Berklee Jazz Bass

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  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
  • Format: Book with Online Audio
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 9x12
  • Audio Tracks: 166
  • Publication Date: May 30, 2016

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Jazz Bass

Gain the tools and knowledge you need to improvise jazz bass lines like a seasoned professional. Learn to play great jazz bass lines, recognize common chord progressions in jazz standards, and study the work of jazz bass greats like Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, and Christian McBride.

Professional Bass Certificate Program

Don’t just play bass; command your instrument with confidence in rock, R&B, jazz, and/or funk settings. Whether you’re inspired by Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Les Claypool, Geddy Lee, or any number of other great bassists, the commonality between them is their mastery of the performance skills and concepts taught in this program, including time, harmony, tonality, timbre, taste, scales, groove, and compositional techniques like tritones, pedal points, and double stops. Upon completion of the program, you’ll have gained skills to handle any gig that comes your way as a professional bassist.

Learn the art of jazz bass.

Whether you are new to playing jazz or wish to hone your skills, and whether you play acoustic or electric bass, this book will help you expand your basic technique to create interesting and grooving bass lines and melodically interesting solos. Included are 166 audio tracks of demonstrations and play-alongs, featuring a complete jazz combo playing bass lines and solos over standard jazz progressions.

You will learn to:

  • Build jazz bass lines that support the tune’s underlying harmony and keep the motion moving forward
  • Understand and use jazz harmony such as chord scales, modes,
  • Play over standard jazz progressions, such as II V’s, rhythm changes, blues, and other changes used by many jazz standards
  • Develop lines reflective of many jazz eras, from early swing to post bop
  • Develop your sense of time and groove
  • Use articulations such as skips, dead notes, pull-offs, hammer-ons, rakes, and others
  • Use line development techniques such as vamps, pedal points, and various styles of grooves and feels
  • Compose imaginative and engaging bass solos

Rich Appleman (chair emeritus), Whit Browne (professor), and Bruce Gertz (professor) are long-time faculty members of Berklee College of Music’s Bass Department. They have each mentored thousands of bass players (such as Esperanza Spalding, Bryan Beller, Matt Garrison, Amiee Mann, Stu Hamm, Ira Coleman, etc.), and performed/recorded with jazz luminaries including Count Basie, Joe Lovano, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Lionel Hampton, the Boston Pops, Gary Burton, and enumerable other artists.

Recording engineered by Peter Kontrimas, PBS Studio in Westwood, MA.

“Whether you’re just figuring out the 12-bar blues or have already mastered the complexities of chord substitution, this is a terrific resource, thoughtfully constructed and written in lively, engaging language.”

Bass Player Magazine (Excerpt from a November, 2016 Review by Jim Roberts)

Berklee Jazz Bass is a book that leaves no stoned unturned of ‘for-real’ information to become a well grounded and in demand bassist. All of the information given is clearly stated and gives the aspiring bassist what he/she must have to be called upon to make the band ‘rock,’ no matter the style.”

—Rufus Reid, Jazz Bassist/Composer, Author of The Evolving Bassist

“With an astonishing total of about 120 years teaching experience between them, there is nothing about jazz bass playing or jazz music in general that you can’t learn from these gentlemen. The concepts put forth in this book are clear, concise, and correct. I highly recommend it.”

—Victor Bailey

“Rich Appleman, Whit Browne, and Bruce Gertz are experienced musicians and legendary educators. In their book Berklee Jazz Bass, they’ve joined forces to produce a masterful ‘must-have’ collection of knowledge that can benefit any bassist looking to improve. I’m definitely using it!”

—Victor Wooten


Rich Appleman

Rich Appleman is chair emeritus of the Bass Department at Berklee College of Music. He is responsible for adding the…

Whit Browne

Whit Browne, professor of bass, has been teaching at Berklee College of music since 1976 and playing the bass since…

Bruce Gertz

Bruce Gertz is an award-winning bassist (acoustic and electric), composer, educator, and author. He is a professor of bass at…