Category: Bass Lesson

Level 42/Mark King :: Seven Years :: First 8 Bars

One of my students mentioned that he was working on the Level 42 tune Seven Years so I listened to the tune and transcribed the bass line.  Mark King was one of my bass heroes after my early Paul Simonon/The Clash period had passed, although I still love The Clash.  Mark was doing things on a bass I had never heard before like really funky finger style bass lines and busy slapping and popping.  Later on I would learn that he was inspired by bass players like Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller.  Not only does he play syncopated bass lines but he sings over them as well!   Read More

Jeff Berlin’s Blues in E :: Chord Tone Solo

I came across this YouTube clip from Jeff Berlin.  Jeff gives his view on using the blues scale over all the chords in the 12 bar blues.  At the 2:30 mark Jeff plays through the 12 bars using only chord tones.  

I transcribed the short solo so that you see where Jeff places the chord tones.  I think he sounds great even if the last couple of bars get a bit funny rhythmically.  The guy has monster chops.   The link will take you to a copy of the the transcription.  

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Categories: Bass Lesson

Learning Songs For The Gig

A lot of my work as a bass player involves reading charts or written parts. Sometimes I’m provided with music.  In other cases, if I have a very short time to prepare for a gig, I will listen to the music and make notes so that I can have my own charts or cheat cheats.  I’ll either scan these and store as PDFs in my iPad or put them in a binder.  At least the iPad looks cooler and more high-tech than a music stand and binder.

Jay Allen's Shop
Jay Allen’s SHOP

This is a chart I made for a Jay Allen tune.  Click to open image.  Some of the terms I use are probably easy to figure out.  INT=Intro, V1=Verse 1, CH=Chorus, BR=Bridge.  Beside the title SHOP is a circled D indicating the key the recording is in.  The rest of the numbers represent the bass root movement. 1 = D, 4 = G, 5 = A and so on.  One number represents 4 beats or a bar of that chord.  (1 7) represents D for two beats and C# for two beats.  It’s a short hand that gets me through the tune and the numbers let me play the song in any key the singer wants. Read More

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. Read More

A Better Fretting Hand

(Handout from L&M Lessons)

To build the dexterity and strength in your fretting hand use the three exercises below.  Your focus should be on repeating the pattern slowly with an even tone while you build the strength on your left hand.  This will improve coordination between your picking and fretting hands.

Half Step Exercises

12 or 23 or 34 Read More