Rock Bass for Beginners
Alfred Music Publishing is the worlds largest educational music publisher. Alfred produces educational#44; reference#44; pop#44; and performance materials for teachers#44; students#44; professionals#44; and hobbyists spanning every musical instrument#44; style#44; and difficulty level. Let Joe Bouchard show you the ropes and learn to play rock bass the right way. Running time: 39 minutes.
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should have been covered. Sadly it seems that the selling points are:
1. noted bass personality (Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult fame). More on this later
2. It's tagged as "An Easy Beginning Method" for Rock Bass
So who am I and why am I disappointed? I am professional working musician and instructor.
I earned my masters in music and have a successful teaching studio and also taught at a local
college for 10 years. As a grade school kid I was inspired to learn a musical instrument because
of cool bands that had cool hit songs on the radio (like Blue Oyster Cult). I took lessons for rock,
blues, jazz, classical, you name it...
Why am I disappointed? Because I have had the great fortune to have taken lessons from
great teachers, using and learning from the best teaching material available along the way.
I have learned to recognize the difference between that and competent musicians
who can play well (or exceedingly well) but that aren't gifted with teaching. I am disappointed
because I have come to expect a great product when I see the name National Guitar Workshop.
At our studio we have and use their guitar books for a number of our students with great success.
Unfortunately this is not the case here.
If you've read my other review of this DVD and book some of this will look a little familiar.
Because this focuses more in depth on the just DVD I have expanded this review.
Here are some of the shortcomings of this DVD [Note: some of these comments were mentioned
by some of our beginning/intermediaite bass students that previewed the DVD with us]
1. Sound quality: "dude, where's the BASS?" It can hardly be heard with the band
tracks, and the sound quality when exercises are demonstrated lacks clarity and
presence. In a rock band, the electric bass should NEVER NOT BE HEARD OR
FELT. Both the drums and guitar overpowered the bass, and they weren't playing
that loud. Really, this DVD is more inspiring for all would-be beginning
drummers and electric guitarists.
2. Fundamental information that should be covered is missing, such as how to hold/position
the bass! Parts of the bass, general info about amps, what the notes are on the instrument,
basic rhythm patterns, how to follow the charted music on the screen, notation (TAB and/or standard).
3. Technique demonstrated is not the best (i.e. fingers that point away from the instrument when
not being used to play - very inefficient, creates tension which will be an obstacle to playing faster and
more fluid as one advances).
4. I'm sure Joe knows HOW to play the bass but his ability to verbally explain basic concepts lacks the
directness of a skilled teacher/musician (Tommy Igoe, Eric Friedland for example). Too many "ums"
and pauses to think of what to say. Some general information that should have been touched on in the
"Opening & Basics" chapter (such as "these are frets") aren't mentioned until later chapters. It's almost
as if he realizes "I haven't mentioned that yet..."
5. Way too much time spent talking about "when I was in my band..." while demonstrating playing a bass
6. Featured Songs are centered too much on his band's hits "Godzilla" and "Don't Fear The Reaper".
Not only that but you don't get the whole song, just a little snippet of how he plays his bass part.
7. At 39 minutes there's not enough to this instructional DVD. It is VERY BASIC. You will most likely
outgrow its contents QUICKLY. For the money you would be better served getting a DVD with a lot
more substance that teaches you about the bass and its accessories, how to play the bass, create
bass lines etc. in a progressive manner.
There are a few redeeming qualities of the DVD.
1. Joe's conversational teaching approach is pleasant.
2. Close up and angled shots of both hands are very good.
3. Although the concept is a bit advanced for a beginners DVD I have to give him credit for
talking about how to play with a guitar player and drummer.
4. He also gets major props for stressing the importance of playing/practicing with a
metronome to develop a sense of rock-steady timing (no pun intended there folks).
Bottom line, if you're even half way serious about learning to play the bass, you'll want a better DVD.
Such a DVD would cover everything you want to know now as well as later as you learn more. It would
look exactly like "Bass Method for the Beginning Electric Bassist" by Hal Leonard, featuring Ed Friedland.
As far as I know, Ed is not famous for being the bass player in an iconic band like Blue Oyster Cult.
Instead he's renowned as a skilled and talented electric bassist (Berklee trained) having played with
numerous top name artists across a number of genres. He's a contributing editor and columnist for
Bass Player magazine. From the way he writes (columns and instructional books), and his personality
in his DVD he strikes me as one informed, articulate hep cat.
If you were going to spend $17.99 for a beginning bass instructional DVD why not buy the best? Put
another way, if you could buy a Cadilac or a Pacer for $17.99 which would you buy?
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