I am strictly an amateur at music. I’ve played since high school (16 years old). I’ve played mostly — off and on — and — mostly for my own enjoyment. I started with a guitar. I can’t read music and I don’t particularly have a ‘good ear’. I play the hard way — rote memory…
The electronic tuner was the best thing that ever happened to ‘my music’. I’ve always loved a great bass line and 2 years ago I decided to treat myself to a bass for my 60th birthday. As I had done with the guitar, I was buying books and charts and a different video that at least got me started but I learned more from watching a friend than I did with my ‘studies’ up to that time.
I was beginning to suspect the symmetry of the bass and was beginning to figure out a few things.. then I stumbled across your ad on the internet. Something about making “bass theory fun” caught my attention.. I haven’t been disappointed.
By golly, the bass is symmetrical and your explanations and demonstrations of the “patterns” has really made my amateur thumping enjoyable. A different course I bought ‘told me’ I was always within 3 frets of ‘something that will work’…? Your easy explanations and diagrams ‘showed me’ what that was about..
Before your course I was a strictly a 1-5, 1-5, 1-5 player 1-5-5, 1-5-5 for margaritaville WOW. After spending just a short time with your material, I had some friends over for a little jam and the harmonica player hit a blues groove I was able to join it and even faked a pretty good solo – amazing!
I would recommend your course to anyone that wanted to discover just how much fun the bass can be.
Hi Jonathan,A quick note to let you know I have greatly learned from and enjoyed the video. It is very well delivered, simple and yet so fundamental to getting a greater understanding of music theory in relation to the bass. I am so much the better for it and have no problem with you using my endorsement of it. As you say, I aim to go through it 4 times before the end of the month to ensure these basic principles really sink in and become an integral part of my bass playing. I have no doubt I will be referring to it a lot in the future as well. Many thanks.
By the way, I also think pricing wise, the video represents excellent value!
I found myself a whole new world after going through Decoding the Bass program. What really tied it together was playing a five string bass. Played four string for… let’s say forty some odd years. The five took a while to “get it.”
Then the whole neck opened up. Loved the relative minor concept. I like to swing in and out of the relative minor just the for the new sound. Granted I’m breezing though not spending a lot of time there.
I do recommend this course highly.
Even after years of playing bass guitar, and it doesn’t matter if that means 3 or 36 years or whatever, it’s always a good idea to go back to the starting point in theoretics of bass playing, chords, scales and harmonics..The Big Pro of your video: it’s “take a seat, have a drink, watch and listen.. ”And the big thing is: It forces you to rethink, reconsider, the way you played until now.There is always a moment you get that “ooh yeaah…”-thought about things you already knew, but forgot during the years.. I bet that everyone who watches the video at a certain point will grab his bass to try something he just saw. And it is great to look and listen to a teacher who hasn’t that “wise guy” attitude. 🙂
Your CD was very informative about the bass fretboard, basic music structure and basic scales. I usually play by ear, I can’t read music, but like to get whatever information about music theory which applies to any instrument and with this CD it gives me an idea of what I’m actually doing when I play the bass and how to apply song patterns more effectively with a bass. My profession was with communications. My instrument is the Ukulele and played for 55 years non-professional. I always admired a bass player and am now trying to learn how to play it.
You did an excellent job illustrating with one song, but would be great to have a couple more examples for country, latin, etc. I would recommend any beginning bass player to get your CD. In fact, the CD I purchased was a Christmas gift for a friend who wants to learn how to play a bass.
Keep up the good work with your CD’s, looking forward for more.
I am really a guitar player but, because I also have dabbled in bass playing and have the gear, guitar and amp, I get asked to play bass more often than guitar! Your course has enabled me to play bass with more confidence and variation and this has been backed up by comments from listeners too. Thanks!
The bass lessons were very helpful in the way they also improved my 6 string playing. The mastery of bass is in chord arpeggios. Now I don’t just play chords on the 6 string, I understand the notes in terms of 3rds, 5ths, 7ths, and root notes and how they fit in their scale.
