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The Worship Bass by Norm Stockton

Book Review by Jack Beal:

The Worship Bass Book-Bass, Expresso, and the Art of Groove by Norm Stockton, (Hal Leonard Books).

It is said that a good teacher is someone who can make complex things simple to understand.  A great teacher inspires!  Norm Stockton is a great teacher! His latest book, The Worship Bass Book, should be in every bass player’s library.  Even if you never play a church gig,  this book offers an amazing amount of information in 200 pages, (and a DVD ROM),  that will help any player improve.

Over the years I have accumulated hundreds of instructional books and articles related to the electric bass guitar.   Some are very good…. but if I had to pick just one book as my personal “Bass Player’s Bible”,  it would be this one.  Norm touches on all aspects of playing the instrument as well as how to  make a living with it.  He covers everything from the fingerboard, intervals, dynamics, practice tips, equipment, effects, soloing, charting, to playing within different genres and keeping the all-important groove alive!    There are even excellent  tips on caring for your most important equipment, your hands!  (The finger exercises Norm recommends did wonders for my ever-lurking tendinitis.  Thanks, Norm!)

Included are informative interviews with bassists John Patitucci and Dominique Di Piazza.  I was particularly impressed with Norm’s “Tips For The Woodshed” chapter where he discusses how and what to practice.  The exercises presented throughout the book  are well thought out and the included DVD compliments the exercises in each chapter.

This book is a great work for the beginning/intermediate bassist.  It will absolutely shorten the learning curve.  There are also countless nuggets for the advanced players as well…..tricks of the trade from a pro with years of experience on the road and in the studio.   In the book, Norm advocates what he calls, “Relentless Learning”,  “Whether you’ve been playing for 30 years or 30 minutes, strive to remain a student, continually seeking to learn and to further develop.”  Amen, Norm!  This is a book, written by a thoughtful and caring  professional,  who wholeheartedly  shares what he has learned about his craft.   Teaching is obviously an important part of Norm’s personal ministry…..and it shows.

I sincerely appreciate the good folks at Bass Frontiers giving me the opportunity to review this fine work…..and no,  I’m not giving it back…..


About the Author:
Norm Stockton is presently on tour in the Far East.  As a bassist/solo artist/clinician he travels throughout North America,Europe and Japan.  He has  performed with or recorded with Lincoln Brewster, Bill Champlain, (Chicago), Dominique Di Piazza, Bobby Kimball, (TOTO), Steve Laury, Luna Halo, Mandisa, (American Idol), Rob Mullins, Darlene Zschech and many more.  He has conducted master classes or is adjunct faculty at Biola University, The Los Angeles Music Academy, Tech Music School London, MusicDojo.com and more. Norm also serves as bass columnist for Christian Musician Magazine.  Learn more about Norm at normstockton.com.

Jack Beal Bio:
Jack Beal is a working bassist, writer and retired lawyer. He studied at the Players’ School in Clearwater, Florida with Phil Mann,  and with Jerry Jemmott, “The Groovemaster”.  Jack currently plays/records with Scott Randall Rhodes and also Blue Swing Deluxe. Jack has performed with acts opening for Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio, Terri Clark and Toby Keith among others.

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