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Beginner bassist looking for the right book

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New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

I'm a brand new bassist, but I've been a musician for a long, long time. Therefore, bass books that I've seen at the store or read about online all seem too tedious to me -- I don't want to hear about chord theory, scales and key signatures, time signatures, how to read music, these are all things I know like my own name. Are there any good books out there that only deal with developing technique?

If this is the wrong forum for this question, I'm terribly sorry and can a moderator please move this?

Thanks for your help!

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4338

Hello Winnie and welcome to Guitar Noise! I took the liberty of moving your post to the "Bass Players Discussion" forum.

The only bass book I've ever used was Guitar Noise's own David Hodge's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar". So, that's pretty much the only one I can recommend! I play guitar, dulcimer, mandolin and bass, and David's book gave me a really good grounding as far as bass is concerned. I highly recommend it!

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"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"

Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108

You betcha.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon

Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472

In fairness, though, half of the Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar is devoted to things that Winnie knows. While she might find some of it interesting, other parts of it probably won't be. The thing is, all beginners books are going to be this way because it's incredibly important for a bass player to know theory and chord make-up.

Another possibility is the National Guitar Workshop trilogy, Beginning Bass Guitar, Intermediate Bass Guitar and Mastering Bass Guitar. If you're near any music store, they should have these and you can look through them and decide where you want to start.

Since you've been a musician a long time, you might find it beneficial to simply get some bass books with songs that you know and then sort of reverse-engineer things so that you can then work on techniques that you want to specifically develop. There are books on many individual aspects of bass guitar technique, from finger positioning to walking bass lines to sight reading rhythms to slapping and popping to playing various world music styles. It might be more your speed to go the route of specific technique books rather than to find an all-around book.

Not that I wouldn't recommend the Idiot's book! :wink:


New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Thanks, everyone, for your help! I'll look into the titles you suggested. :)

Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 779

If you check this bass forum there is featuring article about Ed Friedland who had written a couple of Bass technique books.

Tanglewood TW28STE (Shadow P7 EQ) acoustic
Yamaha RGX 320FZ electric guitar/Egnater Tweaker 15 amp.
Yamaha RBX 270 bass/Laney DB 150 amp.

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 3221

You have to sift through a lot of her posts to get to the meat & potatoes, but there are many useful technique-oriented tips on Carol Kaye's website. Can't beat the price either.

Start at the bottom, #1. Great little exercise right there - gets you thinking about downbeats and your drummer's snare.

That said, I don't think you can separate chord and scale theory from bass playing.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."

Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 259

Since you know the music theory side almost anything you buy book wise for the bass is going to have a lot of theory intermingled with things, that's just the way it is. For the purpose of learning just the techniques, you might be better off to look for youtube videos covering the specific technique you want to learn (string muting techniques, slap, pop, double thumb, etc). One of my favorite youtube videos covers some technique but mostly just makes me really really want to play bass better.

Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 7

Ditto on Idiot's Book! :D