How To Play Bass - Learning From James Jamerson Vol 1
A Musical Method To Learn The Fretboard
The Musical Way To Build Fretboard Fluency On The Bass!
There are already multiple bass fretboard books out there, so why the need for another one?
The answer is that the other bass fretboard books all focus on the mechanics of understanding where the 12 notes in the musical alphabet are found on the bass fretboard.
So here’s a note. Play two frets above and two strings above and you’ve got the octave. Go one string up and five frets back and you’ve got another place to play that note. Go 12 frets up on the same string and there’s another octave. And so on.
That is valid instruction - but it’s only Level 1. (And I’ve got you covered in this Volume if you need to go through Level 1).
None of the other bass fretboard books relate that mechanical note knowledge to music in any way, shape or form. If you understand some basic music theory, as well as understanding how to use constraints to create practice exercises, then you can build your musical fluency in a way that supports your musical understanding of the fretboard.
Knowing where ‘all the notes are’ - which is Level 1 - doesn’t lead to fretboard fluency in musical situations - that’s where Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5 come in. These are a series of musical exercises with real world elements (like rhythm and harmony that will build your understanding of how the note locations you’ve learned in Level 1 in a way that builds your “musical IQ.”
Sidebar: if you practice the exercises with the practice tracks available in the Bonus Online Version of the book you also get valuable subliminal ear training, not just of chord qualities, but chord movements and bass line resolutions too!
This is the only volume that builds on “Level 1” style fretboard exercises in a way that will support your future musicianship.
Online Version Of The Book: for qualifying students (i.e. you buy this volume new on Amazon) there's an online version of the book where the musical exercises are filmed at multiple tempos and you can download practice tracks for the exercises in Levels 2, 3,4 and 5.
How This Works
Here's a demo of the kind of exercise featured in Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5.
This is taken from Level 3 and this exercise builds on fretboard knowledge in a musical way by incorporating the following musical elements:
- Real world harmonic and rhythmic style content (chords and drums)
- Real world rhythms - two beat rhythm
- Real world chord movements - the most common chord movement in rock and pop is the equivalent of C to F.
- All 12 keys - taking the C to F chord movement and going through the cycle of 5ths.
This exercise uses roots and fifths, through the cycle of fifths, with the musical elements described above AND (the important part to develop fretboard fluency) constrains all of these factors to the E String.
Note that there are TWO playalongs of this exercise in the video below. A 200 BPM version with an uptempo country style backing and a 140 BPM version with a jazz two beat style backing. In the online version of the book there's also a 100 BPM version played with a simple chordal metronome.
Here's the video of that exercise:
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