#1
I want to get into jazz bass but I really don't know how I should go about learning it. I want to be able to play in bands but also I want to be able to play solo.
So...

- What books/sites should I take a look at?
- What are some good jazz records to listen to? ( I already listen to Jaco Pastorius and Weather Report, Bela and the Flecktones...etc)
- What are the basic jazz skills I NEED to know?
- Is there any issue with me learning on a fretless bass?


Any help would be appreciated!
#2
You should definately start practising lots of scales, walking basslines, improv, all of those a necessary for a Jazz bass player.

Jazz records... Charlie Mingus, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong... I'm not that big on jazz to be honest.

Wait until Sinan or Bales gets on, or FbSa, they're all jazz bassists. And for god's sake, it's 1 in the morning! I'm going to bed
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#4
/\ i love that thread, and i like the discription of a walking line he gives, but i disagree with starting on a root note for a walking line. i used to do that and soley that, but i found that it actually narrowed my perspective on a tune and once i started using 5ths and 3rds as starting tones, my lines got smoother and the key changes in the song and patterns just lept out.

but yea everytrhing you need to know basically is in that thread.
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#5
if you already know how to play fretless(i'm assuming you do) then there should be no problem with it, it would actually be nicer, since most jazz was (or is) played on a Double bass, which has no frets, therefore a fretless will actually sound closer to what what an upright would sound like and therefore more jazz

for books try the Hal Leonard Essential Elements for Jazz, its got a lot of good stuff in it, most of the stuff you need to know, the notes on the neck, playing in swing tempo, syncopation, chord symbols, and all that good stuff

I've been playing jazz for a couple months now, and its so much fun good luck!


and to peanutman, i think starting on the root as actually very helpful, because it sets the rest of the band up, and lets them know where the chord changes are, however i guess its still a matter of preference, so 3rds and 5ths could work too
#6
First off, you need to erase the connection you make with Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorius, to jazz bass playing. They are not jazz bass players and never pretended to be. The ultimate jazz bass players are: Charles Mingus, Milt Hinton, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, and one other one I'm forgetting but, I'm sure someone could fill him in. The best way to get into walking lines is to start listening to jazz. The quintessential jazz album is Miles Davis' A Kind of Blue. Just get it. You won't regret it, if you want to be a serious jazz bass player.
Quote by nutter_01

Wait until Sinan or Bales gets on, or FbSa, they're all jazz bassists. And for god's sake, it's 1 in the morning! I'm going to bed


I wish, I wish.
#7
Look up and listen to jazz bassists , pianists and drummers, and 95% of the time, the big horn players had amazing rythmn sections too ,and regardless you should get into the horn playing too.

Buy a fakebook to find a few standards to learn, or learn em by ear, i dont care, make sure you hear multiple versions of each.

Brush up on theory so you can do walking well. If you know anything about chord progressions, then live by the 2 5 1. Teach yourself a lot of 'licks' to pull out in standard/basic tunes (2 5 1 walking lines in swing tunes, know your Root Fifth lines in bossa's)

The best way to get better at jazz, is to join jazz bands/combo's.

remember that combo vs band is a huge difference, and the best is to listen and to play with both and get a feel for em both. If you dont go to school, find out of school ones, shouldnt be too hard.

Definately try getting an upright asap if youre going to be playing seriously.

I AGREE WITH JAZZ ROCK FEEL ON WOOTEN.. Jaco wasn't "jazz" so much, he was jazz fusion and funk and a good bass player, but yeah, skip him for now.
he's got the big 3 there and Milt, and thers tons more as i said that played for the big guys.

The first step is to start listening to jazz tho, so i suggest to listen to a lot of variety in it, and see what kind of jazz you like the best, here's a few suggestions:

Miles Davis - EVERY SONG EVER DONE by him

John Coltrane - listen to his stuff, see if you can keep up with giant steps

Duke Ellington - he MADE big band :P although he's not always my cup of tea in terms of arrangements, still a MUST listen.

