7 Bass Books every bassist needs

No introduction needed really.  Got your metronome and your axe?  Let’s do this.

7. Joel Di Bartolo – Serious Electric Bass

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I love how full this one is.  Joel does an amazing job of going over every nuance of playing in detail with attention for those playing five or six stringed instruments.  This one I keep coming back to, in fact, I pretty much had to take it off the music stand to take the shot.  You can’t go wrong with the guy who played for Johnny Carson!

6. Rufus Reid  – The Evolving Bassist

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I had this recommended to me by my former bass teacher Joey Smith.  Fantastic book for upright and electric players alike going into rhythm, chord structure and how to approach jazz basslines.  Really helped me in getting my theory down along with…(drumroll)

5 Jaco Pastorius – Modern Electric Bass

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If you haven’t heard of Jaco, bassist or not, go to youtube immediately.  He’s pretty much our Hendrix!  But anyways, this book goes over the video which is excellent and genuinely teaches you things as opposed to just making you go “Wow, he’s good!”  It does that, and you do feel like the least educated chimp when you try playing after  but the book also has some great little bits on theory that helped me finally piece it all together.  Worth it!

4 Simandl

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Yeah, what do you follow Jaco with?  This is pretty much the book, which Jaco actually mentioned himself, for studying classical bass.  Even if classical isn’t your thing it is the tried and true study of the rhythm section.

3. Slap it! – Tony Oppenheim

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We want the funk!  Get your groove established by this great little book for woodshedding the basics of funk.  Not a really thick book but it gets straight down to it with exercises you can start straight away with and give you a foundation of sound that is not only cool, percussive and funky, but also clean!

2.Teach yourself Advanced Bass – Clive Harrison

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And I can hear the “whhaaa?” from here.

Despite how this one looks this little guy has been my straight, no nonsense foundation to so much of my playing and bass philosophy that I don’t know where to start.  Formerly with the Little River Band, Clive takes you through all the things you need to get your chops sailing as well as gives you great directions in things you might not of thought of like his section of Chops versus Performance or on Shifting.

  1. Chuck Rainey – The Method, sadly not pictured

This might be anti climactic but my copy has disappeared in a recent move, which is annoying because not only did I use to come back to that book again and again but literally it is where I started actually practicing.  Chuck is such a great book to start with as he goes into great detail exactly what kind of strings to use and proper right hand form and technique as well as getting your from that shaky first C scale and onwards.

Hope you enjoyed this little list!  Please feel free to add your own recommendations to the messages below!

Cheers,

Tom

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