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A question about progress and direction

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BioDragoon, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. BioDragoon


    Jun 24, 2005
    Reseda, CA
    To start off...I am 16 (17 in 3 months), and I've been playing bass for about 3 1/2 years now. I am self-taught, using tabs originally.

    For the past couple of months, everything I've been doing has been by ear...listening to random classic rock, metal, whatever...and playing it. I've had some jam sessions with my drummer pal, and it's all been peachy. Tried to teach myself electric (a year into it), but after playing things like Metallica, I've only succeeded at mastering power chords :meh:

    I love my Fender Precision. It's an oldie...I think '86 or something, pre-CBS (and I don't know what that means). The action, as well, is really high. While I like it (not much "twang"), it makes it difficult to play certain styles, and with a pick.

    Now, to the point of this post.

    When I read everybody's posts (and everybody's anything about bass, anywhere)...there is alot of technical mumbo jumbo and "presumed knowledge" that I do not understand.

    Where would I go about learning about the technicalities of bass...as a jobless highschooler, I can't afford any type of lesson...and yet I would like to learn slap and whatnot, but more importantly, all the engineering information.

    It makes comprehension much easier.

    Thanks :)

  2. You already have the most valuable bass resource in the world (IMHO) at your disposal -TB!!

    Check out the Setup forum, ask Mike forum etc. Alternately, PM some of the members who you think might be able to help you out with your questions. :cool:
  3. BioDragoon


    Jun 24, 2005
    Reseda, CA
    Thanks :) I'll get right on that!
  4. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Not to rain on your parade, but an '86 bass is not pre-CBS. CBS bought FMIC from Leo in 1964, so you would need a '63 or earlier bass in order for it to be pre-CBS.

    That out of the way, spend some time in the General Instruction forum here. There are tons of links in the stickied threads in that forum and someone asks a good question just about every day.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    An 86 is post CBS, not pre, which makes it a cut above the CBS models.

    Since you can't afford lessons, maybe you can go and find bass players who know more than you and will show you stuff for free. Also, take your bass to a luthier and get it set up properly for your style. It doesn't cost much for a setup, maybe $30 tops. I know it sounds like a lot to someone in high school with no job, but bass playing is not a cheap hobby.
  6. BioDragoon


    Jun 24, 2005
    Reseda, CA
    I forgot the year, and was told it was Pre-CBS. Like I said...I really wouldn't know :) I have a passion for playing, but it hasn't leaked into the details :smug:

    Yeah, I've really wanted my action lowered, and that's about it. I can get that covered.

    As for technique...it doesn't bug me too much. I learn whatever theory I can from studying other songs, reading up online, etc....and when I am in college (this is my last year of high school), I hope to broaden my musical knowledge. Until then, I'm just one of those bass players, and I have no problem with that :D

    Thanks for your advice!

    EDIT: Let me get to a more inquiring question. How did you all grow to become the bassists you are now? What was your defining BEGINNING? Lessons, whatever....I always think about the goal and the progress, but I think it is nice to know what kind of foundations should be built in order to properly move on.
  7. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    My defining beginning was playing a one-string tub bass for the hell of it over at some bluegrass picking friend's house way back a long time ago. :) It definitely wasn't easy at first, but after a few hours I definitely had some grooves going. At least enough that they asked me to come back and play with them again sometime.

    I did this for a few weeks and got hooked on holding down the bottom. So, I went out and got me a Squier P-bass kit. LOL you want to talk about high action! I could drive a truck between the strings & fretboard until I spent $35 and got a good setup done on it.

    Anyway, I fooled around with that and some books I picked up, but wasn't getting too far with it. I decided that if I really wanted to get into it I needed lessons. So I found a studio in the area that had an honest to goodness gigging bassist for a teacher and spent a solid 1.5 years learning theory, reading bass clef, blues/jazz forms and all kinds of good stuff. I had to stop in my last year of college because 4th level courses were really draining but I definitely grew the most while taking lessons.

    My next step is finding other people to jam with. I'm actually hooking up with an old guitar playing buddy today that I hadn't seen since '92 until I chanced upon him at the music shop while he was picking up strings and I was picking up a metronome. :)
  8. BioDragoon


    Jun 24, 2005
    Reseda, CA
    I figure I'll keep playing like I am (which really isn't that bad), jamming with my bro (drummer) and my dad (bassist...so I usually play guitar, or sometimes we double bass!)...

    Next year I'm playing on the worship team (yeah, I'm a Christian), so that right there will be alot of simple lines with room for some neat licks.

    When I am in college, driving, and hopefully making money, I intend to take some lessons and if prior learning isn't necessary, take a music course.
  9. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'm not much older than you......I messed around on bass awhile before actually learning how to play it. The first things i learned were from tab, i did guitar society at my middle school, played in a "rocK''-looking back, we really really really sucked. I did play cello in the school orchestra in middle school.

