Why I don’t do Black Friday (or any other) sales on the 20 Unit Course anymore…

Why I don’t do Black Friday (or any other) sales on the 20 Unit course anymore…

Okay, guys, please stop asking about sales…

Last time I ran a sale on the course (Memorial Day) it was massively successful. Wow, what a weekend! Unbelievable! What them marketing people say works, aye?! I took a few days off if you want to know.

Then I started getting emails around the 4th of July. Won’t you do a sale, Ari? And around Labor Day – now would surely be a great time for a sale, Ari? And of course now Black Friday/Cyber Monday…

Those emails got me thinking.

I realize that $379.00 all at once or $79.95 a month for five installments is a lot of money. Believe me, I understand that!

Then, I also know what this course is.

  • How extensive and yet practical it is.
  • I could tell you about the results people are getting – I get emails and feedback almost daily from our participants. (I share a fraction of it on our reviews page.)
  • We even have people going through the course a second or third time!
  • I could tell you all about the research and testing that went into the material, from refining it with students over years of teaching – one-on-one and in groups.
  • Then there is the learning psychology material I continue to study and add into the course experience, including best practice habits and help with accountability in the online learning format.
  • And the totally awesome suggestions we are getting from our participants which we are incorporating (or work to incorporate) constantly.
  • The testing and tweaking has lead to many revisions, additions and changes since the course went online over a year ago. (To say we are obsessed would be an understatement).
  • We even have students who contribute material – such as Alan’s practice log resource. And we hear from students who create their own material and send it to us – wow – such great learning to do that! (We will also add places where we can incorporate these contributions).
  • Then we hear how much traction and motivation the new Ask Ari Live sessions provide, which also include my very own teacher, bassist and composer Wolf Wein, whenever we can get him.
  • On the new platform, we have added coaching components, theory quizzes, interactive segments, motivational videos and the live Q and As.

We are near obsessed with people being successful with this course.

  • Over 20 hours of new video materials, all broken down into small bite-sized portions.
  • Over 130 sets of PDFs with examples to inspire you (it is really about you creating your own bass lines, though, and I show you how)
  • Over 130 awesome and unique background tracks to practice with, custom composed by Wolf.

Our Course Participants Talk to us a lot.
 Not because they enjoy sales, but because of the results they are getting!

We have enthused hobbyists who are thrilled to see consistent growth, leaving plateaus behind, excelling and improving. They don’t play in bands and some don’t aspire to, but they love the challenge and are intrigued with meeting the bass musician who emerges as they follow through the units.

We have church band players, weekend warriors, regular giggers, wedding band bassists, bassists playing original material in their own bands… I know because they email me telling me about that rehearsal when their bandmate commented on a cool fill (thanks to the systematic “Groove and Fill exercises”) or the drummer notices their solid groove (thanks to the “finger kung fu”!) or they tell me about that moment when they learned a new tune and it was so easy because they understood the chord progression. Or they played their first solo and it was awesome.

We have 20-somethings who are gung-ho and dedicated and practicing way more than the recommended 45 minutes 5 times a week and we have busy professionals in other fields who want to improve with the little spare time they have and follow the 45minutes 5 times a week prescription with great consistent success. 
And we have people in their 60’s and beyond who tell me that for the first time in their lives they feel hope, a sense of confidence growing, and are beginning to leave the old “could have, should have” behind in favor of actually enjoying making music.

We have aspiring pros who have set their minds to becoming bassists and say they have never seen material presented in such a concise and results-oriented way.

We have some busy bass pros and studio musicians who take the course to improve their technique or who have some holes in their theory knowledge they want to plug once and for all.

I know the only way I can get similar results with students are one-on-one private lessons – and it is a way better deal to sign up for the course than to pay for individual lessons. Some students still prefer in-person or online lessons and I have quite a few who do lessons once a month or every other week in addition to the course.

All this to demonstrate 
that I know that the value of this course is way higher than $249.00. This price is an amazing deal for what you are getting.

