Students, Readers and Course Participants
I was going to send Ari a letter telling her how much I am enjoying these critically thought out, incredible lessons!
This from an old guy who has been playing bass in every genre and setting you can imagine, albeit badly, for decades. I even played in a couple of symphony orchestras for 10 years, fairly recently. The course is absolutely amazing! Right now I’m playing in a Jazz Trio, two worship groups, and a new band that is really taking off, as in a recording session in the Spring, followed, by a mini tour. I need to be up to it by Spring! I’m absolutely convinced that these lessons will get me there! Never seen anything so productive, and I’ve probably used almost all of them.
J D Moore (email to Ari’s assistant, used with permission)
Hey Ariane. I want to thank you for a reply to someone else a while ago concerning problems with his fretting hand. Specifically, you suggested feeling the weight of his plucking hand forearm on the bass, causing the bass to rotate slightly, pressing the fingerboard into the fingers of the fretting hand. You added that he should be able to play without any pressure from his thumb that way. I’ve been having pain between the base of my left (fretting) thumb and wrist. Had it checked out, and I have stage 4 arthritis, requiring surgery.
I’ve been using your suggestion, and it’s helped immensely. Have two gigs left – one today and one next Friday. I’ll be able to get through them thanks to your advice. So, God bless you! Keep up the great work!
Rick Kline, Ithaca, NY (via Messenger, used with permission)
I wanted to send you a thank you and say your course really does work.
Your teaching is so good, so understandable. Your materials are so useful and allow students to go back to it over and over again. It’s amazing how much I have received and learned for such a small investment.
From PORA to tiny habits that you add in as just part of what you do and how you do it, it’s amazing and so effective.
I just really wanted to say thanks. Regarding your Music Theory Wall Chart … I find more new things every time I look at it. It’s an incredible wealth of information.
Kevin G., Arizona (personal email, used with permission)
Your book and videos MTBP are excellent and and have caused my understanding and playing skills to truly advance!
Thanks for such a well thought out progression of learning.
Rick (personal email, used with permission)
My highest compliments to you. Been playing about six years trying to learn by multiple methods. Developed as a bassist more in the past five weeks in your course than the past couple years with other stuff.
Matthew (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
I wanted to tell you that I really love your book and course. I’m 40 years old and have been playing on and off since I was 15, but it never clicked for me. Your course and book have totally changed that. Things I could never visualize or fully understand are really starting to come together. Now if I could just find more time in the day or rewind the clock about 20 years, lol.
Again, thank you so much and I will let you know how my new practice routine works.
Chris B (personal email, used with permission)
Thank you for the reply! You are so good and so nice with us “students”. I LOVE your course! It keeps me thinking and engaged and helps me to understand music theory better by answering the “why”.
As I study and work with other bass song tabs, I see examples of all of the topics we’ve covered so far in the course. I does help me to understand why the musician played a particular groove the way they did, etc.
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)
Hi Ariane—— just wanted to send along my thoughts about your pentatonic video course. I think it’s excellent. You really opened my ears and my eyes.
Isn’t it funny how some teachers—–like you——–can make things simple——while others can make the same things complicated? There’s an old saying that a good teacher can show you the right way in 5 minutes or an hour, that would take years on your own.
I don’t have formal musical training, but I have been playing most of my life, and learning all the time.
Paul Brooke, Canada (from an email, used with permission)
… Tonight I started with styles labs – unit 13 reggae, man I loved the jam track could not stop, triads inversions double, triple tempo breaks…everything flowed low on the neck high on the neck I was all over the place. Even tried walking bass on top of it, that was real fun.
T.K. (from a personal email, used with permission)
I’ve read a lot of books about how to play the bass, and I’ve read lots of books about music theory, but this was the first book I’ve read that covers music theory from the perspective of a bass player. Ariane teaches you to be a musician fist, and a bass player second, which is how it should be. The book is appropriate for all levels, even the absolute beginner with no prior musical experience. Experienced bassists will learn new ways to understand how music works, and how the bass fits in with the rest of the band.
Dan Callaway, Bassist
Your book, seems to cover all learning styles. The other books I have, start out by associating notes on the staff and not associating ‘music’ to the whole process. Your notefinder showed me how much I don’t ‘know’…
Your Chapter 12 is pretty amazing. It’s almost as if that section could be a book on its own, simply because of the usefulness of the information. It’s like you’re dragging people onto the right path. I would make that section required reading for any bass player. The PORA concept could be adapted to life itself. I used it to train hockey goalies, but I didn’t know it. All we knew was 300 purposeful repetitions created habit, and 1500 created instinct.
