Learn the Secret Language Of Bass!

That The Pros Don't Want You To Know!

You're probably wondering what this image has got to do with the bass and creating bass lines?  Right?

Well this is a picture of a famous rock called The Rosetta Stone - discovered in 1799.  The stone contains an Ancient Egyptian decree written in three languages.

The reason this stone is so important that it's on display in the British Museum is that it allowed scholars who studied ancient languages to use it to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.

You're probably still thinking: WTF has this got to do with the bass?

So let me tell you.

Creating bass lines in any genre - not just blues rock - isn't done by grabbing a note from here and a note from there and putting them together and seeing if they sound OK.

Bass lines have their own language.

There's a bass line that I consider to be one of my own "Rosetta Stone" bass lines - and it's Tommy Shannon's line on Pride And Joy.  Here's Verse 2 to give you a taster if you've not heard it for a while...

I transcribed the bass line from scratch and analyzed it - and that analysis led to my Rosetta Stone moment.  Tommy uses around 20 different devices in Pride And Joy.  Plus there's modifying devices like the open string that we saw in the 5 Day Challenge.  There's triplet modifying devices too along with a bunch of other great ideas.  Plus that led me to analyze more of Tommy's bass lines.  And then someone suggested I check out Berry Oakley with The Allman Brothers along with Carl Radle with Derek And The Dominos and early Clapton.

And the reason I used the Rosetta Stone as a metaphor is that in all the work of these players that I analyzed I found something amazing:

...each of these bass players was 'speaking' the same language!

And I wondered if I could learn this secret language (that no-one teaches) and learn to speak it myself.

To illustrate some of this....I'll put some examples from 80-20 Bass below.  This first one is the chord progression of Brown Sugar but it's a bass line that I created with different devices and a rockier feel:

And here's an example in a funk rock style:

How Would YOU Like To Learn The Secret Language of Bass?

I've been collecting bass books and videos/DVDs since the mid 80s.

In my music library I've got a first printing of Standing In The Shadows Of Motown (with cassette tapes), I've got an early printing of Slap It! by Tony Oppenheim (that came with a floppy plastic record for the examples) and a first print of Ed Friedland's Building Walking Basslines (the cassette tape for that is long lost).

I've not got everything - but I've got (and read) a great deal of bass literature that's out there (including all the issues of Bass Player Magazine from 1st Issue right up to 2008).

You know how many times I've seen reference to the bass devices that make up the secret language of the bass?

Not once.

And yet all the pros use this language.

In my analysis of literally thousands of transcriptions I've found these devices in the work of James Jamerson, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, Pino Palladino, Rocco Prestia, Jerry Jemmott, Carl radle, Tommy Shannon and a gazillion others.

And yet no-one teaches them.

I can only draw two conclusions from that fact:

#1 - the bass teachers out there don't know about it (which I find hard to believe because everybody and his dog uses it - see list above)

#2 - the bass teachers out there KNOW about it but they don't want YOU to know about it

So I decided it was time somebody took on the task of teaching this so that bass players like you (and me) could learn the secret language of blues rock bass...

The Hidden Benefits Of Learning The Secret Language Of Bass

Each device that I've painstakingly transcribed and codified over the last 10 years is a strand of bass line DNA.

And once you've thoroughly learned one of the strands of bass line DNA...

...You can use it soul and R&B.

...You can use it in funk.

...You can use it in rock.

...You can use it in country

....You can use it in reggae.

The principle difference about how you use devices in different genres is the rhythm that you use.

All the devices and ideas that we're going to learn can be used in just about every other musical genre.

This makes creating and playing lines in multiple genres easy.

It makes playing other player's lines for cover bands/bar bands easy - because without exception those lines are made up of the devices that the Pros don't want you to know.

So learning these devices will give you the tools to play fluently in all genres.

That's not all though.

Once you start practicing (and using) these devices your perception of bass lines will change forever.  You'll hear a song somewhere and recognize the devices the bass player is using to create his or her line.

