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Bass lessons for beginners - by a beginner.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Zegie, Apr 22, 2010.


  1. Zegie

    Zegie

    Dec 8, 2009
    UK South East
    Last summer I took the plunge and bought myself a Bass guitar. Now this is not unusual for me because over the years I have has many whims and accumulated the necessary equipment to participate in them. But participation was often short lived. That was until I bought my bass.

    You see I have taken to Bass like a duck to a drake.

    I have reached the stage now where I think I am beginning to be able to play it. So therefore I thought other beginners might find it useful to hear how I got from beginner to student and student to novice.

    So what did I do? Here are my top 10 tips for aspiring bassists.

    1. Learn the scale of C Major.
    2. Learn and be able to identify the notes in the C Major scale.
    3. Learn and remember the numbers of the notes in the scale i.e. C is one, D is 2 etc.
    4. From that learn the C Pentatonic Major scale. (Same as 2. above - omitting the 4th and 7th notes).
    5. Learn the rest of the notes on the Fret board up to and including the first five frets on all strings. (This will be easy now you have learnt where the 8 notes are in C Major).
    6. Learn about chords and how they relate to scale degrees.
    7. Play and learn a simple song. There are loads of beginners lessons on You Tube.
    8. Learn the C minor scale and understand how and why it varies from C Major.
    9. Learn and understand the notes in Chords and why they work.
    10. Play!! If you do the above you will be able to get to grips with hundreds if not thousands of songs.

    Easy eh?
     
  2. I totally agree, aside from the Chord choice, I started with G
     
  3. Zegie

    Zegie

    Dec 8, 2009
    UK South East
    Yes amos - G is as good as any. Same difference, except I discovered G has an accident!
     
  4. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    I'd throw in 2 things that may be implied already:
    1-learning the inherent whole step/ half step structure of the major scale (WWHWWWH)
    2- the intervals of the major scale

    number 6 in your list is definitely the key item. understand the harmony so you can support the harmony.

    it's also worth noting that many of these are not things that you either "know" or "don't know": they are concepts that you will come back to and see in new , more enlightening ways as you continue to learn.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    while you have a couple good tidbits in there, you shouldn't learn scales and chords in only C, and you should learn the fretboard all the way up and down. and no offense, but this is why beginners shouldn't give lessons. i salute you for at least learning the basics of how music works, and (i assume) learning how to read music, and if you keep it up you will be ready to give lessons in a few years, but if you've only played for a year, it's probably best to do more listening and learning at this stage. i know you're well-intentioned, but you certainly wouldn't sign up for bass lessons with a beginner, would you?
     
  6. Zegie

    Zegie

    Dec 8, 2009
    UK South East
    Well that is part of the point that I am trying to make. Actually I would take bass lessons from a beginner on one condition - that they knew more than me. The reason - because they can remember what its like being a beginner.

    I have met many teachers in many walks of life who have completely forgotten what problems beginners face and have lost any ability thay once had to relate to the particular issues beginners encounter.

    Those that can are as rare as hens teeth.

    Thanks for your encouraging words - I realise this is just the beginning of a long journey and look forward to the delights to come.

    Err... not a bass teacher are you by any chance?
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    no they're not. you either just haven't found the right one, or you just generally resent being taught. would you go to medical school if it was taught by beginners? the reason you go to a teacher with experience is because beginners have no clue what to teach to get results. to be taught by a beginner is to get absolutely nowhere.

    i have taught but i don't do it as a profession. there are better teachers out there than me. otoh, i don't charge nearly as much as they do ;)
     
  8. Zegie

    Zegie

    Dec 8, 2009
    UK South East

    Thank you for the free psychcoanalysis.

    I am sorry you could not take my original post at face value. You are clearly not a beginner so it is curious that you feel the need to reply to posts that are clearly not intended for advanced, competent and experienced musicians such as your good self.

    I gave up trying to understand human psychological functioning and behavior a long time ago and suggest you do the same.
     
  9. SpamBot

    SpamBot

    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    I'd recommend transcriptions of your favorite songs. Not only will this teach you common patterns, you can jump head-first into notation. I'd save the scales and modes for when you get a good grip on notation, otherwise your brain will be playing catch-up to your fingers which is not a good place to be IMO.

    I recommend a teacher too, but I understand some are resistant to the idea. You can still learn to be a fine bassist on your own, it'll just take longer. Oh, and you might injure yourself by developing bad habits that a teacher could correct. CTS and the lot.
     
