Bassists in Fredericksburg, Virginia have a new resource to help them expand their playing; the Bass Forum. This monthly event is designed to help bassists build community and to improve their craft. The Forum is a combination of clinics, performances, and open mic events. The Forum started in May 2009, and it has met three times over the summer. The Forums initially were small meetings of 15 people. Now, the word is getting out and the Forum is beginning to draw participants from Richmond and Washington DC.
The initial meetings are already having a profound impact on people’s lives. Luthier Bill Mason presented the first clinic: “The Art, Physics, and Craftsmanship of the Double Bass.” Chris Albert, a sophomore in high school and an electric bass student, attended that clinic. As a result, Chris has begun an apprenticeship with Bill, and he is working towards building his first violin. Chris states “The Bass Forum is a must for anyone who wants to expand their musical knowledge. I was inspired to take on an apprenticeship building violins. This single event has enlightened me and changed my life.”
The second Bass Forum was a Bass Open Mic that featured both upright and electric players. For many of the young participants, this was their first experience playing solo or in a duo with another bassist. Most of the electric bass players had never experienced playing without the safety of an entire ensemble. As a result of the first Bass Open Mic, a “bass orchestra” is forming with two short performances already scheduled in October and December. The bass orchestra is planning on performing music that was written or arranged by the ensemble participants.
The third Bass Forum was a clinic on how to construct walking bass lines. Again, this Forum drew attendees from both DC and Richmond. This clinic was videotaped by Richmond bassist Billy Wooten. As a result, each participant received a DVD of the workshop. Each participant also received a free sixty-eight page course book that had sections for four, five, and six string electric bassists and a section for double bass players.
The Bass Forum recently met on August 31st, 2009 for a clinic with Bryan Beller. Bryan is well known for his work with Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa, Mike Keneally, Brendon Small, Dethklok, and as a solo artist. He is a Contributing Editor for Bass Player Magazine, and he has served as a Vice President of SWR. He has two widely acclaimed releases, “View” and “Thanks In Advance”.