Bass EncycloMedia is Total Fretboard Knowledge In One Book – by Mike Overly

March 17, 2022

Igor and BEM

Allow me to introduce you to the Master of the Extended Range 8-String Bass, Igor Saavedra, and his endorsement of Bass EncycloMedia!

“The depth of information and the author’s ability to find the best and most innovative ways to present the fundamental aspects of music surprised me. I found the use of scale degrees to symbolize sound on the fretboard to be a creative, realistic and direct approach that is of tremendous benefit to those wanting to understand music theory on the bass. And the immediate application of acquired musical knowledge to a specific song greatly enhances long term memory. I highly recommend Bass EncycloMedia to any one who wants to build a solid foundation of the melodic and harmonic aspects of the Bass. My most sincere congratulations to Mike Overly for writing this fantastic educational tool.” – Igor Saavedra

Yes, you’re a bass player, but you’re more than just a bass player! You’re a musician, thinking and speaking the language of music that you apply to the bass, thus becoming a student of the bass.

Bass EncycloMedia is based on the premise that music is a language, and that if you knew the music alphabet of 12 Sounds and 21 letter and  number Symbols, you could spell any chord, scale, arpeggio or mode and then combine this vocabulary to play any song in any style.

So, where does music begin? Like most languages, with an alphabet. Now, you’ve known the English alphabet of 26 letters most of your life, but, do you know all the words in the dictionary? We know the answer to that question. However, do you know every letter in the dictionary? Yes! So the question becomes, if you know every letter in the dictionary, why don’t you know every word? The answer, because you don’t know how to spell them.

On your first day of school they didn’t give you a book of Shakespeare and a dictionary and say go home you’re finished. You understand that’s absurd. However, that’s what you’re trying to do with the bass. You think, I want to play this song. Then, you open a song book, look the first chord symbol, find it in your chord dictionary, try to finger it and memorize it and then move on to the next chord and start the process all over again. You will never learn to play bass with that approach.

Think of it this way. In the first grade, you memorized a list of vocabulary words that you could spell. This enabled you to read a story that contained those words. Then you learned a new list of words, read a new story, a new list, a new story, and so on. Until finally, years later, you could read that book of Shakespeare. This is also the way you must learn and understand the language of music: as chords, scales, arpeggios and modes that you can spell. This is your music vocabulary and with this vocabulary you can play.

Now, here’s something interesting. Pythagoras told us that if we take a string length and divide the string in half, the frequency is doubled and the octave is created. On the bass, from the nut to the bridge is one string length. And since there are 12 pitches in an octave, fret 12 divides the string in half. Here’s the important part. While it’s true there are 12 pitches in an octave, there are only 7 letters in the music alphabet: A B C D E F G. This leaves us with a bit of a problem: how do we name the 12 pitches if there are only 7 letter? Sharps and flats answers this question.

Most bass methods start with four open strings and a three fret vertical view of the fretboard. This creates a big problem because it locks you into one position and makes moving up the fretboard very difficult. However, by seeing each string as a horizontal letter set, and then vertically grouping chord and scale forms, moving up and down the fretboard is easy.

 Bass EncycloMedia teaches you to see the bass as letters and tone numbers on the fretboard. This enables you to learn and remember chords, as well as scales and arpeggios and modes easily by spelling them. Trying to learn and remember hundreds of chords, scales, arpeggios and modes as block diagrams of dot or finger patterns will never happen.

One of the most important ideas for turning a bass player into a dynamic musician is to think of the chord, scale, arpeggio and mode letters as scale degree tone numbers. Here’s what I mean. The C Major scale: C D E F G A B can simply be thought of as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. This is an important and useful insight because when you change keys, all the letters change, but, the tone numbers remain the same. Thinking in tone numbers allows you can easily play in all keys.

Earlier we learned that if we knew all the letters of the alphabet we could spell all the words in the dictionary. In the same way, if you knew the musical alphabet of 7 natural, 7 sharp and 7 flat letters and tone numbers on the bass fretboard, you could spell and play every chord, scale, arpeggio, mode and song, in all keys. But, you must have a progressive method to get through the complex vocabulary of music, and Bass EncycloMedia is that sequential method.

It’s important to note that Bass EncycloMedia doesn’t use staff notation to symbolize the sound of music, or TAB to show its location on the bass. Instead, alpha-numeric fretboard diagrams of letters and tone number are used. which makes learning fast, easy and fun and makes it possible to play something different, every time with every song.

