Learn The Secret Language Of Rock Bass!
That The Pros Don't Want You To Know!
You're probably wondering what this image has got to do with the bass (and Rock Bass)? Right?
Well this is a picture of a famous rock called The Rosetta Stone - discovered in 1799. The stone contains an Ancient Egyptian decree written in three languages.
The reason this stone is so important that it's on display in the British Museum is that it allowed scholars who studied ancient languages to use it to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.
You're probably still thinking: WTF has this got to do with the bass?
So let me tell you.
Creating bass lines in any genre - not just rock - isn't done by grabbing a note from here and a note from there and putting them together and seeing if they sound OK.
Bass lines have their own language.
Tthe language of bass lines is built up from devices and modifying devices and connecting devices. All executed with rhythm. (We looked at some simple quarter note bass lines using devices in the articles that led to this page.
Now I started transcribing and analyzing bass lines at a deep level in 2010.
Bass players whose work I dived into included Geddy Lee, James Jamerson,Paul McCartney, Tommy Shannon, Rocco Prestia, Bruce Thomas, Mike Mills. And dozens of others.
And the reason I used the Rosetta Stone as a metaphor above is that in all the work of these players that I analyzed I found something amazing:
...each of these bass players was 'speaking' the same language!
And I wondered if I could learn this secret language (that no-one teaches) and learn to speak it myself.
And now I'm wondering....
I've been collecting bass books and videos/DVDs since the mid 80s.
In my music library I've got a first printing of Standing In The Shadows Of Motown (with cassette tapes), I've got an early printing of Slap It! by Tony Oppenheim (that came with a floppy plastic record for the examples) and a first print of Ed Friedland's Building Walking Basslines (the cassette tape for that is long lost).
I've not got everything - but I've got (and read) a great deal of bass literature that's out there (including all the issues of Bass Player Magazine from 1st Issue right up to 2008).
You know how many times I've seen reference to the bass devices that make up the secret language of the bass?
And yet all the pros use this language.
In the composition example that I used in Articles #4 and 5 one of the devices used was called the R-3-4-Ch (along with the 8-3-4-Ch variation). You'll find that device in the work of Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, Bruce Thomas, Jerry Jemmott, Tommy Shannon, Carl Radle, Berry Oakley, Duck Dunn, John Paul Jones and literally hundreds of others.
But no-one teaches it.
I can only draw two conclusions from that fact:
#1 - the bass teachers out there don't know about it (which I find hard to believe because everybody and his dog uses it - see list above)
#2 - the bass teachers out there KNOW about it but they don't want YOU to know about it
So I decided it was time somebody took on the task of teaching this so that bass players like you (and me) could learn the secret language of rock bass.
If you think back to the list of bass players I gave you who have used the R-3-4-Ch in their lines it included the following players and the genres they played in:
James Jamerson - Soul, Funk and R&B
Paul McCartney - Rock
Duck Dunn - R&B and Blues
Jerry Jemmott - R&B, Funk and Blues
John Paul Jones - Heavy Rock
Tommy Shannon - Blues Rock
Berry Oakley - Blues Rock
Bruce Thomas - Rock
So here's the thing:
...once you've learned the R-3-4-Ch (in Day 7 - see below)...and know how to use it...that device is a strand of musical DNA.
You can use it soul and R&B.
You can use it in funk.
You can use it in rock.
I've even seen it used in walking jazz lines.
All the devices and ideas that we're going to learn from the perspective of rock can be used in just about every other musical genre. The main change needed is usually rhythmic.
This makes creating and playing lines in other genres easy.
It makes playing other player's lines for cover bands/bar bands easy - because without exception those lines are made up of the devices that the Pros don't want you to know.
So learning these devices in a rock context will give you the tools to play fluently in other genres too.
That's not all though.
Once you start practicing (and using) these devices your perception of bass lines will change forever. You'll hear a song somewhere and recognize the devices the bass player is using to create his or her line.
If you hear something you really like, you can go back to your practice space and model that combination of devices and ideas and add it to YOUR vocabulary.
So how do YOU go about learning the secret language of Rock Bass that, don't forget, is 100% applicable to every other kind of music?
Glad you asked....
The 30 Day Challenge is split into six "Challenge" weeks of five days each, plus there is bonus material on the 'rest days' (see below).
The pre-training lessons of the Challenge - and a couple of bonuses - are already live in the Members Area waiting for you.
The first day of the Challenge goes live on Monday 31st August.
24 hours later Day 2 will go live.
And so on. Until all 30 Days Of The Challenge are live (but don't forget the rest days).
Once a lesson is published, you have unlimited access to it.
Each new lesson introduces new concepts and new parts of the secret language of bass and by the time you've mastered all the material in the Challenge you'll be able to speak fluently in the language of rock bass!
Here are just some of the things we're going to be working on to turbocharge your Rock Bass IQ in this 30 Day Challenge:
- Detailed Instruction On Deliberate Composition (Days 6 to 9)
- An Advanced 16th Note Device - That Can Be Learned (And USed) At 8th Note Level (Day 27)
- Creating Movement Within Bars Using The Front End-Back End Concept (Day 15)
- Connecting Devices For Different Chord Root Movements (Day 5)
- The Main Approach Notes Used In Bass Lines (Day 10)
- Using Devices WIth Implied Chord Substitutions (Day 22)
- The Chromatic Connector Modifying Device (Day 12)
- How To Practice A Device Efficiently IN All 12 Keys (day 2)
- Using Anticipation (Day 18)
- Composing In Quarter Notes/Playing In 8th Notes (Day 11)
- Slash Chords (Day 23)
- A Foundational Device That Adds Vertical Movement To Your Lines (Day 12)
- Major Triad And Variations (Day 3)
- Using Overlapping To Add Sophistication To Your Front End-Back End Lines (Day 17)
- Devices That Start On The 5th - And When To Use Them (Day 21)
- Layering Deliberate Compositions (Day 14)
- Minor Triad And Variations (Day 4)
- Common 8th Note Rhythms - And How To Practice Them (Day 19)
- The Six Foundational 16th Note Rhythms - And How To Practice Them (Day 24)
- Using the 5th On The Downbeat (Day 22)
- Improve Your Bass IQ With THIS 10 Minute Exercise Every Day (Day 26)
- Device Fragments (Day 21)
- Iterative Deliberate COmposition (Day 20)
- Using Devices To Make You A Better Bass Player (Day 28)
- Create Your Own "Sound" (Day 30)
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 Cracking The Rock Bass Code 30 Day Challenge was deliberate composition you'd still be on track to make big improvements in your bass playing.)
