Concepts for Bass Soloing

by Chuck Sher & Marc Johnson

One of those rare instructional tools that can really make a difference.”
— Bass Player Magazine

The only book ever published specifically designed to improve your soloing!
  • Includes 2 CD downloads of Marc Johnson soloing on each exercise.
  • Over 150 pages of exercises to help you create more beautiful, horn-like solos.
  • Many transcriptions of Marc Johnson's astounding improvised solos on the accompanying CDs download.
  • Spiral-bound, 150 pages.

Download Tracks

Includes transcriptions of bass solos by:

  • Eddie Gomez
  • John Patitucci
  • Scott La Faro
  • Jimmy Haslip
  • George Mraz
  • Gary Willis
  • Dominique Di Piazza

Also includes complete chapters on:

  • Choice of Notes In One Mode
  • Phrasing Exercises in One Mode
  • Choice of Notes On A Given Chord
  • Typical Jazz Licks
  • Practicing Soloing On Tunes


Chuck Sher and Marc Johnson have given us a wonderful book. One which should provide players at all levels with months of good hard work, a lot of fun, and a healthy measure of frustration. (I'd swear some of the things Marc plays on the accompanying tapes just can't be done). It's a pleasure to encounter a Bass Method so well conceived and executed.”
— Steve Swallow

This book is bursting with creativity. It is the best book yet for solo ideas and a must for your library.”
— Jimmy Haslip

Does the notation "Bass Solo" on a chart make your mouth get dry? Do your hands start to shake when the bandleader turns to you and says, "Take it!"? This new book/cassette package tackles the problem head-on. It consists of a series of exercises intended to increase your understanding of the "building blocks" that go into a good solo. Each exercise is played (and expanded upon) by Marc Johnson on acoustic bass, usually with piano accompaniment. There's nothing academic about this - Johnson's playing, even on the most basic examples, is simply beautiful. He breathes life into every idea, demonstrating how good note choices, rhythmic variety, and intelligent phrasing are used to create effective solos. There's so much material here that absorbing this book must be seen as a long-term project. This is not a handy reference for those in search of a few hot licks; it's a detailed method for developing your soloing skills. As such, it's one of those rare instructional tools that can really make a difference. Maybe if enough of us dig into it, we'll never hear those dumb jokes about bass solos again.”
— Bass Player Magazine

It's a wonderful book and fills a big void in bass pedagogy. To my knowledge, it's the first book of its kind to address at length improvisational concepts for the bass. The accompanying tapes of Marc playing the exercises are not only helpful and informative, but enjoyable music in its own right. I'm truly enthusiastic about it and will be recommending it to all my students and other professionals too.”
— Bob Magnusson

Chuck Sher has published some of the best music books around, including the New Real Books I & II, and this 150-page book is no exception. Why no one has assembled a book like this before I'll never know. I don't think you'll find a better book. This is a great publication!”
— Bassics Magazine

The tapes are a good quality recording of some truly amazing playing.There is very little in written literature to help bassists learn to improvise meaningful and coherent jazz solos. Concepts For Bass Soloing goes a long way towards filling this gap, providing a framework for you to explore your own creativity. It is sure to become an important and helpful resource to help master the art of jazz improvisation.”
— International Society of Bassists

Marc Johnson was born in Nebraska in 1953, and he grew up in Texas. By age 19, he was working professionally with the Fort Worth Symphony, and while at North Texas State University, he played and recorded with fellow student Lyle Mays. After graduating he toured and recorded with Woody Herman, before becoming, at the age of 25, the bassist with the Bill Evans Trio, following in the footsteps of masterful players including Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock and Eddie Gomez. Marc Johnson’s many recording credits since then include discs with Michael Brecker, Bob Brookmeyer, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, Eliane Elias, Peter Erskine, Bill Frisell, Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Ben Monder, Paul Motian. Enrico Pieranunzi, and Wolfgang Muthspiel, among others.