2 | Free How To Play Bass Monthly Ezine | Febraury 2013 | how-to-play-bass.com
THE HOW TO PLAY BASS MONTHLY EZINE - FEBRUARY 2014
Welcome to the free how to play bass monthly ezine for February, 2014. In this months issue were going to have part 1 of a two part tutorial looking at Paul McCartneys bass line to the classic Beatles tune Dear Prudence.
Although Ive done the transcribing and put everything together for this issue of the free ezine - and for the next issue too - the video for both of the parts of Dear Prudence will be taught by guest teacher Gordon Clay-ton.
Updates To The How To Play Bass Website
Before we go onto the song tutorial I just want to take a moment to tell you about upcoming changes to the how to play bass website:
1. Firstly the website is being redeveloped/redesigned at the moment. Im not sure when the new layout will roll out...but it will be in the next couple of months hopefully.
2. Those of you whove subscribed for longer than a few months will no-tice that the monthly ezines were erratic in 2013. Thats something Im rectifying and from now on they will be regular. Every month there will be a new song tutorial and the previous months song tutorial will disap-pear into the archive of First Bass And Beyond.
3. Those of you whove visited the website recently may notice that it hasnt been updated with new songs recently. Thats partly because of the redesign thats ongoing. And partly because of a change of policy.
For most of 2013 Ive been filming two video tutorials a week to tie in with my weekly magazine First Bass And Beyond. And Ive been posting versions of those tutorials on youtube and on the How To Play Bass web-site.
I have nearly 300 videos on YouTube and have decided that although the
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two video tutorials a week schedule will continue, I wont post many of these tutorials to Youtube anymore. Perhaps it will be one a month plus the free song tutorial like this one.
4. This policy is already under way - here are videos that subscribers of First Bass And Beyond have had access to that werent uploaded to Youtube:
Celebration (Kool And The Gang)Everybody Needs Somebody (The Blues Brothers)Oh What A Night (Franki Valli)CMon Everybody (Eddie Cochrane)Tutti Frutti (Little Richard)Great Balls Of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)I Predict A Riot (The Kaiser Chiefs)Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival)Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry)Smile Like You Mean It (The Killers)Somebody Told Me (The Killers)
5. Upcoming tutorials will be focused on songs that are commonly played by gigging bands. That will range from soul and R&B classics to rock and rock blues tunes. Songs that will be featured in tutorials over the next few weeks include Easy Skanking and Satisfy my Soul by Bob Marley, Mr Brightside and Smile Like You Mean It And Somebody Told Me by The Killers, I Predict A Riot by The Kaiser Chiefs and more.
6. Ive added a new section to First Bass And Beyond called Working Basslines. That section features complete tutorials for songs that bands commonly play - these tutorials feature streaming and downloadable videos, notation in PDF and tab, instruction on creating individual sec-tions in Band In A Box to isolate and practice (which includes necessary chords and keys and tempo information) and also bass less backing tracks to play along with.
7. Over the next few months Im going to serialise a book I wrote - called LEARN SONGS NOT SCALES - that details the background to why I dont think bass players should learn scales by rote. (Note bass players
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DO need to understand scales and how they are formed....but we dont need to practice them by rote. It will all be spelled out over the next few months!)
So things are changing. Ill keep you posted as the updates roll out.
5 | Free How To Play Bass Monthly Ezine | February 2014 | how-to-play-bass.com
DEAR PRUDENCE PART 1 by THE BEATLES - bass by PAUL McCART-NEY
The song tutorial for February 2014 is the first part of a two parter. The tune were going to be looking at is Dear Prudence by The Beatles.
As I said in the introduction, the video portion of the tutorial will be taken by guest instructor Gordon Clayton.
