The bass is the heart and soul of an ensemble: the rhythmic driver that links the percussion, keyboards and melody instruments; the decider of key, harmony and chord movement; and the creator of the “pocket” that is the source of groove. Whether the bass line is straight eighths (Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, Dee Dee Ramone), gritty rhythmic counterpoint (Larry Graham, Flea, Bootsy Collins), or a melody instrument in its own right (Bruce Thomas of The Attractions, Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney), what the bassist plays and how he or she plays it can make or break a band. In Berkleemusic’s Rock Bass Styles Specialist certificate program, you will learn the bass styles of the major blues-based genres of the past half-century, and become a much more effective player and performer in the process.
The program begins with Bass Performance 101, which focuses on four keys areas of performance: time, tonality, timbre, and taste. Throughout the course you’ll study the techniques and unique playing styles of the masters of the instrument, including Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, Carol Kaye, Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, and more. You’ll also gain a great background in bass basics, including pentatonic, blues, major, and minor scales, diatonic harmony, ostinato bass lines, groove and time feel, and compositional techniques. By the end of this course, you’ll have the skills to perform accurately, in time, and in your own unique style.
Your coursework continues with a thorough grounding in Rock Bass. In this course you'll use Berklee's unique bass instruction method to master Rock, Blues Rock, Delta, Chicago, and Texas blues styles, as well as more advanced concepts such as odd time signatures, modal bass lines, and the open "jam style." Through listening, transcription and analysis of greats like Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce and Geddy Lee, you’ll get inside what makes a rock bass line work.
Finally, you will begin to add rhythmic subtlety and rich harmonic variation to your playing in R&B Bass. By studying the bass lines of R&B classics from the jump blues era through Stax, Atlantic & Motown through the present, as played by greats like Duck Dunn, James Jamerson and Chuck Rainey, you will learn to play sophisticated, understated yet intensely funky bass lines which accentuate the groove and melody of the song.
A bass line can make or break a song. What would “Sex Machine,” “Paradise City” or “Something” be without the unique contributions of Bootsy Collins, Duff McKagan, or Paul McCartney? Berkleemusic’s Rock Bass Styles Specialist certificate program will unlock the secrets behind great bass lines like these, and teach you to become the in-demand versatile bassist you want to be.