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A bit bored with Hal Leonard Approach

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dangodoes, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. dangodoes

    dangodoes

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    Hey Guys,

    I am a 8 year guitar player who has turned to the Low End. I am absolutely in love with my bass (Squier PJ) and I can even say I feel like I am having more fun than I ever did playing guitar. Just got to get the singing part down, but boy do I just love the fat strings.

    I try and jam with some friends of mine every 7 to 10 days and I have had my bass for about two weeks. When I jam with them I simply just notice what ever chords they are playing, play the bass/root notes of the chords, and then just experiment from there. Maybe from in a 2 right - 2 down to hit the octave.

    For practice and self-study, I recently got Hal Leonards Bass Method 1 - 3 from a friend of mine and have reached page 50 in the last two weeks. I do every exercise at 60, 100, and 140 bpm. But the more I work through this book the more bored I feel I am becoming with my practice... and that is not good. I really am drawn to music theory, but the way the book has presented this so far... I dont know how much i can take !!! lol.

    I want to be able to contribute more to my jam sessions but most of all I really want to truly understand this instrument and all of its beauty. I love the musical improvisation and it is a talent I really want to build on.

    I have been considering just going straight to chromatics, scales, etc.. but I really don't know where to begin. Analysis by paralysis maybe?? Lol

    Any ninjas :ninja: out there that have felt the same when they started and that have found a better approach than the one i'm taking?? Would love to hear from you!!!

    Again I am not running away from music theory, I just didnt like the way the book was presenting it.

    Thanks guys

    EDIT/ADD: I came across this website http://www.how-to-play-bass.com/article3-learning-songs.html and the guy's argument is quite convincing. Having fun is key, and I guess i have had a change of heart about playing songs.
  2. B Major

    B Major

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    I hear you man. I'm a beginner who's just cracking theory now and the best book that I've bought thus far is a bass arpeggio finder. It shows all arpeggios for all keys. From there, you'll really be able to play around the neck and experiment with different potential basslines, assuming you n the guys you jam with are in key..... The book was like $7 at GC and has been extremely helpful for me. Good luck!!!
  3. GastonD

    GastonD

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    Nobody says you cannot do jams and play around with your bass, while also keeping up the practice regimen with the book. Yeah, you may wanna balance those two for the optimal results, but in the end it should help making you better at doing what you enjoy.
  4. basskababble

    basskababble Supporting Member

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    I like the bass grimoire
  5. fearceol

    fearceol

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    +1. OP, there was no mention in your post about actually playing some music.

    Try playing along to some of your favourite songs. Find others to jam with. You dont have to run away from music theory, but at the same time, all work and no play ;) is not the way to go either.
  6. dangodoes

    dangodoes

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    Nice dude, I will definitely look for it.

    Yea I completely agree. I guess my post was more directed to "What should I be practicing so I can reinforce my jam sessions but most of all understand the bass?"
  7. dangodoes

    dangodoes

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    Yea I haven't tried doing tabs for my favorite songs. I am kind of scared of just becoming a copy cat lol. But I feel you and do see the benefits of it
  8. bassinplace

    bassinplace

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    I wouldn't recommend going the tab route. You'll learn a lot more by ear.
  9. fearceol

    fearceol

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    Everyone is influenced by someone else. The trick is to learn the basics by listening closely to the bass lines in songs, then try to copy, i.e. play along. Then later, when you have the basics down, is the time to find your own voice. How do you think we learned how to talk when we were infants ? It was n't by learning the alphabet or through grammer. We learned by listening to our parents and copying what they said. When we got older, we learned to put our own sentences together independently. Music, being a language, is the same. :)



    Absolutely agree. OP, dont become too dependent on tabs. Play along to songs and try to work things out for yourself. Even if you have to spend time fumbling on the fretboard to find the right note, it is time well spent. Developing your ear is an important part of the learning process.
  10. the_stone

    the_stone

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    You might try taking some songs with fairly easy-to-hear basslines (the Beatles "With A Little Help..." is the first one that springs to mind) and transcribing the bassline. Write it out or memorize it - either way, once you've got it under your fingers, put some of that basic theory to use. How does Macca outline the chords? When he plays fills, what notes is he using - chord tones vs. non-chord tones? When he plays non-chord tones, are they being used as neighbor tones (leave and return to the same chord tone) or passing tones (moving from 1 chord tone to the other). Once you have all that, start working up some variations to his bassline - that might get you started on coming up with your own creative basslines.
  11. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

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    We do scales, arpeggios, licks, riffs, etc. until we learn our instrument and where the notes are on our fretboard.

    When we have done that it's time to move on to songs. Scales, arpeggios, licks, riffs, etc. are now what we will use in our songs.

    Sounds like it's time to move on.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

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    Unless you are able to invent an entirely new approach to playing bass, you will be copying someone. It would be much easier to copy what other people are doing and then making it your own.
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

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    Are you also a guitar player convert? :p

    OP, I know this is going to sound weird since your a guitar player, but stop learning scales right now!!

    Learn chord tones! Once you know your basic chords, learn your intervals, not only to name them but be able to hear the sonic difference between them.

    Then you can worry about scales.

    The Bass Grimoire is nothing but scales, it is not an instructional book; you'll need to know your intervals and some basic theory to fully use it, they explain the required theory in the first chapter of the book but it might be confusing without a basic grasp of it or teacher.
  14. electracoyote

    electracoyote

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    The Hal Leonard Ed Friedland series is a good balanced primer. It doesn't focus too hard on any one thing, but still exposes the beginner to a lot of fundamentals of formal music and sight reading. Ed takes a pretty common-sense approach to fingering and technique as well.

    However, you do need some real-world applications beyond the book. The examples in the books, and the accompanying CD tracks, are quite good, but you should have some walking patterns and such to experiment with during jams. Learning favorite songs via TAB while you get your standard reading chops up is a good approach.
  15. Zephrant

    Zephrant

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    IMHO- There is nothing wrong with finding a tab to a song you like, and seeing what is there. Learn it, then see how you can modify it to fit your style more. Move to lower notes, move up the neck and play the same notes, change the riffs around, etc...

    I am working on "You sure look good in my shirt" now, got the tab from a post here, and it is great. I play along with an MP3 of the song and just learn what someone else thinks is there for the bass. I don't have to agree with it, but it gives me a great starting point.

    I can't yet listen to a song and pick out the bass and play it. Just don't have that skill yet, but show me the notes or tab, and I can see/feel how it fits in with the song.

    I still spend 15-20 minutes a day in the HL book, but that's more for building up reading skills. Playing songs is more fun.
  16. Reddog01

    Reddog01

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    I'm working my way through the Hal Leonard series also. I have gotten to the end of the second book. I agree that it seems boring sometimes. I tend to plow through several pages at a time and try to pay attention to the lesson(s) being taught (such as staying within the pattern of the scale). Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. I try to go back and replay and re-learn what I have already been over. I find that I don't play some of those previously reviewed exercises as well as I hoped I could. I'll go over them several days in a row. Then I move on a bit.

    Look, I have my bachelor's degree in music, and I know that the only way to improve is to pay attention to the laborious stuff. I once knew a fellow musician who would say that he was willing to do anything to get better, except practice. Of course, he was trying to make a point. I worked in the public school system for many years. During that time, I had the pleasure of watching many kids begin their musical adventure with band and orchestra instruments. What I observed time and time again was that once the excitement of the new instrument wore off, once the shininess of the new horn faded, they found that it took work to learn their instruments. Some wanted to bail out and some loved the challenge. They found that it was much more than fun and games to become proficient. I have learned several other instruments by cutting corners. I found that at some point I had really handicapped myself because I didn't have the knowledge or skill to play some of the things that I really wanted to play. I have decided that I will not make that mistake on my bass guitar venture.

    I have taken a look at the etudes in the 3rd book, and they look very challenging to me. I look forward to the day that I play them successfully. I've got plenty of work to do!!
  17. fearceol

    fearceol

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    I agree entirely. The problem is when people use tabs exclusively and rely on nothing else when learning songs. Usually after a year or two, they find themselves in a dead end rut that they find hard to get out of.

    Tabs are like alcohol.......enjoy in moderation ! ;)
  18. wrench45us

    wrench45us

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    I'm going to suggest a tangential approach.
    Pick up an inexpensive digital keyboard.
    Pick up Rikky Rooksby book on songwriting for keyboards
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Songs-Keyboards-Softcover/dp/0879308621


    or given the background in guitar one of his series on songwriting for guitar
    Absorb his gentle approach as theory is applied to how song structure/chord progression works and build your own bass lines as you move through his examples.

    http://www.amazon.com/How-To-Write-Songs-Guitar/dp/0879309423


    http://www.amazon.com/The-Songwriting-Sourcebook-Expanded-Fastforward/dp/0879309598/ref=pd_sim_b_1

    It's all applied practical working knowledge, and great ear training to hear the chord changes. Not at all dry and provides some incentive to jump back in to the work through the fundamentals.
  19. Mushroo

    Mushroo

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    Exercises and scales are just gymnastics so we can feel we are "putting in the practice hours" without actually learning any music. Nobody pays $500 a seat to hear Keith Richards play scales and Mick Jagger run his vocal warmups! If you are not spending the majority of the time you have the bass in your hands learning to play your favorite songs (or jamming on them with your friends), then it's no wonder you are bored! ;)

    If transcribing songs by ear is difficult for you (and it is for most people) that is your ears telling you that you should be spending at least 51% of each practice session addressing your biggest musical weakness by learning your favorite songs by ear.

    I can tell you "you could possibly use the C Major Pentatonic scale in Song X," but what does MY opinion matter? What did McCartney/Jamerson/Geddy/Wooten/Sting/Fieldy/etc. actually play on the recording, and why does it sound good in the context of the song? That is the first "music theory" that you need to learn; the rest comes later. ;)
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

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    As I said earlier, learn your intervals, not only the ability to name them but the ability to hear the sonic difference between the intervals.

    I assure you that your ear improves ten fold and learning songs by ear becomes exponentially easier.

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