Having completed Lesson 16 of Roy Vogt’s Teach Me Bass Guitar has me feeling like I am in the home stretch. It’s been a longer journey than I anticipated, but I can’t say I regret a second of it. Just 4 more lessons to go!
Lesson 16 of TMBG takes us into what Roy refers to as “The Working Bassist’s Toolkit” which focuses on skills a bass player will need to have if they want to play professionally. The first lesson in the toolkit stresses the importance of learning to sight-read. Roy discusses Tablature (TAB) and while it can be useful for beginners, it is not something that you will encounter in an arrangement or professional working situation.
We review the downsides of TAB, such as it doesnâ€™t transfer between instruments, tabbed material may not be the best place to play on the neck, and rhythmic notation is not standardized, before learning some tips and tricks to help us get our sight-reading up to speed. Roy also reminds us that few bassists can sight-read which could lead to more work for those who can.
Roy teaches us the trick of using the “Economy of Motion” by playing in position as much as possible. Other tips include how to figure out the key, and looking for the highest & lowest notes.
“Bach to Basics” from Lesson 4 is revisited, this time without TAB. the Notation is given in 3 different keys and we learn that we can play it entirely in one position, in any key. There is no play along for this one as it can be played at any tempo and is more of a solo piece.
Our second tune is called “The Rhythm Gauntlet” and is in the style of James Jamerson or Carol Kaye. It consists of syncopations of 8th & 16th notes and we are instructed to look for patterns and rhythmic repetition. We also learn that many bass lines consist of chord tones and typically start on the root. We get to play along with the drummer on this one, but only at 1 tempo.
Learning to sight-read is something I have been working on for quite a while and this lesson just brushes the surface of learning this important skill. I found the tricks and tips Roy provides to be very useful in furthering my studies. I highly recommend “Note Reading Studies for Bass” from Mel Bay if you truly want to increase your sight-reading skills.