Will periodically update this as I work my way through books and vids and will occasionally add new stuff. Will try and highlight the updates so y'all don't need to re-read the whole thing.BOOKS
Building Rock Bass Lines by Ed Friedland
This is a good book to start with. I think the concept of approach notes and the approaches themselves are explained a little more clearly than in the walking bass lines book. This really has helped me in developing some new bass line ideas and I still go back to this book occasionally to review some of the ideas for applicability to new songs.
Building Walking Bass Lines by Ed Friedland
Another good book. Probably not my first choice unless you are wanting to get right into jazz stuff. Finished this one a while back. Will probably end up reviewing the entire book once or twice a year just to keep all the concepts fresh. All the different approaches as well as the dozen or so standards in the back of the book are enough to keep me busy for years.
Blues Bass by Ed Friedland
I really like this book. Edâ€™s passion for the blues shows up in his writing here. Lots of useful info. In retrospect, could probably use a few more pages of the different kinds of blues grooves, but the section on styles, intros, hits was invaluable as well as the section on blues standards. Would like to see a Blues part II book from Ed.
R&B Bass Masters by Ed Friedland
Just finished this book. Not really a "how to" book which is what I was hoping for. However, a great history book and overview of R&B bass pioneers. Picked up a few tidbits here and there, but certainly not enough information for me to go out and cop Jerry Jemmott's or Willie Weeks' style. But a pretty good overview and it did hip me to some cats I hadn't heard before. BTW, Bob Babbitt is a glaring omission from this book but it's Ed's book not mine. Anyway, good one to have for your collection along with Standing in the Shadows.
Bass Grooves by Ed Friedland
UPDATE - Just completed this one. Along with building rock bass lines or building walking bass lines, this is the most useful book I've come across in a while. There's some good advice for programming drum machines in there as well. The drum programming and the groove practicing were invaluable to me. My feel has improved a TON just in working through this book. Very well worth the money IMO. Note: This book deals mainly with the rhythmic aspects of various genres and less with melodic/harmonic aspects such as note choice.
The Bass Player Book, ed. by Karl Coryat
Have been through this a couple times. Good all around overview on the instrument, the players, and has some useful instructional stuff, but the instructional stuff it disjointed IMO, i.e. one lesson doesnâ€™t necessarily build on another. Good book, but tries too hard to be all things to all people and ends up being mediocre in all categories. This is a good book to come back to every several months just to see how my playing has come along. Not a great total learning book, but some of the stuff in there was useful.
The Funkmasters: The Great James Brown Rhythm Sections (1960-1973) by Allan â€œDr. Licksâ€ Slutsky and Chuck Silverman
A compendium of the author's favorite JB grooves, some good history on JB and various incarnations of his band. Pretty good book and has some killer examples of serious fatback drumming. Gave me a pretty good overview of early funk and some decent ideas to carry forward. Specifically by learning the grooves I realized that I tend to over play a lot which is why so much of my playing is decidedly un-funky. So a good book for all levels and would be really good to loan to your drummer/r. gtr so he has an idea of how the different parts of the rhythm section work together. I got almost as much out of reading the master staff which shows the bass part right above the drum clef so I could see how the bass, kick, and snare work together as anything else in this book. Through this book, I've internalized a lot of funkiness that is starting to show up more in my playing.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson by Dr. Licks
Wow!! Loved this book. Loved the movie too. Havenâ€™t spent any time learning the stuff in the back, but will get to it one of these days. I struggle trying to read some of the more complicated parts. I could probably try and learn the parts by ear and I'd probably learn 'em faster, but this is a good workout for my reading skills.
Melodic Structures by Jerry Bergonzi - I haven't started this one yet. It was recommended to me by Mel Brown. Mel's website
. Will report later. Suposedly good book on how to develop your soloing style. Since I can't blow for squat right now, I suppose ANYTHING will be an improvement.VIDEOS
Grooving for Heaven Vols. 1 and 2 by Norm Stockton
Good stuff for beginners/low intermediates. The section on bass idioms is especially good. Some good ideas in there.
Grooving for Heaven Vols. 3 and 4 by Norm Stockton
Vol. 3 picks up where 1 and 2 leave off and really highlights the relationship between the drummer and bassist. Also has some examples of what happens when things go haywire between the rhthm section and the guitard. Borrowed this one again, this time with a book of transcriptions. Reading the drum clef and analyzing placement of the bass notes against placement of the kick, snare, and hi-hat has been a real eye-opener. If you get this, get the book as well.
Vol. 4 is all about slapping and tapping and false harmonics and stuff like that. Haven't spent serious time practicing with it yet but have viewed it once. There's a lot of stuff in this one for me to work on. Most of the slap stuff is pretty advanced too, like double thumbing and stuff like that. Some good technique advice and commentary on what is tasteful, but really not enough information on how to incorporate this stuff into my playing. Kind of an overview and some technique drills and examples. I s'pose I'll need some teachin in this area.
Slap Bass DVD by Ed Friedland
This is a good video. I donâ€™t use the techniques for slap that Ed demonstrates because itâ€™s not what my instructor (who espouses economy of motion) has taught me. Iâ€™m about halfway through this and itâ€™s kind of weird for me because Ed teaches the stuff in a different order than Iâ€™m learning it. Not bad, mind you, just different. There are some NASTY funk grooves in the first few lessons and itâ€™s very gratifying to be able to play something that cool with only a bare minimum of slap skills. This video is a nice complement to what I've learned elsewhere on slap. This will not make you the next Wooten, but it will get your slap skills up to the intermediate level and definitely where they should be for MOST gigs.