the online magazine for bass players

Search Menu

Best of 2015: Top 10 Bass Lessons and Transcriptions

As we wrap up 2015, we look back at the reader favorites on No Treble for the year.

The holidays are upon us, which hopefully means more down time from the day-to-day activities that keep us busy. Which hopefully means more time to spend on the bass. Here’s a great list to get you through the holiday season and beyond.

Bass Transcription: Federico Malaman’s “Speed Demon”

1. Bass Transcription: Federico Malaman’s “Speed Demon”

Stuart Clayton decided to transcribe Federico Malaman’s arrangement of “Speed Demon” from Michael Jackson’s “Bad”. Stuart calls it “a hyperactive little number with a bass part [programmed synth track] that was just too ridiculous to be real…”

Bass Lesson: Crackin’ the Slonimsky Code

2. Bass Lesson: Crackin’ the Slonimsky Code

Using concepts derived from classical music, Joe delves into demystifying diminished patterns commonly used by jazz musicians, such as John Coltrane, Pat Martino, Jaco Pastorius and countless others…

Bass Transcription: Miki Santamaria’s “Thinking Out Loud” Solo Bass Arrangement

3. Bass Transcription: Miki Santamaria’s “Thinking Out Loud” Solo Bass Arrangement

This transcription was suggested to me by No Treble founder Corey Brown, serving to remind me of Miki Santamaria’s fantastic solo arrangements of pop songs for bass guitar. This song, originally by Ed Sheeran, translates nicely onto the bass due to the relatively open key of D major…

Talking Technique: The Permutation Exercise

4. Talking Technique: The Permutation Exercise

To start things off in this new series, we’re going to be working on our left hand dexterity with the “Permutation Exercise”…

Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove in Dm

5. Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove in Dm

Time to add another lick lesson to the series. This time around, our focus is on this funky fingerstyle bass groove, which is in the key of Dm or D7, using mostly the D minor Dorian scale with chromatic connecting notes. This lick also relies heavily on open strings, for fast note doubling…

Bass Lesson: Interval Shapes

6. Bass Lesson: Interval Shapes

In this lesson, we will cover a basic concept for interval shapes to develop your technique, while attuning your ears to hear the root motion of common harmonic progressions in jazz…

Bass Lesson: The Tritone Substitution Matrix

7. Bass Lesson: The Tritone Substitution Matrix

When learning to play your bass, an overkill of theory can often paralyze your results while performing. Many musicians have learned the theory of Tritone Substitution, but when trying to apply this information, they often end up short-changed. In this bass lesson, we’ll cover a simple but direct concept for the immediate application for Tritone Substitution…

Bass Lick Series: Funky Bass Breakdown in E

8. Bass Lick Series: Funky Bass Breakdown in E

Here’s another lick to add to your bag of tricks. Once again, I’m using open strings as described in past lessons. This one is a groovy bass line you can play over a E7, E9 or E13 chord using the Em dorian scale with the Major 3rd added (G#)…

Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass

9. Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass

Here’s a lesson I’d consider more beginner/intermediate-level, but it is a great refresher for all of us. Many times, we have to play a line which requires some quick shifting along the fretboard. Here’s a simple exercise for fast position shifts…

Bass Transcription: Joe Dart’s Bass Line on Vulfpeck’s “Beastly”

10. Bass Transcription: Joe Dart’s Bass Line on Vulfpeck’s “Beastly”

“Beastly” is the opening track from Vulfpeck’s first EP Mit Peck. I’ve loved this piece since I first heard it and it’s been on my “transcribe list” for a while now. Fortunately, the isolated bass track cropped a while back, making the task of transcribing it a little easier…