The Duck Dunn Challenge - Self Study Version
There are only two ways to improve your bass playing:
- 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.
- 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 The Duck Dunn Challenge we'll be focusing on the latter by analyzing the foundational devices of Stax and Blues bass legend Donald "Duck" Dunn.
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) all of Duck's seminal 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:
- Identifying the core ideas Duck Dunn used in his soul and blues playing.
- Put those ideas into a sequential learning system
- Add in the secret sauce - a technique I developed called “deliberate composition” helps students put Duck's ideas together to create their own bass lines.
- All combined and packaged in months worth of hyper focused learning.
Your Chance To Learn From Sir Duck Of Dunn!
This is your chance to learn directly from Duck's work..
Duck is one of the giants of bass.
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 Duck Dunn Challenge Works
Here's How The Challenge Works...
Focusing on something for a set period of time - like a month - 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 7 pre-training days already in your account. (As well as some of the bonuses - see below). And Day 1 of the Challenge is already live in your account..
The Challenge is split into learning weeks of 5 "learning days" followed by a bonus day and a rest day. Everytime a new lesson goes live you get an email letting you know.
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 Week 2 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 is already live in your account - 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 are some of the things we're going to be working on to improve Bass IQ in this Duck Dunn Challenge:
- the open string used as a 'bounce' note
- anticipations - a techniques to create unpredictability in your lines
- how to use rhythmic replacement to add a 16th note layer to 8th note bass lines
- 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"
- using devices for maintenance practice and improvement practice
- how to create your own "sound"
- Duck's foundational devices
- more foundational Dunn devices
- detailed instruction to use deliberate composition
- using devices to practice new chord progressions
- ballad devices
- overlapping and thematic development
- auditing your bass lines
- solving musical problems
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 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.)
I've run multiple Challenges in different genres in the last 2 years teaching over 500vstudents in the process. I've taken screenshots of comments so you can check out what students just like you think...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 The Duck Dunn 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 Duck Dunn 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. 30 Lessons with such a teacher requires an investment of $1500.
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 $2000.
If you enroll on the Cracking The Detroit Code 30 Day Challenge today though you won't pay $2000.
You won't pay half of that - $1000.
You won't even pay a tenth of that - $200.
Instead, the investment requires to enroll on this unique program where you can learn the foundational devices and ideas that Duck Dunn 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
The previous version of the Duck Dunn Challenge was a 'live' version.
Which meant that the students submitted their compositions (daily from Day 8) 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 self study 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 a different challenge - 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 Soundcloud (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 different foundational devices that all bass players use 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 - (THIS BONUS NOW GONE)
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 - THIS BONUS NOW GONE
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 - Sweet Home Chicago - Video Case Study (value $27)
At the end of the Challenge I'll walk through 5 sections of Sweet Home Chicgo and talk through what devices Duck 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 - Duck Dunn Style Grooves (value $30)
This is a post Challenge bonus....a collection of 20 Duck Dunn style grooves for you to get your fingers around and use as inspiration for creating your own lines and grooves.
Bonus 8 - R&B '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 R&B 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 seen the examples above from students who are already putting Duck'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 Duck Dunn. You can analyze all of the published transcription of Duck's work as a start. Then you'll need to transcribe a bunch more of his performances and analyze those. Once you've analyzed at least 50 of Duck's performances you should start to have a good idea on which devices and ideas he used (and re-used) in his bass playing 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 a months time will be in EXACTLY the same place you are now) or the action taker (who in a months time will be finishing up the Duck Dunn 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 Duck Dunn is the bass player that we're learning from in this Challenge..... the Challenge is (counter-intuitively) NOT about trying to sound like Duck Dunn.
Duck is rightly considered a great and influenctial bass player who produced great bass lines like Sweet Home Chicago, She Caught The Katy, Soul Man, Knock On Wood and a string of others that are loved and admired in equal measure by the majority of the bass community.
We're going to learn the foundational devices that Duck used 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 7 100% Money Back Guarantee: I know that you'll find the unique tutorial combination of video, notation/tab and backing tracks in the The Duck DunnChallenge 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 7 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.
- Hit the bit yellow JOIN NOW button below. That will take you to the offical enrollment page on my 80-20 Site.
- 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).
- Dive into the pre-training lessons and the bonuses that are waiting for you in the members area! Day 1 is also live and Day 2 will be along in 24 hours!
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.
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 Duck Dunn Challenge (for just $127 ) you're going to get access to a unique 4 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 mighty Duck Dunn! 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! Plus there's not one but two 100% money back guarantees so all the risk is on me!
Q.Do I Have Access To The Lessons For Just The Duration 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 From This And Other Challenges
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.