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#2733765 - 11/10/15 01:39 PM Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang!
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
It is a great pleasure to be here and open channels to people that might wish to chat about playing. Right now I am working on my next recording, the music of my hero and friend, the late Jack Bruce. Plus I am writing a book about music education that I hope will help players with questions about directions to go to learn.

In the meantime, I would like to open a dialog to see if you have questions for me and if I can help you with thoughts about bass. Anything is one the table! I recognize that I had a combative nature in the past (which got me into therapy.) It takes time to examine one's life up close and it isn't always fun either. But I needed to do this and I learned a lot in the process. I am still involved in personal growth and I never enjoyed life more than I do now.

So, come on over and if you have any questions or thoughts, please share them here. Best regards to you all. Jeff


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/10/15 01:40 PM)

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BP Island
#2733789 - 11/10/15 02:58 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
jcadmus Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Great to have you here, Jeff. Jack Bruce and you -- big influences for me. Huge.

Looking forward to your contributions to the forum.
_________________________
"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"

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#2733805 - 11/10/15 03:50 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jcadmus]
rumpelstiltskin. Moderator Offline
spinning gold from straw
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/10/00
Posts: 5010
Loc: detroit, MI, united states
welcome! hopefully we can feed you with lots of questions and keep you around.
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because i like people.

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#2733810 - 11/10/15 04:19 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: rumpelstiltskin.]
jeremy c Offline
10k Club

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16416
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
Hi Jeff,
I spoke with you briefly at NAMM a few years ago and we exchanged teaching stories.

Also a long time ago I went to one of your clinics.

I've always enjoyed listening to you play and I'm glad you're here.

(beware of the trolls) cool
_________________________
Free download of my cd!.

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#2733815 - 11/10/15 04:41 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
Paul K Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3605
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Greetings Jeff;
Well, that's cool! Welcome aboard!

One of my biggest pet peeves in my professional life is people taking shortcuts--knowing just enough to do be able to do a job, but not really knowing enough to know why it's done that way. That makes problem solving and improvement difficult. As such I dig your opinions on music education. Knowing how to speak the language is vital.

Glad you are happy and healthy; honored to have you around.

Peace
Paul K
_________________________
Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.
www.home.roadrunner.com/~kempkes/fundus.html

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#2733822 - 11/10/15 05:25 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Paul K]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi to all. How nice to hear from your. I appreciate your joining in here. I thought to answer Paul as he asked something specific.

It seems to me that shortcuts are the way that some players make their way in music. Live playing has become a goal even before players are sometimes ready to play. My thought is to match one's ability with the type of gig that they are interested in playing. New players should wait until their playing skills match the venue where people expect good music for the price of entry or to just entertain a crowd. This might mean not to aim too high in regards to gigging, but instead to aim high in regards to the level of playing skills they wish to achieve.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/10/15 07:06 PM)

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#2733887 - 11/11/15 05:02 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Welcome from the worst bassist in the known universe to one of the best bassists in the known universe. As far as having a combative nature in the past, I say you didn't....and I'll fight you over it.
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2733894 - 11/11/15 05:49 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Paul K]
jcadmus Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Paul K
Greetings Jeff;
One of my biggest pet peeves in my professional life is people taking shortcuts--knowing just enough to do be able to do a job, but not really knowing enough to know why it's done that way.

Dude -- that's, like, my whole deal. About everything.
_________________________
"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"

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#2733899 - 11/11/15 06:01 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jcadmus]
jcadmus Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
I think there needs to be a balance between jumping right in and learning the correct way.

(Famous joke about the kid who skipped his fourth bass lesson -- "Got a gig!) We all know players who jump in too soon - get in over their heads and become frustrated or a frustration to their band mates and audience. They haven't taken the time to at least learn the fundamentals, and therefore they're really not ready for performance. Or they pick up bad habits that are hard to break later.

We also know players who woodshed in the shadows for years because their not "ready" to play in front of people. In reality, some of these folks are never going to be "ready" in their own minds, and as a result will miss out on the most rewarding part of making music. And part of learning is interacting with a band and audience -- experimenting, bouncing things back and forth, seeing what works and what doesn't.

_________________________
"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"

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#2733972 - 11/11/15 12:08 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
To Lug. I will clarify right now that you are not the worst bassist in the known Universe. In its most clear form, you may be a bass player without good training. Is this an accurate description?


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/11/15 12:09 PM)

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#2733975 - 11/11/15 12:11 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jcadmus]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: jcadmus
I think there needs to be a balance between jumping right in and learning the correct way.

(Famous joke about the kid who skipped his fourth bass lesson -- "Got a gig!) We all know players who jump in too soon - get in over their heads and become frustrated or a frustration to their band mates and audience. They haven't taken the time to at least learn the fundamentals, and therefore they're really not ready for performance. Or they pick up bad habits that are hard to break later.

We also know players who woodshed in the shadows for years because their not "ready" to play in front of people. In reality, some of these folks are never going to be "ready" in their own minds, and as a result will miss out on the most rewarding part of making music. And part of learning is interacting with a band and audience -- experimenting, bouncing things back and forth, seeing what works and what doesn't.



The decision to play before one is ready to seems to stem from a popular consensus that this is the way to proceed when one owns an instrument. I see this belief, and other beliefs as sort of unspoken, yet known-to-all agreements taken by the bass playing community wishing to play their art before they know how to play. Thoughts?


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/11/15 12:14 PM)

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#2733979 - 11/11/15 12:18 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
jeremy c Offline
10k Club

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16416
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
We have no idea who Lug is. No one has ever seen his face or heard him play. He good be the worst player or the best player. I think he might be from another galaxy.

I might have had the worst bass player in the universe as a student once. No time, no ear, no memory. I tried everything.
_________________________
Free download of my cd!.

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#2733992 - 11/11/15 01:15 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
jcadmus Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Jeff Berlin


The decision to play before one is ready to seems to stem from a popular consensus that this is the way to proceed when one owns an instrument. I see this belief, and other beliefs as sort of unspoken, yet known-to-all agreements taken by the bass playing community wishing to play their art before they know how to play. Thoughts?

No question about it. As when the right time to jump in is, that's highly subjective.