Now recently there was a version of the Rock Band computer game that focused solely on songs of The Beatles. And the music tracks for that game were taken from the Beatles masters. And some of the individual parts can now be found floating around the internet - if you search on Youtube you can find the isolated bass line for Dear Prudence and really hear clearly what Paul McCartney is doing. This tutorial - and Part 2 next month - are based on that isolated bass line. So I recommend you have a look on YouTube for that and take a listen to it.
After a few seconds of guitar, the bass comes in for Verse 1. This is what were going to be playing:
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The next section after this is Verse 2 - where McCartney gets a little busi-er:
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This leads to the bridge. This is the section with the vocal of look around on it:
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Following the bridge is Verse 2 - which is similar to Verse 2, but is a little busier again:
Were going to finish Part 1 of this tutorial there....and well pick this up with Part 2 next month.
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LEARN SONGS NOT SCALES! 2
Why Learning To Play Scales By Rote Is Wasted Practice Time
I finished the first installment in this series of articles by saying that Learn Songs Not Scales doesnt mean that you can be ignorant of music theory.
In truth, perhaps the motto of Learn Songs Not Scales would more ac-curately reflect my thinking if it were: Learn Songs, Not Scales By Rote.
Thats what were going to look at today - and I hope with the number of examples that I provide will help convince you of this. The reason this is important by the way is that it allows you to focus your practice time much more effectively.
So Why IS Practicing Scales By Rote Wasted Practice Time?
The reason why practicing scales by rote - and at the end of day play-ing scales up and down IS rote practice - is wasting your practice time is simple:
You are practicing music in a way that you will never, ever use in your working life.
Think about it this way: lets say your friend is a guitarist and the bass player has just left his band and he tells you to call up the band leader to offer your services. When you speak to the band leader - or any band leader for that matter - youll never hear any variant of this question:
So man, what scales do you know?
Instead youll be asked how long youve been playing, who youve played with, what kind of gear you have, whether youve got transport. And probably the most important question: either what songs do you know? Or the band leader will run you through their set list and ask you what songs you know from that set list.
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If playing scales is a playing scenario that is never, ever going to be used in your playing career - why practice it? All of us are constrained with practice time...so why expend precious practice time on an activity that doesnt lead anywhere.
Doesnt Practicing Scales Increase My Fluency And Overall Playing?
In a limited way, it does. But any gains in fluency you get come at the cost of hours and hours of practice that (IMO) could be more effectively spent, and also the gains in fluency you get tend to translate only to playing scales or playing very scalar material.
So if you were a classical musician, or wanted to play lots of classical music on the bass, then some of this music is more scale oriented than traditional bass lines. And you could make a case for practicing scales.
Even then, I think youd be better off playing pieces (as songs are called in the classical repertoire) and working on the playing challenges that those pieces provide.
What About Broken Scales?
Broken scales - e.g. playing in ascending thirds, or fourths, or fifths - are better preparatory exercises than playing scales up and down. They have more benefits than rote scale playing - youll encounter playing challenges that are more real world like, e.g. string crossing, position shifting and so on. Plus these exercises will subliminally help with your ear training - as by definition they focus on the playing of scalar inter-vals.
And broken scalar fragments can be worked into bass lines - youll find them in walking bass lines as well as rock and pop - so there are some benefits to practicing these.
But I wouldnt recommend a whole bunch of time working on these. I compiled an exercise book for bass which effectively is a series of broken scales and scalar sequences - The Bass Hanon book - and using Bass Ha-nons for 10 minutes done very slowly is a great way to warm up and just
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focus on your left hand technique.
And note three things I just said: 10 minutes; warm up; slowly.
So not practicing those exercises for hours on end, and at different tem-pos. Even though they are much better exercises to play than scales straight up and down.
What About The Cousins of Scales? Arpeggios?
This is an interesting question. Because whilst you cant make good basslines out of scales, you can make good basslines out of Arpeggios. (Good here is defined as a bass line that fulfills the functions of what a bass line should do.)
Indeed there are songs where the bass line is built solely off simple ar-peggios - One Step Beyond by Madness springs immediately to mind. But there are dozens more.