  10. a beginner may know more than you,but not enough to avoid the pitfalls of teaching....you really don't need to learn,unlearn and relearn because someone instilled some bad habits or questionable methods....rather than get your hackles up,try to accept good advice,and use it to your advantage......advanced,competent,experienced guys were once rookies and many have seen those pitfalls first hand
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    thank YOU for the overly hostile reply.

    how do you think i got to be advanced, competent and experienced? by posting "lessons" on talkbass before i was ready to teach? no, i got that way by taking lessons from way more advanced players than myself, and from jamming with way more competent and experienced musicians than myself. listen, some of the biggest names in the industry hang out on talkbass as well as some of the best teachers in the industry, and if you want to hang with them, you need to know your stuff. and if you don't, it's best to read more than you post. and even at my advanced level, if i don't know something, i will read and not comment, and if i feel compelled to make a post, it's to ask a question.

    geez, why not break a bottle and threaten me with the jagged edges? sorry i tried to help you, dude.
     
  12. wade_b

    wade_b

    Jul 8, 2008
    I think both of you guys are right, to a certain extent.

    I'm an I.T. professional that has participated in online help forums, and I can say that I've been reminded from time of the "beginner's perspective" based on some of the students that I've replied to there.

    I also agree with Jimmy that learning from someone that is NOT a beginner is really the only way to go.

    Maybe this is why so many instructors will take the time to assess just where you are musically before working with you - in order to assess which fundamentals are known and unknown before proceeding.

    An online forum is not ideal for mentoring or teaching, as we have no real way to really know where the other person is with their skills and fundamentals.
     
  13. toniwonkanobi

    toniwonkanobi Supporting Member

    May 23, 2008
    Northern California
    Endorsing: 1964 Ears, LLC.
    C'mon OP: here on talkbass, its best for "beginners" to not say ANYTHING on the boards, for fear of attack from the "advanced" players. Not everyone gets to talk on a forum silly...duh.


    (Sad, isn't it, OP? :meh:)
     
  14. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles

    I don't mean to insult you, but if you were good enough to teach, you would understand exactly how difficult it is to do.
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    no offense, but that's a load. beginners are free to say anything they want. but i always assume that if people come on here, especially to the technique and gi forums, they're looking for the best possible advice. therefore, most of us are pretty honest. to do anything less i consider a disservice. people are free to agree or disagree with me as they see fit, but i'm going to give my honest opinions. and if i see bad advice, i'm going to say something. not that i thought his advice was horrible or anything, just very incomplete.

    however, if you're looking to be mollycoddled or reassured when you've given what most experienced bassists consider not the greatest advice, tb is probably not the place for you.
     
  16. wade_b

    wade_b

    Jul 8, 2008
    Jimmy does have a point.

    Look at the sticky thread that talks about bad theory advice, and advises those of us that aren't absolutely sure of what are saying to not say it.

    I'm not sure that this qualifies: it's not as if he tried to say a mixolydian mode does not contain a flat 7......

    But still, as to your point about "Beginner's can't talk" - there is specific instruction from the moderators to make sure that we get our facts straight before posting.

    I agree with that: think about how ticked you'd be to take some theory advice, attempt to apply it, only to discover that the advice was incorrect and led you down a wrong path?
     
  17. toniwonkanobi

    toniwonkanobi Supporting Member

    May 23, 2008
    Northern California
    Endorsing: 1964 Ears, LLC.
    Sometimes it's not what you say, but how you say it. That said, i whole-heartedly agree with your take on TB's technique/GI threads -- it is definitely not a place of "mollycoddled ... [reassurance]" From what i gather, those forums are filled with knowledgeable and, i suppose understandably inpatient know-it-alls who would rather say what not to do than what to do. Constructivism there is really buried in the 'tude it seems lol

    Anyways, i agree with what you said about the holes in the OP's beginner's guide, but what do you expect in about 300 characters of advice? He didn't even write enough info to fill up a page with normal sized text! It was just a 'starter kit.' I don't think he was expecting to encompass everything a beginner should know, just a small bit of it.

    Really I just think your so called "psychoanalysis" was a little unfounded. After all, how would you feel if you were the OP and someone insinuated you might be being obtuse? But all the teachers i've worked with share your cut-and-dry sensibilities about instruction, so maybe there's a problem with the system of bass instruction?
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    alright, well if he got offended, then i apologize. i think his reaction was over the top, but hey...
     
  19. wade_b

    wade_b

    Jul 8, 2008
    Does the teacher smoke, I mean just KILL it?

    Does the teacher do things with music that you can only dream of doing?

    YES, you say?

    Then why in the world would you even SUGGEST that they modify what has been demonstrated to work, to suit your ego or emotions?

    I had 6 years of forced classical piano instruction. She would straight up call me out for playing badly - she KNEW when I did and did not put in the time.

    She also kicked so much a** on the piano that it was SICK.

    So the choice is yours.

    You wanna get good, real good?

    Then respectfully STFU and follow the lead.

    That's how it works.
     
  20. toniwonkanobi

    toniwonkanobi Supporting Member

    May 23, 2008
    Northern California
    Endorsing: 1964 Ears, LLC.
    Na, it's just the way of the world on TB. Either he's too young, or you/we are too old lol...
     

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