After 20+ years playing the first bass!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassEnvy78, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    Hi guys

    Just picked up a used MM sterling 4H from my closest GC (great deal and that 30 day satisfaction guarantee that I could not get through a private seller).

    I will send pics later on but the bass looks super clean, comes with the MM case and strap/strap locks.

    I chose the Sterling because I think it is a compact, solid quality instrument without being "too much" bass for me. I have had serious GAS for a Thumb 5 NT but would rather work on some chops on a cheaper bass.

    My biggest influences bass-wise are definitely Jonas Hellborg and Flea (BSSM period). I rediscovered Tal Wilkenfeld recently and am in love with the River of Life tune.

    My plan to get started is the following:

    Slap: start with Flea type exercise and then move onto more technical parts a la Wooten. I have always slapped on my electric guitars so this won't be an issue just need to get used to string spacing.

    "In the pocket bass lines": work on Led Zeppelin tunes ("fool in the rain"), the Police etc. my goal is to lock with the drummer and just groove. Big crush on "I want you back" (Jackson 5) and "Englishman in NY" bass lines too...

    Jazzy lines: "River of Life" from Tal and YouTube videos of her jamming at NAMM or on stage with J Beck. Work on my Hellborg tunes too.

    I don't have a real amp just an old SWR workingman 10...if I can't get a good sound I will use the Apogee Jam in the meantime. I live in a condo so will try to check out condos or mini stacks (the Aguilar 500 looks sweet). Once I feel I play decent bass I will go ahead and "invest". Wife is worried I go with an SVT 8x10 stack ;)

    I will post pics and I you guys can see my progress (or lack of). I want to be able to Jam ASAP so I know this is an ambitious program!


  2. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    go for it my friend. some of the best bassists I know personally started with guitar first. You'd have pretty sick left hand chops by know I suppose
  3. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    Thanks! I think I can hold my own playing rock, metal, funk, acoustic and world music styles. I just have this urge to lay down some bass lines! For the story, I always wanted to play bass but my dad told me as a kid: the guitar has more strings, you will transition faster lol (he had no clue!).

    Currently listing to "oriental bass" from Renaud Garcia Pons... It's double bass but I am adding this to my list!
  4. Eddie95Z28

    Eddie95Z28 I play bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2003
    Detroit Area, Michigan
    Awesome first bass! Have fun with it. :bassist:
  5. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Welcome, BE78, to the Deep End! :hyper:

    Check out this slap tutorial a la Alexis Sklarevski (just prepare yourself for a dose of "ZOMG 80's!"). Perhaps it'll have something useful to contribute.
  6. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    As you may know, Reggie Wooten, Victor older brother, taught him the technique Victor improved to the skies...

    And Reggie developped it on his Stratocaster!

    An Englishman in New York is one, among many Sting's masterpieces, that simply can't cease to amaze me... 25+ years after its first release...

    A very good example, with the "rockin'" Mr. Big's Colorado Bulldog, of authentic "walkin' bass" on electric basses.

  7. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    The pics are in! I have NOT cleaned the bass yet but I think it is in pristine condition (despite one chip at the bottom and one of the hum bucker's pole that is worn out).
    I did some search online to try and date my bass...Looks like it is from 2002. I was shocked to find this out as it seems that it was barely used.

    Also...I was mistaken that tiny amp I had in storage was not a workingman but a SWR LA Series 8. Havent plugged it in yet but I read good reviews about this tiny practice amp!










    Started goofing around with it unplugged...WOW....I am in love!
  8. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Nicely done.

    I know you have a comfort level with a pick already. I highly recommend spending time on finger style. Not that there's anything wrong with playing bass with a pick. But playing finger style even a little bit now and then will make it easier in your transition to avoid playing the bass like a guitar. And there is definitely something wrong with doing that...
  9. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    When goofing with basses in the past I have always done so without a pick. I play guitar with a pick but since Keziah Jones was a big influence of mine in the early 90s I have also played a lot with my fingers.

