Enrollment Goes Away at Midnight (Pacific), Monday 1st Feb 2021

Cracking The Detroit Code The 30 Day Challenge - 2021

Take Your Bass Playing To The Next Level (And Beyond)

There are only two ways to improve your bass playing:

  1. Improve the technical/physical side of what you play - either improve plucking hand speeds or fretting hand facility or work on improved plucking hand or fretting hand system. This is a long term play.
  2. Improve the mental side of what you play - this is working on 'what you play' and improving it by increasing your vocabulary or learning how to connect the vocabulary you know better and so on.  This is Bass IQ.  And growth from improving your Bass IQ works by compounding.  And leads to exponential growth.

In Cracking The Detroit Code we'll be focusing on the latter by analyzing the foundational devices of Motown great James Jamerson.

As a side effect, what we're going to be learning and practicing will also improve the physical aspect of your playing.

I've analyzed (and transribed) literally hundreds of Jamerson's performances looking for the commonly repeated ideas and devices.

And I turned this into a sequential learning system that bass players of even relatively moderate abilities can benefit from and improve with (Scroll down to see two lines composed by students who probably have no more ability than you).

Summarized this multi year process reduces down to 4 lines:

  1.  Identifying the core ideas Jamerson used in his early to mid 60s playing.
  2.  Put those ideas into a sequential learning system
  3.  Add in the secret sauce - a technique I developed called “deliberate composition” helps students put Jamerson's ideas together to create interesting bass lines.
  4.  All combined and packaged in 40 days of hyper focused learning.

Now there are lots of hypey claims on the Internet and sometimes it's difficult to know what to believe.

To give you the idea that this is a real thing with a literal metric shit ton of information compressed into the Challenge,   I paid my teenage son to print out the PDf for every lesson in the previous version of the Challenge - which only had 30 days - bind it into a document and make a video flicking through the pages.  Here's that video (and make sure the volume is up because I played some bass on top of it!):

Your Chance To Learn From The Godfather Of Bass!

I often refer to Jamerson as "the Godfather of Bass" because when Jamerson came to electric bass most other bass players were either guitar players or upright players who converted to bass. Most bass lines on the pop records of the day were essentially simplistic - mostly roots and 5ths.

The ‘language’ of the bass didn’t exist.

Jamerson invented it by taking concepts from walking bass line and applying them to the rhythms used by the Motown record produces.

And this is your chance to learn directly from his work..

Nearly every  bass player you’ve listened to and wanted  to sound like was, in their turn, either directly influenced by Jamerson. Or influenced by somebody else who was influenced by Jamerson.

They had a giant whose shoulders they could stand on.

This is your chance to stand on that giant's shoulders.

It's also a chance to learn more in a condensed period of time than most people learn in 6 months or longer.

By the end of the Challenge you’ll have leapfrogged your contemporaries in terms of the devices and ideas that you  know and, much more importantly, you'll know how to put those ideas together to create compelling bass lines.

How The Cracking The Detroit Code 40 Day Challenge Works

Here's How The Challenge Works...

Focusing on something for a set period of time - like 30 days in the previous version fo the Challenge, and 40 days in this version of the Challenge - is a proven way to acquire new skills, take existing skills to a new level...basically to get shit done.

When you enroll there are 5 pre-training days already in your Account.  (As well as some of the bonuses - see below). Day 1 of the Challenge goes live on Monday 1st Feb.

Every week day for 8 weeks a new 'ttraining day' will go live in your Account and you'll get an email letting you know that the next day is now available. Weekends are for rest and catch up!

Each new lesson either layers directly on top of a previous lesson or introduces a new device or concept for you to add to your toolbox of ideas.  Each lesson has suggested practice exercises to work on assimilating new devices and from Day 7 onwards we'll go through putting those devices and ideas into bass lines that work.

Daily Lesson Format

Each 'day' of the Challenge has a similar format:

  • there is a PDF of the lesson to download that you can either print out or add to a device like an iPad so you can read when not connected to the internet
  • the text is on the web page along with the music graphics AND the videos demonstrating each example

I took Day 1 - which will be published to the Challenge on Monday 1st Feb at 5PM GMT -  and resized it a little and took screen shots of it to give you an idea of how it looks like in the Challenge.  Obviously when YOU access it, it will be much more legible!

Depending on your current ability level each lesson takes about 30-45 minutes to read, watch the examples and anything from 30 to 120 minutes to put into practice.  (These are approximations - like just about everything the more you put in, the more you'll get out.)

Here's Some Of What You're Going To Learn In The Next 40 Days!