The screenshots below were will give you an idea of the transformation that students who invest in themselves by taking the 30 Day Challenge - and most importantly, doing the work! - achieve:
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 The Rock Bass 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 Cracking The Rock Bass Code 30 Day Challenge covers a similar amount of ground as a lesson with a face to face teacher would. Good teachers (who 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. 350Lessons 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).
That doesn't take account of the value of bonus lessons, the critique library , the video song tutorials and the other bonuses..
So let's say that's the equivalent of around another 10 to 15 lessons worth of material, that would take your investment well north of $2000.
If you enroll on the Cracking The Rock Bass 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 in Rock Bass 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 Critique Library is a work in progress.
If you're reading this it means that there's another Bonus in play.
Here's how it works:
- For a number of lessons I create a blank chord chart, create practice tracks, and get YOU to create a bass line for it using what you've learned in the Challenge up to that point AND the process of deliberate composition.
- You submit that composition to me.
- I critique it.
- Both the composition (anonymized) and the critique go in the Critique Library so that your fellow students can learn from what you did and my comments.
- YOU benefit because other students do the same and you get to learn from my critiques on their compositions.
Most critiques take around 15 to 20 minutes of my times....I allow each student 5 critiques in the Challenge. If we say 20 minutes per critique, thats's around an hour and a half of my time. If you asked me to one on one teach you for 90 minutes I'd charge you AT LEAST $200.
So this is a highly valuable bonus. IMPORTANT NOTE: this is only valuable if you use it....on previous Challenges where I've offered this only a small number of students have done this work.
Once a certain number of students have signed up this bonus will go away and the Critique Library will become a fixed asset rather than something that's being built in real time with YOUR contribution.
So the sooner you enroll the sooner you'll lock those 5 critiques in place.
Need More Information Before You Make Your Decision?
Bonus 1 - Rock 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 featured include the work of Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M., Beatles and more. (This bonus goes live incrementally through the 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 - Wishing Well Device Walkthrough (Value $20)
This is a relatively simple rock song - and this walkthrough will take you step by step, device by device through how the line is put together. (Goes live at the end of the Challenge).
Bonus 5 - Hungry Heart Device Walkthrough (Value $20)
This is a walkthrough of the main sections of Gary Tallent's bass line on Hungry Heart from The River. This is a great bass line that illustrates something I call "thematic development." (Goes live at the end of the Challenge).
Bonus 6 - Radio Radio Walkthrough (Value $20)
This is a device walkthrough of the main parts of Bruce Thomas's bas line on Radio Radio by Elvis Costello. (Goes live at end of Challenge)
Future Bonuses - (Value $47+)
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 Rock Sight Reading Etudes...there's a real dearth of real world sight reading literature around and this is something I've wanted to put together for a while. I think there will be 30 etudes by the time I'm finished - This is scheduled to be completed by Easter 2021 but will roll out - etude by etude - between now and then as time allows.
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 the core language of rock. You can analyze published transcriptions of the main songs and players in rock. You'll have your own favourites - for me it's Geddy Lee and Paul McCartney and Bruce Thomas. Maybe some Roger Glover. Some Yes. And so on.
Once you've analyzed around 50 classic rock performances you should start to have a good idea on which devices and ideas are found throughout the rock repertoire.
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 can probably pull it off. (If you need to budget time for this....500 hours would be a good starting point)
Option #3 - let my 30 Day Challenge do the heavy lifting for you. My 30 Day Challenges have already been used by hundreds of students with highly positive results - and YOU could have the same results 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 Rock Bass 30 Day Challenge and be armed with a ton of ideas to put into your bass playing in the coming months)?
The 30 Day Cracking The Rock Bass Code Challenge isn't about learning a few cool riffs and transposing them to different keys.
Instead it's about identifying the core ideas used in rock bass.
And learning how to put those core ideas together to create bass lines.
But it's important to remember that 'rock' is just a genre. Once you learn these fundamentals they can be used in pop and blues and souland reggae and country. And just about any genre you want to play in.
These fundamentals are the DNA of ALL bass lines in any genre...this Challenge is about looking at bass lines in the context of rock bass.
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 Cracking The Rock Bass Code 30 Day (plus) 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
This is what's known as a conditional guarantee. Here's the condition to trigger this one: 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 signed up for anything on the 80-20 site then use your best email address and a password during enrollment so you can access the Challenge material post enrollment.
- You can now proceed and enroll securely using Paypal or Credit Card.
- Dive into the pre-training lessons and the bonuses 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. You can learn the core ideas and devices from Rock Bass in this Challenge - as well as some advanced ideas too - and more importantly, you'll learn how to put these core devices and ideas together.
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 the foundational devices and ideas of Rock bass.
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 CTRC 30 Day Challenge (for just $127 - ) 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 core devices and ideas from the Rock repertoire. 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.