    I started the progression to where i am now late my 8th grade year into the summer before freshman year. I joined the school jazz band in 8th grade and that lead to me being asked to do: marching band, jazz band, and show band by the high school directors. I started taking lessons that summer also. I also joined a few more school bands so all total i was doing: marching band, jazz band, show choir band, concert band, show [pep] band, while taking lessons. I learned by the seat of my pants for the most part-my lesson were about twice a month on average, sometimes we'd have 4, sometimes we wouldn't have any-we both had full schedules. So playing often, having to read, and being expected to have it right fast has lead me to my current point.

    The other thing that i started to do which helped out an immense amount was i started to practice every school day morning for 30mins to an hour depending on what time the band room was unlocked. Gradually, my practice routine got up to about 3hrs a day of individual practice time. I've really slacked off this summer-i've played about an hour a day so far-a few days i played for 4, but has been more along the 1 hour a day bit. FWIW, I'm a doubler {play electric bass and upright bass} . I'm playing with a local college big band for their fourth of july concert [Purdue University Summer Jazz Band] and i'll be studying jazz this fall @ Roosevelt University in Chicago.

    So the main things that have helped me get where i am now was taking lessons, playing often, playing in every band i could, and mainly when i wasn't playing-i was on here trying to pickup what i could. I still have a looooooonnnnnnnggggg way to go before i'm good though, reading parts that are more complicated than typically big band bass parts is difficult for me so i'm working on that via etude books and the Real Book so i can read Jazz Heads.

    The worship team-i've played for one for a few months now. I dig it. It's been a blast playing Praise & Worship music. Just enough space to stretch while having to use enough restraint to know when *not* to play. I hope you enjoy it.

    You said that your dad plays bass-will he give you lessons?

    That's all-if you have any specifics feel free to get ahold of me either via PM or AIM. Links for clips of me playing are in my info.
  10. BioDragoon


    Jun 24, 2005
    Reseda, CA
    My dad learned on his own as well :) We both play by feeling and "what sounds right"...there is no theory backing my stuff.

    That's not to say I don't sound good :) I actually am not bad at the bass. It's my passion, and most people who have heard me play have been impressed.

    I'd like theory because it's a good tool, and I MUST learn to read music, but I don't want to cloud my methods.

    I play every day...I am addicted to "World of Warcraft", so I am usually sitting around in my room, but I always have my bass strapped up and I'm playing just about...always. I was recommended to look into Jazz, and I want to check out some good Jazz bassists and stuff.

    Also, I want to try a Chapman Stick. Has anyone tried THAT? It looked INSANE. I'm sure I will have no control over it, but it's worth looking into. Speaking of Chapman Stick, I want to learn "Tapping". But I don't think it'll work with my bass' high action. I can probably fit a dime (standing) between fretboard and strings.

    I'm glad my action has always been high...knowing no different, I've trained on a bass that's harder to play. When I play the newer basses and basses with lower actions, it's incredibly simple.

    For reference, the hardest bass line I've ever played off a tab is Rammstein's "Seeman".


    The line is constant, and fast.
  11. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    The turning point for me where I turned from "wannabe rockstar" bassist to serious bassist is when I started taking lessons. First thing my teacher said: "You're playing wrong." I was holding my left wrist at a right angle, as I always had done, and now I know that to be bad technique that hinders playing.

    My teacher crammed tons of theory, jazz, and funk into my head. I learned walking, slap-and-pop, jazz soloing, all sorts of stuff. I had always been a sub-par reader, but then I played in a production of Seussical. Playing in a musical is an education in and of itself. Now I'm an average reader, certainly not amazing or fast, but I can pound stuff out pretty reliably. Been working a lot on reading treble cleff now that I feel pretty comfortable in bass clef.

    I'd encourage you to find a way to get lessons. Best thing you can do for yourself. Failing that, get a couple good instruction books. My teacher has written a bunch, so let me know if you want a link.

    And for god's sake, get a setup. :) Or better yet, do it yourself. Learning to set up your basses is a very good thing to do.
  12. BioDragoon


    Jun 24, 2005
    Reseda, CA
    Actually, this bass IS Pre-CBS, and I screwed up the date. Just learned that little factoid :p Not that it really changes anything.
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000

    I believe my uncle learned the same way you and your dad have. He is a killer player, IMO. However, he did end up learning at least some theory. IME, as a bassist, theory is about 50% of what we do/need to know. The other 50%? feel/time. I know others will disagree. The phrase "if it sounds good-it is good" applies. I'm guessing you know some theory, but don't realize it. From the lessons i took, it made some things i just took for granted or as things that are "just because" make sense with a reason for it.

    If you want to know of some good Jazz Bassists and recordings-definately recommend checking out the Bassists and Recordings forums. Not only in the BG side, but also the DB. I play both and playing both has caused me to think things a bit differently. E.g. from what i'm learning DB players tend to use more open fingerings where they use open strings vs. EBG use more closed position stuff. So some of the stuff that i play where it requires shifting-i use the DB shifts/open strings, yet also-learning the closed position stuff on BG has made me realize i have many more fingering options on DB than i thought i did.

    The instrument setup....you've already learned playing an instrument that is well setup can make many things lots easier to do/play.

    Take it easy.

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