Here are some of the things we're going to be working on to improve Bass IQ in this 30 Day Challenge:

  • the open string used as a 'bounce' note (Day 12)
  • anticipations (Day 18 ) - a techniques to create unpredictability in your lines
  • how to use rhythmic replacement to add a 16th note layer to 8th note bass lines (Days 23 and 24)
  • the three different types of approach notes - and how these notes push the listener's ear through the chord progression (Day 5)
  • adding colour to the devices you play by using "modifying devices"
  • how to "layer" devices to create complex and sophisticated bass lines (Day 26)
  • Deep Dive Into jamerson's Concept of "Layering" (***New to the 40 Day Challenge)
  • using devices for maintenance pracitce and improvement practice (Day 38)
  • device splicing (Day 15)
  • 16th note indirect resolutions (***NEW to the 40 Day Challenge)
  • how to create your own "sound" (Day 40)
  • Jamerson's foundational devices (Days 1 to 4)
  • practicing indirect resolutions at an 8th note level (Days 19 and 20)
  • detailed lesson on how (and why) Jamerson used open strings (***New to the 40 Day Challenge)
  • more foundational Jamerson devices (Day 10 to 13)
  • detailed instruction to use deliberate composition (Days 7 to 9)
  • using devices to practice new chord progressions (Day 5)
  • Jamerson's advanced indirect resolutions (***New To The 40 Day Challenge)
  • advanced rhythmic replacement (Day 23)
  • practicing indirect resolutions at a 16th note level (Day 25)
  • chromatic modifying devices (Day 7)
  • basic 16th note rhythmic vocabulary (Day 21)
  • octave modifying devices (Day 17)
  • combining rhythmic replacement with modifying devices (Day 25)
  • Using devices with implied chord substitution (***New to the 40 Day Challenge)
  • Jamerson's favourite device in his later period - that only a handful of bass players use? (***New to the 40 Day Challenge)
  • 16th note modifying devices (***New to the 40 Day Challenge)

You'll also be creating your own lines using all of the above ideas (and more) using a technique that I've pioneered and teach all my students that's called deliberate composition!  (If all you took from this 40 Day Challenge was deliberate composition plus a handful of devices and how to connect them, you'd still be on track to make big improvements in your bass playing.)

Don't Take My Word For It Though

I've run the 30 Day verison of the Challenge several times in the last 18 months teaching several hundred students in the process. I've taken screenshots from the Accountability Group for you to check out below...here's the first screenshot:

Or how about this for the kind of effect the Challenge will have not only on your playing but also how you hear bass lines:

(If you need to see more testimonials and comments I've added a bunch at the bottom of the page.)

So How Much Is The Investment In This 40 Day Challenge?

I wanted to make this challenge totally affordable but also be enough money so that those students who take the Challenge value what they've invested in and it gives them a kick to do the actual work.  (If they don't do the work...it's just information that's going unused and collecting virtual dust on the Interwebz).

Now each lesson in the Cracking The Detroit Cde 40 Day Challenge covers a similar amount of ground as a lesson with a face to face teacher would.  Good teachers (and they are rare as hens teeth) charge around $75 to $100 per lesson.  Let's err on the low side and say you can find a good teacher for just $50.  40 Lessons with such a teacher requires an investment of $2000.

Plus the opportunity cost of travel time (if it's not on Skype).  And travel expenses.  And unless you record the lesson in some ways - which most teachers won't allow - then you have to be great at taking notes and recall (which takes up more time).

Not to mention the bonus lessons and the critique library.

So let's say that's the equivalent of around another 10 lessons worth that would take your investment to $2500.

If you enroll on the Cracking The Detroit Code 30 Day Challenge today though you won't pay $2500.

You won't pay half of that - $1250.

You won't even pay a tenth of that - $250.

Instead, the investment requires to enroll on this unique program where you can learn the foundational devices and ideas that James Jamerson used and put them to use in your own playing is just...


On It's Own That Represents A Great Investment...

But If You Enroll Today...Here's What You're Going To Get

If you're ready to invest in yourself and your bass playing by enrolling on the Cracking The Detroit Code 30 Day Challenge Self Study version  click the 'Join Now' button below and do your Paypal or Credit Card Thang!

Paul's Note: if you'd prefer to pay in three monthly  installments of $57 then drop me an email.

More About The Critique Library

All the previous versions of the Cracking The Detroit Code  Challenge were 'live' versions.

Which meant that the students submitted their compositions (daily from Day 9) to the Private Accountability Group where I would critique them.

And so they got direct feedback on things that they could improve.

But they could also see compositions by their fellow students AND my critiques of those compositions.  Which is a great learning opportunity.

However the private accountability group was hosted on Facebook. That puts some students off - because they have concerns about privacy and the like.  (Concerns that I share btw and I'll not be using Facebook much more.)