Hilliard Scott, Bassist (via email, used with permission)
For several years I watched bass players using the one-finger-per-fret playing style and shook my head in frustration. No matter how I tried to span the four frets, especially down toward the nut, I just could not get my fingers to do it. I concluded that either my hands were too small (they’re not) or that they just were somehow too tight to stretch. I’ve played bass since I was 15 (which was a very long time ago) but in the last couple of years, I’ve been doing some more challenging work, so in April of 2016, I began to study with Ariane Cap with the goal of reworking my core technique. We’ve covered a whole lot of different areas, but the thing that amazes me most now is looking in a mirror and seeing my left hand comfortably spanning the first four frets on the bass and doing it in a natural way. Ariane not only knows the instrument completely, but understands deeply the anatomy, physiology and psychology of the playing process. Most importantly, she has the ability to explain and teach it in an accessible way. Her instruction is uncompromising but always easygoing and encouraging. I’m very happy with the results.
Eric Steinberg, Phoenix, AZ, Bassist (from an email, used with permission)
I’m amazed at how theory gives ‘meaning’ to the music I’ve been playing all my life. I sat down the other day and started playing a song I haven’t played in 20 years (Skin Tight, by the Ohio Players).
When I got to the bridge, which I’ve always had trouble remembering, I looked down at the fretboard and the path lit up for me and led me to the notes to play: C triad, G triad, Chromatic from F to D, D root with a 10th on top. I heard it, saw it, felt it, anticipated it…cool beans!
I giggled like a little school girl!
H. S., Bassist (personal email, used with permission)
I wanted to touch base and let you know that I took your advice and started working for 10 minutes on mindful practice. It is working out much better than anticipated and is usually stretched to about 30 min (depending on the sleeping baby of course haha). While it’s obviously a slower way to go through the material I find that it “sticks” better and I am able to better recall the scales, changes, practice items when going to back to them.
Thanks for the great advice!
Chris B (personal email, used with permission)
… By the way… Thank you very much for making me a better bassist! 🙂
I’m entering week 19 – Maj and Min Pentatonic – and I am very excited about it as I have been over the entire course so far.
And yes, you can definitely use my sentence as well as my name. Anything that encourages people to take this amazing course. Go for it! 🙂
Fagner Serrano (personal email, used with permission)
This course is great! I’ll keep at it… I’m laughing to myself at how hard it is to keep up with you, I get a lot of value, going back over the bass Lab stuff… Livin The Dream, glad I signed up..
Datrucks (personal email, used with permission)
i bought the book , subscibed to the course and practiced fanatically , and guess what work and all other things start to get in the way. However following your videos and book etc I started to listen differently to music – now I understand why I like some music already for a long time (am 58, so the catalog in my head is substantial). So, your method opened a new universe for me. So I practice when I can, since that is sometimes hard I have decided to enable myself to be able to practice when I can.
Then your video in unit 20 showed me that parallel to the course I can start to dissect , analyze and try to master musical pieces…..Weather Report’s “A remark you made” took a long time but gave me a lot of insight, suddenly “Money” by Pink Floyd took me two hours to master…
For me ( am a CEO, PhD whatever ) I embarked on a whole new never ending journey outside my box, this is so great! Thank you for that!! Looking forward to new stuff as you mentioned.
And on top of this what is so great you can always go back to certain pieces in the course to further fine tune skills, get ideas etc.
Keep up the good work !
Personal email from a course participant, used with permission.
I wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying our lessons. I feel like I’m progressing with my understanding of music and how it relates to the Bass guitar. I look forward to practicing and am developing a more purposeful approach to practice. It seems like I am having breakthroughs every time I sit down with the instrument.
My big project right now is shedding the G Patterns #1, 2 & 3. Learning the notes,chords, inversions,identifying the major and minor chords in those patterns,then trying to apply the patterns to the Cycle of 5ths.
So much more, but I’m getting long winded, and don’t want to take up to much of your time.
