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Beginner, meaning has barely touched a bass.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by alanaw, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. alanaw


    Sep 17, 2005
    I am getting a bass soon. I was wondering if it would be best to take lessons, or just learn myself. I was wondering if you could give me some links to some good sites that tell me all the things I need to know. Explaining everything. Plus, any easy stuff I can learn without lessons.
  2. groove100


    Jan 22, 2005
    I would suggest that you get a teacher, if you have the resources to do it.

    but if you dont, I would advice to get those instructional videos for new bass players that will teach you basic things that are important to you playing (It'll be better if it come with a book). Im sure a lot of the people here can advice on what video to get for a new bassist.

    Starting at the right foot is gonna be big in your learning experience.
  3. I never did take lessons - some 13 years now and still haven't.
    But it's probably best to do that to get off in the right direction, to get the right playing technique.

    To start playing though, just play along with records.
    When You get that going OK you can play along with MTV or similar - it helps you develop you ability to hear what note is being played and to improvise.
    In fact, never stop playing along with records - there are few better ways to pick up different kinds of playing (if you play along with different bands music.)

    Good luck, and let it take the time it deserves to get there.

  4. Some sensible advice offered above....at least learn from one of the many books avaliable about the scales involved.....DON'T try to play like the pros straight away, they play bass for a living and have to be good, a mistake I made when I started playing. One really easy bassline = Zepp's "Fool In The Rain", which is basically built around C major. And Duane Eddy's "Peter Gunn" which is all on the E string. Good luck
  5. I'm mostly self-taught. I've been playing for about 6 years and I wish I had taken lessons. You'll go much further, much faster with a good teacher then you would without one. You'll learn to read which is one of the most important things a musician needs to know, and you'll learn proper technique instead of just guessing and figuring it out yourself. Trust me, get a good teacher and you'll be much better off.
    As for good, not-so-hard stuff to learn. Try Jaco's "The Chicken". It's not really hard, but it will get your hands moving a little, get your fingers spaced out good, and it's a perfect example of remembering chord changes and counting measures. Overall it's a great song to practice and warm up with.

    oh yeah....Don't use a pick.
  6. DGbass70


    Jun 1, 2005
    Rochester N.Y.
  7. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    using a pick can be another ingredient in your 'tones and techniques' cupboard... it might or might not be relevant to the music you want to make but don't necessarily dismiss it just because someone on the internet said so

    as you go through your bass playing life, one of your most valuable assets will be an open mind
  8. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Quoted for emphasis - Good point
  9. Lessons are great, I just hope to god you dont end up taking lessons at the local music store from the guitar teacher who "also teaches bass" and also happens to pick notes with his thumb and the only scale he teaches you is the minor pentatonic...

    If that's the case, you're better off finding a friend or a friend of a friend who actually plays bass and bugging them to help you.
  10. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005
    I would also recommend doing a search in these forums for "practice", "beginner" and "theory". I used those terms and came up with lots of great information on beginning tips, practice tips etc.

    Read all the faqs too. I check the Technique and General Instruction threads daily for ideas/help.
  11. Sir Squier

    Sir Squier

    Apr 29, 2005
    Yeh, i only been playin for about a year or so, i did have lessons for a while when i started then got sick of it.. I am back there again to learn the "theory" side of it though. Im starting to regret it though, because, i have develloped bad habits in my technique such as not standing up my fretting fingers..
  12. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    Of course it's better to take lessons, if you have money for that, but don't be afraid to pick suggestions from other sources. Personally I'm self-taught (never had cash for lessons), but I wish I had some formal musical education when I just started.