Jonathan,Sure, the bass lesson was what I expected and more. The presentation of theory was good and the demonstrations were good as well. The encouragement to utilize the pentatonic scale rather than just the diatonic has proved to open up some more doors in the area of “what to play”.
I appreciate what you’re doing…keep it up! Oh, and feel free to display this if you want.
You have provided a comfortable and easy to digest method of spicing up root bass notes for me that has already attracted positive accolades from my fellow musicians and weekly listeners. Additionally, I am very appreciative of your emails that contain additional add-on tips. Thank you for presenting a different prospective on the bass fretboard and the confidence to real-time utilize this approach in every day play.
Hi Jonathan,I very much enjoyed, as well learned from, your Bass Lesson CD. In youth I played professionally at the concert level and now as a daily hobby. I play a 4 string fretless bass, and have been playing for 25 years. I was skeptical about purchasing the lesson, but was pleasantly surprised with the two hour content. For a beginner this is a “must have CD”, it really opens up the necessary knowledge to elevate your level of play. As an experienced player it brought me back to a solid foundation for building new runs and patterns. By following your recommendations, I’ve refurbished my skills and learned old pros can formulate new riffs.Thanks.
Hi Jonathan, the lesson certainly helped me heaps. I knew nothing about playing Bass before the lesson arrived. Since then I have now got an idea of what playing Bass is all about. The supporting videos are also a great help .e.g Playing chord notes, 1, 8 3 etc. Great stuff thank you so much!
The bass guitar course is excellent. I have also viewed the guitar DVDs which a local mate purchased – both are very very useful courses and excellent for someone like me who has never had a music lesson – ever. I learned to play by ear and use basic chords and bar chords, but my understanding ended there.
Things just get better with understanding and am now starting to improvise as I learn the patterns through the system you teach. I am due to re-review the bass guitar course to aid my learning and getting the theory to really sink in.
It is an excellent course!
I’ve finally had a chance to go through the entire video. Being self-taught, I really had no clue about what theory even was, let alone how to use it. This really opened my eyes & expanded my way of thinking about how to play. Thanks for putting out a great video. I’ll be sure to recommend it to a few bass buddies here in New Hampshire.
Ah, scales for dummies. Thanks. I needed that. (Really, REALLY, needed that.)
The bass DVD was great! I haven’t been playing bass steadily but was shown some things back in the late 70s. Mostly I just played a root note and an alternate, such as going from a G to a D and back, C/W style. I recognized a few notes on the fretboard but never really had the time to memorize them. I would have to re-invent the wheel each time I played, to use an old cliche.
Your DVD has allowed me to grasp a lot of what a bass guitar can do, and has made the fretboard my friend, instead of the puzzle it was. This was just after the first time through! After watching and taking notes I have improved drastically and I think my own style is finally starting to emerge.
I am a tutor at Boise State University, for the Student Success Program and the Veteran’s Upward Bound Program. I tutor in Math and English. I also have played acoustic 6 and 12 string guitars since the late 60s, but mainly rhythm; and I play bass guitar at church for our worship team. I’ve never tried lead, but even after a short time with your DVD I have begun to experiment and created a walking bass line for the Gospel song, Just a Closer Walk With Thee.
I still have yet to use the worksheets included in the DVD but am going to, as I feel they can only deepen my knowledge of the fretboard. Thank you for a great product, and keep up the good work.
Final got time to go through the video on “Decoding the Bass Guitar.” Really enjoyed it and found it very helpful, especially the section on 3rds, 5ths and compound intervals. Filled in some gaps in my bass knowledge. Glad I bought the DVD. Thanks again and keep the good stuff coming!
You might not remember me, but I bought your basic 1-4-5 lesson for guitar (I think it was) and then I bought the lesson on bass. I owe you a testimonial, so here goes.
The guitar video did exactly what I hoped it would. It gave me the basics on how to build chords and how that whole thing works. I must have watched that thing 50 times or more to make sure that I understood what you were teaching. Not that it was hard to understand or anything, on the contrary…I learned the basic concept only after watching the video once. It was all the other little nuances that I kept going back over the video to absorb. You packed a lot of information on that video.
Somewhere in our correspondence I mentioned that I was actually a wannabe bass player and you mentioned that you had a bass video. Well, I bought the video and I was not disappointed at all. I’ve been “foolin’ around” with the bass for over 30 years. I could learn songs and make them sound good…I even played in a few bands when I was younger, but there was always something missing. The combination of the two videos opened a whole new outlook for me.
I had actually not really played for about 20 years because it just wasn’t fun anymore. I can’t remember just when I bought the videos, but it can’t have been more than 8 or 9 months ago. I’m happy to say that I am now the bass player for my church. It started out a little rough. The drummer, guitarist, and keyboardist are all accomplished musicians and naturally they always got the attaboys and kudos after service. I just kept watching my videos and practicing. Yes, I got discouraged and actually shut it down for about 2 months, but I kept watching the videos and practicing. After 2 months of woodshedding with your videos, I came back and to make a long story short…I’m getting a few attaboys myself. It feels great when the other musicians tell me that they can see my growth. I also get a few compliments from the congregation and even the Pastor every now and then.
I know my testimonial is all over the place, but Jon I am so glad that I found your videos. Yes, I obviously worked hard (and I am still working hard) to get my chops together, but your videos truly “unlocked” the bass for me. Thanks man. God bless you.
Oh…by the way…I am a Deacon at my church and they have dubbed me “Deacon Boom Boom.”
I’m loving it!
I’m gonna start with my profile: I am a 22-year-old guy who got his first electric and acoustic guitar at around 18. I messed around with these instruments for a couple of years, not really knowing what to do with them. Friends around me learned their instruments by simply cramming in dozens of songs with tabs and guitarpro. It was an approach that didn’t make sense to me, as I felt like I didn’t understand what I was doing by just memorizing a song. I tried learning by studying music theory I found on a bunch of different websites. Some about dia/pentatonic scales. Some about notes. Some about 12 bar blues. It was interesting but I felt like I didn’t see the bigger picture. I saw pieces of theory but couldn’t see how they all connected. I still didn’t get any further. It was frustrating.
Not too long ago I got a bass. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it and it revamped my interest in guitars. I got in a band but yet again felt how I could learn a bass line, play it perfectly, but not GET what I was doing.
When ‘Decoding the bass guitar’ was on sale, I finally decided to make the jump and purchase the lesson. I am very happy with it.
The description promised me stuff I couldn’t get anywhere else. I wouldn’t say this promise holds up as I do recognize some stuff from my frustrating nights browsing guitar theory websites. What this lesson DID do for me however, was put it all together. It put it all in order so it made sense, and then got FAR further into making me understand what I could do with what I learned. I am very satisfied.
I already had better sessions jamming with my band. I am more confident and know more what to do. I’m not an ace musician yet but I see a lot better now where to go with my exercising. I have friends far better than me and I could teach them a thing or two about their instrument because of this lesson. That’s a nice feeling!
The video lesson has good quality. I am going to film school later this year and I could appreciate the efforts made for lightning/background/sound. It is a professional video.
After the lesson I continue to receive some small emails with extra useful information from Jonathan. I didn’t ask for these and they weren’t in the package. Yet I get them. This is an extra mile treatment I can really appreciate.
I’ll be giving the lesson some repeat viewings in the future and continue to use it to shape my guitar game!
Jonno Thanks for DVD on Decoding the Bass. You should ‘ve told me about your way of learning the bass 25 years ago. I learnt music and the piano as a pup, then taught myself guitar. Picked up bar cords and all I needed from what I knew about music. When a mob of us formed a band I then picked up the bass and learned as we went along for nearly 15 years. Watched other bass players and played what seemed to fit with the music knowledge I had.
Now you’re teaching me with patterns and numbers and it all fits. Almost the same as I learnt myself, but a lot easier and now I can understand more about minors and pentatonic scales and know what I’m actually playing. The only problem is I have more years behind me than what I have in front of me, but I still enjoy it.
