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How I Got Through My First "Walking" Gig With 10 Days Practice...

....And How It Turned Out To Be Just 9 Days!

If you read the previous article you'll remember that back in the day my then business partner went out and in the space of 12 crazy hours secured four residencies in various restaurants in North and Central London playing background music i.e. jazz.

At the time I didn't know how to walk or navigate a set of chord changes.

And I had just 10 days before the first gig.

Here's the story of how I got up to speed in time for the first gig.

This Was Back In The Day Before Al Gore Invented The Interwebz...

...and Jeff Bezos hadn't started Amazon.

So if you wanted to look for a book (or books) on a topic you had to go to a real shop.  And browse around.  Maybe ask an assistant.

Back in early 94 there was a cluster of music shops in Denmark Street in London, some of which sold music books.  And there was a big store called Chappell's of Bond Street - now they're called Yamaha Music London - so I had some options.

So I schlepped into London on the tube, did some browsing,  and came home with about £60 or £70 of music books (about $80 worth).The books I came home with - if memory serves correctly - were:

  1. Jazz bass by Sigi Busch
  2. The Evolving Bassist by Rufus Reid
  3. Building Walking Bass Lines by Ed Friedland
  4. The Creative Bass Book by Arn Evans
  5. Modern Walking Bass Technique by Mike Richmond

By the time I got home I'd had a flip through the books on the Underground and decided to start with Modern Walking Bass Technique.

Now there's some good stuff in Mike Richmond's book - and he's a great bass player - but I spent three to four hours working through Modern Walking Bass Technique and not really getting much out of it.

Remember at this time I was a total newbie when it came to Walking Bass.

Next on my try list was Jazz Bass by Sigi Busch.

I no longer have this book - it got lost somewhere down the years - so I don't even remember what was in it.  All I remember that it was a bust.

And I'd spent (and lost) a day.  And now I'm down to...

9 Days And Counting.....

..and Serendipity strikes.

In a big way.

The next book I try is Building Walking Bass Lines by Ed Friedland.

Something clicks - I'll tell you about that in the next article in this series - and I was off.

Over the next 9 days I spent 8 to 10 hours every day working on my walking bass lines.

By the time of the first background music gig I was able to play through tunes like Autumn Leaves, Mr PC, All The Things You Are, Just Friends, My Funny Valentine (played as an uptempo swing tune), Take The A Train, Softly As In A Morning Rise, I Got Rhythm and a bunch more.

Sidebar:  I improved as a bass player more in that 10 day period than I had in the preceding 4 or 5 years - that 4 or 5 years also included 20 months studying with a guy touted as the best private bass teacher in the UK.

With hindsight I now know why I improved so much...and why Ed's book resonated with me so much.


Click the blue CONTINUE button below to find out what Ed Friedland's Building Walking Bassines book has got that 95% of other books and courses don't have.

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




Previous Articles In The Series

1. Why I Had To Learn To "Walk" On The Bass - https://how-to-play-bass.com/bwblw-had-to-learn