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Review


"Hal Leonard Electric Bass Composite Method," by Dan Dean. Hal Leonard Publ., 1982, 1996, 144 pages, 3 CD's, US$19.95.

This book is the master volume of the popular series by Hal Leonard, and contains all of books I, II, and III, from front cover to back. It is geared to the very beginner, and slowly builds up from exercises on each string, to playing a few tunes. After you have mastered 8th notes and dotted quarter notes in the first section, it's off to section 2 for a bit of theory, major scales, minor scales, 16th notes, slapping, and song play-alongs (check out the Punk tune!). Going down the home stretch in section 3, you find intervals, octaves, chord theory, more slap and pop, tips on using effects, and more tunes. The examples are presented in a very user-friendly manner, and the concepts are easy to troll through.

Before you go buy the book just because it has three compact discs, it should be noted that they each have 14:32, 17:16, and 14:12 minutes of playing time respectively, all of which would have comfortably fit on one CD. More importantly, Dean's arranging and production on the CD's are top notch. Some of the bass lines written in the book appear almost too simple at first, but become instantly brilliant when they are played with the musical examples. Last Chance, MP3 370k. This factor should make this book much more fun for the novice player that wants to get their feet wet in a pseudo-performing situation.

Each of the volumes are available separately, and it is advisable to teachers to start with Book 1 with their students. The only downfall is that if you're trying to teach sightreading, there is plenty of opportunity for the student to fall back on the tabbed examples. Another reason to start with Book I is that most beginners are not sure about how serious they are, and $9.95 (book/CD) is not as bad of a hit if they change their mind. With 48 pages and a CD, it will be easier for students to prove themselves before they go to bigger and better things, and you will both have a more reasonable goal. All that aside, if you are a self learner and want to save a few bucks, go straight for the Composite. 144 pages later, you'll have a nice foundation to build from.


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