If you hear something you really like, you can go back to your practice space and model that combination of devices and ideas and add it to YOUR vocabulary.

So how do YOU go about learning the secret language of  bass that is 100% applicable to nearly all genres of music?

Glad you asked....

Introducing 80-20 Bass

1. The 80-20 Bass Program - (Value $497)

The 80-20 Bass Program is the master collection of all the devices and secondary devices (plus 80-20 Rhythms and Chord progressions) that I've collated from analyzing hundreds and hundreds of transcriptions.  The program is split into 4 'tracks' and each track has 60 units.

And yep...that's 240 Units in the program!

Each unit is presented on its own lesson page with the majority of musical examples filmed plus practice tracks to download and practice with. And there is also a PDF of each lesson available to download for offline study if you prefer this option.

2. A 30 Day Challenge - Self Study Version - Of Your Choice (value $127)

I've created and run several player specific or genre specific 30 Day Challenges.  You get to choose which one of these you'd like as a bonus to the 80-20 Program.  (Options include Cracking The Detroit Code (James Jamerson and Motown), Duck Dunn, Cracking The Blues Rock Code and there's also a Walking Bass 30 Day Challenge you could choose - though the latter is tangential rather than complimentary).

3. The 80-20 Quick Start Guide (value $50)

Before you even get into Track 1 of 80-20 Bass there's a 14 Day Quick Start Guide which will get you up and running and understanding what 80-20 devices are, how to practice them, and most importantly how to create bass lines with them (and with deliberate composition).

The Quick Start Guide is based on the first 14 days of Cracking The Rock Bass Code.

4. The 80-20 Genre Library (value $197) - PREMIUM STUDENTS ONLY

Starting with the 2nd part of Track 1 there will be an installment of the '80-20 genre library.'  This is a short series of lessons that will teach you how to apply what you've already learned to specific bass playing styles.  The first entry in the genre library is 12 Bar Rock And Roll.  The second is Bob Marley style reggae. Beyond that we'll look at 12:8 Ballad Blues, Doing The Rocco Prestia Shuffle (Funk Shuffles) and more.

5. The 80-20 Song Library - Volumes 1 to 8  (value $200) PREMIUM STUDENTS ONLY

Every month there will be a video only song library.  Which will contain 30 songs.  Due to copyright reasons I can't provide any notation and tab - but it's an interesting challenge to start listening and seeing if you can hear what devices are being used. At some stage I plan to add some "80-20 notes" to help with listening out for the devices.  And I'm also working on my own proprietary 80-20 Notation which I may be able to add.

6. The "80-20 Device Walkthrough" Library (Value $150) - PREMIUM STUDENTS ONLY

Starting with part 2 of Track 2 there will be an installment in the "walkthrough library."  This is where I'll take 5 songs and I'll walkthrough the main sections of those songs talking about the devices being used, the rhythms, how the line is put together and so on.  So there will be 35 of these by the time we get to the second part of Track 4.

As with the Genre Library, the walkthrough library will be tailored and relevant to each Track and each Part that it goes with.


7. Deliberate Composition to Spontaneous Composition (Value $97) - PREMIUM STUDENTS ONLY

This is a separate module that goes live when Track 3 goes live.

This module shows you how to go from deliberate composition (which is creating bass lines using the devices we study effectively in slow motion) to being able to do spontaneous composition - which is creating bass lines on the fly at performance tempo.

As far as I'm aware no-one's ever broken down this process in a way that allows YOU to learn it.

8. All Future Bonuses (Value - $97 and rising) PREMIUM STUDENTS ONLY

There are a number of items that I need to create for various associated 80-20 projects.  These include BLUES ROCK SIGHT READING ETUDES, DUCK DUNN GROOVES, FUNK GROOVES and more.  Each time one of these is created it will be released on the how-to-play-bass.com website as a standalone product  but will also be available to Premium 80-20 Students.

