: The Seven Main Modes (Scales) 110 Using Chromatic Tones: All the Other Notes 115 Chromatic tones within the box 115 Chromatic tones outside the box 116 Bringing a Groove to Life with Dead Notes (Weird but True) 117 Playing dead - notes, that is 118 Raking dead notes 118 Sampling Accompaniments 120 Using your accompaniments in a tune 123 Keeping your groove gloriously ambiguous 124 Part 3: Making the Moves, Creating the Grooves 127 Chapter 6: Creating the Groove 129 Anatomy of a Groove: Putting Together the Necessary Elements 129 Getting your groove skeleton out of the closet 130 Playing a song using only the groove skeleton 132 Choosing the right notes for a groove 133 Creating Your Own Groove 136 Covering the "basses": Creating dominant, minor, and major grooves 136 Waggin' the groove tail 144 Movin' and groovin' from chord to chord 146 Finding the perfect fit: The designer groove 150 Grooving with a Drummer 153 The bass drum 153 The snare drum 154 The hi-hat 155 Jammin' with Other Musicians 155 Preparing your ear 156 Listening for "the note" 156 Pivoting the note 159 Getting Creative with Existing Grooves 161 Altering a (famous) groove 162 Simplifying a groove 164 Chapter 7: Going Solo: Playing Solos and Fills 167 Soloing: Your Moment to Shine 167 Playing with the blues scale: A favorite solo spice 168 Jamming with the minor pentatonic scale: No wrong notes 171 Using the major pentatonic scale: Smooth as can be 172 Moving from chord to chord 174 Creating Fills without Any Help from Your Dentist 176 A match made in heaven: Connecting your fill to the groove 177 Timing a fill 177 Part 4: Using the Correct Accompaniment For Each Genre 183 Chapter 8: Rock On! Getting Down with the Rock Styles 185 Rock 'n' Roll: It's The Attitude! 186 Hard Rock: Going at It Fast and Furious 191 Pop Rock: Supporting the Vocals 193 Blues Rock: Doin' What "Duck" Does and Playing a Countermelody 195 Country Rock: Where Vocals Are King, and You Take a Back Seat 198 One Rock Fits All: Applying a Standard Rock Groove to Any Rock Song 200 Chapter 9: Swing It! Playing Styles That Rely on the Triplet Feel 203 Swing: Grooving Up-Tempo with Attitude 204 Jazz: Going for a Walk 205 Working the walk 206 Applying a jazz blues walking pattern 211 Blues Shuffle: Walking Like Donald Duck (Dunn, That Is) 214 Funk Shuffle: Combining Funk, Blues, and Jazz 217 Chapter 10: Making It Funky: Playing Hardcore Bass Grooves 221 R & B: Movin' to Rhythm and Blues 222 The Motown Sound: Grooving with the Music of the Funk Brothers 225 Fusion: Blending Two Styles into One 226 Funk: Light Fingers, Heavy Attitude 229 Hip-Hop: Featuring Heavy Funk with Heavy Attitude 232 Knowing What to Do When You Just Want to Funkifize a Tune 234 Chapter 11: Sampling International Flavors: Bass Styles from Around the World 237 Bossa Nova: Baskin' in a Brazilian Beat 238 Samba: Speeding Up with Bossa's Fast Cousin 239 Afro-Cuban: Ordering Up Some Salsa (Hold the Chips, Please) 240 Reggae: Relaxing with Offbeat "Riddims" 242 Calypso Party Sounds: Dancing through the Groove 244 Combining Reggae and Rock: The Distinct Sound of Ska 245 African Grooves: Experimenting with Exotic Downbeat Grooves 247 Grooving on a steady beat, South African-style 247 Checking out the bass groove styles from Cameroon 248 Music without Borders: Grooving to the World Beat 251 Chapter 12: Playing in Odd Meters: Not Strange, Just Not the Norm 253 An Odd-Meter Oldie but Goodie: The Waltz 254 Beyond the Waltz: Navigating Beats in Odd Meter 255 5/4 meter: Not an impossible mission 256 Take a groove you know and make it grow 259 7/4 meter: Adding two more beats 260 Complex Simplicity: Syncopation and Subdivision 264 Syncopating in odd meter 264 Adding an eighth 265 Dealing with the rush 266 Chapter 13: Groovin' in a Genre: It's All About Style! 