    Unless I am looking for a specific sound, I plan to use my fingers only.
  10. fusionbassed


    Jul 11, 2013
    Very nice find. I only waited 37 years to start playing bass being a guitarist first. Lots of fun.
  11. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    One week later....

    The SWR LA Series is an awesome practice/learning tool: plugged in the iPod and already jamming with my favorite tracks!

    Right now I am not getting all bass lines at 100%...just trying to have fun with the songs.

    Glad to have Youtube for some pointers though!
  12. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Wow, nice starter bass (or bass, period!). Congrats, and welcome to the dark side....LOL. I'm sure you are aware there is a different mindset. Sometimes, I can tell immediately that the person playing bass is a guitar player, and it can be annoying. Try to avoid that.
  13. lossfizzle


    Jul 8, 2013
    That Sterling looks really nice. Definitely one of the nicest looking ones I've seen for some reason. I guess I haven't seen one in TSB til now but it really works.

    I'm kind of in your boat, 25+ yrs of being "mostly a guitarist" (or keys, or drums, or...), although sounds like I've played a little more bass (have even done a few gigs as bassist and nothing exploded). Mostly I've always seen it as a home recording / songwriting tool... funny how I can write tons of songs around bass lines and yet rarely pick the thing up unless I "have" to. I have two originals bands going as a guitarist, but I just joined a solid group of players for a covers act covering the bass angle - I'm having a total blast in rehearsals and I can't wait for the gigs we have booked.

    Gotta work on fingerstyle too, though - my fingerstyle on bass is pretty weird-looking and inconsistent. (I play fingerstyle guitar, even electric, all the time and have classical guitar training from my college years... but this ain't no classical guitar.)

    The covers band has "I Want You Back" in the setlist, by the way. That's an incredibly awesome / fun bass line to play.
  14. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    Thanks guys for the comments!

    Joe: I hear you on the different mindset! Back when I was in full guitar mode, I would play guitar licks on basses I would pick up randomly (ex: tapping part from Eruption). I would not make sense today.

    I love as much simple stuff ("Stir it up", "With or without you") as more complex Hellborg/Wimbish long as it serves the song.

    Loss: One thing I do to work on fingerstyle consistency is in my car! I keep the right hand on the shift with my thumb resting on it and my fingers keep on galloping!
  15. lossfizzle


    Jul 8, 2013
    Hilarious. I drive a stick, so I'm not sure if my right hand could handle dealing with two muscle-memory tasks at once. Might start trying it on the laptop palmrest though. :)
  16. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    Very nice Sterling! I am in the opposite boat,i've played nothing but bass for 35 years,and just bought an '96 Epiphone Dot guitar to mess around on. For me,guitar is definitely harder.
  17. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    ^I am trying to play some guitar now & then so I don't lose the feel for the guitar...

    String spacing & gauge different can be tricky for sure!
  18. spufman

    spufman Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    The Sterling is a great bass design in all ways, you should be happy. Great quality, tone, playability and ergonomics. Nice choice! A Workingman's 10 would have been an excellent little amp, but the LA-8 is good for now and as your porch/practice unit later. Have fun.
  19. BassEnvy78


    Jun 28, 2012
    Alright guys...Here's a quick update (still video shy though!).

    As far as the bass goes...It plays like butter. My electric guitars have different neck profiles (EJ Strat, MM Luke, Jackson RR, Washburn "Workhorse" N2 and Taylor CE214) and making the switch to the Sterling was super easy despite (obviously) heavier strings.
    It's been more than 2 weeks and while I am focusing on the bass, I still grab the guitar so I don't lose the feel for the instrument.

    As far as the playing and techniques are concerned(and thanks to youtube isolated bass tracks) I can now play songs like:

    -The Trooper (to practice 3 finger techniques)
    -Give it away, Suck my kiss, higher ground for my Flea fix

    So far so good I guess!

    I am trying to work on the TM Stevens harmonics groove...Kinda tricky!

    Also working on Doug Wimbish and Tal W. NAMM demos.
    Does anybody know how Wimbish does his trademark fast slap? On the following video, it starts at 0:24. Sounds machine-gun like...