The Duck Dunn Challenge
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 Callenge we'll be focusing on the latter by analyzing the foundational devices of the late, great 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) dozens of Duck's performances looking for the commonly repeated ideas and devices that he uses.
And I turned this into a sequential learning system that bass players of even relatively moderate abilities can benefit from and improve with
Summarized this multi year process reduces down to 4 lines:
- Identifying the core ideas Duck used in playing.
- Put those ideas into a sequential learning system
- Add in the secret sauce - a technique I developed called “deliberat composition” helps students put Duck's ideas together to create interesting bass lines.
- All combined and packaged in a tightly focused period of hyper focused learning.
Your Chance To Learn From One Of The Greats Of Bass!
Duck Dunn wasn't a flashy bass player - in my opinion that's a good thing! 95% plus of a bass player's job is to play something that makes everyone else in the band look great and play it with great time. Duck was a master at doing this and this is an opportunity for you to learn the foundational devices he used in creating his lines and how he put those foundational devices together.
By the end of the Challenge you’ll have leapfrogged your contemporaries in terms of the devices and ideas that you know - your Bass IQ! - 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 concentrated period - approx 30 days - 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 plus Day 1 of the Challenge. (As well as some of the bonuses - see below).
The Challenge is split into four "weeks" of five days with a two day "week-end." One of those weekend days is a rest/catch up day...and on the other some song bonuses will appear!
Every "week" day a new 'day' will go live in your Account and you'll get an email letting you know that the next day is now available.
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 from one of my challenges - and Day 1 of the Duck Dunn Challenge is waiting for you right now in the members area! - 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 the Duck Dunn Challenge:
- Duck's Foundational Devices (Days 1 to 5...and beyond!)
- Lessons From Duck's Early Blues Lines (Days 16 to 18)
- Overlapping And Thematic Development (Day 15)
- How To "Connect" devices To Lead The Listener's Ear Through Your Bass Line (day 5)
- How to get yourself out of a 'corner' - the last note modifying device (Day 12)
- Bar 9 Turnaround Devices From Sweet Home Chicago (Day 19)
- The Difference Between Maintenance Practice and Improvement Practice - And When To Use Each (Day 24)
- Solving Musical Problems (Day 10)
- How To Accurately Practice Triplets (Day 13) And 16th Notes (Day 22)
- Duck Dunn's Favourite Device? (Day 6)
- Where To Find The Answers To All Your Musical Questions (Day 9)
- The Secret Source of Dozens Of (Free) Duck Dunn Transcriptions (Day 1)
- Practicing With The Cycle And The Reverse Cycle (Days 2 and 3)
- Duck's Ballad Approach (Day 14)
- Using Rhythmic Replacement To Create 16th Note Based Lines Out Of 8th Note Lines (Day 21)
- Modifying Devices From She Caught The Katy (Day 22)
- How To Practice And Work On Your Time (At The Same Time)
- Two Bar Blues Devices From Sweet Home Chicago (Day 20)
- Using The b3 In Blues Bass Lines (Day 18)
- How To Create Your Own Sound (Day 24)
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 the Duck Dunn Challenge was deliberate composition you'd still be on track to make big improvements in your bass playing.)
I've run the live version of the 30 Day Challenges several times in the last year 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:
So How Much Is The Investment In This 30 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 Duck DunnChallenge 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. There's 31 Lessons including the pretraining - and with a $50 per lesson teacher that 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 Duck Dunn 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 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 versions of the Duck Dunn Challenge were 'live' versions.
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 course 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:
Need More Information Before You Make Your Decision?
Bonus 1 - Duck Dunn Video Tutorial Collection (value $50)
- This is a collection of 25 song videos demonstrating the bass lines to the songs being played. Most songs are broken down into sections, and each section is played twice - once at performance tempo and once at slowed down tempo. The videos are edited with picture in picture so you can clearly see what's going on. There's no notation and tab - but as you acquire proficiency in the various devices taught in the challenge you should start to hear those devices in the bass lines. Songs include Sweet Home Chicago, Dock Of The Bay, Mr Pitiful, You Don't Know What You Mean To Me, Ain't No Sunshine, She Caught The Katy and more. (Goes live at end of Challenge)
Bonus 2 - 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 3 - 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 4 - R&B 'Time And Groove' Study (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 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).
Bonus 5 - 80-20 Sweet Home ChicagoWalkthrough (Value $20)
This is a walkthrough of 5 choruses from Sweet Home Chicago where we'll check out how Duck gets through each chorus, how he connects devices (often with Last Note Modifying Devices) and we'll look at one chorus with examples of the Duck 2 Bar Pattern that we'll check out in the Challenge itself. (Goes Live at the end of the Challenge)
Bonus 6 - Future Bonuses/All Future Upgrades - (Value $47 - in reality more!)
I've got plans to add more bonuses over time to make this even more valuable. The first of those will be a unique collection of Duck Dunn Grooves This is scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2020 but will roll out - groove by groove - between now and then as time allows.
Possible other items include a projected collection of R&B Sight Reading Etudes.
To make this a low risk investment decision to you, 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 a 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 (though the most accurate book is out of print and out of print copies cost over £100!). Then you'll need to transcribe a bunch more of his performances and analyze those. Once you've analyzed between 50 and 100 of Duck's perfromances you should start to have a good idea on which devices and ideas he used (and re-used) in his playing down the years.
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....500 hours would be a good starting point)
Option #3 - let my program do the heavy lifting for you. It's already been used by over 200 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 30 days time will be in EXACTLY the same place you are now) or the action taker (who in 30 days 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 30 Day Challenge..... the Challenge is (counter-intuitively) NOT about trying to sound like Duck Dunn.
Duck Dunn is rightly considered a great and influenctial bass player who produced great bass lines like Hold On I'm Coming, Soul Man, Dock Of The Bay, Knock On Wood and a string of others. What's interesting is that the devices and ideas you can find in Duck's R&B work is present in his later blues styling work (e.g. Sweet Home Chicago, She Caught The Katy).
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 - whether that's for R&B. Or Blues. Or a different genre. And we'll get to some advanced rhythms and materials in the last few days of the Challenge.
I'm so sure of this program that there's not one but TWO guarantees!
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 Duck Dunn 30 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.
- 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, the bonuses and Day 1 that are waiting for you in the members area!
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. Duck Dunn's genius in my opinion was creating lines that did exactly that...and here's your chance to access a lot of his core ideas in the next few weeks.
Taking the Duck Challenge Challenge will start you on the process of incorporating his foundational playing devices into your toolbox plus you'll learn how to start developing original bass lines using the Duck'ss 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 $97 ) you're going to get access to a unique 30 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 one of the most revered players in the Bass World! 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 30 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 30 Day Challenge and I've taken screenshots of emails and facebook comments about the Challenge that you can look through.