Beginner in need of guidance

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Whitenoise17, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Whitenoise17


    Aug 6, 2016
    East Side
    I've been playing bass for about a year, and in terms of my technique, I feel like I haven't made as much progress as I should have made by now.
    I'm still young and dumb, and as such, I've neglected to get actual lessons on playing bass, so my technique is still pretty sloppy.
    I want to make a conscious effort to better my technique, but I have no idea where to start.
    All I ask is that you, the more seasoned players, point me in the right direction.
    Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Dedicate yourself to mastering the floating thumb. Do it 15 minutes a day, every day, and you will eventually be doing it in your sleep. It forces you to play cleanly, it's fundamentally good technique. Here is a great video to get you started on the mechanics, but do some searching. There are a bunch of good threads on the topic around here.

    Nashrakh likes this.
  3. Practice with a metronome.
    Listen to a bass part, try to sing it and then play what you're singing.
    Pumpkin and Reedt2000 like this.
  4. Scales up and down your fretboard. To get your fingers moving and your ear recognizing the good and bad notes.

    The getting started sticky on this forum has all you need to get you started. Yes to the moving thumb, and the getting sticky will give you the necessary patterns to start running your scales.

    After scales get chord tones under your fingers. Yes the getting started stinky will have chord tone patterns also.

    If you need more than this ask specific questions.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
    Pumpkin likes this.
  5. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    If you've never played a instrument before, learn the basics via the FREE tutorials on YouTube. Once you know how to hold and fret the bass, you can look into learning techniques, as well as learning how to play songs. This will depend on what your goal is. You can focus on learning notes, scales, and learning how to read music notation. And you can also learn about music, songwriting, and learn songs that you like. And, you can do it the old school way that many great music artists did. That is, watch other great musicians play, emulate their hands, and tune your ears to what it looks and sounds like. And if you're in a hurry to play music, learn Tabs, and watch the bass covers on YouTube.

    The direction you choose will be based on want you want to do with the bass. Have a goal, and make a plan. Then get organized, and start your Bass Journey.
    Nashrakh likes this.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Don't get too hung up on monitoring your progress. It will happen almost without you noticing. ;) Besides, a year is a very short time to be playing.

    Technique is a very personal thing. The only "rule" is that it is safe, so that you can play with a minimal chance of developing injury problems later on. In order to achieve this, it is important to have both wrists as straight as possible. With this in mind, I would give a big plus 1 to the "Floating Thumb" technique posted in post number 2. The guy in that clip, Todd Johnson has a book/DVD on technique which I found very good.

    Here is a clip which deals with fretting hand technique.

    This one deals with the plucking hand. There are other great technique lessons on this site.

    Best of luck with it. :)

    Nashrakh likes this.
  7. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I think this is the best way to go about it, whether you're a beginner or have been playing for a while. Having a goal lets you choose what areas to work on.

    I'd begin with asking yourself... Can you physically play what you want to play, cleanly, at speed and without contortions or pain? If the answer is yes to all three, your problem has nothing to do with technique, no use getting hung up about your progress.

    Where do you think should you be after a year, OP?
  8. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    Fingerstyle technique most common Achille's heel:
    - clean tone, very important develop muting of the strings you don't play
    - good tone, a lot of people think great tone come from basses, gear etc.. the fingers are the first and the main tone maker for a bass player, work on how you touch the strings
    - alternating/crossing technique, same here, it's common to think more fingers you use, better playing you will reach, partially fake, because if you have a perfect coordination and alternation of your index and middle on your right hand, there are no limit on what you can play
    If you need more help feel free to contact me.
    Let's groove!
  9. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    You only need to practice before or after you eat.:)
  10. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    After you gain basic physical competence at fretting notes,
    I think most sloppy technique results from too much attention on physical execution
    or mentally freaking out about what to play next, and oh my god the chorus is coming up how did that go again?..etc

    What's missing is the ability to focus on the feeling of music itself
    rather the physical execution or mental map of the song.
    The only way to get there is to master the physical part
    and the memorize the mental map of the tune.

    Practicing scales & arpeggios to a metronome is probably the most efficient general way to tighten up your technique.
    As long as you plug in to your amp /headphones and can hear yourself.
    If you have a specific song to play , also practice that of course.

    I suppose could have just said:practice

  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Play to a metronome.
    Learn the different modes of a major scale and play them up and down the neck.
    Use your left pinky.
    Learn to play covers of songs you like but that are still in your comfort zone.
    Don't be afraid to play different ways (pick, thumb, close to the bridge\neck\middle.) Explore the instrument. As long as it doesn't hurt, there is no wrong way.
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Take some lessons. It will really help you progress correctly.
  13. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    The best things you can do for yourself now are:
    1. Scales up and down the neck (I personally like modal scales)
    2. Working with a metronome, and not just four on the floor down beats.
    3. Muting. I prefer right hand muting with some left hand thumb, but I'm not a floating thumb guy. That's a personal choice.
    4. Audiate. Singing the notes as you play them (the tone, not necessarily the note name) will help with training your ear, and being able to hear a part before you play it.

    It seems like short, simple list but if you ever master all of that let us know :roflmao:
    btmpancake and MalcolmAmos like this.
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