Jesse Perez, Skype Student (via email, used with permission)
One of my issues as a bass player who has just entered into what I consider the intermediate skill level is that I feel like that I have all these boxes of information floating around in my head, but that they are not connected and I find myself floundering. Ariane’s approach seems to be quickly addressing that issue for me. I think her approach to Theory is masterful and that it allows students to make actual progress that gets them to a place where they know their fretboards and the basics well so that when they tackle the more theoretical aspects of music, they have the foundation and the muscle memory to incorporate this new information. I know I am not explaining that well, but I assure you that I am firm believer in her approach.
I also like the structure of her lessons. She takes the time to find out where the student is in his or her journey, what their self-evaluation is, and then designs her instruction based on that assessment. Her assignments are specifically tailored to what the student needs to work on next. She provides a written follow-up assessment after each lesson that includes recognition of what the student did well in the previous lesson and a positive review of things the student needs to work on. This positive reinforcement makes it much easier for the student to tackle the next assignment. And, the evaluation includes a recap of what the student should work on for the next lesson.
I also particularly like Ariane’s recognition that, for many students, finding time to practice as much as they would like is difficult, and she will happily turn a lesson slot into a practice slot with her if that is what is needed. Many instructors would simply be mad that the student had not practiced. Very practical and it makes it less daunting to connect with her for a lesson if you are not as prepared as you would like.
All of my rambling is just to say that it is obvious that she is passionate about teaching and in making students successful.
And, as I’m sure you know, her book is wonderful! I just ordered a second copy so I can cut up my original to put in a three-ring binder so that it will lie flat. Great, great book! I am certainly okay with you forwarding my email on to Ariane. I am very pleased with her association with your company!
Dave Dickens, Skype Student (in an email to Roland Trimmel of Liquid Notes)
23 years on bass, never really studied, just winged it and figured out to best of my ability. I recently ordered your book and am several lessons in, and I just wanted to say thanks. You do a good job of breaking things down! Excited to learn and understand why I have naturally figured out how to play the way I do, and expand on that exponentially with what you are teaching. I also enjoy your blog. With my limited exposure these days to the music world (kids), it’s nice getting some fresh ideas and concepts. Keep up the good work.
Pat, Bassist (from an email, used with permission)
Academia, Teachers, Colleagues
I’m very impressed with the work you’ve done. It’s refreshingly different, thorough and well organized – and the videos are a huge plus. I have no doubt you’ll have great success with it! I know I will certainly recommend it to students looking for help with music theory and harmony or just to improve or correct their bass technique.
Tim Landers (LA College of Music, Dave Grusin, Vinnie Colaiuta, TV, movies, advertising)
If you are serious about exploring the bass guitar while making the best use of your precious time, this book will be an essential asset to your creative journey. Ariane has accomplished nothing less than a flawless road map from the microcosm of basic building blocks to the macrocosm of advanced comprehension. The book’s holistic methodology skillfully combines the unavoidable facts of music with an elegant psychological approach to the art of learning itself. Music Theory for the Bassist will take you right to the edge of your nest from where you can jump into the unknown with a powerful set of wings to fly by.
Kai Eckhardt (Kaizone Teaching, Garaj Mahal, Billy Cobham, John McLaughlin)
Music Theory for the Bass Player by Ariane Cap is a thorough and practical study of bass guitar that I’ve found to be very useful. I really like the way it is laid out. Starting with the basic knowledge of how music works, chapters on intervals, chords and modes, then a wonderful chapter on technique basics. I found the sections on using the Principles of Rotating Attention or “PORA” and the Ergonomics and Health enlightening. This a great work by a wonderful musician. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for new and healthy ways to approach the bass.
Derek Jones (Bassist for Cirque du Soleil’s production of KA)
Bass players rejoice! Music Theory for the Bass Player presents music theory as it matters: to improve your playing and your hearing. And all from the perspective of the bass player. Ariane Cap has put together a challenging book that will reward you with more confident and capable playing and improvising with a solid knowledge of what you are doing and why. In fact it is just as much about fingering as it is about theory, and Ms. Cap explains how fingering patterns relate to theory concepts and how these work together to strengthen your ear, so you know the sound before you play it. This is how theory should be taught: to improve your playing.
This is a book that could only be written by a top-notch bassist with a deep understanding of educational principles. Information is presented in easily digestible chunks that are illustrated in several ways including the fretboard. Each concept should be fully understood before continuing, and this is reinforced by a brilliant set of exercises at the end of each section. DO NOT SKIP THE EXERCISES! To do so would be to miss the whole point of the book: for you to get each concept into your head, your fingers, and your ears.
