Thursday, November 28, 2013

Glenn Letsch's Bass Master Class -- Book Review

Glenn Letsch's Bass Master Class - Book 
This book - a follow up of sorts to Bass Lessons With The Greats (which I've also reviewed) is written by Glenn Letsch. It features short 'master classes' with bass players Mike Chapman, Larry Graham, Jaco Pastorius, Rocco Prestia and upright bass player (and no relation:) Ben Wolfe.

For those of you on your journey learning how to play bass here's a more detailed review of each of the masterclasses in this book.
Let's look at the individual lessons:
Lesson With Jaco Pastorius
This lesson is hosted by Glenn Letsch - and is a transcription of Jaco's solo on a tune called All American Alien Boy by The Ian Hunter Band. The transcription is also accompanied by a detailed analysis, and some of the historical background of how the tune came to be recorded. If Jaco is someone you study, this lesson will be right up your bass playing street.

Lesson With Larry Graham
Larry Graham is the father of slap bass - so it's no surprise that this lesson focuses on slap bass. There are some examples of Larry Graham bass lines including It Ain't No Fun, I Believe In You (two different sections), If You Want Me To Stay, Got To Go Through It, Dance To The Music, and a 'power ballad' example with a flanger, an octave divider example, Thank You, Pow, Can You Handle That, Higher, a 'train groove, and Release Yourself.
This lesson is aimed at intermediate and advanced players - there are some serious grooves to cop in this lesson.
Lesson With Ben Wolfe
Ben Wolfe is an upright bass player - and his lesson looks at some ways of developing walking bass lines. He starts off with 'playing in 2' in both scalar and triadic fashion and then proceeds to chromatic approaches. Then he moves to a more traditional 4 beats to the bar walking approach and discusses some ways of expanding your walking

Lesson With Mike Chapman
Mike Chapman is a Nashville Session Master - and his lesson talks about the bass requirements for players in the Nashville scene. This ranges from an explanation of the Nashville style 'Number Chart' to comprehensive set of examples of specific playing situations ranging from country waltzes to western swing to zydeco to 8th notes and more. All the examples can be heard on the accompanying CD.
Lesson With Rocco Prestia
This is a finger style funk lesson. The lesson looks at specific Rocco riffs and patterns, notably Believe It, Miss Trouble, Mr Toad's Wild Ride, Squib Cakes, This Time It's Real, Get Your Feet Back On The Ground, You're Still A Young Man, Down To The Nightclub and Credit. All these examples can be heard on the accompanying CD.

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