Louis Armstrong - you'll probly get more as a bassist if you listen to his work as a trumpet player, as when he sang there'd probly be less emphasis on bass. but listening to vocal jazz is still great too (so listen to Ella Fitzgerald)

For more modern stuff, DEFINATELY Herbie Hancock, 80% of his pieces are done in high school jazz bands :P lots of it was jazz rock and synth style stuff, some funk, lots of Fun songs (think 98% root, 5th, b7th for bass :P Lol)

For more eclectic stuff, listen to Mingus and Thelonius Monk (Mr Cluster lol)

Other players: Dizzy gillespie (trmpt) , Art Blakey (drums), art tatum (pno), 'fats' waller (pno), Oscar Peterson (pno, his trio is great, AND CANADIAN hahah YES Lol :P), Dave Brubeck (pno, you HAVe to have heard of Take Five if you like jazz at all :P)


Tons more stuff, but this should be enuff of a start.

Make sure you listen to a variety in genres, i listed a lot of big names, but make sure you keep your ears tuned to blues, funk, latin and everything with a hint of jazz in it

have fun
#8
Quote by crazypeanutman
/\ i love that thread, and i like the discription of a walking line he gives, but i disagree with starting on a root note for a walking line. i used to do that and soley that, but i found that it actually narrowed my perspective on a tune and once i started using 5ths and 3rds as starting tones, my lines got smoother and the key changes in the song and patterns just lept out.

but yea everytrhing you need to know basically is in that thread.



Hence note the almost always. I normally lay down the root because none of the chord playing instruments will be, it helps define the chord the band is playing then.

A great album for bass work is Bill Evans' Portrait in Jazz album, awesome work there, shame the bassist died in a motorcycle crash straight after finishing one of the trio's sessions.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
Last edited by sinan90 at Nov 17, 2007,
#9
Simply what you need to do is:
1. Listen to Jazz, and more specifclly, the type you're interested in (Saying: I wanna learn Jazz, is like saying I wanna learn Science, their are alot of different areas).
2. Learn to Walk, its a must for any Jazz Bassist.
3. Get a teacher to help you out, learning Jazz bass by yourself is a huge project.
4. Start improvising lines over all kinds of chords, of different sub genres.
Once you can elegantly handle any chord progression you see, then you got it.

By the way, a very good band to understand the roll of a 'Jazz bassist' is Giant Steps (Bassist Eddie Gomez), try and listen to Pools for some sweet bass.
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.


Ben Hamelech
#10
Oh hey Mang... *does a double take* WWWWWWHHHAAAAAAA???!!! Where the hell have you been? Or have I just missed every single one of your posts in the last 6 months?

Oh, and the bassist I forgot, was Ron Carter. Ron Carter.
#11
Nah, i've definately been gone haha :P

mostly WAYYY to busy w/ schoool / bands / gf.

i have about 6 music practices a week, school 5 times a week, and gf which is usually 1-2 times a week, and u know how it is

At any rate, im probably going to be super busy again soon.
#12
Charles Mingus is always fun to listen to. The trick to playing in a Jazz band is to really know how to walk it. And I mean walk hard. As the bassist you lay down A LOT of stuff. You help the drummer lay down time, which essentially helps lay down the feel of the piece, you usually lay down chord changes, and durning solo sections (at least at my school) the rhytm section is the only one's that play durning the solos (besides the soloist of course) and if you have a guitarest who doesn't know how to play in time (Like I do) You really have to lay it down.

Improveising is always a fun thing to do, it's what you'll do for all of your solos. (considering your not playing something like "The Chicken" or "RU Chicken" or anything else by that crazy guy) The trick is to know your scales, and know your modes of those scales. You get into your solo section follow the chord changes like fat chick following a doughnut. Stay on them. Play around with the scale, try different modes for different songs, and see what works and what doesn't work. If you play a bad note, don't let it get you down, just bust on through it. No one knows you made a mistake except for you. I played a solo once, and did horrible on it, but the audience cheered and loved and everyone said it was their favorite solo of the night! So don't let anything get you down. (Part two coming up)
#13
I have to second Manga on Miles Davis--you can't do wrong by listening to some of the classic bass lines that came out his work. Even if you just spent a day listening to "Birth of the Cool" you would walk away with pure gold.

Quote by sinan90
A great album for bass work is Bill Evans' Portrait in Jazz album, awesome work there, shame the bassist died in a motorcycle crash straight after finishing one of the trio's sessions.


