How All My 80-20 Material Fits Together

I recently got asked a question via email.

Paraphrasing, it was something like this:

" I'm interested in the 80-20 Device Method but I see you also have 7 books out. How are they related? Is there a recomended order to go through?"

For those of you who've seen my Comfort Zone/Learning Zone/Panic Zone diagrams, you'll know my graphic skills are relatively basic. It is what it is.

I think a graphic metaphor will explain everything the most clearly though. So let's get started.

First of all, let's imagine that everything I know about 80-20 Devices - so all the devices, all the modifying devices and connecting devices, common chord progressions, 2 chord matrixes and so on - is split into four approximately equal sections (or Levels) and these levels are represented by four distinct rectangles. Even I can draw that and it looks like this:

There are two ways to go through Level 1.

If you know how to play, so you have reasonable plucking hand technique and fretting hand technique, but you don't really know WHAT to play (i.e. the 80-20 devices, the common chord progressions, common rhythms) then the 80-20 Device Method Level 1 is the path you should take.

If you DON'T know how to play, then the 5 Module series of books with the overall title HOW TO PLAY BASS IN 50 SONGS is the path to take. By the end of this series of books (with online versions) you'll have gone through around 80% of the Level 1 material so you'll have learned both 'how to play' and 'what to play.'


Where Do My Other Books Fit In?

Currently I have two 'series' of books that are themed around the 80-20 Device Method.

First there's the How To Play Blues Rock series. Currently there are two volumes available, with a final one to come in the next few months.

These volumes draw from the overall 80-20 source material - but only from the lens of blues rock. (Think Tommy Shannon, Duck Dunn, Carl Radle, Berry Oakley. etc).

Volume 1 uses devices from Level 1 and from Level 2. Volume 2 uses devices from Level 2 and Level 3. And Volume 3 will draw on Level 3 and a small amount from Level 4. Represented on the graphic that could look like this:

So the blues rock books take ideas from the 80-20 Library but the rhythmic applications are mainly swing 8th note, the chord progression used is mainly some variant of the blues, and those books teach the devices used in the kind of lines you find in this genre.

My second series of books is the Learning From James Jamerson series. Currently there are three volumes of these. The fourth is due in the next couple of months, and in the next couple of weeks there's an associated book coming out which is called 80-20 Bass: Motown Style Grooves.

Here's how these five books could look graphically layered onto the 80-20 4 Rectangle/4 Level diagram:

You'll see that I've made the rectangles that graphically represent these books broader than the blues rock books. That's because the material is richer and can be applied in more settings than the blues rock ideas.

So you could sum up the learning journey like this:

  • The 80-20 Device Method Level 1 (or the How To Play Bass in 5 Songs five book sequence) go from the most basic device of all and teach the 10 most common devices and the 10 most common quarter note/8th note rhythms and the 10 most common chord progressions.
  • The Blues Rock series is a exploration of a portion of the 80-20 library from the perspective of blues rock.
  • The Jamerson series is an exploration of a larger (and richer) portion of the 80-20 library from the perspective of Jamerson's work. Though his work is applicable to every rock and pop genre.


So Will There Be Four Separate Programs Teaching Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and then Level 4?

Originally there WAS a program that combined all the four levels into one (mammoth) course that was taught in a linear fashion.


I've found another way to present the material...that will be much more of a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' method of going through the material. (I don't want to say any more at this point because there are a couple of "bass educators" who are actively copying some of the stuff I do without any attempt at credit or co-operation.)

The beauty of this approach is whether you've gone through the Level 1 program, or you've gone through two or three of the books currently available (or the ones that are planned, again no spoilers for the same reason as previous paragraph) when the complete 80-20 Program is available you can dive in and create your own path through the material.

To give you an idea of the size of this material and why this approach is necessary...the previous iteration had over 2500 pages of lesson! And there's a whole lot more to be added in since then! So a linear course would be impossible to learn from and is a poor way to take what you need.

One Final Thing

In case you're thinking: I better wait until the complete 80-20 Program is available (and no, it won't be called that), two things to note:

  • The sooner you get started with this material, the better.
  • If you've purchased the 80-20 Device Method Level 1 or any of my books (no matter how many) when the complete program is ready there will be a customized deal available so that YOUR initial enrollment fee will credit any monies invested on 80-20 learning material.