I think you need to at least master the fundamentals -- knowing not only your instrument, but some rudimentary theory and also understanding the role of your instrument in an ensemble. A good teacher can probably help decide when you're ready, and encourage to engage in the right kind of playing situations based on your skills and development.
_________________________
"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"

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#2733999 - 11/11/15 01:33 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
Michele C. Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 1016
Loc: Milano
Hi Jeff, it's great to see you here. I read your views and have always been intrigued by a point of view that appears to be out of the mainstream, candid and pragmatic.
I have recently stumbled upon this video by Kathy Sierra (she is a legend in technical writing) where she puts her expertise in teaching to work. It's not a short video, it'a 23 minutes presentation and it deals with software development.
Still, I found that what she said, the problems with learning that she described and the proposed solutions map one to one with all that I have experiences learning music.
One major takeaway is "practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Reduce time spent practicing being mediocre". This speaks to me.
One other aspect that speaks to me is that often you have a truckload of half digested ideas on the table, that you did not have time to translate in fully mastered abilities and this kills the brain.
Jeff, I have a ton of questions for you, but I will start with a suggestion: this video can be interesting for teachers.

_________________________
-- Michele Costabile (http://proxybar.net)

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#2734036 - 11/11/15 06:09 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Michele C.]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi Michele. Thanks for joining this chat. I absolutely am out of the mainstream of what teachers and their students trust as helpful lessons. I see that they are more functions of what players believe than what will improve their musical skills. But I know that players are tied to their beliefs about what to do to improve. Many honestly do not seem interested in musical improvement. So, except for those who I feel honestly wish to improve, I have come to respect the unspoken and also the spoken wish by many bassists that they aren't interested in changing their ways to learn how to play.

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#2734037 - 11/11/15 06:12 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
We have no idea who Lug is. No one has ever seen his face or heard him play. He good be the worst player or the best player. I think he might be from another galaxy.

I might have had the worst bass player in the universe as a student once. No time, no ear, no memory. I tried everything.


In my world of teaching, any student with difficulty with time or who demonstrates a problem with their ear have musical problems that are quite simple to help them to resolve. It takes lessons based in musical content at their level to deal with. And it should not be practiced in strict time as some students don't have the playing skills to play anything in strict time (hence one of my objections to practicing with a metronome.) The student with these problems should be playing simple, perfect musical content while counting and tapping their foot to subdivide the rhythms. Any mistake should be fixed at the moment that they make errors. People learn from their mistakes and in my world of education, mistakes are not only tolerated, but they are a good thing if they are resolved at the time of making them.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/11/15 06:17 PM)

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#2734049 - 11/11/15 07:04 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
jeremy c Offline
10k Club

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16416
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
This particular student did not seem to be able to tap his foot in time without an instrument in his hand.
_________________________
Free download of my cd!.

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#2734050 - 11/11/15 07:08 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Yes! That's the idea. The student needs an instrument in his hand. This way, as he taps, he is subdividing the time while playing the notes.

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#2734054 - 11/11/15 07:30 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Happy Birthday J. Dan Offline
10k Club

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 10368
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I probably fall somewhere within the topic of discussion here. I grew up taking piano and sax lessons and (piano from the time I could read, sax beginning around 5th grade). In college, having room mates with guitars and bass, I started picking them up by ear with pointers from my friends. Eventually I started playing them in bands along with my other more formally trained instruments. I first played bass in a band about 15 years ago. I still basically play by ear and am not as good as i am on keys, and probably won't be unless I ever go back and do it right....drill scales, technique, etc. but I play in 4 different bands with various instruments and barely have time to learn all the songs and rehearsal those, much less add additional time doing theory and drills. I suppose the fact that I'm getting all the paid gigs I have time for is a good thing, but I don't think I'll improve much more personally carrying on this way.
_________________________
Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2734059 - 11/11/15 08:47 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: J. Dan]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi J.Dan! You could improve in a week if you really had the desire to do this! You would actually see it! Academic learning if done correctly is the only approach for pay that can guarantee that one would improve as a player. I include payment as a criteria because once you pay to learn, the rules change. My belief is that there practically isn't anything that one can learn in most academic settings where music is not exclusively being taught. I noticed that whatever is being taught is, for the most part, unnecessary in the learning experience as a free apprenticeship via the self taught route would solve practically all playing issues.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/11/15 08:49 PM)

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#2734093 - 11/12/15 06:40 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
We have no idea who Lug is. No one has ever seen his face or heard him play. He good be the worst player or the best player. I think he might be from another galaxy.

I might have had the worst bass player in the universe as a student once. No time, no ear, no memory. I tried everything.


pfft, sounds like a lightweight in the world of Suck. When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person. I am...the world's most Suckiest Bass Player, stay grooving, my friends.
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2734111 - 11/12/15 08:15 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: lug
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
We have no idea who Lug is. No one has ever seen his face or heard him play. He good be the worst player or the best player. I think he might be from another galaxy.

I might have had the worst bass player in the universe as a student once. No time, no ear, no memory. I tried everything.


pfft, sounds like a lightweight in the world of Suck. When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person. I am...the world's most Suckiest Bass Player, stay grooving, my friends.


Hi Lug. I am curious. After reading your post, I get the vibe that music isn't your thing. Am I correct? If you don't have an interest in playing, or maybe playing better, can you tell me why you are here?


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/12/15 09:28 AM)

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#2734164 - 11/12/15 09:47 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Michele C.]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: Michele C.
Hi Jeff, it's great to see you here. I read your views and have always been intrigued by a point of view that appears to be out of the mainstream, candid and pragmatic.
I have recently stumbled upon this video by Kathy Sierra (she is a legend in technical writing) where she puts her expertise in teaching to work. It's not a short video, it'a 23 minutes presentation and it deals with software development.
Still, I found that what she said, the problems with learning that she described and the proposed solutions map one to one with all that I have experiences learning music.
One major takeaway is "practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Reduce time spent practicing being mediocre". This speaks to me.
One other aspect that speaks to me is that often you have a truckload of half digested ideas on the table, that you did not have time to translate in fully mastered abilities and this kills the brain.
Jeff, I have a ton of questions for you, but I will start with a suggestion: this video can be interesting for teachers.



Hi Michele, I thoroughly enjoyed the video. Thank you for sharing it!

My wish is to upgrade how bass players both teach and learn to play. But for this to happen a lot of deeply held beliefs would have to be let go.

One problem that bass players seem to deal with the belief that a little bit of musical knowledge goes a long way. To see if this belief has merit, put this philosophy into any and all subjects of art and vocation that are taught. Does this philosophy exist there? I question the value of the bass educational community which in and of itself is considered an offensive thing by many bass players that hold strongly to their beliefs in both the methods that they are taught and also their unshakable trust of the bass icons and established music schools that teach them. It cannot be a comfortable thing when someone dismisses almost in its entirely, a system of learning in its various parts that most player/teachers embrace.