So although I still wouldnt practice playing arpeggios by rote - there is a case to be made for practicing arpeggio notes in various ways. For ex-ample take a simple chord progression - say C to F to C to G7 - and cre-ate a Band In A Box backing track and set that going. Then play through the arpeggios of each chord in various ways in quarter notes:
e.g. R R 3 5 R 3 5 3 R R 5 3
and so on.
And do this for every key. And different chord progression - and progres-sions that incorporate minor keys. And the exercise could be extended out with 7ths (or 6ths) added. Over time you would develop a very solid grasp of where these important arpeggio notes fall on the fingerboard - ALL bass lines are built off arpeggio notes, these are the principle build-ing blocks of bass lines.
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So this would be good practice. Add in the subliminal ear training you get from playing with backing tracks that contain chordal material to thelearning of where all these arpeggio notes are in every key and every quality, and youll have a powerful knowledge to draw from when creat-ing your own bass lines.
Notice again the benefits of practicing arpeggios in this fashion:
1. Increases understanding of where fundamental chord tones are all over the bass - chord tones are the foundation stones of bass lines
2. Subliminal ear training of chord progressions plus the sounds of dif-ferent arpeggio notes (3rds, 5ths, 7ths) against the harmony.
3. If you use lots of common chord progressions....it will increase the library of chord progressions that you know the sound of. In the real world you sometimes have to play songs you dont know - these songs will nearly always be made up of combinations of common chord pro-gressions. You may not know the song - but if you know the progression you are well on your way to displaying confidence when you play.
4. You can play through a song with just arpeggios. And a subtle change of the rhythm you use can take you a long way - for example check out McCartneys reading of Roll Over Beethoven. If you examine that in terms of note choice youll see that an awful lot of his playing is built around just roots (or octaves) , 3rds and 5ths.
If Youre Still Not Convinced, Try This Exercise
Take the chord progression I mentioned above - C to F to C to G7. Make each chord last either a bar or 2 bars. And try and create a line that uses a complete scale on each chord change.
In the next installment of this series Im going to randomly take 16 bars from 16 different songs that Ive transcribed in the last three and a half years or so. Then Im going to analyze them and see how many scales I can find.
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Those 16 bar patterns are going to be drawn from different players, dif-ferent genres of music, and totally at random.
Well draw some conclusions from those 256 bars of analysis then....but I think youll find it informative. Maybe even shocking. Ive done this exercise before...and I was staggered.
So till next month....
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FIRST BASS AND BEYOND - THE ULTIMATE SONG RESOURCE FOR BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE BASS PLAYERS
If youve read this far it shows that youre interested in detailed song tu-torials for bass. How would you like to get access to over 200 song tutori-als over the next year for less than a dollar a tutorial? Well First Bass And Beyond gives you that....
Heres how it works.
First Bass And Beyond is based on a magazine model and I publish a PDF like this one every Friday at 5pm GMT. Each magazine includes two song tutorials in the PDF that are complemented with video tutori-als and MP3s as well.
I publish 50 issues a year - so thats 100 song tutorials over the next year.
Additionally there is a section of the website called Working Bass Lines - and new members will get a new song every week in that section of the website. That takes you up to 150 song tutorials in the next year. (See list at the end of this PDF)
When you join you get access to the archive of the free How To Play Bass monthly ezine - there are currently 35 videos in that archive. Thats 185 song tutorials. (These 35 tutorials are all immediately available - and to see what songs are available, see the list at the end of the PDF)
When you join you also get access to the Bass For Beginners course which currently includes another 35 song tutorials - that makes 220 song tutorials. (And these 35 tutorials are available immediately).
Plus if you subscribe as an annual member you get 10 back issues of the magazine as a bonus - that could potentially add another 20 song tutori-als to your song tutorial library!
Theres more in the magazine too - a main transcription every week that is usually more advanced and doesnt have video to go with. Plus theres
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