TMBG Bass Camp 2014 – Day 3

Last night, after an intense day of learning, I decided to stay in my room for the evening to review all that I had learned and work on the song I plan to play Friday night at The Rutledge. The first two days of camp were jammed so full of information I really needed to take some time to process it all. When I finally decided to turn in for the night I found myself lying in bed running through the modes, so I guess you could say I had a very musical day!

 

Wednesday’s classes started out with Anthony talking to us about Major, Minor and Dominant chords before moving on to the Circle of 5ths. Anthony showed us a new, more linear, way to learn the keys, one that relates more to the bass. He showed us how you can use the strings on a 7 string bass to determine how many sharps or flats a key has and which notes they will be. I have struggled with the Circle of 5ths for a long time and let me tell you, Anthony’s method is much clearer and easier to follow.

For our next session we had an awesome discussion with Adam on the effective use of practice time. He gave us a list of 7 core elements that we should focus on and talked about realizing our limits as to how many days a week we can actually practice and how long each practice session is. He advised us to break down that time into chunks and hit 3 or 4 elements, depending on how much time we have, and to focus on those for as long as we need before moving on to something else. For me this was a very helpful session, as I am often tweaking my practice routine and tend to lose focus.

We were back with Anthony after our lunch break discussing Pentatonic scales. He showed us an easy way to remember them by relating them to a 5 string bass. We also talked a little about blue notes and how they are used. Anthony’s way of teaching makes Music Theory so much clearer to me, it is nothing short of amazing. I have learned so much from him this week and we still have two more days.

We finished up the day continuing to work on our reading skills with Roy. He had us look at a piece of music and play along with it, studying the rhythm patterns as well as the notes. This is an area I feel I really need to work on as I felt I was right at the edge of my comfort zone here. It was slow going for me but felt great to push myself beyond my limits.

After our classes we headed out to Wooten Woods for dinner and music with Victor Wooten and his campers. We were warmly greeted by Victor himself when we arrived and given a quick tour of the camp. Victor’s campers were a friendly bunch and we all exchanged introductions before sitting down to a delicious dinner with them. Dinner was followed by a musical performance consisting of Christian McBride, Jeff Coffin, Jen Hartswick, Roy Wooten, Victor and a few other special guests. It was a great night of music, and we even got a brief, impromptu, presentation from Vic’s Nature instructor, Richard Cleveland. It was a fun night that I won’t soon forget.

 

TMBG Bass Camp 2014 – Day 2

Wow! Today was only the second day of Roy Vogt’s Bass Boot Camp and my mind is crammed so full of information, it’s going to take me a month to process it all. My day started out with an intense session on understanding modes with Anthony Wellington. Anthony used his 7 string bass to demonstrate an easy way to learn mode patterns, after which he had us all take a turn working through the modes, on the 7 string! This was the first time any of us had even held a 7 string bass, but with Anthony’s instruction, we all ended up playing it fairly effortlessly. I still can’t believe I was using modes to solo over chords playing a 7 string today. Incredible!!

Next Adam Nitti showed us how to use our bass and our voice as a tool for ear training. I love this approach as that I have used ear training apps before on my ipad and gotten to a point where I am just too lazy to get the ipad out while practicing and skip it. Now I have no excuse, all I need is my bass and I am ready to go. We finished up the session discussing intervals and running through some location exercises and why it is important to work on this stuff.

After lunch Roy gave us a quick history of jazz, from a bassist’s perspective, discussing jazz’s different forms and the fine nuances of each. He then had us work on playing simple jazz walking lines while having us play over chords. We also talked about different feels and ways to divide time in a musical way.

For our last session of the day we were back with Adam, this time discussing scales and how chords are created. Once we all had a good grasp of the concepts presented, Adam showed us how chords work in relation to modes. The focus here was how modes are applied on a 4 string, which piggybacked nicely with what we had learned from Anthony earlier in the day.

We finished off the day as a group with a Skype call to Lane Baldwin where he gave us a quick lesson on pentatonic scales and what goes into creating walking blues lines. Lane also shared several tips with us to help us get the most out of the Teach Me Bass Guitar Course.

