Now New – ASK ARI LIVE – monthly check-ins with Ari and Wolf, the course creators. You can ask questions, show off your skills, talk to other participants and more.
Get a Solid Technique and Music Theory Foundation
Play Bass With More Confidence and Bring Your Music to Life.
20 Units of Step by Step Guidance to Give You The Freedom to Create Your Own Bass Lines, Integrate Theory, and Perform Closer to The Level You Crave
My name is Ariane Cap, I have played bass for over 27 years and have been teaching for 20 years.
I have been teaching online for four years, including regular features on Scott’s Bass Lessons, NoTreble, TrueFire and the International Society of Bassists. My book, Music Theory for the Bass Player has sold thousands of copies and is a frequent Amazon #1 Best Seller in the Bass Guitar Songbooks Category.
I love what I do because it combines my two biggest passions: bass and learning/teaching. Ever since I was in high school I was tutoring others in various subjects and I have always been fascinated by the learning process – how it is different for everyone, yet how there are so many parallels and commonalities when learning an instrument;
I did not realize for years how incredibly lucky I personally was because I had an excellent teacher very early on. He stressed systematic, comprehensive and step by step training, and opened my eyes to the importance of believing in oneself. And because I had been classically trained I understood the importance of good technique, theory, and fingering. With these ingredients in place, I received a very strong foundation.
I believe a solid foundation like this is accessible to anyone with the right plan and some discipline, yet I kept hearing the same challenges from aspiring bassists over and over:
People felt like they were failing because:
They were self-taught and had never experienced the incredible power of a step-by-step, comprehensive learning system, so they just had no idea what’s possible.
Often, they attributed their failures to a “lack of talent” – thereby completely missing what a systematic, well laid out plan can help you achieve.
They were holding themselves back fearing they were too old, or that it was somehow too late for them because learning in their mind meant hours and hours of repetitive practice.
They were trying to learn but were simply overwhelmed.
They either kept practicing what they already knew or were biting off way more than they could chew thereby hindering their progress and frustrating themselves endlessly.
Easily distracted, they were constantly looking for a magic bullet or the ultimate shortcut.
I created Music Theory for the Bass Player – The Course to address these concerns. If there is a magic bullet or an ultimate shortcut then it is to follow a well laid out comprehensive, step by step program. One that keeps it musical, interesting and motivating, while addressing technique, theory, and bass line construction. One that guides you every step of the way, and one that can achieve results with regular practice in doable chunks of time. Read on for more details.
“Just wanted to let everyone considering taking your 20 week bass course that it is one of the best educational investments I have ever made. The weekly classes are loads of fun with plenty of variety and obtainable challenges. Being able to re-watch videos helps me keep myself in check. I can see and hear my technique and confidence growing.”
Best, Mike (course comment)
“I first ran across your videos on no treble and I was particularly drawn to the fact that your lessons are grounded in theory and, just as importantly, you address the specific mechanical approach to the instrument with regard to technique. It took me years to realize that my brain would prefer to coordinate the same finger on each hand at the same time causing a mental glitch when it conflicted with the actual music being attempted. I truly appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time to address these type of issues, something that’s been done with upright bassists for years. Money well spent!”
Chris N, August 2016
In this 20 unit online course we help you every step of the way! We will personally guide you through every aspect of these pages and far beyond.
I co-created this course with my own teacher and mentor, Wolf Wein.
We have now added “Ask Ari featuring Wolf” sessions because I realized how important personal interaction is when learning. Additional motivation, information, and interaction make all the difference! In these sessions, it is all about you! Join us – Ask Ari sessions are included in the course and they happen every first Sunday of the month at noon Pacific!
The value of this course is simply amazing to me. We get a ton of knowledge and the benefit of your teaching expertise as well as answers to questions we have. It is just fabulous.
Kevin G, personal email, used with permission
With much satisfaction and personal gratification, I’m happy to say that a few weeks ago I completed my first pass through all of the material included in Music Theory for the Bass Player, The Course! and am amazed, shocked, stunned at the amount that I learned. The course in combination with your book Music Theory for the Bass Player is an excellent value. They offer an enormous amount of information for the dedicated student. I figure that I probably realistically only retained about 10% of the material, but 10% of enormous is still a lot, especially considering that I commenced the endeavor at the nadir of musical knowledge. Thanks for producing such an exceptional product.
CH, personal email, used with permission
This is what you get:
Weekly emails for 20 weeks with targeted reading and video watching assignments, with all the links in one place!
Additional exercises in videos and PDFs that are not available in the book: creative applications, applications, applications! They will help you get the theory shapes under your fingers while having fun in the process.
Access to additional videos (as well as the free ones on the site)!
Guidance for great technique while covering the theory.
Awesome audio background tracks created by fellow bassist and composer Wolf Wein, to practice to!