    NOw acouple of words about this:
    Yes, it happens, but in my town there's one guy in the local misic store who is "also teaches bass, percussion, and keys". He even plays bass better than guitar, and he's totally self-taught. If you find someone like this - it would be awesome. ;)
  13. Nirvana4ever


    Aug 2, 2005
    There are many approaches to beginning bass. First off, try to get a comfortable decent bass for your first one. Don't worry about spending lots of bucks on your first one. When you get better, get better equipment. Second, learn how to read tab so you can learn all the songs you want. Once you know how go to http://www.mxtabs.net/basstabs.php and find all the songs you want to learn. If you cannot read tab, try and learn by going to that site. Third, practicing will always make you a better player, so practice by yourself as much as you can. Fourth, while practicing solo is great, it is good to have a teacher. A teacher can help you develop your sound, fix problems, teach you, and bassically just be there to help you with whatever you need. Fifth, playing with others is in my opinion the best and most fun way to learn on bass. You will learn so much from jamming with your friends. You will truly find your sound along with a lot more. If you can, get a group of friends together to start a band. And sixth, it sounds corny, but believe in yourself. Telling yourself that you are a good player will truly make yourself a good player. If you have a bad attitude about it, you will never succeed. Put your heart into it. Good luck. Rock on.
  14. mksolid


    Jan 4, 2005
    I'd advise getting a teacher, too. But be careful, there are some teachers out there who are going to be inadequate. For example,
    I had a teacher for bass who was a guitarist, but he taught bass because "well pretty much the same thing, right". He was pretty good at just listening to songs and replicating the basslines by ear but then that's just what the lesson became. He'd play a song and teach me how to play it (really just tab it out). No teaching on how to use the right or left hands properly or anything. I was stuck struggling with learning how to use even just the index finger along with the middle on my right hand for months after that because I was originally playing with just a James Jamerson style "hook" (without nearly jamerson's strength) and the guy never corrected me. Just be sure you take all this wacky stuff into account (you can see that i really regret it). Just remember, you want to learn the proper technique for playing bass, not just how to play songs that you or your instructor like. Also check out homespuntapes.com.
  15. slickhare


    Feb 2, 2005
    getting a teacher is better if you don't have much musical experience. if you've already played several instruments and have a command of theory you might be able to teach yourself. but i personally think that books and videos are quite limited, in that, they can only explain thing one way. so if you don't get it you're stuck trying to figure it out from the same explanation. but if you're learning from a teacher they can say "oh, well think of it like this..." . so personally i think that a teacher is much more rewarding being that they can adapt to you and your playing style. also it's good to get some outside critique on your playing. especially in the beginnning when you're learning your form and the basics. playing in the mirror may not always satisfy. my 2 cents.
  16. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    Not had a lesson yet and I'm in 2 bands now... and getting decent comments from them about my ability.

    All self taught, but I wanna get lessons... gonna start next month when I get some cash I think, but I'm gonna be fussy about my teacher... they need to be able to teach me what I wanna learn, not what I already know!
  17. lopsy_lu


    Feb 15, 2005
    Scotland, UK.
    The way I did it was to borrow a bass from my friend, then learn simple songs (AC/DC, Nirvana, Sex Pistols, Hey Joe by Hendrix) from Tab.

    I stuck at that for about 6 months, then bought my own bass and started lessons, which really helped with musical ideas, and also getting the viewpoint and influence of a more experienced musician.

    And now the lessons are really helping as I'm learing theory stuff I never knew about previously.

    I'd recommend just sitting down with the instrument itself for a month or so, using one of the starter books to just get the feel of the instrument and how it all works. Then if you start to enjoy it more and get more focused start with lessons.

    Hope you enjoy the instrument as much as we do.

    My dos cents :)
  18. Dharmabum


    Jul 11, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I've always reccomended starting with a teacher. I am pretty biased though, as teaching bass is my job. ;)

    What a teacher can do is point out small things in your playing that you wouldn't be able to notice yourself.

    Teachers also provide a sense of immediacy in practicing. If you don't go over the things you're supposed to know for the last lesson, you're just going to be wasting money.

    I take $40 lessons from a classical bassist now for upright and even when I don't feel like practicing at *all*, I still don't want to waste $40 a week!

    But for just starting out before you get a teacher, I'd make sure that you know how to hold your right hand, make sure you can alternate fingers, and definitely make sure your left hand is held well with the wrist perpindicular to the neck and your thumb behind the middle finger, remembering to relax your hand enough to still get a good note. This left hand positioning is a technique that a lot of people teaching themself don't pick up and it can be very difficult to fix later on.

    Good luck man, and I hope we see you in Bass Player someday.
  19. Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" was done with a pick.

    If John Paul Jones is wrong, then I don't want to know what right is.