I have to admit, by the end of the day my mind was pretty fried. I think I was given enough materials and ideas to keep me busy for at least the next few months, and today is only the 2nd day of camp!! After diner I had to sit down and review everything I learned today, just to try and process it all better. Tomorrow promises to be more of the same, plus we are capping off our day with a trip to Wooten Woods to visit with Victor and his campers for the evening. I best be turning in early tonight, I’m going to need to be well rested for tomorrow.

 

 

 

All Basses Go! TMBG Bass Boot Camp 2014 – Day 1

I'm back in Nashville this week for Roy Vogt's TMBG Bass Boot Camp and we had a stellar first day. Roy, Adam Nitti & Anthony Wellington gave us each a quick evaluation this morning to get an idea of our skill levels, then quickly split us up into 3 groups of 4. From there each group split off with a different instructor to work on a variety of topics.

My group started off with Roy where we had a cool discussion on gear. We talked about different types of basses, electronics, fretless, basic maintenance, amps and effects. Roy showed us how to get different sounds from our bass using the basses tone or EQ knobs as well as the pickup blend knob. Next he demoed a few different effects and discussed how and when they would most likely be used. I'm a bit of gear head so I have to admit that I always love geeking out on equipment.

After a short break we reconvened with Adam for a discussion on technique and timing. Adam ran us through several timing exercises having us each play along as a group as well as on our own. Timing is an area I have been wanting to focus on and now I feel I have a few new exercises and tools at my disposal to utilize to this end.

Lunch was followed by a theory lesson from Anthony. It is mind blowing to me how Anthony can break down music theory in such a logical way that I can easily understand it. I'm still having a little trouble digesting it all, but I do know I am making progress. The way Anthony breaks everything down to it's simplest form is pure genius.

For our final session of the day we found ourselves back with Roy discussing the importance of learning how to read music. I am finding that I am getting pretty good at reading notes and knowing where to play them on the bass. Roy helped to take this to the next level by showing us how to look for repeating phrases. We all played along to a backing track working our way through a piece of music until we were comfortable with it. The session was capped off with a quick discussion as to why we should learn to read at all.

At the end of the day we all got together as an entire group for an open discussion with Roy, Adam an Anthony as well a a group picture. All in all I have to say it was a great first day!

 

Roy Vogt’s Fantasy Bass Boot Camp – Day 2

wpid-Photo-Jul-28-2013-1122-PM.jpgToday was our first official day of classes for Roy Vogt’s Fantasy Bass Boot Camp. Classes run from 9am to 5pm each day, with 3 classes running simultaneously. This morning we were divided into three groups, which I believe were based on where we are currently at in our progression with the Teach Me Bass Guitar course. I ended up with 4 other campers in a theory class with Adam Nitti all day. Adam reviewed the Major Scale with us then reviewed Modes and how they relate to the Major Scale. We spent the rest of the day exploring modes and how they can be used. For me this was perfect timing as I have been working on modes as part of Lesson 13 of TMBG. Going in I had a basic understanding of what the Modes are, but that was about it. Adam did a great job of explaining how we should be practicing them and how we can use them when playing, especially when improvising. Adam is a great teacher and our small class size afforded each of us a good amount of individual attention. I definitely have a greater understanding of Modes now and how I can use them, plus feel much more confident in my ability to play a short solo at The Rutledge on Thursday evening. This is just the first day of classes and I already feel like I have learned so much! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Tonight, as well as tomorrow and Wednesday, we have the option to go back to our classrooms from 7pm-9pm to practice what we learned today as well as get ready for Thursday night. I’ve decided to sit out the practice session tonight in favor of working on things on my own in my room, though I will most likely swing by the classrooms at some point this evening just to make sure I’m not missing out on anything. Tomorrow evening I definitely plan on attending the practice session as Stu Hamm and a couple of other special guests are supposed to be arriving and hanging out. We have also been advised that David has a very special evening planned for us on Wednesday, I will share more details on that as they come. At this point I have only been in Nashville a little over 24 hours and would already wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who is thinking of coming next year, do yourself a favor and come! You won’t be disappointed. Everyone here is so warm and friendly, it really is like one big family, centered around our love for all things bass guitar.