As a general statement, Bass EncycloMedia presents its material in four parts: chord, scale, arpeggio and song. In traditional music theory, an in-order scale is presented first, and then from the letters and tone numbers of that scale, chords and arpeggios are spelled and constructed. However, Bass EncycloMedia introduce chords first because when we improvise, we hear the harmony of a song first, and then play an out-of-order scale melody that fits the chords.

Bass EncycloMedia presents five moveable barre chord forms, which are created by vertically grouping the letters and tones of a chord in one position. Each one of the five forms exploded into thousands of fragments on the bass, which enables you to play something different, every time, with every song. In addition, seven forms of vertically grouped scales and arpeggios are presented, and once again there are thousands upon thousands of fragmented possibilities.

By studying and applying the knowledge of Bass EncycloMedia, you will also discover many innovative ways to reveal the hidden secrets of the 5 Chord Forms and 7 Scale and Arpeggio Forms on your fretboard. Also, there are 42 songs included in Bass EncycloMedia, and every song has been analyzed to show each chord’s corresponding tonal center scale and mode application, providing you with many opportunities to play the chords, scales and arpeggios as you learn them. Also, numerous substitution ideas are presented, which suggest endless variations.

Bass knowledge is the most complete reference of chords, scales and arpeggios available, containing 323 pages of essential information needed to perform any song in any key and in any style.

Bass EncycloMedia has an index and a Fast Table, which is a table of contents and an index combined, making it the fastest and easiest way to locate any chord, scale or arpeggio by simply scrolling across the columns and moving down the rows.

Bass EncycloMedia thoroughly explains how chords, scales and arpeggios combine with one another, enabling you to play something completely different every time with every song.

Here are A Few More Important Ideas You will Discover:

Letter and Tone Fretboard Charts
Open Major Chords
Five Major Chord Forms
Diatonic and Chromatic Intervals
Nine Triads
Chord and Arpeggio Spelling Chart
Key Signatures
Major Scale Letter Chart
One Fret Rule
Seven Scale and Arpeggio Forms
Octaves Chart
Major Scale Harmony
Circle of Fifths
Major Scale Modes
Alterations and Extensions
Minor Chords
Natural Minor Scale and Progressions
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Power Chords
TAB and Staff Notation
Major Pentatonic Scale
Chord Substitutions
Blues Scale and Harmony
12 Bar Blues Progressions
Major Scale Tonal Center
ii-V-I Progression
Augmented, Suspended and Diminished Triads
Whole Tone Scales
Slash Chords and Progressions
Melodic Minor Scale and Modes
Dominant Seventh Altered
Flat-Five Substitution
Harmonic Minor Scale and Modes
Diminished Scale Construction
Major and Minor Turnarounds
Chord and Arpeggio Construction
Scale and Mode Tone Spellings
Enharmonic Chords
Overlapping Chords and Arpeggios
Chord-Arpeggio-Scale/Mode Relations
plus Much More…

Get your copy of Bass EncycloMedia today and discover why bassists everywhere are raving about this amazing book that enables you to fully understand the Bass Fretboard.

Igor’s photo is by Denisse Oehlmann


Bass Tone Rows – by Mike Overly

March 2, 2017

Bass GuitarI want to thank Dave Tuckman & Kevin Smith at for featuring my video lesson “Bass Tone Rows” in their March 2017 newsletter.

To receive FREE SHIPPING on all products written by GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly in the store or the store. Use code 9B63EUWT at checkout. Domestic orders only. Offer ends March 9, 2017.

P.S. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

12 Tone Music Publishing, LLC
P. O. Box 20564
Dayton, Ohio 45420 and are subsidiaries of 12 Tone Music Publishing, LLC.


Walking Bass – Part 1 by GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly

September 1, 2016

Join me as I share some walking bass ideas over a 12 bar harmony progression.


Please like and share and leave a comment below.

The Philosophy and Tools of Esperanza Spalding – presented by Mike Overly

July 14, 2016

EsperanzaEsperanza Spalding is an improvisational sensation that became a household name in 2011, after winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist over superstars such as Justin Bieber, Drake, and Florence and the Machine. She embodies the examination of self through an alter ego defined as Emily who came to the composer in a moment of clarity amidst tired routine. Emily can be seen as a guide into the exploration of possibilities—an evolving philosophy that navigates who we have been, who we are now, and who we can be.

