How to practice?
Hello, I've been playing the bass for several years now. However, although people think I've been doing well, I always have this feeling that I'm doing it wrong. I tried studying books, playing covers, and even randomly play. But it always come to this problem where I don't know what to do. I feel I want to practice so much but when I start setting up I just don't know what to do. Is there any syllabus or something for technique improvement as well as rhythm improvement because, also, I don't have except a couple of ideas I'm always stuck to when it comes to jamming.
I charge $30 for a half hour for answering that question.
Well thank you man.. Trust me if it's affordable I would have taken classes
Sorry for the smart answer but honestly there's a ton of free material out there. Basically just learn music you love and you'll become the musician you want to be. If it's common stuff you can usually use Google to find an analysis or discussion of the song that'll help with the theory side.
However specific questions are most quickly answered by a teacher. Even if it's only a couple lessons or one every couple months
A teacher cannot tell you why you are training...
...and once you know why, then you can start on what to train, and how to
I play along to records a lot for practice. Makes it more fun and definitely improves my chops. I'm not big on scales and arpeggios.
I mean if I want to improve my agility, or slapping, or mutes.. If I want to schedule it so each day I've a couple of hours practicing.. What should be the scenario of practicing.. With metronome, without, what should I do etc..
Why are you bothering to play music?
Why did you pick bass as your instrument?
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
What kind of music did you hear today that you have not heard before?
What music did you hear today that you have not heard for many years?
What kind of musicians do you play with?
When will you perform next?
What kind of music did you like 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Where do you see yourself with your music in 5 years? 10 years?
What have you heard a bass player do that you can't do?
What will you do today with your bass that will make you a (slightly) better player tomorrow?
As a player thats been playing for 9 months, for practice I find a track I want to play and I learn to play it. Theres a ton of youtube videos that cover pretty much every aspect. Heres some channels you should take a look at, all of which have helped me...
Scotts Bass Lessons
Learn Bass.net (very cool guy)
Take a look at how-to-play-bass.com too.
I've always believed there's no right or wrong way to practice as long as you are playing! Just play. Look up tabs to some of your favorite songs and play along or just make your own basslines.
I have always treated practicing similar to working out. I do a 15 min forearm stretch and play a slow chromatic scale to limber up my fingers. I then proceed to do 20 minute intervals.
20 mins- practicing with metronome
20 mins- sight reading
20 mins- ear training. Try goodear.com
20 mins right hand/left hand technique. Working on muting and string-crossing
20 mins- grooving. James jamerson book
20 min- transcription. I will sit down and figure out something Matt Garrison is doing for example and then I will analyze it harmonically.
My final suggestion would be that if you need some ideas as to what exercises to practice for endurance and stamina then watch the Jaco instructional dvd. Some priceless melodic exercises to try!!!!
Practise anything you can think of....
Even if you think it's too difficult to play.
Everything from simple finger exercises on up.
As Yoda said:- "there is no try...there is only do".
Mate, get on to Youtube, type in bass lesson and sift through the many different tutorials available from many different teachers and artists, it's a wealth of information. I learn how to practice not how to play, the rule of thumb, practice slowly and get it right, forget about speed!
Like tleebassist11 said, take your allotted practice time and divide it up into segments. Figure out what it is that you want to get better at, and design your own practice routine. Get a book like Bass Aerobics or Bass Fitness to lay out some exercises. Spend a little time on them, then move on to learning songs/licks/solos from other bassists. Learning songs is a great way to learn theory because you can sort of see into the brain of the bassist that wrote it. You can see how they move over chord changes and what notes in the scale they use to do it… but make sure you challenge yourself a bit with those songs too.
In contrast to various wind instruments for example, you can hardly do anything wrong on bass guitar if you follow some simple guidelines. At least if you don't want to end up with carpal tunnel ten years down the line.
An easy-to-play setup that makes it unnecessary to dig in like a monkey is a huge step towards safer bassing. Just saying... pet peeve of mine.
I disagree 100%. You most certainly can practice wrong. I'd be willing to say a lot of people don't know how to properly practice.
Practice? Please define - such an odd word. Must be a French word?? :)
2 helpfull answers out of lot of BS
My routine is practice with the band one day a week. A couple times a month i have "intense" practices at home, and then i have casual practices a couple times a week. Basically i play a bass at least every other day. Practice with the band is pretty self explanatory and it's the only time i normally play with my full rig. When i do the casual practices literally sit on the couch while my daughters watching shrek or whatever and my wife's at work and play without my bass plugged in. That's really more about keeping my hands "in shape" and keeping the muscle memory and so on. When i have "intense" practice i sit down with a bass, my pod hd which is connected to my laptop and headphones and i actually go on YouTube and try to find anything i can worth learning. Mostly lessons with famous flashy players like Wooten and Bailey. Sometimes Scott's bass lessons. But the point of practicing like that is to continue developing. I've been playing 20 years and i still constantly learn new things. I'm pretty open minded with it. For example I play in a hard rock band and might only slap on part of one song on an entire album but i still spend time getting better. Lately I've been trying to get better with sweeping and so on. Another thing i can do at the computer is sight reading. I was a band geek in high school an bass wasn't my first instrument so i can read bass clef and treble clef pretty well. So I'll learn to play just about any sheet music i can find. For example one of the things i did recentl was sit down and learn sheet music for piano for the theme to terminator 2, i can play it two Hand tapping. I'm left handed and play right and found a bass lesson a long time ago that was about mimicking animals so sometimes ill actually look for animal videos. For example ill practice a "trotting" pattern like a horse makes when they run, moose calls, all kinds of fun crazy stuff. You'd be suprised how trying to mimic the sound of a horse running can help improve your right hand
For rhythm improvement I prefer drumtracks over metronome..
There are so many different types of drumtracks that practising "lock in" is much more effective than with a one-dimensional metronome.
I pick a drumtrack and I will practise loops and riffs and make them up as I go along.
I practise all over the neck switching notes ...to get the diversity...instead of trying to find the closest easiest shortest finger routes.
Sometimes I will pick a simple song and then use the practise session up playing that song in every key possible.
I deliberately challenge myself with all sorts of finger positions.
Sometimes I'll go "Sheehan" and just pick one note over and over for timing.
Playing with a pick is fairly easy......so 90% of my time I practise finger picking without a pick.
Music theory factors in but I don't worry too much about it when I'm playing.........(you can't drive a car down the road while reading the owner's manual at the same time).
There are all kinds of finger/note exercises (and don't forget stretching)........if I run out of those I just make up ones that are difficult to play.
I am always checking my playing style for flaws.
Sometimes I stand in front of a mirror and watch myself play........I often catch myself doing stuff I wasn't aware of.
Then I correct it.
All kinds of ways to practise.
BTW...it doesn't have to be fast to be good...........practising speed playing ALL the time is in my view counterproductive.
Personally I don't spend much time at all trying to sound like someone else (like some famous rock star etc). There are certainly famous riffs that I will noodle with.
I practise "styles" though.
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