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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar Paperback – September 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward Flower is a bassist, guitarist, composer, arranger, and author. He has served on the faculties of Ithaca College, Bennington College, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, and Boston University. He has recorded extensively for numerous music labels. Ed served as revision author with Fred Noad for The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Guitar, Third Edition.
Nellie W. Fink is a nationally known musician, performer, and instructor specializing in fretted instruments, woodwinds, and voice. She is known for her down-to-earth, no- nonsense teaching approach for students of all levels.

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Product Details

  • Series: Idiot's Guides
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592573118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592573110
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Hodge teaches guitar, ukulele, bass, piano and other various instruments, as well as music theory and songwriting in Berkshire County in the southwest corner of Massachusetts. In addition to his private students, he also teaches group classes at the Great Barrington South County Center of the Berkshire Community College.

Since 1999, David has been the Managing Editor and Senior Writer for the highly praised, free online tutorial site, Guitar Noise (, where his lessons are read by over two million people from more than a 160 countries across the world and have earned him an international reputation as a teacher with an easy, down-to-earth style. He also regularly contributes to Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

He is the author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide Guitar" (Alpha Books, October, 2010), "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Rock Guitar" (Alpha Books, March, 2010) and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar" (Alpha Books, September, 2006) He and Nashville songwriter Casey Kelly (who's written hits for George Strait, Tanya Tucker, Kenny Rogers and others) are co-authors of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Art of Songwriting."

David occasionally performs in the Berkshire area and also backs up other local musicians at their shows as well as on their recording projects. When the call goes out for a Tahitian ukulele, chances are likely he'll be there!

He also performs frequently at FODfest, a series of free concerts sponsored by Music In Common, held to celebrate the life of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan in 2002. One of David's fondest musical moments was when renowned harmonica genius Corky Siegel played solos on "Man In Black Blues," one of David's original songs, at the FODfest show at the Village Players' Theater in Oak Park, Illinois October 28, 2009.

For more information, visit his website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By VA on September 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
David Hodge states in the introduction to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Bass Guitar that he wants to help his readers think like bassists. That seems like a rather lofty goal, but it's one that I think he achieves.

Having recently joined my church band as the bass player despite having no prior experience with the instrument (though I do have a couple of years of steady progress on electric and acoustic guitar,) I was glad to see that this book has a different presentation style than the typical bass method book. It is much more discussion oriented, which gives it a unique teaching value that I found very helpful for self-study. (I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of the book many weeks ago, which is why I can write this review now even as the book first begins to officially ship.)

The first thing I noticed when I received my copy is how much text there is. Other bass books I purchased dive quickly into reading notation and playing one note, one string at a time, graduating up to scales and basic melody lines with very little explanatory text. Hodge takes a different route, that of mentor, guiding you through the how and why of every topic he presents, from finger placement during a riff to creating your own bass lines. Hodge writes in an easy-to-understand, down-to-earth manner, and it's almost like having an experienced teacher there with you.

There is enough music theory to help you understand the basics of scales, chords and arpeggios, but not so much that you feel bogged down. Importantly, all of Hodge's discussion on theory leads to practical application in the subsequent chapters.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By estambre on October 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I apologize for the long review but it corresponds to how intense the experience was.

I'm 40 and have learned to play guitar in the last 4 years and a half, mostly through David's lessons on Guitar Noise.
I had no previous musical education as such before these four years.

I decided to read the book as a way to expand my knowledge of both the guitar and bass. I used to be a drummer, so rhythm -although new in writing- is not new to me itself. That's my only advantage against somebody totally new to learning music.

I'm a good example of not talented musician who can finally express himself musically, since I like music a lot and have played with several bands over the years, but couldn't compose or interpret songs with just drums, which I only started playing semi-ok after many years . I had always thought i was unable to understand any other instrument aside from the drums.

Please don't read my review as if I'm saying you need a lot of experience in order to read this book. It's actually the other way around. You are going to become a much better musician after going through this book. How I did it just introduces "slow-learning me", and I'm positive David's book would be a highly interesting way to get started from scratch and getting an incredibly firm foundation along the way.

As with every good reading, you're not going to get away with this book or other of David's lessons with your eyes closed if you're a novice. Just as you won't get away with your musical education that quickly unless you're really talented.

In which case you don't need this book. If you have been a musically gifted person from birth onwards, you don't need this.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Martin on September 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mr. Hodge has accomplished no mean feat - he has written an eminently readable and playable book on both the "hows" and "whys" of bass guitar. Beginners will find everything they need to start comfortably and move forward as far as their willingness to practice - this book will take you more than a little deep into the outfield if you have the legs. Intermediate (even advanced) players should not be put off by the title - there is enough substance and theory here to assist players at any level.

Worth noting is that, in addition to the usual notes and tablature, there is plenty of text as well (a nice change for a music book) and it's all put to good use. Mr. Hodge anticipates questions very well, and his conversational writing style translates superbly to learning an instrument.

The accompanying CD is well-produced, well-integrated, and great fun to play along with. I am finding the Bass Guide as enjoyable as it is useful - very highly recommended!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Darrin Koltow on September 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
David is just the man to write this book. If you've read his articles on, showing his deep love and understanding of music and his ability and desire to teach, you'll see what I mean.

One notable sign of David's empathy with students is how he responds to requests for help. In his work with, he has answered his emails from players of all levels. You should not depend on a book's author answering your direct emails, but it's at least reassuring to know that David is an ongoing presence on the web.

This book covers a lot of ground -- material valued at well beyond the book's price. We go from the basics of music, buying a bass, up to jazz rhythms, arpeggios, slapping, and other distinctive bass sounds.

I believe players of different skill levels would get a lot from this book, from total beginners to intermediates. There's that much material in the book.

There's a good bit of stuff on soloing. This includes several jam tracks on the CD. But the best part about the bits on soloing is David's approach: he gives you lots of ideas. Use arpeggios here, just root notes there, vary the rhythm, etc.

It's a pretty big book, and it's notated in standard notation and tablature. You should be able to prop it up on a music stand pretty easily.

The sidebars are useful and inspirational. "Don't get down on yourself for not being a prodigy!" And there are bits on celeb bass players from different genres.
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