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Ferretwrangler

Moving to a New Music Genre

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Greetings fellow Earthlings (or should that be Basslings?). I'm returning to the bass after a long time away - from the instrument, not from playing music. I'm classically trained, and played in an orchestra but now I'd like to try something else.

I've played as a melody player on other instruments for many years in musicians' sessions, so I'm used to playing tunes picked up by ear as I go along. But now I want to play rhythm and not sure how to begin retraining myself. I'll be starting easy with folk sessions (only a couple of keys to grapple with) but I'd like (in the end) to be able to play in a local gypsy jazz session. I work full time so my practice time is in short chunks, and not every day, so I need my practice to really pay. So does anyone have any suggestions on how I should direct my learning/practice focus that will enable me to play session? I don't want to waste my practice time on stuff that won't really help me move genre, hence my plea.

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Interesting question.
I'll sling my 2p in.
Others will have different experiences.

I'd say focus virtually all your practice time on learning how to play the double bass. Ie exercises and etudes that allow you to develop the physical side of playing the instrument.

I'd then spend non "practice" time seriously listening to the genre you want to play.
Make notes on what the bass is doing and gradually add a few minutes to your practice sessions applying these things.

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You're classically trained so I can offer no input on technique, as I'm useless. My practice regime is split between understanding chords and progressions, playing through changes, transcribing tunes and playing along with records to get melodies down.

The iReal player helped me a lot, as did building in a solid amount of listening time. You can't play jazz if you're always playin'

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Thanks for the input. At the moment I'm playing lots of scales to get my fingers landing in the right place, and that's improving pretty quickly. Once I'm confident I can hit notes first time I'll move on to playing along to recorded stuff. I did this when playing for a cover band, and it does help, as you have both said.

Burns-bass, you mentioned understanding chords and progressions - what are you doing to develop this? I've never seriously played a chord instrument so my understanding of how it works in practice is weak.

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@Ferretwrangler - A great way to learn more about chords and harmony is to learn how to play walking bass lines. There are tons of resources out there but a great place to start is with Geoff Chalmers' [url="https://discoverdoublebass.com/"]Discover Double Bass site[/url]. He has a lot of lessons about general technique that you might not need, but he also talks about playing over chord progressions. Gypsy jazz bass playing is a little bit different to playing over bebop-era tunes, but learning to play lines over well-known jazz standards will help all aspects of your playing.

There are a lot of books about walking bass. Here are some that I've found useful:

[color=#111111][font=Arial, sans-serif][size=3]http://amzn.eu/9CVLpHL[/size][/font][/color]

[color=#111111][font=Arial, sans-serif][size=3]http://amzn.eu/c53XqHr[/size][/font][/color]

[color=#111111][font=Arial, sans-serif][size=3]http://a.co/h1qDN1G[/size][/font][/color]

[color=#111111][font=Arial, sans-serif][size=3]http://amzn.eu/1Vjgadd[/size][/font][/color]

[color=#111111][font=Arial, sans-serif][size=3]Have fun![/size][/font][/color]

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Posted (edited)
Hi, I'd say keep on practicing those scales and doing your exercises for a start. But as Jecklin says, keep listening to the genre you intend to move into. In fact, listen to as wide a range of music as you can, and play along to that.

Go along to a few open-mic nights nearby. Maybe just take a bass guitar to begin with? - It's easier to lug around, and no harm to be able to play DB and BG, I would say. open-mics will help develop your listening skills and get you used to jamming along with other musicians who may also play several genres / styles. You often end up playing songs you may not even like - but that again is not necessarily a wholly bad thing - it's good to be outside your comfort zone from time to time....

Is there a local folk club or music club near you? I joined a folk club near me - they often do pub jam sessions and I get asked to come along, as most of them play guitar, mandolin / mandola etc... so being a bass player, I'm usually welcome.

Good luck with your shift to a new genre - BTW. I can't read a note and have never played with an orchestra - wish I had done that sometimes ;)

EDIT: If you're listening to and playing along with music outside your genre - I'd say any practice is not strictly "wasted" if you really want to make that change Edited by Marc S

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A quick search for " Cours de Jazz Manouche " ( lesson in Gypsy Jazz ) reveals this ;

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpFtzNynP8s"]www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpFtzNynP8s[/url]


( -Does anyone know the tune in example 5 ?
Is it " Sunny Skies " , or " Blue Skies " or something like that ? )

HTH

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The one piece of advice I received was not to buy too many books! I used to be a teacher, so I have loads around, but I never really 'did' Jazz. My default was then to buy loads and get frustrated. In the end, I now use 3 of them.

The first was Ed Friedland's Walking Baselines.
The second is The Evolving Bassist
The third is the Bass Real Book

I used to work through examples in the Walking Bass book and then apply them to chord changes of familiar jazz tunes. I listen to the melody on a You Tube recording and try and get this down. It also helps to get out to watch some live music too and see if you can follow the melody, and then understand the tune.

The Evolving Bassist is a good book, but quite challenging, with some serious leaps in it, so I am working through this slowly with a teacher. That's the other bit of advice is to get a good teacher. Having someone to give you encouragement or unlock some of the complexities is great. As you're probably great with the theory, someone playing your sort of music is great. Most of the pros I met started this way, subbing for their teacher and in the end improving.

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Yes, you can read a lot of books, and they definitely can teach you a lot
But I learned the most valuable lessons by just getting out there & playing.

I get fed up with learning about music via books too - I just want to go off course a bit too much
It's probably a sign of my ignorance & inability to read the music....

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Great advice from fellow Basschatter's. As mentioned check out Geoff Chalmers: 'Discover Double Bass' site. Absolutely awesome site for us DB players--11 out of 10 for Geoff.
Great to hear you are into 'Gypsy Jazz'--I cannot understand why it is not a more popular in the genre of musical styles. There are some awesome gypsy jazz musicians out there--just go on Youtube and search on 'Gypsy Jazz'. Wow!--mind blowing stuff--a mixture of gypsy style standards and jazz--ranging from swing to be-bop--not to mention the waltz.

My '2 cents' worth--listen to as much jazz as you can--from early jazz (1920's) all the way up the jazz spectrum to today jazz styles---listen to how the bass styles have evolved.

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Guys, thanks so much for taking the trouble to respond, I'm so very grateful! I'll take a gander at the Geoff Chalmers site, and the books mentioned by Burns-bass and tinyd. I'm thinking those together will be a real boost. We're really lucky here in Sheffield that there are loads of different jam sessions, so I'm not short of places to try out as I'm learning. I like to learn with books at first, but it doesn't take long before I want to get out - I'm deffo not a 'bedroom player'! There's also a really good DB player at our local gypsy jazz session and I've been watching him rock - reckon I'll be picking his brains too next time I see him.

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Posted (edited)
Geoff Chalmers is very good. I've also lately discovered the brilliant jazz technique lessons by Chris Fiitzgerald.

[url="http://www.chrisfitzgeraldmusic.com/"]http://2014.chrisfitzgeraldmusic.com/?page_id=352[/url]

He is one excellent teacher, and you can easily build your own course by expanding his material into practice sessions. He's got a great way of structuring the logic; I find his stuff easier to put into practice musically than lessons from anyone else so far.

Just realised that the technique video series is hard to find on his site (look under videos/eductional), but you'll you'll find it all on a youtube search for Chris Fiitzgerald bass. Edited by fatback

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