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Beginner in search of help

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CaveMan462, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. CaveMan462


    Feb 9, 2013
    I'm kind of new to anything musical but like a challenge so I thought I'd learn the bass/guitar. I just don't know where to start.

    Brief history: I picked up the guitar about 9 months ago and can play some chords and a few simple kids songs. A few weeks ago I jammed with a friend and his band, playing guitar and bass. The bass spoke to me! (mostly it said "you suck") but the point is I heard it and loved it!

    But where to start? This will be a hobby. I have three kids under 7 y/o so I play at night while they're in bed. What should I be practicing? Which songs to start with? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    LOL!!! Trust me, we all know that feeling. :)

    The Hal Leonard Complete Bass Method is often recommended. It wasn't around when I was a beginner, so I have no direct experience with it, but it was written by Ed Friedland, an author who's other books have helped me immensely. (He's also on TB).


    Also probably a cool resource for you would be the Bass Tab White Pages. This book I do own and can recommend. It's got tabs for 100's of tunes, pretty accurate, and ranging in difficulty from Foo Fighters "Learn To Fly" (easy) to Primus' "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" (good luck! :D)

  3. CaveMan462


    Feb 9, 2013
    Jerry rules! Although Speed Racer Jr is my hero. Thanks for the info. I'll order the white pages asap.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Hi, and welcome to the low end ! :)

    First, I would advise you not to get too involved with tabs. They will only lead to a dead end in the long run. It is much better to listen and try to play along to songs you like.

    As for where to start, here is my 2c worth.

    1. Learn good technique, i.e. right and left hand, how to hold the bass etc.

    2. Learn all the notes on the fretboard.

    3. For starters, learn the major, minor and pentatonic scales. Learn how chords are derived from scales. Chord tones are what a bassist plays the majority of the time.

    4. Learn to read music notation.

    5. Take things in small steps. Be patient with yourself. We all sucked at one time. For practice, regularity is the key, so try to practice every day, even if just for a half an hour. This is better than cramming in four hours once a week.

    A good teacher would get you off to a great start. In the absence of one, I strongly recommend this site :

    Start at the very beginning of the site and work your way slowly and methodically through it. This way, each lesson builds on the information learned in the previous one.

    Back to technique. Here are some clips that are worth checking out IMO.

    Best of luck with it. :bassist:

  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    Normally, I'd +1 not only this, but your entire post, which is spot-on advice for a serious student. But for a guy looking to play as a hobby, to relax after the kids are in bed, I don't think such a serious regimen is necessary. Tabs are an easy, fun way to learn a song. A pro can't be reliant on them, simply because there are a lot of songs that make good covers that simply aren't tabbed anywhere.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Thanks for the complimentary remarks. :)

    While I can see the point you are making, just because this is a hobby for the OP does not rule out getting the basics down.

    Being able to play by ear will take a bit of work, but in the long run will be far more rewarding than having to rely on tabs ( which more often than not are incorrect).

    Also, if the OP is dwelling on the idea that.. "I suck"... well then he is going to have to do just a little work to get him to the next level.

    IMO tabs wont get him there.
  7. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes - and this opens the question: What should he play from?

    Standard notation is always the best, but, is there standard notation out there on this song? And he has already said he is new to music......

    That leaves fake chord or lead sheet music. Fake chord is usually available and also usually suspect, however, better than nothing. Lead sheet is usually a little more correct than the normal run of the mill fake chord, has the treble clef to help out, if you know how to build chords from melody notes, but, .......

    So what is a brand new bassist to do? Answer; grab the sheet music they can read - their ear is surly not ready.

    I recommend fake chord, the major scale box and root on one - as step one. Couple of years down the road they can start transcribing songs by ear.

    Certainly an instructor sitting knee to knee is best, however if not in the cards then:
    Bass Guitar for Dummies.
    Ed Friedland's books on how to play and how to build a bass line.
    Scott Devine's video lessons. Over 100 free lessons on just about everything. Perhaps a little advanced for him right now, but, will give a glimpse of what lies ahead.

    Most songs you will be doing probably will be Major key and have a I IV V chord progression, i.e. key of C - the C-F-G chords. Find a C on your 3rd string. Where is the F and G? Let's say the next song is in the key of D. Find a D on the 3rd string, where is the G and A? Yep, it's not rocket science - follow the chords and root on one.

    And good luck.
  8. CaveMan462


    Feb 9, 2013
    Thanks for all the help. I started practicing the C major scale. Then yesterday morning I plugged my phone into the amp, grabbed a tab and had some fun with Hendrix's born under a bad sign. My nine month old helped keep the beat! Y'll rock!