Bass Books

I have a bit of an obsessive compulsive habit for buying music books.  I have shelves full of books for bass technique, theory as well as a seemingly endless number of Fakebooks from as far back as my Humber College days in the late 80s.  So many of the books have hardly been used but I’ll get to them somewhere along the way.  I thought I’d show you some of the books I recommend and use for teaching.

Ed Friedland – Complete Edition

edcompleteEd Friedland is a fine bassist and educator who has written bass books on every aspect of bass playing.  If you are taking lessons with me this is the book I’d recommend especially if you’ve never played bass before. The books is also ideal if you want to start reading bass notation instead of TABS.

Ed doesn’t jump straight into theoretical concepts involving scales and chords.  His approach is a steady progression from learning the notes on the fret board to more and more complex reading.  Very quickly you are playing something that sounds like what bass players do.

There are also play along tracks so you can hear how the examples sound.  If you are just starting to play, these CD tracks can be great for hearing how the example should sound.  If your goals is to learn to read then I’d suggest listening to the track AFTER you’ve tried to read and play the example in the book.

The Complete Edition includes the first three books of Ed’s Bass Method. You can buy the books separately but The Complete Edition is usually a better deal. Click the link to purchase Ed’s book from Amazon

Hal Leonard Bass Method – Complete Edition: Books 1, 2 and 3 by Ed Friedland

Rufus Reid – The Evolving Bassist

rufusreidRufus Reid’s book is where my journey started to become a jazz bass player. While primarily a book for double bass players it works very well for electric bass. I still have my edition from my Humber days as well as a the most recent edition. If you come to me with some experience of playing bass and want to play jazz this is an ideal resource.

There is so much information in this book it’s hard to know where to start but I tend to focus on the pages where Rufus introduces reading rhythms as well as walking baselines. Rufus has also released a DVD covering a lot of the concepts in the book. Click the link to buy the book and the DVD

The Evolving Bassist Book

The Evolving Bassist DVD

Latin Bass

CubaBasssmThe Antler River Project and the Alfredo Cajax Latin Ensemble are two challenging groups that I am lucky to play bass for.  Both are reading gigs that use Afro Cuban or Latin bass rhythms.

Even though the charts might provide chord changes or specific bass patterns the feel or groove is very important.  Playing in time is one thing, making the music groove is something else.

I love playing Latin bass grooves.  Depending on the tune the bass role can be very different from what bass players play in a Western pop or jazz setting.  I’ve used two books to help me understand  what the bass does in salsas, cha-chas, cumbias and son patterns.


Either of these books are great for learning the patterns and feel for Latin music.   You may not have any plans to play Latin music but if you can play this music and make it feel good then it can only improve your overall playing and groove.  I feel the same way about learning to play jazz.  It makes you a better musician.  “But I’ll never play jazz!”  Never say never.  You can be learning music for your whole life.  You just don’t know what the future will bring.  I started playing bass by learning Clash and Ramones tunes in high school.

True Cuban Bass
Muy Caliente

2 Replies to “Bass Books”

  1. That Hal Leonard series of books are great for students. Doesn’t doddle you through learning but gives enough practice with each new concept.

    I’m going to buy and check out that Evolving Bass book. Looks cool.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: