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Another newbie seeking guidance

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mjw, Jun 12, 2001.

  1. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Hi All,

    I've always had a passion for the electric Bass guitar and I've finally reached a point where I'm able to afford the time to learn how to play. I'm very curious about a few things though, and would sincerely appreciate your honest comments, even if negative.

    I have an opportunity to acquire an Ibanez BTB515 5-string electric at a ridiculously attractive price, and will probably do so soon. But, since I don't yet have the skills to even play a traditional 4 string acoustic, I wonder if it's a mistake to begin on the 5-string.

    I'm 44, and one of my sons plays both acoustic and electric guitar, and is pretty excited about the possibility of having practice and jam sessions with his dad. To tell you the truth, I'm pretty pumped about it too.

    Which brings me to another question. Namely, my age. Are there people here who learned the Bass at a later age who are reasonably pleased with their abilities? Or am I likely to be embarking on a fantasy since my coordination probably isn't as sharp as it was when I was 20? I realize that's a pretty subjective question, but I'd still appreciate your feedback.

    Generally speaking, I'm pretty realistic about my expectations, and my objective isn't to start a band and become famous. I just love the Bass and always have, and would love to learn it and see where things go from there. It would be great if I could become fairly proficient in the 3-5 year range, but who knows.

    So please let me know what y'all think. I'd sincerely appreciate your comments. Thanks!

  2. I don't know how good, specifically, the BTB is, but starting on a 5 string in just as easy as starting on a 4 string, or 6 string. I say this because, what do you have to compare it to? I guess I'm assuming that you never played, before, so go ahead and get the 5er. Also, you might want to check www.bassgear.com for good deals on low priced stuff, or even our own "For Sale" forum.

  3. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Personally I think it shouldn't matter how old you are, it's just how strong your passion is to learn it. If you want to learn bass bad enough, there wouldn't be a day you wouldn't practice.

    As for the BTB515 at a cheap price, I'd say get it, those kinds of offers don't always come around. Also, 4 string acoustic? I didn't think many people used acoustic basses (I don't really see a use for them, but that's just my opinion). I'd say most definately start out on the 5 string, after you get good with the 5, you probably won't even want to touch another 4. Plus, if you find you don't want the 5 anymore, you could always sell it, people are dying for 5s everyday.

    Proficient in the 3-5 year range? I doubt it will take that long. I became "proficient" in 3 months (assuming proficient means average).

    Hope this helps.
  4. Hi mjw and welcome to talkbass! :)

    Your situation reminds me alot of my own.Bass was something I always wanted to do and ....finally got to the point where I did something about it!

    Like you,I mainly intended to play for a hobby/enjoyment.Since your boys play guitar you have a really good opportunity here.I say go for it!!!

    Age does`nt matter.I never picked up a bass until I was almost 39(I`m almost 40 now).Hey,how old are you going to be if you DON`T do it? :D

  5. cep


    Jun 12, 2001
    Crockett, ca
    I've been playing for over thirty years and I'm still learning. Grab yourself a bass and enjoy yourself, that's what it's all about.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I agree with Usul.... Music keeps one younger longer. Starting age and rate of proficiency doesn't really matter at all. If you only learn a few things, yet it makes you happy and enriches your life somehow...then mission is accomplished. And you can believe what others here have said...the more you know, the more you realize how much there is left to learn. Go for it, and good luck!

    Plenty of us "older guys" on Talkbass to help you down the road.
  7. These guys are all lying to you mjw, you are way to old to start learning something new. Grab the remote for the TV and just sit the heck down.

    :D Just kidding, I can't give you any views on the bass you are looking at, but there is no such thing as being to old. I started when I was 19, some would even say that is to old. Welcome to TB and feel free to ask any questions. Best of all you will get to spend time with your kid, until you get better than him. :) You should be awarded for your desire to spend time with your son. Good Luck.
    I read somewhere that it is better to learn to play when you are older because you have built a trait called patience.
  8. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I statred playing bass when i was 7 and now iam 27 years old! I started on bass because of the cream song white room! For some reason i wanted to learn that song and i only played piano before that! My whole family is musical my mother played viloen in the kc orchestr and my father in rock bands in the 70s! But as far as age dont worry about it! I teach jazz bass in my local colledge and have had several men older than you come in to start! And they always leave every day happier than what they came in! Bass makes a person happy!
  9. actinglikeafreak

    actinglikeafreak Guest

    Apr 24, 2000
    Puerto Rico
    welcome bassist,

    there are two things in this world that know no age: Love and Music, and if you love music your immortal.
    my dad's 48 and plays bass, he listens to salsa and plays along to his records, and sometimes he and his buddies hang out and jam. His bass is a modest peavey four string and has an old crate amp, he might not be great, but whats impressive is how much he loves his instrument and how he lays like every note was his last. His name is Miguel Rhadames and he loves playing.
    Thats all that matters really you can be 9 years old and play like crap or you can be 10 years old and paly like flea, you can be 13, 59, 39,40, 90, 169, years old and all that doesnt matter cuz if u love bass playing and the bass itself, like we all here at talkbass, then no one can critize you.
    enjoy your bass, go for the 5 string, by the way, im saving for one myself, Stingray i hope.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Welcome to Talkbass, mjw.:cool:

    You're never too old to try something new.

    One of our members, Jason Oldstead started the bass in her late 40's I believe.

    I started playing 20 years ago, when I was 13, but I still strive to learn something new every day.

    The Ibanez BTB series are one of the better values in under $1000 basses out there, and if you have a chance to get one at a ridiculously low price, if you don't want it, tell some of us how to get it.:)

    As for starting on a 5 string, you might as well. 4 strings, 5 strings, 7 strings, whatever grabs you, just get it and play.

    One more thing. The 4 string acoustic. Are you referring to the acoustic bass guitar, or the upright bass?
  11. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    I say go for it and have fun.
    It's never too late to learn something.

    And if you find that it's not for you, then your son has a bass.
  12. Hello mjw and greetings from across the pond in lil ole England.

    And, of course, welcome to TalkBass.

    I'm (nearly!) 48 and have taken up the bass again: last time I played was early / mid 70s. I guess I might not be quite so new to it as you because playing guitar / bass is like riding the proverbial bike...you never forget but you sure get rusty!!!

    I've never played a 5 so can't comment as such. But I can say that if the learned guys here say it's OK, then it's OK.

    It's interesting your comments about your son. My son's just 6 years old. He's really into this 'electric guitar' / band thing. (Childrens' songs and stuff long gone: we're now firmly into Led Zepplin, Hendrix, Status Quo etc!!!!) You should have seen the look in his eyes when I brought home my new (to me) bass, last Wednesday. He's in genuine awe of this thing - me too, but I don't let on.

    Anyway, enough of the mush.

    Just go for it. Your lads will help you play, in any case.

    And, don't forget, there's a genuine wealth of knowledge @ TB so ask away.....

    Best of luck:D.

    Rockin John
  13. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I'd also say go for it! I played as a pro then left the music for 20 years. Came back to it at the age of 41, took up a 5-string and a fretless and basically learned from scratch. You are certainly not too old at 44, and BTB's are good basses...if you change your mind about playing later, you can always sell it.
  14. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Welcome to the wonderful world of TalkBass.

    I've been playing bass for 10 yrs now. I'm 28 & have 2 kids of my own. (2 yrs old & 4yrs old)

    The fact alone that you son is happy to want to spend time with his dad would be enough for me to pick up anything @ any age!!!!!

    Good luck & let us know how it goes!!!!!
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    It's funny that you mentioned things being more difficult at 40. I would have to disagree. I think you'll being some things to the table that a lot of teens don't have. Like patience and perspective. You also have a very realistic expectations of yourself.

    I started playing when I was 16. I'll soon be 32. I play more now than ever. I do believe I have lost a little motor skill. As much as I practice, I just don't have the right hand speed that I once did. I am not so sure it is a general age thing. I could be just my body. I type several thousand words a day as a working journalist. Maybe a little bit of repetitive stress disorder is starting to set in.

    As for starting on a 5 string, the guys here are right on. It won't be any more difficult as a beginner.

  16. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. You people have been extremely helpful and I sincerely appreciate it. I've decided to go ahead and "dive in", and will likely be hanging around this forum quite a bit. Thanks again!

  17. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Somehow I missed this thread!

    Welcome MJW!

    I can't speak directly of the bass you mention, I've never played it, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting on a five string. In fact, you'll have an advantage. You won't even know what it is to play "only 4 strings!" Also, more strings makes it easier to play multiple octaves or chords, without having to dance around the fretboard as much. By playing 5 string, you're opening yourself up to more opportunities on the bass, and it won't be to the detriment of how quickly you pick up the instrument.

    Age is relative. I picked up the bass in my 20s, and many people consider that old as well. Play your heart out, you'll be better for it. (And just ask any guitarist, bass playing doesn't require any coordination!:))

    Although it's been mentioned, kudos for finding such a healthy, educational, and fun way to spend time with your children. The world needs more fathers like yourself!

    By the way, I'm happy to hear you'll be posting regularly, we can use lots more members. Let me give you some quick advice:

    - Ignore GruffPuppy. Completely. He has a mental imbalance and is only let onto his "computer" at "the hospital" because he earns "good behavior" minutes. (Read: not screaming to get out of the padded room). Don't post to him directly, and if he responds to you, seek shelter and cover your head! :D

    - Never ask to see JT's basses. 1 in 3 threads here at talkbass have pictures of all of his basses. I've seen his basses more than I've seen my own! He's got an itchy posting finger and he's just ready to let fly with his pics! Give him some good natured ribbing about the fact that Jaco never needed more than 4 strings. It makes him giggle. :)

    - If you are wandering around, and happen to talk to Ed Fuqua (most notably over at DB), consider it an honor when he slaughters your name. I know I do. In fact, I even picked up his little habit. (Although it should be noted that I don't have his flair for it, and just wait patiently in his omnipotent shadow for clever little crumbs to fall from his table). ;)

    - Never ever ask about JWC.

    - No matter what anybody says, the folks at the DB side of the board really are friendly. They just haven't seen daylight for several months, and don't get fed often, so they can be a surly group. Really, they're just misunderstood.

    - Enjoy, and please, contribute!

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