Thanks cobber. You ever come down our way let me know and we’ll jam together. Keith.
I really did enjoy the lessons and I must say that the concept of how to play along with others musicians on the bass suddenly “clicked”. After watching the videos for the first time I can truly say that I feel “in command” of the fret board.
Sometimes I give free music lessons to people from my church, which is one the reasons why I’ve purchased your lessons in the first place so that as a teacher I can improve my knowledge and skill of the various instruments to in turn help my advancing students. I chose your lessons because the concept you use is how I taught myself to play various instruments, and what I use to teach others as well. I think it’s the simplest way! One young brother from my church when I showed him some of your patterns on bass he asked “Is that all there is to it?”
I truly believe that your material is what many people out there are searching for but instead are wasting their money on bass and guitar lessons that are useless.
There are a couple of things that I would like to point out. First of all I am 55 years old and have been a frustrated bass player for over thirty years but I absolutely love the instrument. I recently made a decision to take my music to another level and began practicing with another musician and I cannot tell you and your students how important playing with another musician is in developing your abilities at a tremendous rate. Now the bad news. This has led me to a quest for more musical knowledge and this is how I came to find your course. The smartest thing I did was to follow your advice and watch the video completely through a couple of times. The first time I was bored to tears and just wanted to go pick up my bass and play songs I love. Songs that I was comfortable with. But the reason I bought your video was not to stay in my comfort zone but to expand my abilities.
Here is the second thing, When I learned to read and write, I never questioned why the letter b followed the letter a or why an adjective modifies a noun, these were just the rules of the English language, so one of the most important things for me was to stop analyzing why there were rules and get down to the business of just learning the rules and how they apply, and just as in learning English eventually they would begin to click and all make sense.
I know this was supposed to be a short synopsis of what I think of your lesson but I can’t help but express how much this has opened my eyes to the task at hand and how worthwhile it is to pursue. If you are a frustrated musician as I was, I can understand. It is like someone who speaks a foreign language learning a couple of phrases such as “where is the bathroom” and thinking you can speak a new language. Just because you memorize how to play a song doesn’t make you a musician. If you don’t understand the building blocks of the phrase and how they work together you do not understand the language and often sound like an idiot. Music is no different. If you are serious about being a student of music (which is what I now consider myself to be rather than a bass player) do yourself a favor and start at the beginning. You will be amazed at the results.
Thank you Jonathan for your course.
Hi Jonathan,Although I had already learned this, I found the way you presented it to be both clear and informative. I still remember the smile that came on my face when I realized I hadn’t just learned the C major scale, I had just learned all the major scales, by concentrating on the ‘shapes’ rather than trying to learn the note names of each scale; same with the minors.Also found learning the ‘interval numbers’ in place of note names opened up a whole new vista of understanding of theory to me to. Now I ‘understand’ where I should move my fingers whilst playing; I’s, III’s, V’s, octaves, all mean something to me.
Great work mate, love it. Many thanks.
Your DVD along with a bit of practice has been the KEY I needed to ‘crack’ the ‘bit’ that was needed to slowly start making sense of this bass thing. Thank you so much. Now hopefully there will be no looking back, just forward.
Finally got time to go through the video on “Decoding the Bass Guitar.” Really enjoyed it and found it very helpful, especially the section on 3rds, 5ths and compound intervals. Filled in some gaps in my bass knowledge. Glad I bought the DVD. Thanks again and keep the good stuff coming!
Hi Jonathan,Just responding to your e-mail in regards to your DVD lesson. It is so good and I’ve learned a lot from it already. Although there is so much to cover and it goes through the lesson fast. But that’s the good thing about a DVD, you can rewind it and go over it again and again. This DVD is worth every penny! Thank you for putting out a video that is simplified and goes through the basics of music theory. It’s music theory that is fun and in a form that is easy to understand. I come from a construction background originally, but I’m a owner and operator of a barbershop now in Connecticut, USA. So this DVD I can relate to because it’s the mechanics of it that is easy to understand. Thanks once again and keep in touch…
I thoroughly enjoyed the video! From the very first pass-thru I connected with the Diatonic Scale and the Pentatonic Scale. It made sense for the first time!! I also understood for the first time how the Minor scale works. And then how these fit together with playing the Bass guitar. Thank you!!! Now I need to practice.