So if your main interest is to save $25.00 or $50.00, if sales is what would push you over the edge to buy this course, I’d venture to say, you are maybe not the right candidate for it. Yes, saving money in sales is nice, but this course – you gotta want it because you only get the results when you put in the work! You are not alone, but you need to show up.

I tell you a story

I got an email a long time ago from a woman scolding me for the $379.00 price tag. She knew nothing about the course or what the benefits are. She did not want to try the free trial. She just didn’t like the number because she felt entitled to get it all for much less.

She went on to tell me that she owned five very high-end basses. That is, of course, fine, but it showed me that her focus lies elsewhere – more value placed on the gear rather than the learning. She would not have made a good candidate for the course. If this is you, please do not buy this course.

I want people to sign up because they really want to learn and improve and see the value in it.

Just like you cannot buy great playing by just buying a great bass – you will be asked to do the work in the course. 5 times a week for 45 minutes is what gets you consistent results.

A good question to ask yourself is: are you willing to invest in yourself? In your ability? If you think of it that way, the $379.00 all of a sudden becomes an investment in yourself. It becomes an incentive to make the best of it!

As tempting as it would be to have a quick sale this weekend, throw it out there once more with a cute coupon and take a few days off as a result of it – I will not.
I want all the participants to be there for the right reasons. I want people to succeed, not log in twice and never come back.
I want people to feel great because their playing is soaring, not because they saved 50$!

Music THeory for the Bass Player The Course

Care for Bertha: Gifts for the Upright Bassist

Big Bertha AKA “the upright” is beautiful. And if you have an upright in your home (and/or on the road) make sure you treat her right.

Here is my list of favorite upright bass accessories (some of this is archived in the resources section as well)

General Storage Tips

Make her comfortable…

  • You can store uprights on their side or lean them in a corner. They should face the wall so as to not put undue stress on the neck. Don’t loosen the strings for storage. It could make the tuning post fall out inside the body. The tension of the strings also keeps the bridge in position. This is also why a strings change is done only one string at a time on the upright.
  • Should your pickup have a battery and you are storing the bass for a while, remove the battery.
  • Rosin! Keep rosin away from heat. It melts and the sticky mess of a forgotten and tilted over rosin container can be gnarly to clean up. You can refresh Pop’s rosin in the microwave. It will turn liquid and you can get it back in its paper cup if it went astray).
  • Put the endpin all the way in for long-term storage as well as for transport.
  • When you store the bow, release the tension a bit. Store the bow in its case to protect it from dust bunnies and your cats.

Keeping Bertha Happy

Bertha does not like changing temperatures. Keep her in a room that is consistently tempered and not too dry. Comfortable room temperature is best. 

Avoid direct sunlight. Drafts are not good, nor is leaning against walls that border the outside. Walls inside the house are fine.

Keep all instruments away from heaters (seen too many warped guitars and basses).

Uprights can crack if they get too dry. These little gadgets – we call them “bass worms” in German – are essentially a piece of cloth in a rubber hose with holes. You wet the cloth inside the rubber casing (just by holding the entire thing under a running faucet  for a second and then dry off the excess water) and hang the worm inside an F hole. It will act as a humidifier. Note that depending on where you live and whether you are using heaters a lot, you may need to replenish the worm very frequently with water.

If you want to monitor the humidity closely, you can get the fancy humiditrack for instruments by D’Addario, whereas this cheaper option does the trick just the same.

The Lady Likes Shoes…

Her end pin is usually pointed and slippery. You want to keep her in her place.

            endpin cane     

Anchors are straps you put under your stool on one end and place Bertha’s endpin in the loop on the other end. Personally, I don’t like those anchor straps that much, though, because:

  • Playing will feel differently depending on the floor you are on;
  • Your bass may actually damage the floor;
  • She may still slip sideways, even if the strap keeps her from sailing across the room away from you;
  • This system is meant for playing seated. It limits my movement; (Dancing may overcome me at times, and if I want to twirl Bertha around, I don’t want any tangles or lose her entirely!)

Endpin Rests these are a bit better, but you need a good aim, gotta watch it when twirling and they probably make the top ten list of things left behind after gigs.

