Isolated Bass tracks are not only a great way to hear exactly what bassists are playing. They also help you learn how to listen for bass in the musical texture. After working for awhile with the isolated track, listen to the studio version again and hear how everything fits together!
For students who are learning this, and students who will learn it, here is an excellent reference for your James Jamerson studies. Remember that learning by ear is great, but you should only use it as a reference to check your work AFTER reading the part in notation. If you need notation, check with me at your lesson or get a hold of me.
“I’m a self-taught bassist. Before I met up with Hans, my playing involved a lot of educated guessing—I could play the notes, but my fingering was sloppy and I had an extremely basic knowledge of music theory. I knew I wanted to improve, but part of me had a warped fear of private lessons, like the teacher was going to be a cold, calculated drill sergeant eager to turn me into a musical robot.
From the get-go, though, Hans shattered that stereotype. His teaching philosophy is refreshing: he acknowledges that no two players are the same, and that there’s no one “right way” or system for someone to learn. He took my skills at face value and then we took a focused approach to nail down my weaknesses and improve on them, and I did. He has no interest in mindless drilling; whenever he presents a drill, he explains the reason for it. You know, like an adult.
But most of all, what I think sets Hans apart is his passion for music. It’s infectious. One of the first things he asked me was what music I cared about; he continually stressed “I want you to be the type of player that you want to be.” I told him I’m a big fan of Motown and the Beatles, and he could effortlessly pick apart their styles. As I was learning some James Jamerson basslines, Hans stopped at one point and said, “Man, I’m excited for you to learn this. This man is a legend, there is a goldmine of stuff here, and you’re not that far off from getting there.” After that lesson I went out and watched three Motown documentaries, read Marvin Gaye’s biography, and practiced the bassline to “What’s Going On” like a man possessed. My lessons deepened my appreciation for music I already loved and turned me on to some I hadn’t before.
And the more I got to know Hans I realized I could’ve said “I want to play funky Mozart in a jug band” and he would’ve been just as capable and genuinely excited. I can’t recommend him enough.”
“When I began working with Hans about a year ago, my ability to read music was still rudimentary, I didn’t fully understand music theory, my technique was poor, and I had never played with other musicians. Hans has helped guide my development so that now, I am able to read music and write using musical notation. He also has helped me to more fully comprehend music theory. I have also been able to improve my technique based on his feedback and exercises which he developed and customized to my needs. Best of all, I have been able to confidently rehearse and perform with a full band. Hans clearly has deep experience and has been able to clearly articulate his recommendations on my technique such as improving my left hand fingering, improving my understanding of rhythm, and finding a way to make my instrument sound the way I want it to. He has worked with me to develop a personal musical development plan that fits my needs and schedule. His many years of experience in performance and as a student himself are evident in the way he has helped me to deal with any roadblocks that have come up in my studies. I feel that Hans can relate to any question I bring up. I highly recommend Hans as an instructor.”
This video is a few months old. Here is a take of the Allman Brother’s “Whipping Post” I did with some guys at a bar last summer. Bass solo at 3:58. I just wish they would have gotten the take of War Pigs.