Two thoughts are important to begin my reasons why I am not pleased with how players both teach or learn.

1. Bass teachers are often self taught. This means that while they often are terrific players (as the self taught approach to learning works wonderfully) the difficulty that I see is that teachers can't teach a subject if they don't know how it works. And 2. Playing and learning are two different subjects completely. Here I will be clear: Teachers that teach, say, feel, art, groove, spirit, studio playing, working well with drummers, dynamics, fingering exercises, and many other approaches to learning that are non-music centric, are teaching to lessons that are actually learned for free via the self taught experience. What is the benefit of paying money to teachers to learn musical principles that all great players have learned on their own and for free?

Combining performance principles with how to play better has greatly diluted the benefit of the music lesson which in its best presentation is an academic event. Learning is not spiritual for the most part. It is factual! PLAYING is spiritual. One simple adjustment of how one approaches their instrument in a lesson room will change the learning experience for the better. And, get ready for a surprise: Before bass instructors changed the way that their bass students learned, music only was the manner of teaching. Only!

These comments are open for comment. I welcome thoughts to see how these ideas affect players so that we can examine the facts of learning rather than the feelings that players have about the lessons they are taught.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/12/15 09:59 AM)

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#2734188 - 11/12/15 10:57 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Groove Mama Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 2319
Loc: St. Louis, MO
G
Originally Posted By: Jeff Berlin
Originally Posted By: lug
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
We have no idea who Lug is. No one has ever seen his face or heard him play. He good be the worst player or the best player. I think he might be from another galaxy.

I might have had the worst bass player in the universe as a student once. No time, no ear, no memory. I tried everything.


pfft, sounds like a lightweight in the world of Suck. When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person. I am...the world's most Suckiest Bass Player, stay grooving, my friends.


Hi Lug. I am curious. After reading your post, I get the vibe that music isn't your thing. Am I correct? If you don't have an interest in playing, or maybe playing better, can you tell me why you are here?


Lug is here to make me laugh out loud at lunch while trying unsuccessfully to maintain a professional demeanor in the office.

"My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases."
Mission accomplished yet again, my friend! laugh
_________________________
Queen of the Quarter Note
"Think like a drummer, not like a singer, and play much less." -- Michele C.

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#2734194 - 11/12/15 11:23 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Groove Mama]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Every village needs and idiot. I provide that service for this forum. No need to thank me, no need at all! grin
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2734234 - 11/12/15 01:29 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi Lug. Thanks for your happy spirit here. I would invite you to consider that threads that provide great discussion regarding practicing and learning well are scarce. Your creating a personality as a village idiot could make way for the village teacher in you, or, if you are interested in musical growth, perhaps the village student. I would like to see that intelligent and loving side of you that could contribute great advise and thoughts to your fellow bass players. Or maybe just ask meaningful musical questions. Of course you are welcome here! I invite you and everyone who comes to this thread to use this great opportunity to discuss and grow in both music and the learning of it. To do this however requires a change in communication skills. I hope Lug that you will consider joining this chat from another direction. Regards from Jeff


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/12/15 03:02 PM)

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#2734242 - 11/12/15 01:42 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
ZZ Thorn Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/07/05
Posts: 1013
Loc: Paris via Chicago
Uhhh...wow, this is totally awesome. Hello Jeff! Really cool for you to make this offer. Glad to hear you are doing so well! Been a fan of your great music for some time.

I thought about what you wrote here about practice/performance mindsets. I can take my practice too seriously, because I see what you are saying about needing to be a bit less spiritual about it, cuz that's what performance is for. Practice is for learning, and learning is more of a technical mindset than a spiritual mindset - I can dig that. Today this freed me up more to take more chances (always key), not worry about mistakes and keep a better perspective. So I got this first part, but I'm not grasping the second part about "music only!" Can you explain what you meant here please:

"One simple adjustment of how one approaches their instrument in a lesson room will change the learning experience for the better. And, get ready for a surprise: Before bass instructors changed the way that their bass students learned, music only was the manner of teaching. Only!"

So, I honestly do want to improve. I play 1-3 hours a day and have for years...but I'll be honest that you are correct in that I am not super-interested in changing my ways! I cop to that cuz I keep doing basically the same thing: Just jamming. Jamming along to my iPod, learning the drums and jamming to my iPod there, learning how to sing and play the bass at the same time, jamming with others - basically just grooving and not being very technical. I did feel I was stuck after my first 2-3 years on bass and so I got a teacher who explained me the basic theory, and that foundation was very helpful, but since then I'm totally self-taught. I play blues, rock and RnB so I never read music anymore and it's been a long since I even practiced going through Real Book types of changes. I feel that I keep progressing - maybe slowly - so I don't really change my methods, I guess.

And yet, if I had the time and the money and was accepted, studying at your school would probably be awesome, LOL! So I'm not THAT resistant to change - I'm just kind of content in my own little thing and progressing in my own way. Not saying this is always good - just giving you my situation.

So I want to mine your knowledge but I really don't have a specific question at the moment other than: How can I improve my ear?

In a larger sense, I'd like to ask: What do you think I should practice? I asked Richard Bona once: What do I need to practice to be as good as you are? He said: "I'm not a singer, but I come from a family of singers and so I sing through my bass - what I suggest is being able to sing whatever you play on the bass." I.e. get the ideas from the brainal/heartal area through to the fingers, and incorporate the voice as well, as I've found adding the voice to be very helpful in progressing as a musician.

So, before you get bored and vamoose and I fail to take advantage of this great opportunity: How do I improve my ear and what do you think I should practice? Wish I had some more questions, but I'll work on it.

Many thanks in advance and feel free to give us any tips at all!
_________________________
http://www.myspace.com/themoustachioed

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#2734251 - 11/12/15 02:46 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: ZZ Thorn]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: ZZ Thorn
Uhhh...wow, this is totally awesome. Hello Jeff! Really cool for you to make this offer. Glad to hear you are doing so well! Been a fan of your great music for some time.

I thought about what you wrote here about practice/performance mindsets. I can take my practice too seriously, because I see what you are saying about needing to be a bit less spiritual about it, cuz that's what performance is for. Practice is for learning, and learning is more of a technical mindset than a spiritual mindset - I can dig that. Today this freed me up more to take more chances (always key), not worry about mistakes and keep a better perspective. So I got this first part, but I'm not grasping the second part about "music only!" Can you explain what you meant here please:

"One simple adjustment of how one approaches their instrument in a lesson room will change the learning experience for the better. And, get ready for a surprise: Before bass instructors changed the way that their bass students learned, music only was the manner of teaching. Only!"

So, I honestly do want to improve. I play 1-3 hours a day and have for years...but I'll be honest that you are correct in that I am not super-interested in changing my ways! I cop to that cuz I keep doing basically the same thing: Just jamming. Jamming along to my iPod, learning the drums and jamming to my iPod there, learning how to sing and play the bass at the same time, jamming with others - basically just grooving and not being very technical. I did feel I was stuck after my first 2-3 years on bass and so I got a teacher who explained me the basic theory, and that foundation was very helpful, but since then I'm totally self-taught. I play blues, rock and RnB so I never read music anymore and it's been a long since I even practiced going through Real Book types of changes. I feel that I keep progressing - maybe slowly - so I don't really change my methods, I guess.

And yet, if I had the time and the money and was accepted, studying at your school would probably be awesome, LOL! So I'm not THAT resistant to change - I'm just kind of content in my own little thing and progressing in my own way. Not saying this is always good - just giving you my situation.

So I want to mine your knowledge but I really don't have a specific question at the moment other than: How can I improve my ear?

In a larger sense, I'd like to ask: What do you think I should practice? I asked Richard Bona once: What do I need to practice to be as good as you are? He said: "I'm not a singer, but I come from a family of singers and so I sing through my bass - what I suggest is being able to sing whatever you play on the bass." I.e. get the ideas from the brainal/heartal area through to the fingers, and incorporate the voice as well, as I've found adding the voice to be very helpful in progressing as a musician.

So, before you get bored and vamoose and I fail to take advantage of this great opportunity: How do I improve my ear and what do you think I should practice? Wish I had some more questions, but I'll work on it.

Many thanks in advance and feel free to give us any tips at all!


Welcome ZZ. I am glad that you are here. My wish is to explain to people that learning how to play is very easy if one eliminates from their musical lives those lessons and points of regard that do not warrant attention in the practice room.

Here is my answer about learning music-only. And actually it is quite simple.

Bass players that pay to learn how to play better will benefit by recognizing that the growth that can take place is to first recognize what a bass was build to do. The very first reason that a bass was built was to play a note.

If this point is understood by bass players, then the next step is to realize what is necessary to fulfill that need. If the bass is firstly an instrument of pitch (not yet rhythm), then lessons related to it would be best served if they too were constructed only on pitch. Rhythm is tied into the note-learning experience as well as all other mechanical principles connected with a music-only education.

What music-only does is that it cuts out the mystery about what to do to improve and simply provides things to practice so that you can play better.

That's it! This is the entire practice reality in a nutshell. One takes their bass and one practices music to learn how to play it. That is literally it!

Where bass education went south is that it got varied. Some have called it "a broad" approach to learning. In fact, the most impactful improvement seems to come from a narrow approach. In your case, you've been jamming and playing the same music for a while. I applaud your insight when you noticed that you haven't improved as a player. Most won't under the same repeated musical conditions.

Learning how to play falls into only two areas, 1. the self taught area which always has been free and 2. academic music-only learning, which is based in great musical content. If you accept that there are only two ways to learn, then you have covered the entire reality of learning how to play the bass. Jaco Pastorius and Jack Bruce come to mind as only two of a million bassists that became what they became via one or two of these experiences.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/13/15 07:46 AM)

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#2734273 - 11/12/15 03:43 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
ZZ Thorn Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/07/05
Posts: 1013
Loc: Paris via Chicago
Well that certainly is true and I never really thought of it - that the bass is built around pitch as it's only made to play 1 note. A fundamental concept which is properly illuminating. Bass is often conceived as rhythm first...but you gotta be in the right key, LOL.

I totally hear ya on why teachers are great: they tell you what to practice. When I felt I needed one I got one, and he was great. So that's why I'm asking a teacher like you - what do I practice to improve my pitch? What do you suggest - find a good teacher and get some exercises which will work on my pitch?

It seems like what you might be saying is that I've done a lot of self-teaching but have neglected the academic side. I haven't done any academic work for 6-7 years, and no teacher either. The idea of doing solo transcriptions rather bores me to tears, but I'm sure there's other exercises I might find enjoyable. LOL, I guess it's a pretty indefensible position - especially to a player like you - to say "Bah, teachers - who needs 'em!" Hey - you aren't the only one down on mass education, i.e. public daycare!
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#2734279 - 11/12/15 04:00 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: ZZ Thorn]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi ZZ. I read your comments with interest. The only one that I would like to address is your aversion to whatever might be assigned that may cause you boredom.

Here is a point to consider: it would be an amazingly positive thing, a point of real growth and maturity if students recognize that they don't have the right to decide what they are going to learn. They might choose the subject, but after that, they need to trust the teacher unless that teacher isn't teaching music-only. Controversial as this sounds, there are good reasons for my saying this. Students should not be given the right to make academic decisions in their lessons for the most part. They shouldn't have a say about what they are told to practice because for the most part, students aren't qualified to make those decisions.

It boils down to one basic truth; does one really and truly wish to improve. This seems to be the center of what inspires one to learn; how far is one willing to go to improve as a player. Forget gigs and art. Are people desirous to play better for its own sake (everything that follows is the result of the skills that one acquired by learning and practicing well.)

These next comments are certainly going to be considered controversial. In this forum, I will have a chance to explain my thoughts to show people the reason for my comments. They are all invited to come here and question my statements, which are these:

Your job is to seek out a teacher that knows music and can teach it to you. I suggest that you not study with any teacher that talks about gigs, chops, technique, groove, or heart/emotion in playing. Anything other than the function of music on your instrument is a diluting of the learning experience. If you can find a jazz teacher, be it guitarist, pianist, or horn player, I suggest studying with them as well, not for the art of it, but for the musical facts that must be learned in order to play jazz. One doesn't have to be a jazz player if they really don't wish to be.

Again, if you or anyone else has any questions, you are all invited to come here and ask me the reasons for my comments. Thanks for being involved in the uplifting of music education, something that I am dedicated in helping people to experience.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/13/15 08:23 AM)

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#2734292 - 11/12/15 04:52 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
ZZ Thorn Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/07/05
Posts: 1013
Loc: Paris via Chicago
I hear ya on the value of muddling through what a teacher assigns. A true, dedicated student has to be humble - no way around that, really. A lot of thankless drudge work goes into becoming great in anything, I hear ya.

So if I get a teacher you're saying I should just be extracting musical knowledge - my gold for your golden knowledge? You encourage a laser-like focus on transferring technical musical skills? What you're basically talking about is learning musical theory, right, or can you be more specific?

I agree with this idea, and it actually is motivating me to consider perhaps possibly maybe getting a teacher one day in the undetermined future.

Because I would like to get from A to B the fastest (as we all do), I don't really see your other ideas as controversial:

The motivation and heart has to come from within, especially as I'm an adult. Technique - this is not really something which takes very long to instruct, as it's practice through application. Perhaps you can teach "groove", but that is really something you also have to perfect on your own. It's partly innate, but it's also partly you just sitting at home and playing the unchanging bassline from "Funky Good Time" by James Brown for the entire 10 minutes over and over and digging it every time. And it's the living thing you construct with the drummer which always changes.

That's a real outside-the-box concept, to take "bass lessons" from a trumpet player.
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#2734307 - 11/12/15 06:47 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: ZZ Thorn]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: ZZ Thorn


I would like to get from A to B the fastest (as we all do), I don't really see your other ideas as controversial:

Perhaps you can teach "groove", but that is really something you also have to perfect on your own.

That's a real outside-the-box concept, to take "bass lessons" from a trumpet player.


I kept three portions of your comments to address.

1. It is not a reasonable goal to get from A to B as quickly as possible. This isn't the meaning of what practicing is. Plus, it won't happen for most players this way. Music lessons as in any academic approach in any subject takes time to learn. Your wish to get from A to B in the fastest way possible interferes with the learning process which, at its most efficient can be described as "You'll Get There When You Get There!" Besides, you might be amazed to find out that learning music-only IS the fastest way to get from A to B because it was designed to do exactly this thing, that is, to precisely direct students into practicing musical material that requires developing knowledge of music and instrument to play.

2. Regarding teaching groove, it would be good to point out that when looking into the history of other teachers of the past that taught it, I couldn't find one teacher. Further, I couldn't find one bass player in the top echelon that claims to have learned how to groove in their particular style in a school or from a teacher. This tells me that the ability to groove must have been acquired elsewhere. It has! It only was developed via the self taught experience. I am open to know if anyone can contribute names of players that learned in school how to groove. It would help to support the idea that groove can be taught instead of being learned for free via the self taught experience as I feel that it always is.

3. Finally your thought that it is outside the box to take lessons from a trumpet player (your example of a non-bass teacher teaching a bass player) actually has a lot of precedence to it. The late great Charlie Banacos, a piano player, taught horn players, guitarists, and bass players for decades before passing away. Lennie Tristano, also a pianist, taught all kinds of instrumentalists. Dennis Sandole, a guitarist taught John Coltrane, a sax player. The list is long of players of one instrument teaching music to players of other instruments.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/13/15 08:31 AM)

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#2734323 - 11/12/15 08:31 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Griffinator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Well here's an interesting conundrum that I never thought to put in front of a longtime player...

I had to quit playing bass entirely a couple years ago because of chronic tennis elbow that still hasn't let up (because I do side work typing, which also aggravates it)

Have you ever had that sort of injury as a result of playing bass, and if so, how did you handle it?

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#2734327 - 11/12/15 09:09 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Griffinator]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Sorry to hear about this. I've played concerts and have done tours for decades playing complicated music, often at high tempos and reasonably high volume. I never, not once, had an injury to my hands because I learned long ago to relax them when I play, to let my equipment do the hard work while I simply pluck and finger the notes in a reasonably delicate manner.

I certainly have no advice about how you might fix your injury. this. But, I DO have thoughts about how to prevent these injuries!

It is best to play one's instrument where the action is lowered, where maybe the strings are slightly smaller gauges, where one's bass neck is straightened, where the angle of the neck is not extreme, where and how one places their hands on the neck, the severity of the angle of the wrist when plucking the strings and finally where one doesn't pluck too hard. Finally, just turn up your amp and let it carry the power necessary to convey the feel of your playing. Bass players often get this wrong, to think that if they are plucking hard then they are playing with feeling. Plucking hard is just an overplaying of the instrument. Playing with feeling simply means that one feels and emotes as they play. It really is this simple.

I suspect that if you treat your ailment via a doctor's advise, and if you play by turning up your amp and accommodate your injury in the ways that I suggested above, you should be OK.

Stretching one's hands and arms, while feeling good, actually don't prevent hand or arm injuries. Not creating them in the first place is! For what it is worth, I can't locate a documented suggestion from any teacher anywhere in music history where stretching was suggested to prevent injuries to the hands while playing. This belief was, unfortunately, invented by bass teachers which was accepted by other players.

Get treatment, and lower your bass action, turn up your amp, shorten your bass strap so that your bass hangs higher on your body, get lighter strings (such as .040 .060 .080 .100) and pluck softly. Good luck. You just might get bass playing back into your life. I hope so.


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/13/15 08:36 AM)

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#2734384 - 11/13/15 08:09 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: ZZ Thorn]
fendercort Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/15
Posts: 1
Loc: MINNESOTA
Originally Posted By: ZZ Thorn
How do I improve my ear and what do you think I should practice?


Hey, if you want to get an idea of what Jeff thinks you should practice, you should check out Jeff's lessons on Youtube. I have been studying these videos for a while now, and they have definitely improved my playing. Here are links:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpzds7Da7sy6-Ac6OoIs7Vg/videos

Also check out these videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ba9wBOqD9o&list=PL9MrUbhvEMr3_KK0SvCMUf92UAnUBbaiP&index=2

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#2734399 - 11/13/15 09:08 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
jcadmus Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: lug

... When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person...


This might actually be the greatest thing I've ever read, written by anyone ever.
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#2734417 - 11/13/15 10:18 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jcadmus]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: jcadmus
Originally Posted By: lug

... When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person...


This might actually be the greatest thing I've ever read, written by anyone ever.


I only wish I still had a copy of my treatise on the proper way to boil stings. frown
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2734424 - 11/13/15 11:04 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jcadmus]
Groove Mama Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 2319
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: jcadmus
Originally Posted By: lug

... When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person...


This might actually be the greatest thing I've ever read, written by anyone ever.

Yes. Yes, it is. It makes me realize that I suck at sucking.
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Queen of the Quarter Note
"Think like a drummer, not like a singer, and play much less." -- Michele C.

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#2734426 - 11/13/15 11:13 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Groove Mama]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: Groove Mama
Originally Posted By: jcadmus
Originally Posted By: lug

... When I play, Black Holes can only stare in amazement. My instruments squeal in terror when I open their cases. The only time I'm allowed to play on stage is at closing time if a bar is having trouble getting their drunken patrons to leave. Often exterminator companies hire me when their most powerful chemicals fail to rid an establishment if a difficult infestation problem. The best song I ever played was when I accidently dropped my bass down the stairs. The fact that I play in this galaxy keeps other galaxies in constant terror of a Lug invasion. My best songs will put animals off their feed for weeks. If I play at a funeral, I really hated the dead person...


This might actually be the greatest thing I've ever read, written by anyone ever.

Yes. Yes, it is. It makes me realize that I suck at sucking.


I would be glad to give you tips on some of the finer points of Sucking (anti-theory, atonality, groovelessness, non-beat, etc.) but this is obviously not the thread for that. Let's keep focused on Mr. Berlin's desire to help bassists ..."shivers"....improve their playing.


Edited by lug (11/13/15 11:14 AM)
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2734498 - 11/13/15 07:50 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
It looks that what I have to offer might not be wanted here. Good luck to everyone. I wish you well with your musical endeavors.

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#2734503 - 11/13/15 10:04 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Griffinator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Originally Posted By: Jeff Berlin
It looks that what I have to offer might not be wanted here. Good luck to everyone. I wish you well with your musical endeavors.


Don't take it that way. Lug is playing the humorous foil here.

For what it's worth, I've been told by several doctors that the only cure for my problem is to literally just stop using my right hand for anything at all until it heals, and they have no idea how long that will take - could be weeks, could be months...

Regardless, I think the biggest trouble I had with playing bass was the same trouble I had playing keys (which I also had to give up) - my tendency to be more aggressive with my playing - hitting notes harder and such - was a big problem, where doing so while playing a guitar was no big deal because of the picking motion versus the plucking motion.

I tried playing bass with a pick to alleviate it, but that just gave me wrist problems on top of the elbow issue.

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#2734535 - 11/14/15 06:08 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Griffinator]
jcadmus Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Griffinator


Don't take it that way. Lug is playing the humorous foil here.


There's a reason his handle is "Lug."
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"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"

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#2734555 - 11/14/15 07:38 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Griffinator]
Paul K Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3605
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Griffinator
- my tendency to be more aggressive with my playing - hitting notes harder and such - was a big problem,


I get it. Crank the amp up. Like, a lot. But wait till after you're all healed.
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#2734579 - 11/14/15 10:07 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Paul K]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
I know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for skill in bassists, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you rejoin the forum now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will make you laugh.
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2734580 - 11/14/15 10:08 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Paul K]
Griffinator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Not a volume problem, Paul, a problem with the music affecting me emotionally, which then translates into my fingers as "big note here - BAM!" wink

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#2734589 - 11/14/15 10:26 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Griffinator]
Happy Birthday J. Dan Offline
10k Club

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 10368
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Jeff, you will find that this is a very light hearted community - and I use the word community with great intention. We talk about our music and things that are technical in nature and important to our art. But we also share common experiences and to the extent we can online, have developed personal relationships. So of course humor and off-topic banter comes into play. Much of the humor is sarcastic in nature, and quite honestly, a lot of fun. I can only speak for myself, but this isn't just a resource for technical information, it's social media by it's very definition. On facebook, I have some musician friends on there, but there's also a whole lot of other stuff going on. On here, it's just musicians. We joke, poke a little fun sometimes, and talk about other things besides just playing bass. But it's better here th Lifyplace else because of the things we all have in common.

I hope you'll stick around and continue to offer your insights that will be helpful for all of us to grow as players. I also hope you'll feel comfortable mixing a little pleasure with the business. Life is short. Let's all enjoy it!



Now, hoping you're still around and can answer something for me...related to your previous response. I DO have formal music training - many years on piano and sax, both classical and jazz training. I learned bass "by ear" but already with a very firm musical background. To your point, much of the vast improvement I've made just in the last year is really getting comfortable knowing my way around the entire fretboard. So I think I know where you're coming from. I've watched some of your videos where you dig a little more into sort of styles of bass lines to play for different genres and what to do or not do. As a keyboard player, I'm very familiar with playing left hand bass on the keys. Of course, usually at the end of the day, the bass line I would play LH on keys would typically be different than I would play on the Bass. Most of this is due strictly to the mechanics of playing the different instruments. Intervals that are easy on the bass are difficult on the keys. Hand positions on the bass make for some pretty natural scale progressions.

I wonder if you could expand a bit on this topic.....basic music theory vs strictly bass. Since you've been stressing the importance of the music theory portion.


Edited by J. Dan (11/14/15 10:31 AM)
_________________________
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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2734663 - 11/14/15 06:07 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Griffinator]
Paul K Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3605
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Griffinator
Not a volume problem, Paul, a problem with the music affecting me emotionally, which then translates into my fingers as "big note here - BAM!" wink


Right. But if the volume is cranked high enough, you won't be able to hit the big note here BAM without it being totally out of context. After the third time everyone gives you the stink eye for popping the pop too loud, you'll readjust your inner BAM.

"Your Inner BAM" is not a good name for a band.
_________________________
Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.
www.home.roadrunner.com/~kempkes/fundus.html

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#2734673 - 11/14/15 08:16 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Paul K]
BenLoy Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 4086
Loc: Albany, CA USA
Jeff, I hope you stick around.

I loved reading your columns in Bass Player when I was younger because you said things that made absolute sense, stuck with me, and as I played more and more gigs with more and more people they struck me as absolute truths:

1) Learning to play music doesn't have any "shortcuts" or "quick tricks."

2) Really studying your instrument means studying how music works more often than the technique of how to play it.

3) Studying the language of music does nothing to stifle your creativity any more than studying the language of English does.

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#2734711 - 11/15/15 06:19 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: BenLoy]
Paul K Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3605
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: BenLoy
Jeff, I hope you stick around.

I loved reading your columns in Bass Player when I was younger because you said things that made absolute sense, stuck with me, and as I played more and more gigs with more and more people they struck me as absolute truths:

1) Learning to play music doesn't have any "shortcuts" or "quick tricks."

2) Really studying your instrument means studying how music works more often than the technique of how to play it.

3) Studying the language of music does nothing to stifle your creativity any more than studying the language of English does.


Right on.
_________________________
Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.
www.home.roadrunner.com/~kempkes/fundus.html

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#2735506 - 11/18/15 03:36 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Paul K]
Nicklab Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/09/03
Posts: 4328
Loc: New Jersey
Hey Jeff! Welcome to the Lowdown. I've read a fair amount of your columns from BP back in "The Day". And truth be told, there was one thing that you wrote about that I found to be a HUGE difference maker.

IIRC, you had written about your time playing with Yes (or perhaps Anderson Bruford Wakeman & Howe). You had muted your signal chain to tune before the band started playing "Roundabout". And as I recall, I think you had forgotten to unmute yourself. As the story goes, you didn't clumsily unmute and jump into the tune right then and there, but you came in very deliberately at a musically appropriate point. That made the mistake of being muted come across much less like a mistake and more like a conscious musical choice. Mind you, I think you wrote this almost 20 years ago, but the idea stuck with me.

Fast forward to this past summer. I was at a jam session north of NYC, and there are some serious players on stage. The guy leading the set is very much into himself and isn't paying attention to the fact that I'm still tuning and haven't plugged in to the amp. I hate to do this, but I gotta name drop because this was really kind of cool. I was up on stage with former NY Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams. Bernie's a great guy, and an extremely talented guitarist. Well, the number that got called was kind of a funky blues, and Bernie launched into the rhythm guitar part in a very cool way while I was still tuning and trying to get plugged in. What I think was so cool was that he noticed that I was struggling to get set up quickly, so he deliberately played a grooving rhythm part. So what comes to mind for me? Your lesson from the BP column back in "The Day" came to mind, and I waited for the IV chord. When I came in? Damn, what a much more musically powerful thing to do.

For that lesson about waiting for the right moment to come in, I thank you!
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#2735668 - 11/19/15 09:08 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
picker Offline
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Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
Hi Jeff, met you briefly at a clinic you did at The Vox Box, a music store in Marshall, MO some years back. Welcome aboard!
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#2735718 - 11/19/15 10:41 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: picker]
Groove Mama Offline
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Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 2319
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Uh, I get the feeling Jeff has left us and isn't coming back. He didn't seem to quite get our unique collective sense of humor here.

Hope I'm wrong, though.

Jeff, if you're listening, c'mon back.
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#2735734 - 11/19/15 11:53 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Groove Mama]
jcadmus Offline
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Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Groove Mama
Uh, I get the feeling Jeff has left us and isn't coming back. He didn't seem to quite get our unique collective sense of humor here.

Hope I'm wrong, though.

Jeff, if you're listening, c'mon back.

Well, no offense to Jeff -- I have great respect for him as an artist and educator.

But frankly, this is the sort of thing that's gotten him a reputation for being a bit difficult.
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#2735884 - 11/20/15 06:53 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jcadmus]
Richard W Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 08/21/09
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Loc: near Philly
let's face it, we are the hoi polloi.
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#2736097 - 11/21/15 06:50 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Richard W]
Nicklab Offline
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Registered: 12/09/03
Posts: 4328
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Richard W
let's face it, we are the hoi polloi.



No, not really. Things got far more heated leading up to Jeff's departure from TalkBass. This was mild in comparison, but it does seem like Jeff was trying to make some strides forward in how he deals with an online instruction type of environment. I think he just didn't grasp the bizarre sense of humor that's pervasive at the Lowdown. Plus, the other thread that Jeff bumped up didn't help things either.
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#2737049 - 11/25/15 12:09 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Nicklab]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi to All! Many thanks for your thoughts and comments. I did leave this forum as I wanted to help people with their playing. What I felt was that the form of humor that happens here didn't seem to gel with my wish to make musical contributions. I mentioned to a couple of guys that it might be better if they got more into a musical mind so that we could relate on important musical educational issues. But my comments (at that time anyway) seemed to make little impact. I respect people wishing to conduct their forum the way that they wish to, but, I didn't want to be a part of this kind of interaction. So, with no criticism of anyone and, in fact, wishing people well, I said goodbye.

jcadmus's comment that my leaving this forum is what got my reputation as being difficult seems an unfair statement. I simply stopped showing up for my own reasons and blamed no one. But, after two years in deep therapy starting at age 60, I recognize my flaws of the past and work to improve myself and how I relate with people. I learned from my mistakes. So, with an old reputation created brick by brick, now is my time to relate differently with people.

It would be good to still state that bass education isn't healthy and in truth, is in a very bad way in my opinion. In the past it was comments like this one that caused some to be unhappy with my thoughts. So, if you would like to discuss this as it might pertain to yourselves, I would be pleased to chat about it.

Thank you again for your clear thoughts and I am happy to speak of bass and music with you if you would like this. Regards, Jeff


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/25/15 12:40 PM)

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#2737083 - 11/25/15 02:24 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
lug Offline
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Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Glad you came back! I personally don't see it as an either/or concept but you have to decide what's right and comfortable for you.

(Lug's one serious post of the year)
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#2737121 - 11/25/15 05:37 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
jcadmus Offline
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Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4916
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Jeff Berlin


jcadmus's comment that my leaving this forum is what got my reputation as being difficult seems an unfair statement.

Perhaps, but you'll have to admit it did appear to fit that old pattern. Nevertheless, it's great to hear that you're trying to grow and evolve as both an artist and a human being -- when those we admire for their artistry demonstrate that they remain committed to improving themselves it encourages us that we can do the same.

We hope you'll stay, contribute, and share with us what you know.
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#2737139 - 11/25/15 07:44 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: lug
Glad you came back! I personally don't see it as an either/or concept but you have to decide what's right and comfortable for you.

(Lug's one serious post of the year)


I don't see it as either/or either! I did see that a manner of interaction on this thread, a thread that I personally started for the purpose of hopefully enlightening bassists about the merits of good practice and regarding of great musical information, was already heading toward something less musically focusd than I would have liked. jcadmus saw it as an old attitude simply for leaving. I just wasn't sure with whom I was dealing with here.

Let's see how things go. I have a lot to share if people want to discuss bass and music. Thanks for everyone being here!


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/25/15 08:08 PM)

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#2737146 - 11/25/15 09:00 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Happy Birthday J. Dan Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 10368
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I did post a question a while back but it probably got overlooked since it was after you bowed out and there have been a lot of posts since.

I do have quite a bit of musical education from all of the years I took piano. I had both Jazz and Classical instruction on the piano, as well as Jazz instruction on the Sax before I ever picked up the bass. Still, just due to the mechanics of e instrument itself, I would play bass lines differently on the Bass than I would playing left hand bass on the piano. So despite having the same music theory background, there ARE differences in the instruments that impact what you can/can't play and certain things that just work naturally better on one or the other. I guess I'm trying to fully understand specifically what we should be learning "instead" of the "bass".
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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2737151 - 11/25/15 09:23 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: J. Dan]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Hi J. Dan. I'm not sure about what it is you are asking. Can you find another way to explain me your thoughts?


