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Jonathan Fletcher Music December Newsletter & Christmas Specials
Subject: Jonathan Fletcher Music December Newsletter & Christmas Specials
Send date: 2010-12-15 23:28:28
Issue #: 35


December 2010


Music History

  • 1920 - Dave Brubeck, Concord CA, jazz pianist/composer born
  • 1915 - Frank Sinatra, singer, born,
  • 1983 - MTV aired Michael Jackson's 14 minute "Thriller" video for the first time.
  • 1969 - John Lennon was asked to play the title role in "Jesus Christ, Superstar." The offer was taken back the next day.
  • 1976 - The CAA issued a warning to all pilots that a flying pig was on the run, when a giant 40ft inflatable pig could be seen floating above London after breaking free from it's moorings. The pig had been photographed for Pink Floyd's 'Animals', album cover.
  • 1984 - Two former Beatles debuted in two film releases this day. Paul McCartney’s "Give My Regards to Broad Street" and George Harrison’s "A Private Function" were finalized for theater audiences.

The Bottom Line:

Eli Daconto

“It’s about the song, not your chops. Less is more. You can’t have an ego and play bass.” I’ve heard comments like these my entire bass-playing life, but what exactly do they mean?

During my first three years on bass, I studied chords, scale modes, and arrangements, but such platitudes about “grooving” on bass-and a search for real answers vexed me. I was in a band with a guitarist who kept screaming for me to stop playing so many notes and “just hold down the bottom.” I’d ask him what that meant, but he’d only repeat the same thing, only louder each time. When a bass instructor told me that my playing was too busy, I asked how Bootsy could be so busy behind James Brown and yet groove so hard-it didn’t sound like he was over playing, my teacher’s response: “You ain’t Bootsy!” Another bass player told me “groove is felt; you can’t be technical about it.” That had been the extent of my groove education.

I knew some theory, and could navigate difficult jazz charts, but when it came to grooving…ouch! What was I missing in my understanding of Bootsy? Leo Claypool, Mark Adams, Flea and my other favorites?

Finally a strange idea came to me: Ask a drum instructor for a groove lesson. No technique, no chords progressions…just groove-talk and groove making. What did his thirty years of experience teach him to expect from a solid, fun, and responsible bassist?

That one hour lesson helped so much more than three years of being told “it aint about chops.” We covered the spectrum: bad, passable, and tight grooves. We grooved with a busy hitch, a simple bass line, and a simple kick. Finally a light bulb moment: I started playing a repeated line. He listened for a while without jumping in-and once he got started, suddenly I could feel a tight groove set in. Yet, after a couple of minutes, I got itchy and moved a note. The next time around, he was on that note like an octopus with all eight arms. Okay! So, this guy is listening to me and reacting, that immediately illuminated the fact that my erratic, unpredictable misinterpretations of Bootsy were not much fun for any drummer who had to put up with them. It also gave me a sense of what to expect from a drummer.

Statements like “You can’t be technical about groove” tend to come from musicians who have put in many years of cultivating a style and instincts that they often can’t explain. But those of us with out that experience need help with the subtle things; for example: Groove x, a four bar phrase, sounds so nasty because there’s complete silence on beat four of the fourth bar, so when it comes back…Lord have mercy! Now, that’s a tad-bit of groove vocabulary that can be transferred to other ones, as apposed to copying a line note-for-note and having little more than a riff of limited use. I’ve always learned that by playing on the second sixteenth note of each beat, you can create the illusion that the tempo has sped up.

So, even for a twenty year newbie bassist, there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel when you don’t have to. Make it a point to study grooving just as vigorously as you would study music theory, fretless intonation, or sight reading. It will help you move along the learning curve and accumulate a wider range of tools to make appropriate and compelling bass lines. Even if you only have root notes, with enough time and attention, you’ll be able to dig a groove so deep, you can look down into it and see China.

Christmas Sales

We’ve got some great deals for you this month!


WK200STAD Casio Pack

  • WK200 Keyboard
  • Piano-style touch sensitive keys
  • 570 sounds
  • 180 rhythms
  • Digital effects
  • Audio input (MP3/CD)
  • Microphone input
  • USB port
  • Keyboard Stand
  • A/C Adapter
  • One month of lessons
  • $259.99
  • WK200STAD Alone: $209.99
  • Add a Sustain Pedal (SP3R) $24.99


Alvarez Acoustic Guitar Pack

  • Alvarez Acoustic Guitar
  • Gig Bag
  • Tuner
  • Polish Cloth
  • String Winder
  • Strap
  • Picks
  • One month of lessons
  • $259.99
  • Guitar Package Alone: $209.99
  • Add a guitar stand for only $13.99


Austin Electric Guitar Pack

  • Austin Electric Guitar
  • Gig Bag
  • 15 watt amp
  • Electronic Tuner
  • Picks
  • Guitar Cable
  • Guitar Strap
  • Instructional DVD
  • One month of lessons
  • $259.99
  • Guitar Pack Alone: $209.99
  • Add a guitar stand for only $13.99


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!





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Jonathan Fletcher Music offers lessons for Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums, Bass, Piano, Banjo, Voice, Violin, Flute, Viola, Saxophone, Mandolin, Trumpet, French Horn, Cello and more convenient to Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Antioch, and all of Rutherford and Davidson Counties!