Welcome to The Everything
The information found in this book is cumulative. That means that you will learn how to play the bass in a methodical, step-by-step fashion. If you're a beginner, it's highly recommended that you read each chapter in numerical order. If you're more experienced, you may target specific material for review or study. Whatever method you choose, it's important to be organized and thoughtful in your approach.
Will you learn everything there is to know about playing the bass from this text? Unfortunately, the answer is no. No publication could ever make such claims. However, you will learn everything you need to get started. Also, if you learn the musical figures contained in each chapter you will develop considerable proficiency in myriad genres and techniques.
As you proceed, this book will encourage you to develop your musical ear, your reading skills (notation), and your understanding of musical styles. It is also hoped that you will feel inspired as you master each new exercise and each new concept. The table of contents reveals the topics covered in this book. However, the text can be broken down into three main categories: how-to guide, biographical and historical information, and resource guide. Section 1 also serves as a resource guide for those interested in learning about equipment and gear.
The bass guitar is a relatively new instrument. Compared to violins, cellos, trumpets, drums, and many other orchestral instruments, the electric bass guitar is a babe in the woods. Many gifted musicians, entertainers, and inventors have shaped its budding history. In the mid 1930s, Paul Tutmarc created the first electric bass. An inventor from Seattle, Washington, Tutmarc's horizontal electric bass fiddle could be purchased through the Audiovox Manufacturing Company's catalog as early as 1935. Unfortunately, Tutmarc's invention had little impact on music during the Great Depression and World War II. In the postwar years, the six-string electric guitar swept the nation, and the electric bass followed as a practical alternative to the standup bass. American inventor and luthier Leo Fender was the first to mass produce the electric bass. He called it the Fender Precision, and it hit the showrooms of guitar shops in 1951. The Precision, or P-bass, was an innovation in construction (body, neck, fretboard) and electronics (single-coil and humbucking pickups). To this day bassists use the P-bass, although some modifications have been made over the years.
Major contributors to the bass guitar include Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, Jaco Pastorius, and others. As you read through this book be sure to check out information on these innovators. It's important to learn about key players if only to better understand the mechanics of playing the instrument.
Most of all, as you begin your studies, remember that you are now entering into a kind of musical brotherhood or fellowship. You will also be contributing to the great conversation of music. Because of this, you have a responsibility to be thoughtful and diligent in all you do. So keep an open mind, practice hard, and listen to the expert musicians who have come before you. If you do this, you will earn the right to call yourself a bass player.