I really dig the DVD. The info has helped so much just the few times I have watched it. I really wish this was available 20 years ago! My son has started to learn the bass and I am giving this to him. I do recommend this lesson for everyone and is a MUST HAVE for those just starting out. The more you watch it the clearer and clearer the fret board becomes. Having the ability to reach out and email any questions is such big bonus. Questions do arise and having someone to turn to for the answer is sweet. Your jokes are a bit corny but funny none the less. GREAT Work.
Decoding the bass is great for beginner and anyone who really wants to learn the bass. My experience is that after you think you know the bass, you must now “study” the bass.
I’ve been playing bass for 45 years. I used to hear “just play the root of the cords,” but I was taught to study the chords and look at all possibilities.
You diagrammed the five string bass perfectly. Once again you had to study that fretboard and there it was. I don’t have a five string bass but I know I can play it. Nothing is easy but every thing you need to be a creative bass player is right there just waiting for the light to go on. Keep up the good work… Padro
I found the material excellent for improving my knowledge of the bass. I have only had 3 lessons and with your theory info I have amazed my teacher! I really liked the intervals and can add a note or two already. Now I can understand what my teacher is doing and why. Truly enjoyed, you’re a great teacher, keep up the good work.
Jonathan, I made it through Decoding The Bass. I am so pleased with your presentation and have already seen how powerful this will be.
I have decided to take up bass guitar at age 61, and have found your theory instruction very helpful.
I see it much like a teacher/student situation, where I have the benefit of watching it as many times as I want.
The material you cover can only help in my pursuit of understanding and enjoying my playing.
I must admit, much of the teaching is not for the faint of heart, as it takes focus and attentiveness to understand this important theory. But there is no way around it if there is to be understanding of the music and instrument.
I’ve gone through a lot of the material a couple of times and expect I will again as it will probably become more understandable as time goes on. The jamming with commentary at the end is especially helpful.
All the best, Rick
You asked for my honest opinion of your Decoding the Bass lesson, so here it is. FYI, I am a journeyman carpenter doing home construction and a professional musician. I live on the big island of Hawaii.
First, I have been playing the bass with many bands for the last ten years. I usually get paid well to play and have even recorded an EP in a big-time studio. I played piano as a kid and first started playing bass as a young teenager in 1974. I know and can play hundreds of songs really well. But whenever I was asked to do a solo, it was missing something. I found that knowing a bunch of songs or being able to find the keys quickly is still not enough to “rip” on the bass. So, last month I decided I needed to step up my abilities with more applied music theory and purchased the DVD. I am very glad I did.
This lesson solidified what I have found out the hard way over the past few years, and then showed me what I was missing. For instance, WHEN the relative minor applies, and where it is RELATIVE to where you are playing. This allows me to provide those killer fills and solos! I then applied the rules in reverse and found the relative major to the minor keys we often play in. Most of the lesson is very basic and like I said, just reinforced what I knew from years of playing and figuring things out. But then it started tying things together in a way I’ve never seen before. Also, I found a new way of changing octaves on the major scale, to more easily allow a two octave pattern on a four-string. Every little bit helps!
I’m glad I bought and watched the course, and would recommend it to anyone serious about playing the bass. I also appreciate the follow-up tips and other free videos you have sent me. Thank You for a great job, and feel free to post my comments anywhere you want.
Dear Jonathan, your decoding the bass vid is great. Clear instructions, easy to follow. Helping greatly to loosen the finger joints again. Still a ways to go.
As a former teacher, I appreciate Jonathan’s presentation of basic music theory and how it applies to the bass guitar. Most of the lesson concerns that, so it might be review for many. However, unless you are a professional bassist, I’m sure you will find some new ideas and even some inspiration in Decoding the Bass Guitar. The jam track examples were especially useful to me.
