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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Nomadic Herder, Nov 28, 2000.

  1. I am relatively new to bass. (3 weeks, played geetar for 6 months previous) I know all the notes. I can play simple root note stuff like Nirvana. Ive been trying to play some Chili Peppers. Its hard. Is there some kind of step in between simple and hard that I missed. Or should I keep going and learn the harder stuff?
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Personally, I don't know if there's just one way to answer this question. I think it's great to continue to challenge yourself. Playing simple root notes may seem simple, but it's also a good way to work on your rhythm and timing. The harder stuff, like Chili Peppers, is a good challenge, but may not be practical at this point.

    I think it's great to listen to the harder stuff, and great to try and challenge yourself by trying out some of the licks, but that should be a small part of your studies. I strongly encourage you to seek out a teacher. If you can't find an affordable private teacher, (try music store postings of http://www.harmony-central.com), also check out local programs at your school, or even junior colleges in the area. Many times you can get in on one of their programs, depending upon their rules.

    The foundation really is in theory. Learning scales and arpeggios (chords) could not be more important to a bass player. Building a solid foundation there will help you understand how the more difficult bass lines are produced. Of course, then you've got ear training, rhythm training, technique.

    I don't know if this is too broad? Does this help at all?

    By the way, I'm sure I'm leaving a lot out, but I'm sure everyone else here can help me out.
  3. Yes, there is an intermediate step between Nirvana and RHCP. How about the Brady Bunch theme, or Peter Gunn, or something from the songs that you know by heart. What you need to do is get comfortable playing the bass, so play as much stuff as you can that you know STONE COLD.

    You must progress up to the RHCP type stuff. No shortcuts. Get with an experienced bass player who can steer you in the right direction (lessons). 3 months is VERY early in the learning curve. Slow down, be patient, and gradually work your way up.

    Also, remember that the bass playing of a (Flea, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller) is particular to him. You may NEVER be able to play a CERTAIN song the way he does. But when you find your OWN voice on the instrument, then Flea may be stuggling to play like you -).

    O.K. one, two, three, 'Here's the story, of a ....'

  4. Borderline


    Oct 30, 2000
    As a kind of devil's advocate position, I have always learned best by jumping in way over my head, picking a piece that I know will be very difficult, and practicing for weeks or even months until I get it right. Once I have gotten it down, I then take the time to go back and figure out why it works the way it does and why it is structured the way it is.

    It may be a totally backwards way to learn how to play, I don't know. For me, however, it has always yielded good results.
  5. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo MusicMan & Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA.
    Something else that might help (and get into the habit while you can) is to hum or "sing" the line your trying to play it will should be easier to find the notes your searching for and will help you remember the tones of the notes you play for future use. Some drummers that I've played with have done this as far as beats are conserned and it helps them. I rarely am able to since I finally started after 11 years of playing. It also might help you if you ever choose to play and sing at the same time.....mabye. I also kind of believe lessons can be resrictive on learning because alot of teachers teach what not to do and when has art ever held boundries, or followed a code of right and wrong. I've self taught myself since age 11(I'm 22 now) and am proud of it but I don't know virtually any theory at all. It's all up to you in the end, there's pro's and con's. These are just a few things I wish I had known when I started......Good Luck.

    [Edited by FiXeR on 12-12-2000 at 01:19 PM]
  6. If possible,get together with other musicians.You can learn things you might not find out on your own.Sooner or later you'll have to interact anyways.Try and jam with other bassists too;playing with other musicans definitely exposes you to more information and ideas.Good luck and don't forget to have fun.
  7. Hmmm....Ive been able to figure out a few RHCP songs. If ya break a song up into little parts its easier. Woah! Ive gotten together with fellow musicians. Im good friends with 3 guitarists (there do seem to be a lot around here...) and a bassist. I dont think Im going to go the teacher route, unless feeding off my musician friends counts?. Just about everything else I do, Ive figured out myself. But Ill keep my mind open. And stuff.
  8. Keeping an open mind is crucial to learning.You will encounter different philosophies concerning bass playing and music in general.It's up to you what you'll take to heart and what may possibly be crap.The only limitations in your pursuit will be left up to you.If you can be proficient in music theory i.e. sight reading,you will undoubtably have an edge over a functioning illiterate like me.Knowing and applying theory opens many doors,and in this life,you definitely want to utilize as many options as possible.
  9. EdgarHons


    Oct 14, 2000
    The Other Side...

