Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars Fun - but more show than tell!, 1 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Star Licks Bass Video-Tutor: Master Session - Flea [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Flea Bass Master Session

As a big Chilis fan, and aspiring bassist, I looked forward to getting an insight into their sound from Flea's viewpoint.

PROS

Intimate - He's joined by the late, great River Phoenix, of "Stand By Me" fame, and they're clearly old friends. They laugh, joke, and generally act like two cool guys. This is certainly more attractive than the usual Master Sessions, where a supremely talented, but slightly dull, guy shows you licks, out of context, in front of a plain white wall!

Gives Good Advice - Flea urges the viewer to keep an open mind, and preaches about the value of simplicity and listening to everyone in the band. Music works better, he says, when you compliment the band and the tune, not dominate like some mad jazz guy! Keep your chops for when it's appropriate to show off or required to play the tune - not all the time just because you can!

Flea says to keep an open ear, as well. Even if you can't, or don't play a certain style of music, there's always something you can learn from it. He demonstrates how he took ideas from punk, funk, and jazz, and applied it to his playing.

Excellent Warm-ups - He runs through his favourite warm-ups, giving little tips on how to get the best sound, and demonstrates how he got into slap and pop playing, too. He also shows you a few ideas with effects, how to play chords on a bass, and how to use open strings.

CONS

The Jams - Flea preaches the stream of consciousness style of improvisation, and this is demonstrated in between the various sections of the DVD, with him jamming with drummer Chad Smith.

However, outside the context of the full band, I found the jams sounded a bit samey, with Flea over-relying on his breakneck Slap and Pop licks, that he moved chromatically up and down the neck. It would have been more useful if he had demonstrated them in context with a band.

Lack Of Technical Detail - There's a lot to be learnt from Flea's licks, but the constant "To you own self be true, and play each note like it were your last" advice, whilst excellent, began to get old quickly. Flea and River came across like a couple of old hippies, high on something other than friendship at times, too. Its fun to watch the first time, but after a while I found myself wishing they'd get on with it and drop the "I'm a rocker and musically ignorant!" vibe.

Flea studied jazz trumpet at one stage, so he's had some training in theory, yet he says he knows nothing about music! Only a few moments later, he talks about how the modal nature of Chilis tunes (being based on one or two chords repeated over and over), meant that he could mix up scales and had more freedom, compared to Bebop, which is full of chords and has fast moving progressions. You clearly need some knowledge of music to understand this!

The things I listed in the PROS section pretty much sums up the teaching. A little advice on how he constructs his lines, tips for recovering from bad notes, and scales he likes to use, would have helped a lot. Not everyone has the ear or experience of Flea...

Old Footage - Because River is alive in this DVD, I assume it was recorded on tape, long before River's premature death. My guess is the session was filmed around the time of the "Mother's Milk" album, and anyone looking to get into more recent Chili's material would be best served elsewhere. Flea's style has definitely moved on and improved.

Overall, Flea's charismatic playing and larger-than-life personality make this DVD work for me. I've found that putting on the DVD for 5 minutes usually inspires me to try something new on the bass, and his energetic nature is certainly far more attractive than a lot of tuition DVDs out there!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
£12.99 £11.45
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,118,889