For the 40 Day Version of the Challenge I can't replicate that direct experience with direct critiques but what I have done is create a 'critique library' for the corresponding 'Days' in the Challenge where some of the Student's Compositions are copied over along with my critiques.

Some of the students submitted their compositions by printing out blank chord charts provided in the lesson PDFs and writing them in by hand.  Some of them composed into software.  And some even exported their composition as a midi file and turned it into an audio file.

Here's an example  from Day 24 of the latter - this one is from a student who is primarily  a blues player and never played any soul or R&B:

And here's another one where the student created sound files of his compositions so I could listen to them as I followed along with the notation.

Here's the audio file to listen to on Soundsloud (by clicking):


And here's a photo of his composition - and so you know this composition which is sophisticated and complex is wayyyyyy beyond his current level of playing. But by learning about the different foundational devices that Jamerson used and how they go together he was able to create a bass line like this:

Need More Information Before You Make Your Decision?

Bonus 1 - Vanishing Tutorials Collection Vol 1 (value $97)

The only way to access this collection is as a bonus to one of my 30 Day Challenges - like this one! -  50 song tutorials in interactive notation and tab (soundslice) plus videos. If you need a song list let me know...


Bonus 2 - Vanishing Tutorials Collection (value $97) 

On the free how-to-play-bass.com site a tutorial goes live every Wednesday and then the following Tuesday it 'vanishes' and a new one takes its place.  People often ask where they vanish too....and it's these collections that you can ONLY get as a bonus to this Challenge.  If you want a song list...let me know!

Bonus 3 - Counting 16th Notes (value $77)

This is a series of nearly 40 columns that I wrote a while back that go into counting and playing 16th notes. There is over 400 pages of content spread across these columns...plus all the examples are on the web page in interactive soundslices so you can hear them and count along with them. Once you've learned 16th notes at a detailed level, that's knowledge you'll have for the rest of your bass playing life. (This goes live at the end of the Challenge).


Bonus 4 - Deliberate Practice For Bass Version 1.0 (value $47)

In 2010 I wrote a 300 plus page book about applying Deliberate Practice for bass which used to sell for $77.  Now I no longer sell this book because my understanding of deliberate practice has outgrown what I originally wrote about - but the information isn't outdated in any way and is still 100% relevant.  One day I'll write Version 2.0 which will layer in the understandings I've gained in the last 8 or 9 years that go beyond this...but this is still a great place to start learning about what should be a foundational level topic but that: (a) no-one really teaches and (b) no-one who does mention it seems to properly understand

Bonus 5 - How To Practice In your Dead Time (value $47)

This is an eBook I wrote in 2011 about how you can use time when you don't have your bass handy to practice your bass. If you productively use 30 minutes of 'dead time' a day you'll get an additional 150 hours of practice in the next 12 months!  (Which is actually priceless!)

Bonus 6 - Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Video Case Study (value $27)

At the end of the Challenge I'll walk through the main sections of Marvin And Tammi's version of Ain't No Mountain High Enough and talk through what devices Jamerson is using and how he's putting them together.  (This has to be at the end of The Challenge as you need the information you're going to learn in the Challenge to fully understand this.)


Bonus 7 Keep Me Hanging On - Video Case Study (value $27)

At the end of the Challenge I'll walk through the main sections of You Keep Me Hanging On and talk through what devices Jamerson is using and how he's putting them together.  (This has to be at the end of The Challenge as you need the information you're going to learn in the Challenge to fully understand this.)


Bonus 8 -  Jamerson  'Time And Groove' Class (value $27)

There's a great book for Drummers called It's About Time - I lifted two types of exercises from that book that bass players can use to work on their sense of internal time.  Using some Jamersony style bass lines of different complexity we'll work through these exercises so you can see how to add these practice exercises to your toolbox of ideas to improve your bass playing.  This Bonus will go live at the end of the Challenge (and there will be practice tracks for you to download to practice the exercises I demonstrate with).


You've Now Got Three Choices...

You've seen the examples above from  students who are already putting Jamerson's foundational devices to work and creating their own bass lines using his ideas....

There's not one but TWO guarantees that fully covers the cost of enrollment so all the risk is on me (see below).

So it's time for you to make I decision - and the way I see it you have three options:

Option #1 - do nothing and your bass playing will stay pretty much exactly as it is right now

Option #2 - create your own program to study Jamerson.  You can analyze all of the published transcription of Jamerson's work as a start.  Then you'll need to transcribe a bunch more of his performances and analyze those.  Once you've analyzed between 50 and 100 of Jamerson's performances you should start to have a good idea on which devices and ideas he used (and re-used) in his Motown career.

