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

Houston, we’ve left normal

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My long time co-writer and friend Cheri Jacobs

     It’s really early.  It’s early enough to still be considered late.  Making coffee now because I know I won’t be going back to sleep for quite some time.  That’s the perfectly normal thing right about now.  I have never slept well, due to a large part that I never liked to do that.  My schedule has little power naps and as I type this on the tablet Cece is sleeping.  I give full points to a girlfriend who sticks by her creative man.  We’re the most difficult breed there is if we’re good and likely worse if were not.

      In now less than two weeks I voyage out into the waters that I have always wanted to sail.  Thanks to a mixture of my work with Cookeilidh, my work with Cheri Jacobs and our partnership with Less Bland Productions I have made the leap to being a writer and musician full time.  I do feel ready for these waters but naturally it is a place that I sort of half thought I wouldn’t be sailing.  The choice to make the leap is one that does scare me since it’s not as though I have made it in the conventional sense.  The work I do is exhilarating in both fields (two sides of my expression  that have always been there relentlessly since I could make baby noises most likely) but the work is still very much in the day to day grind of a local craftsman.  That is something that doesn’t bother me that much.  If you want superstardom you don’t really pick the fields of bass player and screenwriter.  I’ve certainly stepped out of those less lit parts of the stage to do things like acting (in little bits with Cheri on the Tom and Cheri Show) and singing (open stages and backup for Cookeilidh) but with those the need to do that came from the fact that there is this material and its simpler just to do it.  I swear its not false modesty.  I have, when a singer has been I’ll in the past, tried to fake that role for the evening.  Didn’t like it.  Much more relaxed to stand on my side of the stage and focus on making the best work I can.  Its similar to writing.  I want your imagination or the actors to take my ideas and make them soar.  I far prefer to get up early, make coffee and get an idea that makes my toes wiggle in the carpet.

But I won’t say that the ides of venturing out into doing this full time isn’t scary too.  Part of me does feel like “who do I think I am?”. I have routines down so I am always busy, which can include blogging at 4:30 a.m.

Still less than two weeks to go before I officially sail.  With all the making preperations for the journey I still wonder how I’ll feel when the anchor rises.

Celtic Bassist

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Victoria Celebrates Canada Day

Everything can just happen with one phone call.  This is how it all started for me almost ten years ago now.  That was the start of frankly the longest running work I have had to date…my beginning with Cookeilidh.

Dave Cook and I had jammed before in other projects but at that time I was just working, writing, busking on government and playing the occasional open stage gig.  I kick myself for this but I had sold off alot of my extra gear so I just had a fretless Peavey Axecellorator Bass, my acoustic guitar and my multitracking equipment for making songs.  It’s sounds fancy but there was way more stuff back in the day and this is why the early days is all pictures of me playing that off-gold badly beaten fretless.  It is all that existed.  Even my guitar bag was multipurpose and hung so low that if I wasn’t careful the bass would hit any curb I stepped over (part reason for its battered look). 
Anyways Dave and Kim had just started trying celtic just for fun on the gorge as his wife Kim had gotten into it and people were already liking it (they weren’t busking…just playing for fun)  I met up with Dave in a James Bay coffee shop and he gave me a tape.  Yeah a tape.  It was back in those days.  The more we talked about the project the more interesting it sounded.  It was a whole world of music I was just being exposed to and playing to that tape became something I did daily just for fun as well as listening to all the celtic music I could find.  I use digital recordings on my laptop now to practice to but I still haven’t really stopped since that first cassette that started with Dave strumming some sustain chords and stating “Ok this is Mairi’s Wedding.”
Naturally my role is a little unusual being the bassist in a trad celtic band but for almost ten years now it has worked.  There is alot of learning to fill the holes up between the instruments and not crowd them.  Some listening to celtic piano helped back in the day as I’m almost just a bigger badder version of a left hand.  Mostly joking there but so much is just taking what songs we do and finding how my instrument can enhance it. 
It’s like they say about drummers. 
It’s good when you don’t notice them.  That sounds bad but it isn’t.   And now and again we backup guys get our moment. 
And when it’s good it’s just priceless!

Got to go practice soon 🙂
Cheers,
Tom

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