Some people use walking cane tips, which may or may not work depending on the shape of your endpin. This is a professional version of a walking cane rubber end. They may or may not work for your endpin shape.

Endpin Ball – an attached and great alternative to endpin rests, no good aim required and since they are securely attached with screws, no loss. These wear out after two years or so but are well worth it.

Back in Austria we used to have a little adjustable “foot” with a joint in the middle. The rubber foot part sat flat on the floor and the endpin rotated freely in its socket. I cannot find them online and I lost my old one, so I can’t show you. They feel great in terms of sturdy, but let me tell you they squeak! WD40 might do the trick but I don’t know what that does to the rubber long term! I think the “pin ball” gets my highest grades.


That’s the thing with Bertha – when we talked about a walking bass we meant the bass line, not walking her across the parking lot or college campys and such! If your lady gets around, make sure to pick her up (more on pick ups later, ha!) in style.

wheel bertha       

The Wheel – an endpin wheel that can do wonders for saving your back! Watch for the right size. The wheel helps you get Bertha around by attaching it to the endpin, but I have seen bumps in the road push the wheel inward with such force that cracks ensued, so be careful on curbs.

The Ferrari of the Wheel – I personally would dismount this while playing, and mount it above the case in transit, but if the parking lot is far away, these things are a godsend!

Should you decide that Bertha is too finicky or valuable to be traveling, or if flying with Bertha stresses you out (I don’t blame you!), I recommend getting an Eminence Bass. Not cheap, but a great sounding instrument! Its custom carrying case is pretty great and its best feature is that you can disassemble it to fit into a golf club carrying case. No more weird stares at the airport. I did have to answer some cryptic questions about a nine-iron once, though.

upright bass standBertha stand

The Lady is Upright and Upstanding

Upright Bass Stand  I like this grey one because it is sturdy, has a small footprint and maneuvers Bertha easily in and out. Some other stands require finding an endpin rest, which can cause issues if you are using the endpin ball or another footer.

The Hercules is another stand that is awesome. Hercules are a great brand, and this one is great for the stage!  The only thing is, if you are very tall, you may have to push the endpin in a little bit o fit it on the stand.

Dressing Her up

Bags for Bertha are unfortunately a bit pricey if you want to get a good one. I have a totally awesome one that I cannot find online anymore. I do recommend investing a bit here because if you gig a lot or go to lessons regularly, the flimsy ones will let you down and you do not want to snap a neck because the gig bag popped a seam while you walk a stair case. You drop it – it’s potentially quite bad. This one has good reviews, but does not have straps to carry on your back. This one looks better because it has nice wide straps for carrying and I like the many handles it features.

Bertha bagThings to look for in a good bag:

  • Lots of handles – convenient for getting Bertha in and out of your car with ease.
  • Backpack straps – they should be wide and have a connecting strap in the front.
  • Check for sturdy seams and lots of handles.
  • A place to slide your bow into.
  • A case for knick-knacks (tuners, metronome etc) and another for your music.
  • Quality padding that won’t wear down quickly to protect your wooden friend.
  • Canvas-type material is much better than nylon (especially if you have cats with claws).
  • Keep in mind that your bass case will double as a pet bed, so make sure your four-legged creatures approve.

My ergonomics advisor tells me that is much healthier for you to carry Bertha on your back rather than over one shoulder or with your hand on one side with the handle (one hand gets tired switching sides is a bear!). If you have any kind of back issues, in particular, look for wide backpack-type straps, ideally with a connector in the front. Be careful though – you may need a spotter to get you through doors now – all of a sudden you are a giant!

Bow Accessories

bow holder berthaIf you bow, these bass bow quivers are great to hold your bow safely and close to where you need it, easy to grab for some bowed parts or just that long last bowed note on a Jazz gig or for the orchestral arco and pizz switches. You have to dismount it to fit the case with some cases, so don’t tie the knots too tight with the leather straps.

Pop’s Rosin  – There are of course several brands of great rosin. This one works well for me. Don’t forget, this stuff melts in the sun or on your heater. Icky gooey mess if you forget them there, tilted and open… I have a cardinal rule to always put them back into their case. (Don’t ask!)

If you Want to Pick up Bertha

        Bertha pick upsmicrophone pick up

Every lady likes to be picked up in style, so take note.

The Lifeline Realist pickup or the Realist Copperhead or Woodtone are great all-around pickups that won’t let you down, albeit they do tend to fail after quite a few years. I have always gotten many years use out of them. Which one sounds better on your bass depends on your bass model and style of playing. Here is an article from the developers that also talks about the history and the difference between the two.

Schertler pickups are high end, excellent pickups that Wolf has used for years.

If you prefer a microphone based pickup over piezos, this model looks promising. I have not used this but wanted to mention that such options also exist.

Have a Seat While the Lady Stands?

So you thought we call it stand up for a reason, but sitting down while playing is actually really nice at times.

Gollihur offers these two stools that are great – from a bit more sturdy to gold star.

More Cool Gifts

By no means necessary but here are a few items that really spoil her…

A bass bib… if she is so fancy you are worried you might scratch her, this bib protects her. You can even put a pencil in it!

Keep her clean with this polish – I usually use just a regular microfiber cloth to dust her down, but a polish – applied once in a while – is good maintenance.

This rosin remover is great, if you bow a lot. That stuff goes everywhere and is sticky like wax! This works, but don’t sip it, it’s pretty strong stuff (so much so that it is only available in the US)

If you give this as a gift make sure to let them know you love their playing. That said, a mute can save relationships (with neighbors, spouses…). Okay, I am exaggerating, because the mute effect is not very dramatic. A rubber mute placed over the bridge does reduce the level somewhat, though, and it is a cheap and effective way to turn it down a little. You can also find these little guys as a five pack or ten+ pack, but I have not personally tested them. If you have experience with them, please comment.

mute BerthaBertha

This makes for a really neat gift for the bass player in your life probably does not have – a string winder. This is the one Gollihur uses – can’t go wrong there.

Bass Wear – my friends at Lathon have the coolest shirts, caps and hoodies. Top quality! Guy and Girly. I love the bold colours.

A great beanie – so soft it is ridiculous! (It will also keep you out of treble)

         Bertha Hat        

Cufflinks as bass clefs!

Earrings as bass clefs!

Learn Gifts

A must-have for walking bass learning – Mike Richmond’s Book!

Instead of staring at a blank wall while sweating it up during your daily upright workout, you could teleport essential theory knowledge directly into your unconscious for readily available conscious retrieval by getting my fabulous bass wall chart. These free videos show you how to use it for a great theory work out! 

Music Theory for the Bass Player is of course yet another wonderful gift for the bassist in your life – while written for electric, the wealth of information of course holds. All you need to do is imagine a one-finger-per-fret scenario and adapt for upright fingering. I started playing upright after I had been playing electric for years and it was a breeze because I knew my way around the electric fretboard and understood how theory works on the bass neck. Many of our upright students also much enjoy The Course!

courseMusic Theory Wall Chart, Bass

Why “just keep playing” is not working… And what is


At a recent bass camp I co-taught at, a student shared her frustration with me. She had been playing for a while but felt that she was not really making progress. She told me how inspired she was hearing all this amazing playing at the clinic and how she wanted to feel measurable improvement. After a while she said a sentence that I have heard so many times in various variations: “If I just keep playing I will get better somehow, right? I hope I have at least a little bit of talent!”

The hope is prevalent that, if we just keep playing and practicing and keep doing what we are doing, things will somehow get better.

This view is understandable – after all, some of our heroes seemed to skip all schools and “just played” and miraculously ended up being so good. So if we just do more, more, and even more playing, we, too, will eventually get better!

  • Hopefully.
  • If we play a lot.
  • If we got talent.
  • Right?
  • Do we have talent? 

This thought process sets you up for unnecessary frustration and disappointment.

  • It does not work like this: have talent -> play a ton -> get better.

