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There are lots of bass guitar sites out there, some great ones (like MarloweDK, Scott Devine’s site and Jon Liebman’s For Bass Players only)…and some not so good (but we won’t mention those).
But there’s one thing that makes How To Play Bass Dot Com different from the rest.
It makes us so different that it’s become our ‘tagline’:
Learn Songs Not Scales
The learn songs not scales challenge
When you understand the bass guitar’s role in music (and that’s all music – pop, rock, funk, reggae, country, jazz) and when you learn how to create bass lines in those genres you’ll very quickly discover that complete scales don’t really figure in creating bass lines.
In fact I wanted to test this….so I’ve analyzed thousands of bars of music in all genres looking for scales. And not only that, I challenged the subscribers of my weekly magazine First Bass And Beyond to look too.
So far we’ve found three instances of a bass line that contains a complete descending or ascending scale.
For the record, those songs are:
- Hello Goodbye by The Beatles
- Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
- Alright by Supergrass
And those scales are only a small part of the bass lines of those particular songs. And again, that’s three songs out of a couple of thousand that contained a complete scale.
So I think it’s pretty safe to say that learning to play scales by rote is a practice activity that’s of little practical use.
If you learn songs randomly, you’ll get random results. But if you learn songs in a structured sequence you’ll find that the sequence of song learning actually improves your bass playing as you move onwards in your learning journey.
Plus if you ever go to a jam or a rehearsal no-one will ever – EVER! – ask you what scales you know. They might ask you if you can play Superstition in E though. Or Cocaine in D. Or Good Times in E.
Bass players by nature have to be team players. Being a team player in a band means you need to know songs.
That’s what How To Play Bass Dot Com is all about…learning songs.
It makes more sense than learning scales by rote from the perspective of creating bass lines.
It’s more useful in the real world than learning scales by rote.
And it’s way more fun.