I went back and re-watched "The Universal Mind of Bill Evans" again recently. While Bill is a pianist, there are some real gems in that video (which is up on You tube in 5 parts) that really give some insight into playing jazz. Worth the watch, even if it gets a bit hokey in parts.
#14
Being able to read your drummer is also key. If you have a good drummer that can stay in time better than a watch, follow him. Takes a lot of trouble off of you. Now I'm not saying bail out and let him do all the work, make sure you check him through most of the song. But if you have a drummer that like to jump in and out of time, (in Bale's terms) Drive the Bus! Take over and lead it. Make him follow you. That's a big responsibility and if your not use to leading the rhythm section it can be a tedious one. I've just recently had to do that this year with one of our drummers, and it is hard for me. I'm use to having drummers who will play perfect, which was great for the band, but bad for me as a muscian, because I became dependant on them.

Get a metronome, and practice with it for at least 15 minutes a song. We have block scheduling so I usually do it on the day I don't have the class, and 15minutes a song isn't very much, but it's enough to keep you going for J-band. Especially if you have syncopated rhythms. My god how I hate syncopation. I take all the swing songs and chuck all the latin stuff at our other bassist, because I can not play that. I'm ashamed to admit it but all the and's, and e's, I can hit those beats at all. So if you have those make absolutly positvely that you can hit those beats!

Well those are the most important things I can think of right now. Good luck, and I don't see any problem with playing on a fretless, as long as you've got your intonation down. I play on an upright, and a fretless is probabally as close to an upright, as you can get with an electric. (No one dare say electric upright, I hate those things)

P.S. Mangablade! The triumphant return! We can finnally finish Bass Wars 1!
#15
Hmm fbsa, im going to have to disagree with you. The band should look to YOU as a bassist FIRST for time keeping , the drums are much more of a color instrument in jazz. Although everyone in a serious jazz band should have very good inner time keeping, the bass is the one to look to if you're lost.

I think it really applies wether or not you're drummer is good or rushes/dosnt rush. The exception in a sense, is that the drummer should realize the single most important rythmnic device in his vocab is the Pedal Hat on the 2 and 4, and you two should always lock on in that. Unfortunately, quite a few drummers Rush, OR play behind the beat (or both, and YES it is possible, and happens quite often)


I love syncopation! Lol. A good idea for a bassist is to take up drums too. If you can do a swing beat ,and add in syncopated snare shots (i can do a few basic ones), it definately translates well when you go back to bass. Write out every combination of quarter/eighth note rythmns in 1 bar of swing, practice those, practice the latin grooves (3+3+2 feels, but mostly the 1 ee and UH 2 ee and UH, on the 1 uh 2 uh)

I actually played both The Chicken and RU Chicken in my jazz bands. Both hella fun to play, and i had a solo over RU Chicken.

FBSA, im still unsure about EUBs. Advantages: Quite cheap, relatively. VERY practical in comparison, much smaller and lighter, can do more 'electric'/modern things probably with pedals too, BUT the big Con: It doesnt really feel or sound right imo. I MUCH preferred my 1600$ upright (school's, but hte one i play) feel and sound.

Haha bass wars :P i remember that lol.

If i have time.. maybe :p

You know what might be cool?
If we had drum track (found or had one recorded) then traded eights or something, maybe one of us layin grooves down, other soloing :P im not as DIRECTLY competetive anymore haha
#16
Quote by The real Mangablade
I MUCH preferred my 1600$ upright (school's, but hte one i play) feel and sound.


The real thing is always better than the imatation. That's the way I feel about it.


Quote by Mangablade
Hmm fbsa, im going to have to disagree with you. The band should look to YOU as a bassist FIRST for time keeping , the drums are much more of a color instrument in jazz. Although everyone in a serious jazz band should have very good inner time keeping, the bass is the one to look to if you're lost.


Yeah, that is acutally how it is to be done, but I personally feel that the drummer's main job is to keep time, so I usually let the good drummers do that, I only take lead when playing with the three that go out of time so readily. The high-hat on two and four is what I swear by, so I've become accustomed to playing with that.
#19
Seriously, in pro jazz combos, the drummer is all over with the bit, not obvious at all by playing a so called "4 on the floor". The bass does that much more often. But then after enough practice as a combo, you have people following the beat, whilst no-one actually plays it, which makes VERY interesting music.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.