  • Playing for years does not necessarily guarantee success. I have seen literally hundreds of students who have played for decades lingering on a plateau that enables them to play songs in a band. But they are unsatisfied with their performance and just playing more and more did not make things better, clarify how the bass worked nor improve their technique; nor their reading, music theory, improv nor timing. Not their groove. Nor their fills…

  • So if just playing more does not work, then it must mean there is something inherently wrong with them or they tell themselves: “I suck. I don’t have any talent”.

It breaks my heart to encounter glimpses of such heart-wrenching internal dialogues over and over.

Instead, I propose a different way:

I was incredibly lucky to have had the education I had had early on. It focused on the basics – technique, timing, knowing the instrument, theory, reading. 

All of these need targeted practice. Not a ton, just regular drills.

  • It does work like this: wherever you are -> practice short, focused bursts according to a systematic plan -> get better!

A good, solid program does the trick, maybe feedback from an experienced person here and there. A bit of patience.

Knowing modes, scales, arpeggios or what an eighth note is will – by itself – not make you sound any better on the bandstand. You need to know how this all connects. You need to have it under your fingers. As Victor Wooten says, Music is a language, and when learning a new word, it is only yours when you can use it in a sentence. Translated into music, this means, take that scale or interval or whatever it may be and create a groove with it over a chord progression. In all areas of the bass. From any string.

After a bit of this, you will feel at home on the fretboard.

And most importantly – you will know what a note or rhythm will sound like before you play it. That is knowing versus trial and error.

Imagine this:

Someone shows you a major scale from the root to the root an octave up somewhere on the bass. You keep playing exactly this until it feels like you got it. You now know one way of playing this scale in one position. Nice, but that’s just the start before things get really interesting.

Now imagine this:

you take that same scale, but now:

  • We play it from the lowest to the highest note in every area of the bass (there are six areas and five basic shapes that repeat over and over, it is a neat system).
  • We do this with the same fingering each time (yes there are best fingerings for this).
  • Then we do it in all keys.
  • We change certain notes and watch what happens.
  • Let’s improvise with it playing a bar of groove and a bar of fill.
  • We break it down in targeted interval studies.
  • How about a bit of arpeggiating over changes using this scale?
  • Today some technical drills like virtuoso sounding pedaling.
  • We use this over a song in ever bar, just to practice it (and the song, too, while we are at it!)

Do just a little bit of  that for a few weeks. Not all of it every day. A few minutes with focus every day, according to a well thought out program…


It is beginning to make sense. It is beginning to feel familiar. All of this stuff will now start to come out in your playing when you jam with your buddies. Or when you search for a cool fill for your bass line. Or when someone yells “bass solo”!

I have never not seen this work! You do the exercises -> you get results!

Possible Obstacles:

There are a few obstacles that may sometimes (not always!) raise their heads. If you expect them they are easy to nib in the bud. They are:


A good program will keep things varied, applicable, and moving. Music is vast and big and after all we are sleuthing out who we are as musicians, discover our own musical voice by building our tool kit. If you bore yourself as you do that, take responsibility! Adapt the program to your style of music. But don’t skimp on mastering all the basics.


I get it, it is scary. We are afraid to fail, old voices may become awake in our heads and we have doubts. It’s cool. And part of the journey. Also, it’s normal, most of us have judgmental negative voices inside. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep going. If you are very hard on yourself, get a sensible and encouraging teacher who is on your side. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t… Yes. That! 

Also beware of negativity coming from the outside. Learn to distinguish between good feedback, which can contain critique, and somebody just trashing what you do.

Here is a simple remedy: instead of looking at your immediate outcome (knowing a song or playing a passage at a certain tempo, for example), focus on the fact that you set out to practice a certain amount of time and you did it. Warrants a pat on the back. Do it. It creates a positive feedback loop! 


When it comes to music, every single one of us has their own pace of learning. It depends on our back ground and preferences.
For some, rhythm is easy, but technique is hard.
For others, hearing notes is easy, but theory is a mystery.
And then yet others, reading music is a piece of pie, but improvising seems impossible.

