Strange Tricks for Practice. (Extremely Helpful)
Hey guys! Hope everything is alright with my fellow bassists!
I'd like to share with you some strange tricks that got my chops up in a short amount of time. I'm only 16 years old, I've been playing bass for only 2 1/2 years, and people are always telling me that I'm an amazing bassist. I never really believed them, honestly. I just always figured myself to be a quick learner. But then I started analyzing how I practice, and it became clear how I learned bass so quickly. I had been doing two very basic practice techniques that not too many bassists do, and I never really noticed it until recently. I don't want to scam people and make money off of this, so I might as well share it with my bass-fam! So, here we go!
Practice in front of a mirror.
When you read this, you might not think that practicing in front of a mirror does much help. But in reality, it aids you greatly in many ways. For example, some of us watch videos detailing how to play a song, a scale, a riff, or a chord. Clearly, you can see the front of the fretboard, and how the person in the video uses fingering to demonstrate how to fret the notes properly. Now, when we practice this ourselves, it's a bit different when we're looking at the fretboard from above. We can't see the frets at a perfect front-view angle. You may not realize it, but a lot of people find this difficult, especially if they have vision or stance problems. By practicing in front of a mirror, you can perfectly see your fretboard and you can use correct fingering techniques. You can also add in small things into your playstyle when sitting in front of a mirror to add some personality to the music. Not only does this help with some learning confusions, but by remembering what you saw in the mirror when you tirelessly repeated your practice sessions, you can learn a song much quicker. I'd recommend using a dresser mirror. One that is big enough for you to see your whole body.
Extend your forearm and elbow for your playing hand.
While the previous trick promotes mental memory, this trick promotes muscle memory. By extending the forearm and elbow of your right arm (or left, for all of my lefty bassists), you're exerting more energy into that playing hand. Most people sling their wrist over their bass, and all of the power is just in their fingers or wrist. If you just extend your arm out by a 45 degree angle, you're making your entire arm dedicate energy to your playing. This also works for people who use picks as well. You'll notice cleaner/more defined notes, some extra muscle tone in your arm, and more muscle memory for your playing. However, the key is not to tense or flex your muscles while playing. All you have to do is extend and play. Simple as that.
So by combining these two techniques together, you can play bass better visually, mentally, and physically. I've been using this since I first started playing bass, and it's helped in more ways that I can imagine. I hope you guys give it a try and leave some feedback.
Basses: Ibanez GSR190, Rogue LX 205B, Peavey Grind 5, Washburn Lyon, Samick HFB590 PBE|Amps: Kustom DE810h Cab, Kustom KXB200HR Head|Pedals: Digitech RP50, Vox V845