Then all you'll need to do is work out a sequential learning system to internalize and assimilate those devices and ideas AND develop a system to teach yourself how to take those devices and ideas and turn them into good bass lines.

If you're willing to work hard transcribing and analyzing you may be able to pull it off. (If you need to budget time for this....budgeting 500 to 750 hours would be a good starting point)

Option #3 - let my system do the heavy lifting for you.  It's already been used by hundreds of students with highly positive results that YOU could have for yourself.

Of these three options, ask yourself this question: What's Going To Be Easiest For You?

In my experience there are two types of students....those who dream about playing to a higher level without taking the required action to make it happen.

And those who are ready to take action when the opportunity presents itself to them.

Which one are you: the dreamer (who in 40 days time will be in EXACTLY the same place you are now) or the action taker (who in 40 days will be finishing up the Cracking The Detroit Code 40 Day Challenge and be armed with a ton of ideas to put into your bass playing in the coming months)?


One Final Thing To Note

Although James Jamerson is the main bass player that we're learning from in this  Challenge..... the Challenge is (counter-intuitively)  NOT about trying to sound like James Jamerson

Jamerson is rightly considered a great and influenctial bass player who produced great bass lines like For Once In My Life, Darling Dear, What's Going On, Home Cooking and a string of others that are loved and admired in equal measure by the majority of the bass community.

But if you study Jamerson (like I have ) you'll see that it took him several years of playing before he was able to produce these revered bass lines.

And what's important is that the vast majority of the devices he used in those earlier years are still present in the later Motown period.  The main difference between the two periods is the rhythms being used to execute his ideas.

We're going to learn these foundational devices so that they are part of your playing and we're going to learn how to put those devices together to create YOUR bass lines. And we'll get to some advanced rhythms and materials in the last few days of the Challenge.

Guarantee 1 - Day 10  100% Money Back Guarantee:  I know that you'll find the unique tutorial combination of video, notation/tab and backing tracks in the  Cracking The Detroit Code 40 Day Challenge will help you step up your bass playing, understanding of bass line creation AND putting your own bass lines together.

If for whatever reason you're not satisfied by Day 10 of the challenge 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.

Guarantee 2 - "End Of Challenge/ Made No Progress"100% Money Back  Guarantee

If at the end of the Challenge you did everything that was asked but made no progress in your playing or understanding of how great bass lines are created then all you need to do is drop me an email to let me know and enclose all the deliberate composition exercises - completed by you -  from the Challenge and I'll refund your enrollment fee with the same lack of drama as described above.


Enrollment Instructions:

  1. Hit the bit yellow JOIN NOW button below.  That will take you to the offical enrollment page on my 80-20 Site.
  2. If you've never enrolled on a course there before then set up an account using your best email address and a password (so you can access the Challenge information and receive the Challenge emails) and then proceed and do your Paypal Thang.  (You can also enroll using credit card).
  3. Dive into the pre-training lessons amd the bonuses that are waiting for you in the members area!  Day 1 will be along on Monday!

When you go to a gig, a jam or a rehearsal or play with other musicians  no-one will care whether you can play  diminished scale licks or machine gun triplets or non-muddy chords.

Instead they'll ONLY care  about you filling your role as a bass player.  Jamerson wrote the book on how to fill that role...and here's your chance to access a lot of that core material in the next few weeks.

Taking this 30 Day Challenge will start you on the process of incorporating some of his foundational playing devices into your toolbox plus you'll learn how to start developing original bass lines using Jamerson's foundational devices and ideas.

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

P.S. In case you're one of those people like me who likes to skip to the end...here's the deal:

When you join the Cracking The Detroit Code 40 Day Challenge (for just $157 ) you're going to get access to a unique 40 Day Challenge that will improve your bass playing, improve your understanding of constructing bass lines and kick start the process of confidently creating your own interesting bass lines modelled on the  playing of THE PLAYER who defined what the bass could be!  Plus there's several hundred dollars of bonuses....so you've got multiples in terms of value for money BEFORE you even go to the first pre-training day in the Challenge!

  • Q.Do I Have Access To The Lessons For Just The 40 Days Of The Challenge?


    The Lessons appear on a daily basis….once the Challenge is complete and all the lesson have been published,  you will  retain unlimited access to the Lessons.


  • Q.What Level Of Theory Do I Need To Have?

    A.Required theory level is pretty basic – you need to know what root notes and thirds and fifths and sixths and so on are.  And how to find them in specific keys or chord centres.

More Testimonials And Comments

As I said in the body of this page, over 200 students have already been through this 40 Day Challenge and I've taken screenshots of emails and facebook comments about the Challenge that you can look through.

The following is a screenshot of email answers from Student Tim G: