Anthony Vitti - Professor - Berklee College of Music
The Slap Bass Bible: (eBook w/audio)
The Slap Bass Bible was published in 1995. This book is written in the style that I like to teach. I have never been big on studying exercises. My book is filled with grooves, not exercises, but if you play the grooves, you will get the exercise. That's the way I always liked to learn to play. Show me how I'm going to use what I'm practicing! I included drum grooves with every bass line, so you can program up your drum machine. The CD has me playing all the grooves and you should try to capture the feel I'm playing with and use your own interpretation. You can also use these grooves to get together and play with a drummer friend. This book has been used by teachers at BIT, The University of Miami and North Texas to name a few.This book contains the most modern up-to-date styles of slap available. I divided the book into three chapters. The first concentrates on straight funk grooves. You will find grooves in the styles of 70's and 80's funk. The difference is in the modern fingerings used to play them. These fingerings will open up new ideas and help your playing sound fresh. The second chapter deals with only thumb grooves. There is not another book that deals with this aspect of slap playing. You'll be able to develop incredible thumb speed, which I feel is the true key to playing slap bass lines. The third chapter focuses on hip hop and shuffle grooves. All these grooves contain a level of swing that is truly hard to master.
I, like most players, learned to play from picking lines off records. I would hear something I liked and then sit for days trying to figure it out exactly. This has advantages and disadvantages. The good part is that you develop your ears to hear progressions and bass lines. You learn to emulate the feel and phrasing of great players. You learn to transcribe notes and rhythms. All of these things are invaluable to a musician and an integral part of learning to play an instrument. There is a down side though. One big thing that happens is that players practice playing bass lines with the wrong technique or flat out learn the lines wrong, because they don't know how the bass player was fingering certain lines. This is where an experienced teacher can help. Something else I often see is that players tend to get into a rut and they only listen to a couple of bass players, or a very specific style of music. I often tell students that sometimes listening to music is like taking medicine. You may not like it, but it's good for you. Just because you don't like a particular style of music, has nothing to do with whether or not you can hear or be influenced by it.
Players are often surprised when they study with me that I have them listening to people like Oscar Peterson or Bill Evans. I'll usually hear, "What does this have to do with funk?" I tell them, if you want to learn to improvise, you should listen to the great improvisers. Whether it's Oscar Peterson or Bootsy Collins playing over an F7 chord, it's still an F7 chord. Oscar Peterson is going to pack a lot more information and ideas over four bars of F7 than Bootsy Collins probably will. See what I mean? That information can be applied to any style of music you like to play. Latin, Funk Jazz etc. Let me get back to my point. I'm going to use Jeff Berlin as an example. Jeff is one of my favorite finger style players. Incredible technique, beautiful time and chops as good as anyone. The problem is that I have absolutely no interest in the music he plays. I don't listen to it and it has very little to do with the music I like to play. With that said, I have also transcribed just about everything the guy has played, because there is a tremendous amount to be learned from his playing. I respect and admire the man, we just choose to play different styles of music, but it's all good. Now how does this rambling of mine pertain to my Slap Bass Bible book? Well, think of this book as having me sift through all the information for you. I analyzed all the great slap style players and wrote grooves that capture their individual techniques. Guys like Louis Johnson, Larry Graham, Gary Grainger, Aaron Mills and Marcus Miller. I took the techniques that make these guys great and packed them into one hundred grooves. If you want to be a good slap player, you need to go back and see how the techniques developed. Starting with "Octave oriented" grooves and moving right through to what modern guys like Victor Wooten are doing. Remember, you can't start playing slap by throwing on a Victor Wooten solo disc and trying to copy it. You need to build up to that. My focus is on rhythm section playing. The soloing book will come out later. Remember, there is no risk when you check out my books. We always give you a no questions asked guarantee. I hope you will check it out.