Practice tips, and constant encouragement!
Live Q & A’s with me.
Best investment I ever made!
Barry P, August 2016
The price of this course is a bargain!
Ed T., November 2017
Each weekly unit is divided into the following sections:
This is where we set the tone and goals for the week, where you get your reading assignments from the book and other info.
Finger Kung Fu
Finger Kung Fu is all about technique. These practice regimens get your fingers in shape and get you prepared to face any foe like scales, tricky grooves, fills or solos! Usually three videos in this section to practice along with.
Let’s put theory into practice in this weekly video! The video(s) here help with fretboard fitness so we know our way around. We may be creating grooves using a theory concept as a starting point, improvise a new sound/shape we just learned, shed the note names in a musical context… Often we practice the new concepts all over the fretboard – let’s put theory into action!
Lab is all about creating your own bass lines with the theory material we have studied earlier. One exercise I call “Groove and Fill” in particular will help you put the theory materials to great creative use. My students get addicted to this exercise fast! Each week builds on the previous one and we will do this in lots of variations.
Whether it is a technical exercise put into a groove context or a theory concept practiced rhythmically, here you are getting a double bang for your practicing buck! In particular, a series I call “Creative Notefinder” takes us through all 21 notes (yes, 21, not a typo) in a way that helps us find the notes all over the fretboard while making use of new concepts we learned. Another favorite where students say it doesn’t feel like practicing at all, but jamming, rather! We switch it up each unit also by using different time signatures and adding progressively harder additional assignments rather than “just” finding the notes. In later units, Combo is all about various styles of grooves: we tackle pop, rock, reggae, funk, jazz and more.
Cool stuff, fun stuff, sample licks, fills, grooves… all that goes here!
The Outro section is much more than an outro. It contains tips to make your practice more effective, helpful insights from learning psychology and all the PDFs and sound files in a handy zip file, so you can download them in one click!
This is for you if…:
You want to crack the code of songs and free yourself from relying on TAB (often inaccurate) from the internet.
You want to liberate yourself from only hogging the roots and play with confidence and freedom over chord changes.
You are interested in improvising and crafting your own bass lines, grooves, fills, and solos.
You want to communicate effectively with your bandmates!
You want to gear up for jam sessions and gigs.
You want to enter the professional music scene, but have been fearful of what might be thrown at you.
You are attending music school or college and need help with your theory classes from a bass player’s perspective.
You have technique issues or habits that get in the way.
Above all, you want to learn music theory for the bass player!
This Course is not for you if…:
You are not interested in the additional material, practice techniques, tips on technique or fingerings and creative applications of music theory.
You are happy playing songs by rote and don’t desire to learn how to create your own lines and play more freely on the fretboard.
You are not willing to follow technique exercises that ask you to go slow, to take a step back, learn to relax with the instrument and incorporate breathing.
You are not interested in anything that involves visualization and mental training, and only want to play licks and songs, accepting compromises in technique and tone.
You are looking for a course on reading music or reading bass line transcriptions. (That is a different book/course).
You are looking for a course on slapping, tapping, pick playing, and other playing techniques (also a different course).
Motivated and enthusiastic beginners who have a minimum of playing experience (complete beginner crash course contained in the course)
Seasoned Players who want to improve their technique, plug a few music theory holes and understand the fretboard even better
Anyone in between
Anyone who is truly interested in improving their playing technique
“You’re the first Bassplayer/teacher/person I have come across that’s able to go “beyond” the technical, or to make “us” (certainly me) see that it’s not very complicated or very technical. Well maybe it is complicated and technical but somehow you are able to take away “the fear” and let people (again: certainly me) dive in, take the plunge. And on top of that you have the talent to make it fun!”
What you need:
Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work?
Once you are registered you will have instant access to the first unit of the course. You will get weekly emails with access to new content (“units) for twenty weeks (20 units). If you are on vacation at some point during the twenty weeks or hit a busy stretch, don’t worry, you have lifetime access to the material once it is unlocked. Most participants take their time with the material and spread it out over longer than a week.
So I get materials week after week. Why can’t I get access to all the material at once?
One of the reasons why I am putting the course together this way is because a lot of students asked for step by step guidance. It can be tempting to jump around and dip in here and dip in there; with this particular course I want to keep you focused on the next step and the task at hand. There will be basic and advanced versions of exercises and I promise it will be enough to keep you busy for the week. Once you have access, you can always go back to your favorite materials.
How much practice time do I need to reserve?
If you spend an hour every day with this material five times a week, you will see immense improvements. The guided practice sessions will be intensive and packed with engaging exercises and questions that make you think. Learning psychology tells us that we retain best what we apply. So this is all about applications, applications, applications. The material in this course can easily keep you busy for twice or three times that practice amount, too, but it is not necessary to do every single exercise in each unit perfectly before moving on. There are five areas of study (Technique, Theory, Bassline Lab, Combo Class, Hip Bits) in each unit and you can focus on two or three at first.
