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This series of duets fills a niche for intermediate to advanced bassists and is designed to help develop time, intonation, bass lines, solo concepts, reading, styles and technique.

As long as I have been playing the bass, I have always been looking for contemporary material that is designed specifically for the 4 string bass (acoustic or bass guitar). I always end up using music written for other instruments and adapting to it. This prompted me to start writing challenging music for the contemporary bassist.

This program will help you compete with the best and build your confidence. The top part was originally created for the teacher or more advanced player and the bottom part is technically easier to play, but demands solid time, pinpoint intonation, reading, and rhythmic feel. While playing Part 2, one will get a sense of how to create solid bass lines by retaining a strong root motion. As the piece develops the bass lines also expand and provide counterpoint to the melody. You could call this learning by doing. The top part is technically challenging yet lyrical. It will help you develop a soloing concept. While playing the top part it is most important that one hones into to the bottom part. By hearing solid bass lines you will then know what you need to play to be a strong supportive player.

Straight ahead Jazz is covered, but in this day and age a lot more styles are needed to be competitive. Therefore there are duets in 13/4, 11/4, 3/4, and a slow ballad.

When you purchase a duet you receive pdfs of the score, the top part and bottom part, as well versions of the top part in treble clef concert, Bb, and Eb for a total of 6 separate parts. Each download also include 7 tracks of music – a slow, medium, and fast version of each part separately, and a medium tempo recording of the score. The recordings are synthesized, and are thus perfectly in time and perfectly in tune. These tracks are designed for practice and will guide you. They are not performance tracks.

Of course the real fun is when you get together with another bassist or musician and jam. I think it would be helpful to provide some ideas of how to make the most out of these pieces:

  • Learn the top and/or bottom as written.
  • Practice along with the tracks. Use the recorded top part and play along with bottom part and vice versa.
  • Listen to the part you are playing and also listen to the other part equally. This will develop your ears.
  • Play along in unison to develop intonation on either part.
  • Get together with another bassist and play the duets using a metronome Then play them together without a metronome.
  • You can open up the middle and improvise on the chord changes, then cue to the last chorus, and take it to the end.
  • After you have learned to play the bottom part, try making up your own bass lines. Experiment, record it and listen. You decide what you like. Expand on the line and be creative.
  • After you learn the melody, vary it and phrase it to you liking. Feel free to change notes and add your personal touch. Learn the solo then feel free to expand it and come up with your own ideas or solo.
  • With these duets a Jazz bassist can get together with a classical bassist and the fun will begin. You can also bow the solos for practice.
  • These melodies and solos work well with a chordal instrument such as piano or guitar. You can also combine the bottom part with a horn such as a trombone.
  • Develop fluent technique by practicing alone with the metronome. Once you are comfortable, begin using the recordings starting with the easiest tempo (typically the slowest, except in the case of the ballad 2 Colors, which would be the fastest).
  • Get together with 3 basses and have the top part in unison. That will be the ultimate intonation test.

It is good discipline to learn the duets as written, but after that I hope you use them as a springboard. Please feel free to change bass lines, solos and melody. Be creative and have fun with the music. That is what it is all about. They don’t call it “playing” for nothing.

A note on duplication: Please not duplicate and give these away. What goes around comes around. I kept the price low so that anyone can afford to buy these duets. Please respect that. If you can’t afford to buy one, contact me.

I believe that this music will improve your playing and give you many hours of musical joy.

Know thy bass,
Harvie S www.harvies.com

Known for his innovative duo work with Jazz master Sheila Jordan and Kenny Barron, Harvie S has also recorded duets with John Scofield, Art Farmer, Mike Stern, Paquito D’Rivera, Mick Goodrick, David Friedman, and Steve Kuhn.

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