9. Counting 16th Note Mini Course (value $75) - PREMIUM STUDENTS ONLY

This bonus goes live when we get onto Track 3 - see timetable below - and it's a detailed series of columns I wrote to help you identify and master all the permutations of 16th note rhythms (including ties, dotted 8th notes, rests and so on) so you can internalize and master these rhythms.

Timetable Of Delivery of Material

When you enroll on the 80-20 Bass here's how the material will be delivered over the next few months (please note Day 1 of the Quick Start Guide is Monday 21st September if you enroll before then...):

Day 1 - Enrollment Day. 

The moment you enroll you'll get a welcome email and be able to see the pre-training lessons for The 80-20 Quick Start Guide.  And "Day 1" of the Quick Start Guide will also be live. The Quick Start Guide will be delivered over the next 14 days.

Volume 1 of the 80-20 Song Library will also be live - though I have to add you manually to it!

Day 15

Track 1 Part 1 will go live in the Members Area. As well as the 30 Units in Track 1 there will be a "Guide" screen capture video which outlines how to approach learning this material.

Day 30

The second volume of the 80-20 Song Library will go live.

Day 45

Track 1 Part 2 will go live on Day 45.  Towards the end of this 30 day period - maybe around Day 60 - the first Genre Library lessons will also go live.

Day 60

Volume 3 of the 80-20 SOng Library will go live.

Day 75

Track 2 Part 1 goes live on Day 75.  As before the second part of the genre library will go live towards the end of this period.

Day 90 and beyond...

This recurring Roll Out of content will continue until all 240 Units are published along with the song libraries, the genre libraries, the 80-20 walkthroughs and so on.




The Million Dollar Question - How Much Is This Going To Cost?

Before we look at the investment for the 80-20 Program in 2020 offer a couple of things to note:

  1. The current enrollment cost is a "launch special" and on Tuesday 22nd Sept the monthly enrollment will go up.
  2. There's a Fast Action Bonus - the first 30 students will get to choose 2 songs each to go into the 80-20 Song Library from my archive of tutorials. Please note that the songs chosen by Student 16 to 30 will go into Volume 2.  I've also put two songs that are important to me into the song library already (as a bonus).  I'll email the song list to you once you've joined for you to choose your songs.

Now there's literally a lifetime worth of material in the 80-20 Program that you'll be able to wrap your fingers, ears and brain around in the next 10 months or so.

It's virtually impossible to put an accurate price on this. I've spent 10 years transcribing, analyzing and studying bass lines to codify everything  that's gone into the 80-20 Program.  I've also spent another 2 years putting everything together so if I was going to charge a price that accurately reflected that it would be something like $5000.


I believe what I've put together is revolutionary and the more students who can get their hands on this material the better.

So instead of making it unaffordable I've made these considerations:

  • To avoid overwhelm the material 'drips' out at monthly intervals (once we've got the quick start guide done and dusted).
  • Because the material comes out monthly....I'm going to price it in monthly installments.  This also spreads the investment out over time.
  • As a guide to pricing this, I used the lesson fee from online Skype or Zoom style lessons. If you can get a slot with a good teacher, chances are that will cost you around $75 to $100.  Maybe more.


I wanted to make this information available for less than that.

So the launch price for Premium students is...

$67 Per Month (for 8 months)

For students who don't want to go down the Premium route, the monthly investment is $62. There's a Paypal link on the Enrollment Page for Standard Students that you'll get to by clicking the big yellow JOIN button below.


30 Day 100% Money Back Guarantee:  This is a unique approach to learning the bass that's based on both years of study of bass lines and years of study of deliberate practice.  As such I'm 100% confident that not only will you find the information in the course highly valuable but that the implementation process that we go through will make a massive difference to your bass playing.

I want you to be just as confident with your purchase though, so there's a full 30 day no questions asked guarantee period.