Is this only about music theory?
No, it goes way beyond music theory. Technique, fretboard knowledge, bass line creation, groove playing, rhythm, grooves, fills and solos… are all part of the package.
Do I need to buy the book?
Yes, we will use it heavily in the course. It is best if you already have it when you start. Amazon is a great source. If you prefer bookstores, have them order it via the Gardners catalogue. Contact us if you are unable to get the book where you are.
Do you offer an electronic version of the book?
Not at this time. The diagrams are quite a challenge to translate into an epub format.
Is this course only going through the book?
No. This course contains lots more information, exercises and concepts than the book. It refers heavily to it, but it goes way beyond it. Lots of additional material, videos and applications that can best be shown in videos. And, the core of it: the step by step approach, with each unit building upon the next, using the material in the book in more and more challenging contexts and applications.
Is it necessary I read music? Do you teach reading in this course?
No to both questions. I consider reading a vital skill for a bass player, one that is made much easier once you understand music theory. The exercises and practice suggestions are very different for a reading regimen rather than a music theory regimen. That’s a different book and a different course (coming 2017 sometime).
Is this suitable for complete beginners?
Yes, if you are motivated and enthusiastic. If you are just starting out you best pace yourself and go at a slower pace. A good rule of thumb is to allocate at least two weeks for each unit. I have included a beginner crash course as well and instructions as to how to proceed through the course if you are a novice.
I am an advanced player and just want to plug some music theory holes. Will I get value out of this?
Yes! Intermediate to advanced players who are looking to improve their theory and technique will find a treasure trove of useful exercises here.
I want to learn bass. Why do you include a picture of the piano keyboard in the first week of the course?
The piano keyboard visually lays out how notes relate to each other like no other instrument (okay, vibes, organs, etc., do too!). Many experienced musicians see the piano keys in their mind’s eye as they think about music theory concepts. The bass fretboard is also very visual (just not as neatly color coded!), and we will be using it to help us understand music theory as well. The piano is a great aide in that process.
My hero never studied music theory. Why should I?
Oftentimes when you ask experienced or self-taught musicians how they do what they do, you will get answers like: “It just feels right. I just play what I hear. It comes to me. I just see the notes in my mind’s eye.”
Me and my own teacher and partner Wolf Wein have been looking to understand for years what exactly that means and if and how it can be learned and taught. Several learning modalities (learning psychology, NLP, relaxation, breathing exercises and other) have given us great insight into that process, and we have incorporated what we have seen work with our students into this class. For you this means you will be asked to visualize notes on the fretboard, slow down at times, breathe, feel into your hands and fingers in a focused way and rethink habits of thinking as well as movement. Practicing in our view does not mean to mindlessly repeat something as much as possible. We believe understanding what we are doing as we play helps as does working with focus and attention.
Our experience teaching and playing has shown: playing in a relaxed way is the first step to achieve “it feels right” (hence all this focus on good technique). The next step comes from understanding sounds and shapes (which can be effectively targeted with music theory training).
Will I learn how to create my own bass lines?
Yes! Bass lines, licks, grooves and fills. And solos, if you want. This is really at the core of this course. And mighty fun, too 🙂
You have so many free videos online – how do they differ from the videos in the course?
The various freely available videos online are one concept, from beginning to end. The videos in the course build upon each other. We work through several topics together – technique, music theory, groove creation, creativity, mental learning. You will receive 6 to 9 new videos each week of varying lengths. Some are videos that demonstrate what to practice. In other videos I will be practicing together with you. Other videos explain a concept. It is not possible to be systematic and have a step-by-step approach in a single video. The course format, however, allows a logical sequence of teaching, covering all keys, covering technique systematically, building upon what is learned. In the course I can build upon previously shared knowledge and make concepts progressively more challenging. I can use terms knowing exactly what you are familiar with and what you are not familiar with. Since I am with you every step of the way there is no way you will not improve if you follow the instructions.
In a nutshell, the free videos do not allow the in-depth and systematic format that the course does. In the course I practice with you, start at (pretty much) zero and take you through music theory, technique and groove creation step-by-step. I love this format because it is comprehensive, and unlike the free videos, I am not talking to someone whose level I do not know. In the course I explain all terms, practice them with you etc, so I can build on that material.
How does this course differ from private lessons online or in person?
The private one-on-ones enable:
In depth evaluation of your playing and targeted recommendations for your specific goals
Teaching topics not in the course or book (such as the Pattern System, reading, some playing techniques such as tapping or slapping, the songs you want to learn, Ari’s Rhythm Matrix)
A targeted practice schedule put together for you