Bass Clef and Tabs

Rock Early Rock Ex1V4
The first edition of The Bassist’s Bible did not include TABs but with the 2nd Edition, each example was re-written to include them. I am sure that not all of the examples have “common” fingering, though I tried to keep my personal bias out of it, but some times a bassist just wants to put his fingers where ever he wants to on the neck. This is supposed to be a creative endeavor right?

I think TABs are a good way to visualize music and help even seasoned players to know what the composer or bassist intended. When I was learning John Entwistle’s bass lines – especially “The Real Me” I was vexed as to where he put his hands. I spent hours trying to glean it from watching videos (they never showed John) and listening to passages to see if the tone was from a note below the fifth fret, mid neck, or perhaps above the 12th. I would have paid a lot of money to an accurate version in TABs. Instead I had to spend way too many hours trying to play / listen / play / listen to that song (not to mention the other three sets worth of material we played.)

Reading in Standard Notation is also extremely valuable. I learned to play Classical music when I was a kid so I knew how to read music but since I played flute, Bass Clef was a mystery to me as the flute parts were written in Treble Clef. So: Bass Clef? Whaaat? I didn’t use it. I didn’t need it. I didn’t want to know about it. So it didn’t really exist.

When I started playing bass in 1969 it was all about listening and trying to figure out what the bands were doing, not reading charts. Most of my heroes in music could not read music so I did not use those skills until many decades later when I first started to compose and send my compositions in to the Library of Congress to copyright them. (It was so cool, later on, when you could just send in a Cassette tape and be done with it.) Then it seemed I was writing this book, so I really had to dig in. Learning to read Standard Notation has enriched my playing. It saves so much time and I find it is easier to play accurately.

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