If for whatever reason you're not satisfied,  all you have to do is drop me an email and let me know.  I'll refund your purchase ASAP with no hassles and no hoops to jump through, and we can part as friends.

So It's Time To Make A Decision:  You should have all the information you need to decide whether you want to take advantage of this unique learning opportunity.  Simply  CLICK the big yellow 'JOIN NOW' button below and you'll be taken to the registration form on the 80-20 Bass Website.   Once you've enrolled,  you'll be automatically added to the 80-20 Course and sent a welcome email.  If you don't receive that email for any reason, then don't panic, simply send me an email and I''ll work out what went wrong in the process and get you added to the site manually. So go ahead.  Click the big yellow button below and JOIN NOW.

P.S. the information in this course will truly save you years of study time...but only if you implement it!

The program has been designed to make it easy to implement.  If you truly want to take your bass playing from where it is now to being able to fluently create authentic (and cool sounding!) bass lines on the fly then hitting the 'Join Now' button above is the first step on the road to achieving this goal!

Paul Wolfe/www.how-to-play-bass.com

What Beta Students Say...

I don't know about you but I'm tired of seeing testimonials along the lines of: "Great Course Man, really helped."

Or: "Rock on, my playing really improved."

I'm not saying these are fake or anything...but they're really lacking in detail.  And I refuse to use testimonials like that anymore.

Below are screenshots from various students in my private Facebook groups  - read through them and see the level of detail in what they say to judge their authenticity.

Here's the first:

The next is short - but I loved the metaphor of a guided safari through the bass wilderness:

Here's the next - a couple of lines were redacted for legal reasons:

The last testimonial - for now - is from one of the 30 Day Challenges.  You might think: that's strange to include a testimonial from a different product.  You'll see why in a moment - let me just say that all of the 30 Day Challenges are like genre or player specific splinters of the main 80-20 Program.

Here's what Graham had to say about the Funk Soul Disco 30 Day Challenge - and everything he has to say holds up doubly for 80-20 Bass:

"Dear Paul

I’ll open with an apology that this reply will not easily split into distinct answers to the six questions you pose about the 30-day FunkSoul Bass course, however the obvious efforts you have gone to in the production and delivery of this exemplary course leads me to feel that it deserves more than short, compartmentalized replies. Also, the amount and of things I’d like to say goes well beyond answering these in that it has taught me so much about the process of teaching online that is so useful right now; I find it ironic that as a teacher my college has spent many thousands of pounds on CPD courses for us over the years when I’ve honestly gained more insight in six weeks from this, for nothing lets you focus on the key issues of online learning quite like being on the receiving end!

A bit of background to my own journey to taking this course, to clarify some points I’ve alluded to in Facebook posts. I’m not a musician at all; I teach physics, have a mainly sporting set of hobbies and background, I only started piano lessons a dozen years ago because my own children were starting them. I endured piano lessons for a couple of years, hated never being able to make it sound good, hated having to try to learn to read music alongside learning the instrument, hated learning scales (I’ve read your excellent comments about this since, of course), hated that it never focussed on being able to play along to any actual songs I liked. (Fortunately my son and daughter both got over these, and although they no longer study piano both have skill at, understanding and love of music). I’m sure that up to now my tale is typical of many adults who have tried an instrument post-childhood only to give up. Why mine subsequently differed is down to two fine colleagues:- our head of Music who, on ordering a class set of ukuleles instantly offered lessons to any staff to which a dozen of us started and three persevered, so for a few years we spent lunchtimes strumming the simplified chord versions of many songs that were proliferating online, at least making a noise that we found bearable; also to a newly-qualified recruit who’d previously run School-of-Rock type stuff at university who joined our uke group, watched me enjoying just keeping time with more talented soloist and said, “we’re going to form a band and you’re on bass guitar.” That was July 2016. Since then, what I’ve described variously as a hobby, pastime, bit of a laugh, personal challenge etc and my wife has described more correctly as an obsession, has kept away the dull times and prevented me doing anything silly like marking, getting promoted or taking life too seriously.

