Warning, Lesson 4 is full of enough music theory to make your head spin! Of course, I mean that in a good way. Clocking in at just over an hour, there is a lot to learn in this lesson. First Roy show’s us a Steve Bailey exercise technique called the “Hazard”, that is sure to give your forearm a workout. I was feeling sore before the lesson even began.
Our journey with the bass guitar then takes us to the notes and frets in the fifth position, up until this point we have been mainly been playing in the first position. From here we review the “moveable shapes” we have previously learned using the Major Scale and Triads, then jump full on into some serious theory. Roy introduces us to the Natural Minor Scale, Harmonic Minor Scale, and finally the Jazz Melodic Minor Scale. For me, getting down the finger patterns for each scale is fairly easy, the hard part is calling out the notes as I play them. I know that I will be spending some serious time working on these scales in the coming weeks calling out the notes as I play through them. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around all this theory, but do realize that there will be a payoff if I can get it down, and feel that Roy has given me the tools to do so.
One of the great things I am really starting to like about this course is that just about the time I have had about all I can take of theory, Roy switches it up and moves on to the playing or “jamming” portion of the lesson. After learning three new scales I was pretty fried and more than happy to move on to playing. First we tackle a little number entitled “Mid Neck Blues”, which is a blues riff centered on the fifth position. Once again I found this a bit challenging at first and will be spending some time mastering it in the next week or so. From here we move on to “Bach to Bass-ics”, a classical based example featuring more of a melodic sequence as opposed to a basic riff. Again, this one is challenging! First off, I do not think I have ever played a classical piece before, so from the get go this example was a bit foreign to me. It is actually a cool little piece once you get the hang of it, which I hope to do in the coming weeks 😉
One thing I noticed during this section was that I could not clearly read the tab/notes portion on the screen well enough to follow along. I can see the animated neck and notes being played clearly, but this does not really allow me to play along, as that I am constantly behind the beat. I do realize that this may be due to the fact that I am watching the DVD on a computer as opposed to a TV with a larger screen, however, if it is an issue for me it may be an issue for others as well. At this point I actually stopped the video, went to the PDF lesson and printed out the music so I could actually read it. On a related note, I recently received an email from the good people at “Teach Me Bass Guitar” informing me that they now offer a spiral bound lesson book in addition to the PDF’s, for an additional cost. Well, after working though this lesson I decided to kick down and get me one of the printed books as that I find myself printing the lessons more and more. I’m not sure if this printed material will be included in upcoming editions of the course or if it will remain an additional add on item, in either case I personally would recommend getting it as that if nothing else it will be a great resource for your bass library.
So here I am, on lesson 4 of 20, faced with the realization that these lessons are getting more and more challenging. Lesson 4! of 20! Man, what have I signed up for? I figured I would skate through at least half of the lessons before it got challenging, but here I am at lesson 4, seriously challenged! To quote a phrase from Victor Wooten’s book “The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music“, which I highly recommend reading, “Boy do I have a lot to learn!”
For those of you following along I will warn you now that it may take me a little while to put lesson 4 behind me and move on to Lesson 5. I must admit that it does inspire and motivate me to get through this material in a timely manner knowing that people are actually reading, thank you.
To read this series from the beginning start here: http://wp.me/pRvjK-h