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Thundr

Best bass book for total newbie

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Hi all,

I need your experience and expertise here. In addition to (or instead of!) the many online resources available, what’s the best book you can recommend for someone looking to learn (from scratch) to play the bass guitar? 

Thanks and keep thumpin’,

T

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Welcome to Basschat Thundr. I’m sure there will be plenty of recommendations. I think it’ll  help us advise you if you let us know if you have any musical background already. Do you have any knowledge of musical theory already? Played any other instrument?  It may sound uninspiring but learning even just a little about it will pay dividends, believe me.

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I've been playing bass since the mid 80's and have had many books over the years but the one that I highly recommend for a beginner as well as more experienced players is 'Bass guitar for Dummies'. Someone bought me a copy years ago as a novelty Christmas present but it's still a book that I occasionally refer to. It's written in a simple, straight forward way and explains things clearly without blinding you with science. My version also came with a CD but I guess the latest version will have online audio. If you can ignore the Americanisms and bland humour it's a great tuition book that starts with the basics and goes through to more advanced concepts. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bass-Guitar-Dummies-Patrick-Pfeiffer-ebook/dp/B00H7JE36O/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=bass+guitar+for+dummies&qid=1594537893&s=books&sr=1-1

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Ariane Cap's Music Theory for the bass player is a pretty good primer, with videos online to  support the book, exercises and tests to check you are understanding and playing not just reading and skimming

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I’ve got many bass theory books and this one is one of my favourites, and I still refer to it every now and again, it covers major and minor and 2 octave pentatonic scale patterns all over the neck, it doesn’t come with a cd but there’s a number inside the cover to enter for audio 

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1 hour ago, Thundr said:

Hi all,

I need your experience and expertise here. In addition to (or instead of!) the many online resources available, what’s the best book you can recommend for someone looking to learn (from scratch) to play the bass guitar? 

Thanks and keep thumpin’,

T

Anything by @Stuart Clayton

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1 hour ago, Osiris said:

I've been playing bass since the mid 80's and have had many books over the years but the one that I highly recommend for a beginner as well as more experienced players is 'Bass guitar for Dummies'. Someone bought me a copy years ago as a novelty Christmas present but it's still a book that I occasionally refer to. It's written in a simple, straight forward way and explains things clearly without blinding you with science. My version also came with a CD but I guess the latest version will have online audio. If you can ignore the Americanisms and bland humour it's a great tuition book that starts with the basics and goes through to more advanced concepts. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bass-Guitar-Dummies-Patrick-Pfeiffer-ebook/dp/B00H7JE36O/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=bass+guitar+for+dummies&qid=1594537893&s=books&sr=1-1

Excellent book, really good explanation of how certain notes work over given chords 

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13 minutes ago, Aidan63 said:

Ariane Cap's Music Theory for the bass player is a pretty good primer, with videos online to  support the book, exercises and tests to check you are understanding and playing not just reading and skimming

That’s a great book, I’m reading that now 🙂

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When I switched to bass from guitar some years ago I went to a tutor, well he likes the title "coach", whose preferred book was Funk Fusion Bass by Jon Liebman.

He takes all his students through this and I found it excellent. Ignore the name, it starts off pretty basic. Still do some of the exercises to this day 

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2 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

My recommendation would be...

Hal Leonard Bass Method: Complete Edition Spiral-bound – 1 May 1996 ...

Inexpensive (£16.15 for three spiral-bound volumes...), taking one from absolute beginner to proficient bass player in credible steps and a variety of styles. It's all there. B|

This was the one I was going to recommend, by Ed Friedland (Hal Leonard being the publisher).

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5 hours ago, Osiris said:

 'Bass guitar for Dummies'. 

+1.

 

OP : For someone like yourself who is starting from ground zero, you can't beat "Bass Guitar for Dummies".  🤙

 

Also, if you can afford  a few lessons from a good teacher (even half a dozen) it will get you off to a flying start. Ideally you could ask the teacher to work through the book (or maybe the early chapters ) with you. 

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I had the Bass Guitar for Dummies book and found it worse than useless. What can I say?😊

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I found razzle the best book cos I couldn't understand half of the stuff in most of the books but with razzle I had no trouble understanding the pictures lol 😁

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There's no "best", really. Depending on what you like and how you learn, any of the afore-mentioned will do the job. A few lessons when you start out will set you on the right road better than any book, it has to be said.

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6 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

My recommendation would be...

Hal Leonard Bass Method: Complete Edition Spiral-bound – 1 May 1996 ...

Inexpensive (£16.15 for three spiral-bound volumes...), taking one from absolute beginner to proficient bass player in credible steps and a variety of styles. It's all there. B|

Another vote here - I wish this book had been out when I first started playing. Excellent beginner book.

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"Fingerboard Harmony For Bass" by Gary Willis

Or, Laurence Canty's "Electric Bass Guitar: The Complete Guide"

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3 hours ago, stevie said:

I had the Bass Guitar for Dummies book and found it worse than useless.

 I would be curious to hear how you found it less than useless. It certainly helped me when I picked up the bass for the first time. Also, it gets lots of recommendations over on "Talkbass". 

Anyway...to each their own.  😎

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, toneknob said:

"Fingerboard Harmony For Bass" by Gary Willis

 

An excellent book....BUT... IMO not suitable for someone starting from scratch like the OP.  Perhaps later...when he knows the string names, knows the notes on  the fretboard...has a grasp of scales and chord tones...etc. You have to crawl before you can walk. 😉

 

Edited by Coilte

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Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass.

It won't help your playing, but it'll give you full on GAS.

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Another vote for Bass Guitar for Dummies. Everything I know about bass theory comes from that book and a handful of lessons. Admittedly that's not much. It's never gonna make you a virtuoso, but will have you fumbling through "Mustang Sally" at the Dog & Duck in no time. An excellent read for someone starting from scratch. 

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1 hour ago, Coilte said:

An excellent book....BUT... IMO not suitable for someone starting from scratch like the OP.  Perhaps later...when he knows the string names, knows the notes on  the fretboard...has a grasp of scales and chord tones...etc. You have to crawl before you can walk. 😉

 

Apologies, I had just been reading/posting about it on another thread and it was toppermost in my mind.

The Canty book tip still stands though!

 

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39 minutes ago, SeanNZ said:

Another vote for Bass Guitar for Dummies. Everything I know about bass theory comes from that book and a handful of lessons. Admittedly that's not much. It's never gonna make you a virtuoso, but will have you fumbling through "Mustang Sally" at the Dog & Duck in no time. An excellent read for someone starting from scratch. 

Agree totally. Granted, it is not going to make you into a virtuoso (no book can), but if you are starting from "scratch" ... ( which I take to mean..you don't know your headstock from your saddle...😁)... then it is a great way to get started. 

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Posted (edited)

Started a few months back...

Got the Dummies and the Complete Bass Method from eBay, world of books etc...

Get both for the price of one new...

Dummies had a fair bit of nonsense, but an easy read, Complete Bass Method missing some tab early on but their are no short cuts...

Spiral Bound Complete Bass Book stays flat when open! - worth a couple of quid extra on its own...

Edited by PaulThePlug

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1 hour ago, PaulThePlug said:

...Spiral Bound Complete Bass Book stays flat when open! - worth a couple of quid extra on its own...

Yes, that'll be the Hal Leonard/Ed Friedland one. All method books should have 'lay-flat' spiral bindings. It's The Law..! :lol:

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