It is all good. Wherever you are in your journey, there you are. First figure out where you are. Then know where you want to go. Get a map and plan a route – no need to get this perfectly right. You will keep adjusting and refining. Be on the path. Don’t lose too much time looking left or right, which means comparing yourself to others or looking for the perfect method rather than getting the most out of your current one. All that matters is that you sense you are moving forward. So give yourself some credit and make it a practice to feel good about being on the path!

Unrealistic Expectations

Okay, so it will take a bit of practice, time, and dedication. Nothing outrageous, say, 45 minutes five times a week practiced in the way I am talking about here; this will get you consistent progress. If you got more time, go for it, sure. The important bit is to trust the process!

  • Imagine this: you plant a seed into the ground and dig it up every few hours to look if it has sprouted yet. What happens? No sprouting and you’ll eventually kill the plant to be.
  • Instead: plant it, give it water, sunshine, patience… trust nature and behold the miracle of life.

While you are in the learning process, you might not see the big progress you are making quite yet. Record yourself, make a video. I find it really motivating to look at “before” and “afters” after a few months!


  • What if there is a better program out there?
  • If I studied Jazz, then I could really impress everyone!
  • What is a triple tritone backwards flip? (Surely I need that right now).
  • This program over there is on sale, I better grab that before it ends.
  • This thing promises to play bebop tonight, I better not miss out.
  • This guy over there plays with a flying thumb/does triple flips with a pick/solos with their teeth, I need that right now!
  • Or, my “favorite”: Where is that magic sauce that makes it all easy? It’s gotta be out there somewhere!

This sort of thinking can keep you trapped a lifetime. Stop. Break out of it. Decide on a program or regimen, stick to it for three or four months, then evaluate. (Yes, I offer programs, but that is not what this post is about.) In those four months, give whatever method you decide on YOUR ALL. Then evaluate and tweak.

And yes, the magic sauce you are looking for exists:

  • it is called practicing.
  • Step-by-step.
  • Comprehensive.
  • Systematic.
  • Focused.
  • Short frequent bursts.
  • => Results!

To summarize

Myths to bust:

  •  “Just playing” will make you better with time.
  • If you don’t get better by “just playing more” this means you don’t have talent.


  • Talent is overrated. Consistency and short focused practice sessions are underrated. Change your routine and win.
  • Quantity of practice is overrated, quality is underrated. Change how you practice and succeed.

Wish you a great bass adventure!


PS: If you are interested, I have created my 20 unit Music Theory course with all the above in mind. Find info on it here. 

Music THeory for the Bass Player The Course

Why Intervals? Do I really need to learn them?

Why Intervals? Music Theory for the Bass Player

Why do you place so much emphasis on learning the intervals, Ari?

Hi Ari, I have your book and you spend quite a bit of time on intervals. I have been playing songs for years and have a pretty good ear. Why do you think I need to learn them? What role do intervals have in the learning process?

Great question, M! Here is my answer:

The role of intervals in the learning process is that they are:

1 – A shape (you can move shapes around all over the fretboard if you know how. All of a sudden, the fretboard makes sense!)

2 – A sound (you know what stuff will sound like, what effect it has… for example: a minor third laid over a dominant-7 chord sounds bluesy.)

3 – A function and sound in a chord progression (A musician may call out the changes to you, “hey, it’s just a 1 – 6 – 2 – 5” – these are scale degrees, which means knowing the intervals in scales to figure this out.)

4 – Material to create grooves from when you see a chord progression like C Am Dm G (that’s that 1 – 6 – 2 – 5 again, here in the key of C!), then you know the intervals that make up these chords, you quickly know notes that will sound good and you will know how the notes you chose sound.

5 – The smallest practical building blocks in our tonal system (unless you play fretless or upright, just kidding 😉 ) and a way to categorize, name and communicate sounds, ideas etc.

6 – Greatly facilitates reading music. If you know your intervals on the fretboard and internally (what they sound like), translating the dots on the written page to shapes on the bass (=reading music) becomes so much easier!