    Thinks that you should just play it. Don't progress up to RHCP, just play it, and don't stop. I learned Anesthesia my third week playing...it seemed impossible at first, but I just kept playing it. Don't stop playing it or get discouraged because it's hard, work with it, and don't give up. I don't know why everyone else here says that you should work your way up to it, RHCP isn't exactly some super crazy bass stuff, depending on the song, all you'd need to know is basic slap technique, and if you don't know it, learn it. Get the teacher, read, but do it now, and work fast unless you want to progress slow. This is just an opinion of course, but it worked for me, and I've come a looong way since I started playing.
  10. Brook


    Sep 24, 2000
    just keep at it. I used to think Californication was so hard but now it is easy.

    Get enough theory though, it really helps.
  11. Sean


    Dec 27, 2000
    play some metallica like for whom the bell tolls or seek and destroy before the chili peppers. it helps
  12. FuturePrimitive

    FuturePrimitive Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    I've been playing bass about 3-4 months. (played a little guitar previously) I kinda jumped right into the deep end with Rush, the first song I tried was Red Barchetta. While I can fumble my all the way through it (missing about half of the sixteenth notes of course!) I hardly claim to be able to "play it". It takes a lot of time to develop the proper finger control to play competently, I just today figured out how to play 16ths fast enough for Tom Sawyer. (fingerTIPS, very lightly.) It finally just clicked. Not really relevent but I'm excited about it! Practice, practice, practice.

    I don't really think there is anything wrong with trying the hard stuff early in your playing, so long as you don't get too frustrated and give up. I figure it'll be a good year before I can play these Rush songs right, (I play every day) but I also know that Geddy Lee's been playing longer than I've been alive. Just keeping a proper perspective helps.
  13. Bryan_G


    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    I have been playing for about 3 years, I have had prior expirences in high school band playing sax, I new some theory and my timeing wasn't bad. So when I started playing bass I just jumped in and tried learning a bunch of songs, by tab. I really wish that I wouldn't have because I missed some important things that as of late I wish I was better at. I personaly think that my skills aren't that bad, but my ears aren't where I wish they were, do to not starting out LISTENING. I would say the best thing to do is just that listen. If you can keep time, then practice playing what you hear, if you can transfer something from your head to your bass then the rest will fallow. imo
    I agree with the step aproach, because its alot easier to learn something thing that relearn it. However you have to challange yourself. I probably wasn't any help rereading what I have typed it didn't make a whole lot of sense but o well.
  14. Lance Jaegan

    Lance Jaegan

    Dec 23, 2000
    Get a book on jazz bass (walking bass) and a fake book full of standards. Get a (good) teacher. Work hard.

    (I recommend jazz to learn with because the role bass plays in it. It forces you to learn theory, improv, complex rhythms - swunk!, and many other essential aspects of bass playing. And jazz can be fairly simple, or extremely complex, it's all about how YOU want to play it.)
  15. I agree with Edgar, i learnt Anesthesia pretty quickly, not exactly 3 weeks though :( but i kept at it. If you do learn it, forget the drum part - i still can't play it! I've been playin over a year, i've got quite a lot of chilis stuff in my repertoire and shedloads of 'Tallica (go cliff!)
    So my advice is keep at it, jump straight in at the deep end (not in that order :) and you'll go far.
    Good solo to start you off is NIB by Black Sabbath, it was the first solo i learnt and it's groovetastic.
    Hope that helps.
  16. Sean


    Dec 27, 2000
    I know that this isnt on the subject but who is everybody's favorite bassist? Mine is Cliff Burton.
  17. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Sean, there is a separate folder here strictly for the discussion of bassists. Check that folder out and you will see there have been numerous threads discussing Cliff Burton and other bassists.

    Jason Oldsted
  18. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    OK, here's a philosophical idea that will be useful as long as you play music: There is no hard music, just that with which you are not familiar. The one thing all good music has in common is good time and that's what you should work on first and foremost; get a metronome. Other than that whatever keeps you inspired and makes ya happy is what you should learn.
  19. Well now Ive been playing for 2 months-ish. And as far as I can tell I have gotten much better. Found that timing changes arent really that much of an issue. And Jeffbonny...*in stoner hippy voice* woah, man thats deep! *hippie voice stops*

    Actually, I seemed to get much better just over the weekend. I dont know if it just popped or if I just noticed the result of a gradual change. I can play Anestesia too. Lots of stuff I never dreamed of playing as well.

    Endless playing and playing what sounds cool seems to work. Hmm. Cool. I think. I be learning scales too.
  20. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Yeah doooood.
    (Actually I quit smoking several years ago...)

    Confidence is good but if guys who have been playing for years still work on their time what makes you think yours is not "really that much of an issue"? You'll find as you start playing with other musicians that time is the biggest issue and that it comes only with some real hard work. What I mean by time is being able to comfortably play with a metronome. There's a lot more to it than just this but for you it's a real good place to start. Not trying to belittle you just tellin' ya the truth.

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