The following interview explores the Philosophy and Tools of Esperanza Spalding’s D+Evolution.


EncycloMedia – written by Grammy-Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly ~ is as essential as your guitar or bass.

Order now through July 21 and receive FREE SHIPPING on all products in the 12 Tone Music store. Use code RHCBY77R at checkout. Domestic orders only.

EncycloMedia is total fretboard knowledge in one book!

Z Angle Bass with GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly

June 1, 2016

Join GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly as he presents how to play a two-octave scale on a 4 string bass by applying the Z Angle connector.

12 Tone Music Newsletter 03-17-2016 ~ by Mike Overly

March 17, 2016

Dada MusicYou’re gonna wanna read this latest 12 Tone Music Newsletter ~ Dada Music ~ written by GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator and author of Guitar and Bass EncycloMedia Mike Overly . . .

LOW: The Power and Beauty of Bass ~ Presented by Mike Overly

November 19, 2015

LowIn broad acoustic terms, Bass refers to sounds that fall below 262 Hertz on the frequency spectrum. In musical terms it can refer to the instruments that make those low sounds as well as the sounds themselves. Its presence in music is critical. The pulse laid down by the bass is like an engine. A whole band will move or not move depending on the actions of the bass. And the notes played in the bassline are like a compass. The lowest sounding pitch can help us find true north, or the harmony of the music.

From November 8, 2015 through July 31, 2016, the Museum of Making Music will introduces several aspects of the low register ~ bass ~ experience. This exhibition will encourage visitors to SEE, HEAR, and FEEL low sound by engaging them with different interactives. It is hoped that this exhibition will open your eyes, ears and imagination to this sonic realm, and to inspire you to incorporate this new awareness into your everyday activities . . .

Bootsy, Marshall and MeAnd be sure to check out Bass EncycloMedia written by two-time GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator Mike Overly

What do Bootsy, Marshall and Author Mike Overly Want You to Know?

Bass EncycloMedia is a most profound revelation! I am certain that this book, written with cool analysis and prophetic vision, will have a most significant effect on any player who studies it. It is an important contribution to those thinking bass.” – Marshall Jones, Mega Bass Master for the Ohio Players.

Let Bass EncycloMedia show you how to dramatically improve your playing by learning 7 Forms on the holistic fretboard so that you can easily play all the chord, scale and arpeggio fragments. With over 323 pages of total fretboard knowledge in one book, Bass EncycloMedia thoroughly explains how to play something uniquely different every time with every song!

Order now through November 30 to receive FREE SHIPPING on this amazing book that has bassists everywhere raving about their ability to finally understand the bass fretboard. Use code “6NWJGGCF” at checkout. Domestic orders only.

Bass EncycloMedia ~ taking bass to the next degree!

The Neuroscience of Bass – presented by Mike Overly

October 29, 2015

Fender Jazz BassThis is old news to those of us who play Bass, but, just in case you don’t, let this article serve as an introduction to the wonders of the Low End . . .

12 Tone Music Newsletter 11/13/15 ~ by Mike Overly

October 8, 2015

EdisonYou’re gonna wanna read this latest 12 Tone Music Newsletter ~ First Recordings Ever Made ~ written by two-time GRAMMY® Nominated Music Educator and author of Guitar and Bass EncycloMedia Mike Overly . . .

Interview with 8-String Bass Pioneer Igor Saavedra – by Mike Overly

September 17, 2015
Igor and BEMYou’re gonna wanna read this amazing 8-String Bass Pioneer Igor Saavedra interview with two-time nominated GRAMMY® Music Educator and author of Bass EncycloMedia Mike Overly.

Born and raised in Chile, Igor Saavedra is considered one of the world’s most innovative and influential bassists and an absolute virtuosic Master of the Extended Range Bass. He has performed solo concerts and master classes around the world and has the honor of being the first South American bassist to be featured at Bass Player Live. Igor has been in almost all of the great bass magazines including: Bass Player, Bass Musician and Bass Guitar. He has also been seen and heard on TV and Radio, including a CNN interview. He is officially sponsored by some of the worlds most prestigious music and bass brands, including: Phil Jones Bass Amps, Prat Basses, La Bella Strings and Wittner Metronomes. Igor is currently writing, teaching, and performing.

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