Even though I do not own a bass guitar now, I know I will in the next month or two. I knew I didn’t want to wander in the desert for another 35 years as I did with my guitar, so I decided to get your bass lesson to lay a strong foundation. I was not disappointed and feel that your lesson saved me from wandering aimlessly learning on my own or wasting time and money with a music store teacher/Salesman. Great theory, tabs, and playing instructions. When is part two coming out??
Jonathan,I would like to assist you with my feedback on “Decoding the Bass”.I have only watched the DVD once and found it hugely informative. I have only been playing bass on and off for a couple of years but if you add the time I’ve actually spent playing it amounts to about 6 months I would guess. I played 4 gigs in 2009 when I first started, all root notes and muddle along (helped by good friends though) and haven’t done anything really since. I’m an aircraft engineer by trade, spending a lot of my time out of the country sadly, and used to operate PA desks for gigs etc back in my younger days (I’m 44 by the way).Enough of the rubbish ha ha, the upshot of your DVD is that I have been trying to get a bit of a band together and am currently working on a small project with a mate on acoustic, me on bass just doing some quiet numbers. Without the lesson I would be struggling and now I understand the I IV &V, things sound a whole lot better and more rounded and I cannot speak any more highly of you and your lesson – many thanks.
Jonathan,Just wanted to respond and say that the lesson is GREAT. I watch it almost every day. I have not played guitar in more than thirty years so I consider myself a beginner. At 58 years old I decided to start again and with your video it pushed my understanding of what I have been learning from other sources over the top and has made things clear in my mind. Thanks, gotta go practice!
Fortunately, I find Mathematics a very interesting subject and I’m pretty good with numbers. With the bass being tuned to 4th’s it makes it pretty easy to find your way around the keyboard. You have done an excellent job in your explanations and examples of Patterns and Locations. I have looked at many other training tools available on the Internet and I have found yours to be the best for Foundation and Theory.
Especially helpful are the Fretboard Charts and Scale diagrams that I can download. Like YOU I too have difficulty remembering the NAMES of the notes. I sincerely do find the writing exercises to be very helpful. If beginners don’t take the time to get involved in the written exercises, they are missing an important part of the learning process. The charts are a great addition to the program. Keep up the excellent work, and I’m looking forward to receiving any new or updated information or lessons you’re working on.
Hi Jonathan,I have been playing a four string standup acoustic bass for about 9 months. I never played a musical instrument before and knew next to nothing about music when I started, but I am very interested and determined. Although your instruction would be of most benefit to someone playing a 5 string electric bass guitar, I found lots that helps with my instrument. Recognizing the patterns and knowing the scales is a huge help and I have already learned to do some walkups and runs, and I am thrilled with that. You might be interested to know that I am 71 year old lady and I now play weekly in a country/bluegrass jam. I think that proves you are never too old to learn if you want to.
I will admit I was very skeptical at first. Anyway, I said what the heck. I downloaded the lesson and my mind was set to an attentive mode. I was hooked. I have a really good bass and have never had a lesson aside from teaching myself the strings and scale. This brought it all together in a way that I felt a complete understanding.
My desire was to learn to play by tone and this lesson LOCKED it all into place. I’m 58 and who says you can’t teach an old dog new trix. My 2015 resolution is to play with my church ‘s worship team. I’m beyond excited now. Thank you for pulling it all together for me. The simple jam at the end was an awesome way to tie it all together.
I started playing in ’05, and have never missed a day without practicing for 3 or more hours. I’ve read books, had people show me things, figured it out on my own, but I stopped seeing progress till I watch your video. I really do see the fret board differently. What I knew about scales and chords showed more use, “more dots to connect”. Thanks for dumbing down theory.
I’ve been playing by ear, feel and instinct for quite a few years without the basic understanding about how scales really work. This lesson goes in depth, now I’m able to see different cities and avenues in the bass world, and there are still a lot more places to see. My fingers got moves to make. Thanks Jonathan you’re the man.
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