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!
Hilliard Scott, Bassist (from an email, 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)
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)
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 (Garaj Mahal, Billy Cobham, John McLaughlin)
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 (Dave Grusin, Vinnie Colaiuta, TV, movies, advertising)
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)
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)
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
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???!!!
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