When to Incorporate Additional Theory

Based on seeing it recommended in several places on the forum, I’ve invested in Ariana Cap’s “Music Theory for the Bass Player”.

I do have some vague theory knowledge from playing guitar and harmonica for several years (badly, and self taught… )
However, I’m not really sure at what stage of my learning it’d be best to incorporate the additional learning.

I’m near the end of Module 5 of the B2B course, and my thoughts were to start learning the extra theory alongside the course.

Would you suggest or recommend doing it this way or completing Josh’s course fully first?


Complete Josh’s course first. It will give you a good foundation. I, too got into Ari Cap and after getting the books, found what she was teaching was too advanced for me at the time. So, I set the books aside, finished B2B and went back to the books. Much more understanding and I did not get frustrated with the concepts she teaches.


Ari’s book is a great compliment while taking B2B. There is minimal “playing’ so won’t get in the way of B2B and lots of good learning.

@PamPurrs didn’t you do them at same time?

When you’ve gone through the Ari book, look to talking bass’ scales and chord tone classes.
Note: all of these are meant as resounded to continue to go back to over time. They are not ‘one and dines’ like B2B can be. If something doesn’t sink in at first, ask for help or put a sticky on the page and go back later on. You’ll be shocked how much simpler things become later.


Yes, I did B2B and Talking Bass Scales course simultaneously, and read Ari’s first book in my down time. I was definitely on a mission LOL


Thanks for the feedback.

Main reason I was asking is that the introduction of the book states that you should keep your bass nearby when reading to apply what’s being read, leading me to wonder regarding clashing by doing multiple sets of learning at once, or rather based on that approach I’d have to choose each evening to do either the B2B course or the book due to both needing the bass the hand.

Shall take a look a little further in to the book and work out whether it’s too ahead of me or not right now


I’d suggest finishing B2B without sidetracking yourself. B2B gives you an intro to a bunch of things (theory being one of them), and you’ll have plenty of time to decide later which direction you want to go deeper into.


I think this is answered only when you’re playing and you hit an obstacle that only theory can solve.
Theory has always been a love of mine, but it has not necessarily helped my playing at all. It feeds my brain and lets me play with puzzles and patterns and helps me see the structure that supports some of the things that I play etc. But it doesn’t help - necessarily - with the nuts and bolts of playing the bass.
When I’m teaching, I’m always always always trying to ensure that there is a practical application for the theory concepts before I deploy them. There has to be a reason to learn it that can apply to something that the student is currently capable of playing/doing/understanding otherwise it can take the music away from the ear/musicianship/listening space and move it into the head space… which is not where groove lives.

Dunno if it’s helpful or not, but consider my 2 cents added!


I second this. It took me around half a year to complete the Ariane Cap book, because I found it bone dry. She spends like half the book going over the fingerings of every possible interval and chord and inversion. Which is definitely useful knowledge, but I found it extremely boring.

Immediately after the Ariane Cap book I went into another book about walking bass lines, and that’s what put all that boring knowledge into practice for me, and hammered those shapes into my tiny brain cells.

So in short, learning theory is nice and useful, but if you don’t do something else that puts that knowledge into practice, then it’s not going to be time well spent.


It really depends on you and your capacity for learning. To me, taking B2B, the TalkingBass Scales course, and reading Ari’s Theory for the Bass Player went hand in hand, and I had no problem doing them concurrently. I think of it as going back to college, where I took 2-4 courses per semester, but they all complimented one another.
I personally see nothing detrimental about doing a little theory reading in the evening before bed, after a day of watching B2B lessons and practicing on the bass. But like I said, it all depends on your capacity for learning, AND your desire to learn.


My problem with Ari mirrored yours exactly. I felt that what she was (and is still) teaching was way above my skill level.



Comprehensive music study is a multi-faceted thing.

Learning to play any instrument can and does focus largely on technique, i.e., how and why to touch and interact with an instrument in order to produce sounds. This includes learning keyboard and fingerboard layouts, note fingerings for wind and most brass instruments, etc.

Music theory study is integral to playing an instrument well in that it teaches players when and in what manner to manipulate the instrument in order to produce sounds of definite durations, rhythms, and dynamics.

B2B is an excellent example of a beginner course that teaches technique as well as the introductory fundamentals of music theory.

There are many excellent music theory books and online teachers that can take players further towards mastering the subject. The trick is finding the ones that click with you.

Some (many) teachers’ styles are too…something: dry, boring, annoying, disorganized, amateurish, overly cerebral, just plain lame, etc.

That said, there’s something and/or someone out there for each player who wants to learn more. You just gotta be prepared to kiss a few frogs in order to find The One. :frog:


Thanks again for the replies everyone.

Really appreciate how well articulated everyone’s input is. Lots of food for thought to mull over.

I particularly like the concepts around practical application of the theory and on the physical handling of the instrument.

I definitely have plenty of desire to learn, though the capacity is limited with working full time (whilst learning several new pieces of software too) and parenting two pre-school age tiny humans, so my time and headspace is capped somewhat.

In terms of whether or not Ari’s book js too dry I guess I’ll find out soon enough - will read a little later to get a feel for the book ahead of studying it in earnest. I’m someone who’ll read Philosophy for fun, so tend to get more enjoyment out of dry or dull stuff than some folks.

Cheers again

(also, thanks for giving me reason to look up what a semester is - in the UK we had the academic year broken up in to 3 terms, with each split in to 2 ‘half-terms’ of roughly 6 weeks each)



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