Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Bassist looking for some input

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Tehdouglas, Feb 20, 2006.


  1. Tehdouglas

    Tehdouglas

    Feb 10, 2006
    NH
    Well I've been playing for a couple months, and although that on its own isn’t a long time I’ve been very attached to music for a long time, more so than say your average teen is (I listen to music for more reasons than what sounds good lol). I have a sort of dilemma with my advancing as a Bassist. Sadly, I won’t be able to get a guitar teacher for about 5 months unless something opens up, so I need to tough it out and work on my skills as a beginner player myself.

    I have a urge to create my own music, since the reason I want to play bass is to create my own stuff. Despite this, I don't think I have either: A) enough knowledge of all the notes and B) fast/accurate enough fingers. I feel like I need some sort of guidance on what to do to help advance my skills at the level they are. Should I just keep challenging myself with new songs? I’ve been trying out some stuff such as Rush, like 2112 (the first two I can do and the third I’m working on). I looked into some theory but I don’t think repeating scales will be the best method of practice.

    Is there a point where things just get easier? I see videos of people playing with smooth fingers but I just can’t do that, or am I just getting way ahead of myself (since they’ve been playing much longer than me)? I want to express myself through the bass, pick it up and play one of the many good tunes floating in my mind that I can’t seem to get out. So do I just tough it out and keep playing until things get easier? How long did it take you guys to “get the groove on”? Thanks for any comments/advice!
     
  2. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    If I had 5 months until I could take a lesson, and wanted to be as prepared as possible I'd learn to read standard notation and work with a good basic tutorial book. It sounds bland but you would be set up to learn whatever that teacher had for you.

    If you can find any kind of good instruction before the end of that 5 months you should do it. I know a local pro who will fit me in for the occasional "booster shot" and it is a great thing. It can also help correct physical problems like poor hand placement and maybe get you doing some excercises that will help you with things like right hand timing.

    One thing about "theory" is that it is like "grammar". You should think of it as learning a language. Repeating scales on their own isn't going to make you a lot better. Playing scales, or chords, or learning the elements of voice leading, in the context of learning the lexicon of musical composition is the way to go. You will learn why certain things sound good. You already know what you like the sound of. Learning the mechanics of it is what will let you express yourself more easily.
     
  3. Ability comes through practice. The longer you play, the more able you will become to express yourself through the instrument.

    You could certainly learn from a teacher, or else instructional materials, but you can also learn through experimentation and self discovery.
     
  4. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    That is exactly what I did! :hyper:

    But if I am giving someone advice, and that person has the kind of goals that tehdouglas does, I can't think of a reason not to learn to read SN and to get some grounding in basic harmonic principles.

    When I read
    I think that the person is in a state of educational "readieness". To me, that's a great time to get into the nuts and bolts. One of the best descriptions of formal music education I have ever read went like this: The sooner you learn this stuff the sooner you can forget it!