Dr. Dave Walker (writer, educator, multi-instrumentalist, researcher)
I met Ariane a few years back and since our meeting I’ve only used her for all my bass tracks. Her inventive style, expertise, and time are exceptional. I suggest that everyone look at her book and listen to her playing. She underscores the true meaning of ‘foundation with style and groove’.
Keith Olsen, Multi Grammy award-winning Producer (Journey, Foreigner)
I am a multi-platinum Grammy award winning music producer. I am also a Vallejo bassist who needed a refresher. I’m now blessed to know, and be a student of the amazing Ariane Cap. In my (25+ year) career in music I’ve worked with the best there is, and I must tell you that Ariane is of the “best” I’ve seen…
James Jae-e Earley, Grammy Award-Winning Producer (MC Hammer)
HOW TO BECOME A BETTER BASSIST
1. Remember the name Ariane Cap.
2. Buy her Truefire course “Pentatonic Playground for Bass.”
3. Work through the course.
If you have any objection that this is “just the pentatonic scale” remember that this is the basis of many of the greatest players’ style, including John Entwhistle. Ariane Cap gives you the solid foundation to be able to step outside the scale when you need to, or just want to, and how to get back into it seamlessly.
You will have to work, but this is truly a course where the more effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it. You will learn more about the Pentatonic Scale than you thought there could be to know about any scale, never mind a 5-note one. But that’s just the start, so don’t take the title too literally. If you play along with Ms. Cap you will also learn every note on the neck of the bass, as well as the step of each note in the current scale. This is a theory course in which you always have your bass in your hands and your ears open. Soon you will find yourself hearing the next note before you play it, an amazing experience if you don’t already have perfect pitch; some of you may find that you do.
Dr. Dave W. (writer, educator, multi-instrumentalist, researcher)
Ariane Cap has given us a remarkably comprehensive and accessible work suitable for bassists and all musicians who play with bassists. In chapter 13, entitled “Technique Basics” she begins by stating: “Be mindful that learning proper technique is as much about the mechanics of the body and bass as it is about building consciousness of what you do and how you do it.” From my medical and musical viewpoint, it is a marvelous rarity when a master musician simultaneously addresses ergonomics, instrumental mechanics, and the substance of creating beautiful musical lines. Ariane has succeeded mightily.
Robert E. Markison, MD
Hand Surgeon, Musician
Clinical Professor of Surgery, UCSF School of Medicine
Co-founder, UCSF Health Program for Performing Artists
Ariane Cap is the REAL DEAL. A real player, a real teacher, and a real person. For many years she has been an integral part of our camps (as well as other camps) and offers a unique perspective on many things. Oh, did I mention that she can PLAY???!!!
Steve Bailey (6-string bass pioneer, Head of Berkelee’s Bass Department)
I have been enjoying hearing Ariane play for a few years now. Her monstrous groove grabbed my attention the first time I heard her.
Victor L. Wooten, 2010
The Music Shelf
Synopsis: “Music Theory for the Bass Player” by Ariane Cap (bassist, pianist, educator, author, blogger, writer and composer) is a comprehensive and immediately applicable guide to making even the most novice of musicians into a well-grounded groover, informed bandmate and all-around more creative musician. Included with “Music Theory for the Bass Player” are 89 videos available via scanning the QR code on the cover or by visiting the author’s blog.
“Music Theory for the Bass Player” is specifically designed for anyone who has always wanted to learn music theory but felt it was too overwhelming a task. Starting with intervals as music’s basic building blocks, bass playing students will explore scales and their modes, chords and the basics of harmony.
Packed with fretboard diagrams, musical examples and exercises, “Music Theory for the Bass Player” features vital information enhanced with mind-bending quizzes, effective mnemonics, and compelling learning approaches.
Extensive and detailed photo demonstrations show why relaxed posture and optimized fingering are vital for good tone, timing and chops. Aspiring bass players can even work their way through “Music Theory for the Bass Player” without being able to read music. Reading then becomes much easier once theory is mastered and learning theory on the fretboard using diagrams and patterns as illustrations, music theory is very accessible, immediately usable and fun.
Critique: Thoroughly ‘user friendly’ in organization and presentation, ‘Music Theory for the Bass Player” is very highly recommended as the definitive resource for the aspiring bassist and a core addition for personal, school music department, community, and academic library music instructional curriculum Music Theory resources collections in general, and bass player supplemental studies lists in particular!
Midwest Book Review, May 2017