So I come to this course having learned (from YouTube, Ultimate Guitar tabs) the basslines to reasonable proficiency for  around 200 songs, having played with the band we formed at worked on over a dozen occasions to audiences large and small, having auditioned for and rehearsed with a fairly serious wedding/function band, playing regularly with many other friends. Since May last year I’ve been having fortnightly lessons with a local guitar/bass teacher, working mainly on hand position and technique to correct the many errors I’d built in whilst teaching myself, also on confidence in playing live which has led to me joining in regularly at Open Mic nights. I also tried my first online course last summer on groove development, which introduced me formally to ideas like eighths and sixteenths, triplets, off-beats, note lengths and finally explained what “swung-feel” was after I’d come across it dozens of times before!

All of the above is a rambling way of saying I’m probably not the typical student you ‘d expect on your course, and I did approach it with much trepidation, fearing that I would not be able to keep up. ( The pre-course material did help, but I spent most of the first five days wishing I’d spent at least a week on pre-course stuff first.) To answer your question #1, this fear that I did not know enough about musical jargon and would not be able to understand almost stopped me from clicking the Enrol button, and I’m afraid the list of extras thrown into the price may attract some people but for me only added to the “there’s loads I don’t understand and won’t be able to do” feeling. What over-rode these doubts, though, was that in my bass-playing I felt ready for much more than a beginners’ course, also that if nothing more it would be an overdue payment to you for the amount you had already taught me for free – Le Freak, Disco Inferno, Staying Alive to name but three, learned entirely from your YouTube tutorials, learned well enough to audition for and be taken on as dep bass player for a jobbing party band.

Having said the above, boy am I glad I did enrol. Among the things I’m learning because of this course are:

-          That it’s OK for me, yes me, to compose basslines

-          Polishing/adjusting/auditing these so they sound good to me is also a worthwhile act

-          Recognising the patterns in the basslines I know already, trying new devices in them to see how they sound

-          Understanding how to build these into a practise tool as well as to accompany a chord sequence

-          New techniques I’d never really mastered... mute and grace notes etc

-          Better use of tempo to build up fluency

-          Reading tab faster and better (and sometimes even reading the musical score to try to get the rhythm right)

-          Writing down my basslines  as tabs on paper at first, now using Musescore (before this course I had honestly never written any bassline of my own down in any way).

-          Developing the resilience to move past a bit I don’t understand or can’t play first time

-          Overall, gaining confidence in my worth as a musician.

Now, Lockdown started partway through this course and owing to work requirements the time and energy I had left for the course shrank so much I would describe myself still as at least ten days behind, and I probably want to spend the next month at least when I can going back over bits and try Day 21 onwards properly... I’ve read through and played along with them all but know there’s so much more still to do. Thought I’d best write this now though and give you some timely feedback. And as the list above shows, I’ve already learned more than I ever thought I could or would.

The vimeos you produce are brilliant and I couldn’t have got anywhere without them, not being able to read music well enough to play rhythms correctly from scores. Thanks also for the patience it takes to play through at slower tempo every time. Taking from this I’m developing two –tiered worked solutions to problems, with a more explicitly step-by-step version (i.e slower tempo) following our normal one... this could make a big difference for the less confident.

I’ve just read back through the points above and my over-riding message is please carry on doing what you do.

For my closing words have to be simply of thanks... even before this course you, and a select few others like you, have changed my life with your passion and generosity of spirit in sharing your knowledge of bass online for free. I hold up the provision of free online educational materials as one of the finest examples of what is good in humanity. Never stop, while you can still do this, please.

In this course in particular I feel new possibilities stretching away endlessly; before I was like a parrot, taught to repeat clever phrases with no understanding. Suddenly now I feel I might be able to speak for myself: not fluent yet, but introduced to the language in a way that I can understand. Thank you sincerely for this."