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Anyone in their 40's,or later, that started learning to read ?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Session1969, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Here's my deal. I've been playing actively since my teens and have developed a pretty good ear. A huge minus is that I don't read. I've considered taking time to go to a week or month long clinic at some of the schools we're familiar with but I have a feeling they're going to sit me down and teach me basic reading which, in my opinion, is something I should know before spending all that money. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on something I can learn at my community college. I guess I'm curious if any of my fellow TBr's learned to sight read at a later age ?
  2. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    I'm not in my 40's, but 35 is close, right? I only started to read music last year. I'm not good at it. I can't sight read, but I've also not put all that much effort into it.

    I don't think starting later in life is impossible or even all that hard(obviously would have been easier when I was a child...). You just have to want to do it.
  3. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I'm 58, used to be able to read pretty well, then stopped playing for 20+ years. Have started again. Not really that hard. I go a few basic "learn to play electric bass" books and worked through them, now incorporate reading into my everyday practice. The thing that you won't get away from is that it takes time, and on a regular basis. If you spend 15-30 minutes every day, you'll get it to a reasonable level in a few months.

    Keep in mind, its like learning to read a language. Remember how long it took to learn how to read books??

    Other tip - rhythm (in my opinion) is harder than reading the notes themselves, especially when it gets into more complicated stuff.

    Bottom line, not that hard to do, just takes dedicated time. I am actually enjoying it now, as it makes lots of stuff accessible that is hard to do (or takes more time) done by ear.....
  4. dc-upright


    Mar 31, 2013
    I am in my 50s and have been playing for years, just started learning to read last year with the Hal Leonard Bass Method - Complete Edition: Books 1, 2 and 3. They are awesome and there is a thread all about the books going on if you do a search.

    Reading music has already started to open doors for me that were shut before. Wish I had started years ago.
  5. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Those are the books that I used (actually, its 3 volumes combined into one)
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Three things about reading:

    1. Start doing it.

    2. Keep doing it.

    3. See item 2.

    Your age doesn't matter the amount of time you put into it does.
  7. I've been playing for many years, guitar and bass, but seem to be playing bass much more in recent years. I do read music, last year I bought the Hal Leonard Bass Method: Books 1, 2 and 3 just to improve my bass reading, but they also show tabs and unfortunately my eyes gravitate toward the tabs. I also purchased Bass Aerobics, same thing, eyes just look down. Takes a bit more concentration to read the notes and not cheat with tabs.
  8. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Funny thing this - when I started out there were no tabs so I never used them. When I look at them now they make no sense to me.

    All what you are used to I guess...
  9. 1dreday


    Nov 22, 2009
    i'm 42 kids out of the house, finally at a place in my life were i can focus on me
    i always wanted to learn bass, so i've been trying to learn for the past 6mos. or so
  10. Pretty wild timing for me: started playing bass in April, starting learning to read Saturday. I am 43 years old. I am lucky. My best friend since we were 13, has a masters in music comp and is writing a music theory book. I am his Guinea pig. He has a lot of short cuts and tricks to learning to read music early in the book. There are some strange rules that govern the notations that are the key to learning the "grammar" of the language. I think I got a pretty good handle on it the first day. I now try to exercise reading and writing in my practice sessions. Being new to tabs as well, it doesn't seem that much different as far as reading along. I just have to train myself to think in notes rather than fret numbers.
    Advice: find a teacher or good book to start off… I think getting down the basics (and having a few rule of thumbs) will prove beneficial. After that, it's up to the student… A few lessons or a good book would be all one would need. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars… Spend it on GEAR! :bassist:

  11. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    I did and have a similar story playing in bands in my teens and 20s before there was internet andaccess to tabbed out songs and such so you had to develop a good ear to figure tunes out. I basically learned HOW to read by just buying bass instruction books. Then about 6 yrs ago I really got into bass and getting better. I bought this book called daily grooves for bass and it is written all in standard notation and no tab. It has you learn one groove every day. They are all just 2 bars so you wont be up all night but they progressively get harder, cover all different time signatures, etc. It also gives you the bassline on cd. So I would learn it and get it where I could play it at tempo then listen to the cd. It is funny how off timing wise I was at first but week after week I was getting better and it opens up a whole new world to you and was by far the most valuable thing I ever purchased(it was only $10!!!). A
  12. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Just think of it as a language that's definitely worth learning. And, to me, it seems like a more logical language than some others I've studied. Of course, I did start reading as a kid, but memorizing the lines and spaces is pretty quick, and the rhythmic notation is about the same as understanding fractions. I think you'll be glad you made the effort, and I don't think your age is a factor, from one forty-something guy to another.
  13. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Same here, used these with an instructor. I'm 60 and played in my late teens but could not read - so I started from scratch. These 3 Hal Leonard books authored by Ed Friedland, seem to be unique as they are primarily written in notation. TAB is used here and there but mainly to emphasize a technique or fingering. From scratch - took 6 months to reach an intermediate reading level.
  14. What I do like is the included CD with many of these kinds of books. You can use it to play by ear; uncluttered music that's easy to hear the individual notes.
  15. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Very cool and thanks for all the responses !
  16. tdoody


    Sep 5, 2008
    i am 69 started playing and learning to read when i was 61.. before that i did everything by ear..i was a jingle singer for over 30 yrs and never bothered to learn to read.. now i can read and play quite well
  17. deathsdj


    Sep 18, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    I'm 46 with a similar background to yours. Gigged for years and did everything by ear and memorization. Now I have been teaching myself to sight read, learning all the scales and chords as well as the notes on the fingerboard. I really wish I would have started when I was 18 as it has already improved my music greatly.

    I guess I'm a late bloomer.
  18. ericicf


    Mar 11, 2012
    I am 63 and have a great bass coach who breaks down the process into bite size chunks. Reading gives you so much information to use, tempo , pitch, rhythm, I can't see any reason why someone who is serious about improving their lot wouldn't want to give it a shot. My coach has me use a metronome at 60 bpm and "Sight Reading for the Bass" by Ron Velosky. Also supplementary books such as Latin bass Play Along and a bunch of others. His guidance is very useful as it keeps me on target and on a direct path forward. Without his guidance I wouldn't be anywhere near as far along.At my age time becomes a key focus , and wasted time and effort going in circles on my own would be demoralizing. Find a good coach , ask around......pony up... roll up your sleeves and enjoy !
  19. Pat S

    Pat S

    Dec 30, 2013
    Just turned 47 and just started learning bass. No previous musical experience. I've got a good teacher and am reading everything i can find about bass and music theory. It's starting to slowly sink in but i know it's going to be a long road. Also, i know it's not my eyes but musical notes are hard to see on a staff sometimes. I mean seriously, it can't be my eyes. It just can't be ;)
  20. Manichga


    Aug 13, 2013
    I have been playing for 27 years and I am a very strong reader. Unfortunately I am rubbish at remembering songs because I have gotten so used to reading.....I didn't even know what TABS were for ages. I would seriously get a teacher. A really good teacher. A TRAINED and qualified teacher. There are a million different approaches to learning to read. Having a good teacher will give you direction. Get a basic theory book and work through it also. It's not as difficult as learning a language but its certainly not easy. It takes time. A heap of time. Be patient.