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/25/15 09:26 PM)

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#2737455 - 11/27/15 08:43 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: lug]
Groove Mama Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 2319
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: lug
(Lug's one serious post of the year)

??? Who are you, and what have you done with Lug?!!?
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Queen of the Quarter Note
"Think like a drummer, not like a singer, and play much less." -- Michele C.

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#2737460 - 11/27/15 09:08 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Groove Mama]
lug Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2261
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: Groove Mama
Originally Posted By: lug
(Lug's one serious post of the year)

??? Who are you, and what have you done with Lug?!!?


https://app.box.com/shared/static/aemq3d9ldv.wav
_________________________
You can stop now -jeremyc
STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring
lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum
I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

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#2737571 - 11/28/15 01:34 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Happy Birthday J. Dan Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
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Loc: St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: Jeff Berlin
Hi J. Dan. I'm not sure about what it is you are asking. Can you find another way to explain me your thoughts?


I guess maybe I'm trying to understand more specifically what kind of instruction would be most beneficial. Admittedly I'm probably not like most here, having not had formal bass instruction, but plenty of music theory. Since I haven't had formal bass instruction, maybe I'm just not understanding the kind of instruction NOT to have, that you are talking about. But to me, I've had all the theory and so what I've been working on is translating it to the bass, which IS all about the mechanical aspects - hand position, technique....translating the scales I know into positions and patterns. And what I've discovered is that there are differences in what works mechanically on a bass vs the piano for instance...which has little to do with music theory. But maybe I'm coming at is from a different enough aspect that some of the previous things you said either don't apply to me, or apply differently. Ultimately....I guess I'm looking for the next step to improve myself.
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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2737636 - 11/28/15 11:58 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: J. Dan]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: J. Dan
Originally Posted By: Jeff Berlin
Hi J. Dan. I'm not sure about what it is you are asking. Can you find another way to explain me your thoughts?


I guess maybe I'm trying to understand more specifically what kind of instruction would be most beneficial. Admittedly I'm probably not like most here, having not had formal bass instruction, but plenty of music theory. Since I haven't had formal bass instruction, maybe I'm just not understanding the kind of instruction NOT to have, that you are talking about. But to me, I've had all the theory and so what I've been working on is translating it to the bass, which IS all about the mechanical aspects - hand position, technique....translating the scales I know into positions and patterns. And what I've discovered is that there are differences in what works mechanically on a bass vs the piano for instance...which has little to do with music theory. But maybe I'm coming at is from a different enough aspect that some of the previous things you said either don't apply to me, or apply differently. Ultimately....I guess I'm looking for the next step to improve myself.


Hi J.Dan! I think I might understand your thoughts. First of all, the term "theory" has been misunderstood by a lot of bass players as to what it really is. I am not sure if you understand that your need is to know what music to practice is the priority here.

Do this for me. Take a Cmaj7(#5) chord tone series and play them on your bass neck fully. Start on the lowest note which, in C maj7 (#5) will be an E, that is, if you play a four stringed bass as I do. If you play a five or six string then the lowest note that you will begin your ascension will be the low B.

Run the series to the top of your bass and then back down again. If you can do this with ease, then do the same thing in these keys:

C F Bb Eb Ab Db F# B E A D G

If you can do this without too many mistakes, this will tell me a lot about your ability to play outside of the "normal" tonalities that all bass players think that theory is constructed with. But if you have to stop a lot to figure out the right notes and even find yourself unsure about what they are, let me know. It is the 12 key approach that can answer for me a lot about what you can or cannot play, at least based on a quick question via a bass forum. Let me know how you do. And be honest with both me and you about your results. I can accept that you do know what you say that you do. But, music itself always, without exception, tells everyone who plays the truth about our abilities and knowledge of music beyond our own personal opinions. Good luck!


Edited by Jeff Berlin (11/28/15 12:00 PM)

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#2737910 - 11/30/15 06:26 AM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
Happy Birthday J. Dan Offline
10k Club

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 10368
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Thanks! I'm in Colorado for the week, but I'll give it a try when I get back in town.
_________________________
Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2738084 - 11/30/15 05:48 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: J. Dan]
jeremy c Offline
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Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16416
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
I had to think to do that exercise.

Thanks, Jeff.
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#2738273 - 12/01/15 01:43 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
I had to think to do that exercise.

Thanks, Jeff.


Good to hear that you had to think (did you play the exercise in 12 keys? You will really think if you do this.) Music lessons only based in musical content makes us all think and therefore grow. There are no other approaches in academic learning that will improve players other than musical content.

I know that groove lesson, technique, and a million other concepts are what many bass players pay attention to. But, no one to my knowledge improves by attending to these and other non-academic issues because practically no one actually has a problem with groove/time or technique at all.You've just been told that you do and many believed what they were told. All players share the same problem; we have a problem about what music to play in time and which requires certain technique to play it. If all similar problems shared by almost everyone are the same (and they are) then players therefore will share the same musical benefits by using music to fix them.

Rock lessons, slap lessons, using tab. practicing with metronomes, won't make bass players play better. There is only one way to improve in academic training and this way is narrow and to the point musical content. This approach to learning always worked in improving anyone that entered into studying this way. Write me here if you disagree so that we can discuss this. Regards to all from Jeff


Edited by Jeff Berlin (12/01/15 01:51 PM)

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#2738290 - 12/01/15 02:23 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
jeremy c Offline
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Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16416
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
Yes, I played the exercise in all keys. For some of them I had to say the note names of the chord out loud (or in my head) before I played the notes on the neck.

By the way, I have been playing bass for almost 50 years (and making a living at it), teaching for 40 years and I have a degree in music. I teach my students arpeggios in all keys (all over the neck), reading, and how to construct walking bass lines as well as a whole bunch of other stuff.
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#2738343 - 12/01/15 07:42 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: jeremy c]
Jeff Berlin Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/08/15
Posts: 53




Edited by Jeff Berlin (12/01/15 07:44 PM)

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#2821043 - 12/13/16 03:42 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: Jeff Berlin]
d Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 5388
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Haven't been around for a while...
Is this really the J Berliner we might think ?
idk
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#2821048 - 12/13/16 04:01 PM Re: Hi From Jeff Berlin. Let's Hang! [Re: d]
wraub Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 5118
Loc: ennui, az.
Originally Posted By: d
Haven't been around for a while...
Is this really the J Berliner we might think ?
idk


Based on content and temperament... I say yes.
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