Practicing Electric and Acoustic Bass
Practicing Electric and Acoustic Bass
Q: Hello. I want to first say thank you for your time and I highly respect your ability as a musician and am a fan of your music. I have a few questions about practicing electric and acoustic bass. I was also wondering if you could help me overcome them and what books of yours might be a help. My first issue is that every summer my practicing falls to the way side because I work forty hours a week to save up money for my next semester at school. Upon returning it usually takes a couple weeks for my chops to go back to normal and then serious practice begins. This fall however is my last semester and I have my recital preparation. I would like to use what little time I have after work to regain my technical ability before I return to school. I was thinking about the Two Note Modal Sequencing Course? I’m familiar with all the scales listed theoretically and technically but would like a bit of a “work out.” I’m hoping this will give me a better command and fluidity on my instrument. My second issue is this, I began as an electric bassist and switched to upright in college. I play electric occasionally but its usually rock, pop, or playing at church. I would like to develop my jazz vocabulary on the electric bass too. How can I best divide my time between the two instruments with out simply repeating what I’m practicing. This becomes very boring very quickly? Sorry if this a large email but I thank you for your time and consideration and hope to hear a response from you soon.
A: Nice to hear from you and would be glad to help you with ideas for practicing electric and acoustic bass. I would recommend the Two Note Modal Sequencing Course. I also think working with the MetroDrone would be a good idea so that you improve your time, intonation, speed and ear training all at the same time. There is a video with the MetroDrone download explaining how to do that but if you have further questions let me know. Usually when I have students work on scales I recommend spending 80% of there time working on whatever technique they need and then 20% on improvising with the scales over Jam Tracks. For you situation Jam Tracks Volume Three would be a good choice in this situation.
Besides the obvious physical differences between Electric and Acoustic Bass in my opinion intonation is the biggest hurdle for most acoustic bass players so the aforementioned MetroDrone will help that. So would also highly recommend the Single String Studies for Bass Volume One. This will fix intonation in no time but it is a hard book so be patient. You could also use the MetroDrone with this book so that you are checking intonation based on how you hear the note in the key center.
I think one thing that you might be missing here is the importance of Ear Training to this whole process of learning how to play. When Practicing Electric and Acoustic Bass and soloing over a one chord vamp it is easier to hear the key center. Soloing over songs with chord changes is another story. So I think first you need to get Ear Training One Note Complete and Contextual Ear Training to improve your recognition of notes in a key center. You can practice both the exercises found in these two books anywhere you can use an MP3 player so don’t take up precious practice time with this unless you do it when taking a break. Second you need to get Scale Analysis so you see how to think about scales when you have a whole progression. I would also recommend Secondary Dominant book because that will allow you to concentrate on smaller chord progressions to apply the idea of hearing a whole group of chords in one key center.
Get both ear training books above as digital downloads. I’d even get the Single String Studies for Bass Volume One. and just print out the pages to work on them or read them on a computer screen
Let me know if you have further questions about practicing electric and acoustic bass
It is also recommended that you read Bruce Arnold’s Blog at his artist site. It contains more discussion of the musical topics found in these FAQs as well as other subjects of interest. You will also find the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located here which shows you the historic significance of the music education products found on the Muse Eek Publishing Company Website.