Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch and Arts Center has announced its lineup of bass workshops for 2016, and it’s bound to be a good year. Kaukonen’s Hot Tuna partner and regular FPR educator Jack Casady will return while bassists Kai Eckhardt and Bobby Vega will teach their own workshops this summer and fall.
First up will be Eckhardt, who will present a workshop entitled “Universal Bass – The Next Frontier” from July 29th to August 1st. “My background in music as in life has been bi-racial and multi-cultural,” he explains. “The combination of being raised in my father’s native Liberia/West-Africa and my mother’s Germany have forced me to find the common denominators in very opposing worlds. I started approaching the bass guitar from the same perspective, always concerned with the questions of why and how something sounds good rather than taking things for granted because they are embedded in culture or popular at the time. Along this path I came across some incredible discoveries which took me further in music and around the world than I could have ever imagined.”
Eckhardt adds that participants will work through fun exercises, listening examples, and interactive studies to build solid bass lines from scratch. He will also cover approaching soloing over chord changes and setting up your own practice drills to evolve autonomously.
Bobby Vega’s workshop takes place September 23rd through the 26th during the ranch’s Pick n Putt week, which includes motorcycle rides through the countryside. His presentation is entitled “All About the Groove” and he promises to use his 43 years of playing experience to improve your playing. “We will explore how to get a better pocket…..groove…..that will make your band mates smile,” he states. “[I] believe one of the many jobs of the bass player is to accompany your fellow musician or musicians with a sensitivity for how to best help them tell their story. So, you will look at the importance of accompaniment. In studying the groove you will look at chords, licks and harmonics. You will study tonal techniques and tonal qualities to add some feel to your playing. Other elements such as volume control and the importance of dynamics will be studied.”
Finally, Casady’s “Leading the Way with Bass Guitar” will be held from November 11th to the 14th. The class will offer a “unique blend of bass styles, techniques and repertoire choices.” The master bassist will teach how to support each song with your bass playing.
The bass workshops are open for registration on the Fur Peace Ranch website. Tuition for a standard week is $1,440.