Book Review – The Bass Tab White Pages


The Bass Tab White Pages is published by Hal Leonard – who seem to own the publishing rights to about 65% of all the songs ever published. They publish a stack of guitar tab books – but not as many bass publications (time they changed that!).

Anyway the Bass Tab White Pages is essentially a compilation of bass lines presented in music notation and tab, along with chords and melody line.

If you want to learn a stack of songs quickly, the Bass Tab White Pages is an inexpensive place to get started (SIDEBAR: the absolute hands down, no questions asked BEST way to learn a load of new songs is to learn them by EAR. However learning songs by ear can be quite daunting and time consuming for beginner bass players – so using a reliable source is a good compromise.)

Currently (Jan 09) the Bass Tab White Pages can be had for around $30 – you might find a cheaper version on Amazon Marketplace or Fleabay, but I’d recommend that you buy a new copy as the paper used is not high quality and I wouldn’t want to use a copy that had been used a lot.

Onto some specifics. The Bass Tab White Pages is a doorstop of a book – weighing in at over 1000 pages and with around 200 basslines featured. The basslines featured cover a range of styles and genres – featured are some motown, loads of rock, some hard rock/heavy metal, some blues and some pop tunes. Artists featured include Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, The Beatles, Queen, Primus, Nirvana, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.

The transcriptions themselves are a compilition of tunes from various Hal Leonard publications (eg their ‘bible’ series ) and seem pretty accurate.

There’s not much more to say – it’s a book that does what is says on the tin (that’s a paraphrase of an old UK ad campaign for paint!) – if you want a cheap, accurate source of a load of tunes this is the place to start. I know there are hundreds of tab sites out there on the ‘Net, but the problem with Tab (one of the problems) is that they’re not always accurate. The Bass Tab White Pages are a cheap way to get hold of a stack of basslines and start building up your library – I did a glamrock gig and was delighted to find School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Maggie May by Rod Stewart (only tenuously glam rock I know) and Space Oddity by David Bowie contained in the well used pages of the Bass Tab White Book. The only critiscism’s I’d have of this book is the already mentioned inferior paper stock used, and the fact that it’s a big book to be not spiral bound, so it’s difficult to use with a music stand – you couldn’t read from it at a gig for example. But there’s plenty of bang for your buck – I certainly recommend it!