Nathan East, easily a top five popular music bassist of the past twenty (plus) years, released a DVD video in 2005 entitled The Business of Bass. This is a great video to have come from the bassist who arguably has been working with artists in the deep end of big business (Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, George Harrison, Anita Baker) the longest. The diverse feature does show a lot about technique and style, but also ventures into touring, a trip to a music store to spotlight picking the right gear, auditions, and lots more. These are all things to certainly think about after you have gotten your chops and bass identity together, but when you’re ready to think about actually making a living at music, these are tips for you.
Kudos has to go to Alfred Music Publishing for reissuing older instructional videos onto DVD in the past couple of years. With VCRs going the way of the dinosaur, it’s hard to keep up with some of the tips that people got off of cassettes in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. One such example of this is Nathan East’s first instructional video which has recently gone back into print, Contemporary Bass. In the video, Nathan covers lots of playing details, as opposed to The Business of Bass. In Contemporary Bass, Nathan covers chop building, creating grooves and solos, playing walking lines, and how to work in the rhythm section. In a world where many players barrel through their 60 minute video because they figure you can rewind and check it out again, Nathan explains things clearly and takes his time.
It is impeccable for bass students to learn the tricks of the trade from the great masters, and this is absolutely no exception. If you want to be playing your bass in front of a very large crowd all over the world, Nathan East is easily the great master that you want to be learning your stuff from.