Category Archives: Jazz Bass Guitar Instruction

Understanding the Evolutionary Process

In order to develop the understanding of the evolutionary process of jazz, you need to understand the music that has come before.  Many young players are deluded by trying to develop what they deem as their ‘own style’ without first spending many years studying the great bass players from the past and thus, learning to pay their dues.  Learning how to play the bass is an evolutionary process that you must be aware of in order to improve your skills.

Dave Holland with Miles

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This Language Called Music

“Music is the vernacular of the human soul.” –Geoffrey Latham     

Music is a language.  It has rules and needless to say, if you want to be considered to be a good bass guitar player, you are going to have to learn the language of music – tonal principles, harmonic structures, rhythmic considerations, song forms, melodic permutations, etc – in order to develop the skills required to improvise.  For the great unwashed improvisation is the ability play on your instrument what you hear in your head; responding and reacting on the fly through the continuous flow of non-stop music.

 Miles Davis

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Charlie Banacos: The Zen Master of Jazz Improvisation

Charlie Banacos

Charlie Banacos- The Zen Master of Jazz Improvisation

I never got to say goodbye.  Somewhat like a respected father figure or friendly military drill sergeant, the profound effect that he had on me was unparalleled.   It was a year ago today that my jazz improvisation teacher – Charlie Banacos – passed away after a brutal battle with cancer.  Charlie was only 63 when he died.  His influence on modern music as one of the major jazz educators and improvisation experts of our time is prolific to say the least. 

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How To Accelerate Your Bass Playing Skills By Using Visualisation

For bass players, visualisation is the process of imagining in your mind’s eye what you would actually hear in your mind’s ear.   Being able to visualise and “picture” your fingerboard and the notes you are playing is a valuable skill to acquire.  This tactic will enable you to play the bass, rather than the bass playing you. 

Visualisation is something that we all do everyday.  In fact, forming a mental image of something before we actually do it is all too common in most people’s everyday lives.  Actors visualise their performance before they go on stage.  Sports athletes of all types have used visualisation techniques for decades and swear by them.  Public speakers visualise the speeches they prepare and musicians of all types, including bass players, visualise what they are going to play before they actually play it.

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