Bass Guitar Lesson | Modes with Barry Bevan

I recently had the opportunity to hang with a happening bassist by the name of Barry Bevan. I first discovered Barry via doing a bass-only version of Led Zeppelins Kashmir on Youtube. Since Barry only lives about 20 minutes away from me it was inevitable that we’d hook up and talk bass stuff. For my regular readers – yes that’s Barry teaching about 3 finger bass plucking technique that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

So, we finally got together to grab a coffee and talk about bass stuff.

Barry demonstrates modes on the bass guitarBarry has been playing for decades performing in cover bands as well as writing and performing original music. He has crisscrossed the country several times and is also a professional music teacher. All the while he has always been on a quest to learn more about music and (if I understand this right) is self-taught.

Barry’s passion for the bass guitar definitely comes through when you speak to him or watch his videos. On topic in particular that gets Barry fired up is talking about modes and inversions on the bass guitar.

He attributes a “light bulb” moment in his career when he saw a graphic representation of modes and it all made sense to him; how he could support the song and still express himself without having to play the root or the 5th.

Now I have to admit, aside from the basics I’m pretty rusty on my theory. The light bulb moment that Barry spoke of has mostly eluded me to this point. However, Barry brought along his trusty Fender Jazz bass and taught me a quick bass guitar lesson on modes. It just so happens that the essence of what he taught me he also shared on yet another video.  Here it is below.

I’m taking some time and looking at modes again. I have some different bass lesson books that touch in modes in passing, but fail (at least in my mind) to indicate the importance or the application of modes. In other words, they basically tells you where a particular mode starts and ends and whether it’s major, minor, dominant or whatever – but not the context in which you’d used it.

We were running out of time when Barry gave me the crash course on bass modes, so a lot of it still went over my head. Luckily, I have the video above to replay until it starts sinking in.

I had a great time meeting with Barry and I’m sure that I’ll be sharing more of his teachings and videos on this site in the future.

Share your thoughts and experiences with learning modes on bass guitar below in the comments.

  • jan smith says:

    I wonder if you can help. My son is a base playing and is studying Music technology at Hudderfield University. He has already completed two years and now is taking a year out and working for a company called junior jam then hopefully will return for his final year. he will be 21 in November 2011 and im looking for ideas for his birthday. Do you have any links you could send me. much appreciated
    jan .

  • Hi Jan, I’d love to help you out but some more information is required – does he have a preferred style of music? I did a post about the top gifts for bass players – you can start by checking out some of those ideas and go from there. Good luck and let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

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