advice for first starting out?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by COZ, Oct 15, 2000.

  1. i've been playing for a couple of months, and i can move my index and middle finger pretty good now. however my middle one only likes to move when he feels like, and well my pinky lets just say it would be easier if i didn't have a pinky. it moves but it never lands where i want it to. Also i don't really know where to place my fingers, scales all that fun stuff, you know..........what bass players actually use!so any advice would be great. but i can't read music or tab, although, i'm starting to piece together tab! but still quite not sure!

    please help me out, i love the bass, just need to understand it more! thanks!:)
  2. thayer182


    Oct 1, 2000
    aight, tab's are easy to understand. lemme give u a simple one:


    that's the verse riff for "smells like teen spirit" by nirvana, one of the easiest songs to play and actually sound like you're good. it was the first I learned to play. anyways, the only hard thing to understand about tabs is that it's sorta upside down. although all the #'s are at the bottom of the tab, that means that u play them on the top of the bass. your E string is your lowest and biggest string. your A string is your second lowest, and then your D and G. this is due to the fact that your E string produces the lowest notes, so it is at the bottom of the scale. that is why it's at the bottom of the tab. it's just a lil thing left over from sheet music. now the rest is easy. after being taught to read sheet music, reading tab almost seems like cheating it is so easy. the #'s represent which fret u play. use the dots on the fretboard to help u out on figuring out where to put your fingers quickly. the first dot is your 3rd fret, the second is the 5th fret and so on. it skips 2 frets after the ninth fret and then the next dot is on the 12th fret, where it starts all over again b/c it is another octave. ok now that may sound complicated, but if u don't understand it now, trust me u will later on if u keep up w/ it. it's not really important right now. about the scales... well to be comepletely honest w/ u I have no clue about scales. I've never found any use for them. I just get tabs, and learn songs. once u think you're good enough, try to learn "what if" by creed, that will test your skills =) it took me a week of playing nothing but that song until I finally got to where I could play it perfectly. it just takes time. and believe it or not I've only been playing for 10 months myself. just don't worry about sheet music, that stuff is way too complicated, and really has no relevence to bass playing, especially when u have tabs! but if u really want to u can learn the notes on a bass, like if u play the 3rd fret of the E string then that is a G. but hey u really don't need to know that. I just know that stuff cause I play for a praise and worship band, and they don't use tabs... which sux! well I hope I've helped some. if u want anymore advice just email me.
  3. thayer182


    Oct 1, 2000
    oh and one more thing, your fingers will gradually get stronger. that's one of those things that just comes w/ time. keep practicing everday.
  4. AHHA


    Oct 16, 2000
    As you have just learned, everyone has an answer. You have just learned that you MUST always have an open mind.
  5. heh the first thing i knew how to play was that nirvana tune too!

    uh anyway
    my advice is just to print off some tabs from this site of easy songs(its best if they are songs you like)
    it also helps if you listen to the cd at the same time

    but after awile your fingers will get stronger, and i strongly recommend getting a teacher (if you can) to teach you scales and all that stuff

    also i would discourage using a pick. use your first and second fingers instead.

    but mainly just keep practicing
  6. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    For coordination and daveloping technique it's hard to beat preacticing scales and chromatic exercises. Though it would be much easier to demonstrate than explain, I will do my best.

    Chromatic exercises are performed by simply
    playing one note after the other on a given string. For example,start on the 1st fret of your low E string (that's an F) hold down with your index finger and pluck with your picking hand (let it ring clearly). Then, with your second finger, hold down the second fret (F#) and pluck (keeping your index finger down on the the F.) MOve on to your ring and pinky fingers on the 3rd fret (G)and then pinky on the fourth fret (G#.) Remeber to keep holding down all previous notes even though you aren't playing them. You can then continue moving up a fret at a time 2,3,4,5 or jump up to the A string and play the sam pattern. It's boring but it will help you with dexterity.

    If you can't find a teacher,buy an instructoinal video or book of scales and these will explain the theory behind them and fingering.

    Hope that helps a bit.
  7. old-timer1


    Jan 31, 2000
    First...find time everyday ,even if it's only 5 minute's and at least pick up your bass and play...anything ! you find more time , put on the radio , a different station every time , and try to play along with whatever is on . Play as many different style's as you can find , that will develop your own style down the road .
  8. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    To help get more comfortable with your bass, keep it in your hands as much as possible. When you watch TV just hold it. Maybe move your fretting hand around on the neck. The more it's in your hands, the more it will feel like it should be.