7 – Also:  

Anything remotely advanced in music or music theory will use intervals for communication: scales, chords, melodies, chord progressions, counterpoint… All made up of intervals. If you do not understand intervals at the very base, everything else will be too hard. Frustrating. And it will not make sense. 

8 – To really understand intervals and understand them on the bass, you need to use them. Best creatively. Best by jamming.

It’s great that you already have a good ear for the bass. To leap further ahead, connect what you hear to shapes and names. This will make communicating music much more effective – both from your mind to your bass and from you to your fellow musicians.

Do those note-finder exercises incorporating intervals (The “Creative Notefinders” in the Course). Make what you are doing there conscious,. For example, major second up. Minor third down. All over the fretboard! Do them over and over until not only the note-finder note of the week, but also the interval(s) we practice with it become second nature. It is super fun!

(That’s why in the course we usually have a major and a minor track for this each unit.

Being comprehensive, we go through all 21 notes!

A lot of methods and books glance over that practicing bit – especially classical music theory books (plus, they are typically not directed at bassists). A lot of books say: “Here, this is a third. Got it? “ And leave it at that. This misses an immensely important step – to actually practice it, hear it, use it, so you understand it! In all areas of the bass. On every string!

9 – Song learning and memorizationIf you can identify and name intervals and all that is built from intervals (chords, keys, melodies etc) then you will start learning in chunks: Oh the first bar is just arpeggiating a C major triad, and then it goes to the five chord (this could be Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da by the way). You will also start hearing those patterns. 

10 – I could keep going. But I struggle with the fact that some of this cannot be explained until you have actually done it. Understood it. Heard it. Once you listen to a random piece of music and go: Aha, the bass player is playing a first inversion chord. He is starting on the third in the bass. Ah, that’s that gospel progression again, where you go to the “3 over one”. Got it. 

The freedom of being able to identify, use, communicate and creatively apply this knowledge all over the fretboard, no matter where you are, means playing with more freedom. And it all started with intervals 😉

My book, Music Theory for the Bass Player shows you

  • each interval on the fretboard with diagrams
  • and best fingerings,
  • features a groove example using this interval and
  • tells you what happens if you keep repeating the interval over and over (this is very educational)
  • and tackle inversions, compound intervals, extensions and alterations.

In our course, Music Theory for the Bass Player, we tackle an interval a unit and use intervals for

  • creative note-finding exercises,
  • groove creations and
  • other assignments throughout the course,

building systematically, one after the other.

 Learn your intervals, step by step. Hey, there are just twelve of them! You got this!

Music THeory for the Bass Player The Course

21 Guns by Green Day – What key?

21 guns

Excellent question – 21 Guns by Green Day – is it in D minor or F major? And how to tell?

After all, both scales share the same notes:

  • F G A Bb C D E F. F major.
  • D E F G A Bb C D. D minor. Same notes, just started on a different root.

Why is that?

D is the relative minor of F major. D is the Aeolian mode. D is the sixth mode. Whatever you wanna call it, the two go together and F will be on the outside rim of the cycle of fifths sporting one flat, and D minor will be right below it (typically inside the circle).

I think one of the most important skills as an informed band mate you can possess is to know the correct key of a song.

Especially when you work with singers, that comes in really handy!

This article gives you a great summary on how to find the key of a song. Hint: it is usually not the first chord, but rather the last! It lists simple guidelines and rules and all exceptions I could think of. I like complex stuff put in simple and memorizable terms, so check it out if you haven’t read it before. I think this stuff is must-know for a bass player! After all, we deal with roots all the time!

Now this 21 Guns song a Quoran is asking about exemplifies an ambiguous key center. I make a case for what I think it is – what do you think?

If you check it out, you also get rewarded with a hilarious video by an Australian comedy band, talking about four note chords. Incidentally, 21 Guns is exactly one of those. Just in a different order, hehe.

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Read Ariane Cap’s answer to How do you know when a scale is in a major or it’s relative minor, when the notes are same? Is 21 Guns in F major or D minor? on Quora

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