269 Playing Grooves in Each Genre: One Simple Song, Many Genres Strong 270 Pop: Backing up the singer-songwriter 271 Rocking by the quarter or eighth note 271 R & B/Soul, with or without the dot 272 Feeling da funk 275 Layin' down some Latin grooves 276 When you're feelin' blue, shuffle 277 To Blend or Not to Blend: Knowing How to Fit In 279 Just blending in: How to do it 280 The bold and the beautiful: Creating a bold groove 281 Blending and bolding by genre 281 Signing off with a flourish 282 Chapter 14: Eight Degrees of Separation: The Beatles' Solution 285 Playing Your Rhythm Straight or Syncopated 286 Pumping eighth notes 286 Syncopating the bass beat 287 Making Harmonic Choices 290 Feeling fine (with roots and 5ths) 290 Walking along Penny Lane 292 Coming together to move with the groove 295 Day-tripping in perfect agreement: Unison 295 Playing something to counter the melody with 299 Inverting while your bass gently weeps 300 Part 5: Buying and Caring For Your Bass 305 Chapter 15: Love of a Lifetime or One-Night Stand? Buying the Right Bass 307 Assessing Your Needs Before You Buy 308 Thinking long-term: Moving in together 309 Thinking short-term: Help me make it through the night 309 How many strings are too many? 309 To fret or not to fret 311 Needs Are One Thing . . . Budget is Quite Another 311 A Trip to the Bass-Mint: Where to Shop for Your Bass Guitar 312 Hitting the music stores 312 Consulting newspaper ads 314 Visiting online shops and individual online ads 315 When Money is No Object: Getting a Custom-Made Bass 316 Chapter 16: Getting the Right Gear for Your Bass Guitar 317 Making Yourself Heard: A Primer on Amplifiers and Speakers 318 Going with a combo or separate amp and speaker 318 Opting for solid state or tubes 319 Picking a speaker size 319 Setting the tone 320 Needs, Wants, and Nonessentials: Rounding Out Your Equipment 321 Must-haves: Cases, gig bags, and more 321 Definite maybes: Useful effects, gadgets, and practice items 323 Extras: Effects pedals 325 Chapter 17: Changing the Strings on Your Bass Guitar 327 Knowing When It's Time to Say Goodbye 328 Off with the Old: Removing Bass Strings 328 On with the New: Restringing Your Bass 330 Ensuring a Long Life for Your Strings 335 Chapter 18: Keeping Your Bass in Shape: Maintenance and Light Repair 337 Cleaning Your Bass, Part by Part 337 The body and neck 338 The hardware 338 The pickups 338 The fingerboard 339 The strings 339 Making Minor Repairs to Your Bass 340 The taming of the screw(s) 340 Taking care of the finish 341 Leaving the electronics to the experts 341 Adjusting the Bass Guitar 342 Providing relief to the truss rod 342 Raising and lowering the bridge 344 Assembling a Cleaning and Repair Tool Bag 346 Storing Your Bass 347 Part 6: The Part of Tens 349 Chapter 19: Ten Innovative Bassists You Should Know 351 Stanley Clarke 351 John Entwistle 352 James Jamerson 352 Carol Kaye 352 Will Lee 353 Paul McCartney 353 Marcus Miller 353 Jaco Pastorius 353 Victor Wooten 354 X (Fill in Your Own) 354 Chapter 20: Ten Great Rhythm Sections (Bassists and Drummers) 355 Bootsy Collins and Jab'o Starks 356 Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson Jr 356 James Jamerson and Benny Benjamin 356 John Paul Jones and John Bonham 357 Joe Osborn and Hal Blaine 357 Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine 358 George Porter Jr and Zig Modeliste 358 Francis Rocco Prestia and David Garibaldi 358 Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdie 359 Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar 359 Appendix: Audio Tracks and Video Clips 361 Index 375

About the Author

Patrick Pfeiffer is a professional bassist, bass educator, and composer. His former clients include Polygram, Red Ant Records, Arista Records, and other major labels as well as Adam Clayton of U2. He has recorded with George Clinton, Phoebe Snow, Jimmy Norman of the Coasters, Paul Griffin and Bernard Purdie of Steely Dan, and many other stars.

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