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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DSims63, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. I just started playing the bass a little over a year ago, and it is something I intend to do thru retirement (soon I hope). I would like to start off by saying how much help this forum has been for a beginner, I dont know if you posters realize just how much and how valuable your advice is, a sincere thanks. Now my question or concern.

    I realize that up to this point I can play a few songs (a little over 20) but thats it. I feel like I can play SONGS not play the BASS. I am starting to delve more into music theory. Do any of you guys have any suggestions about where I should look to become more of a bass player? I am an avid reader and my music book library is growing, over 40 books now, so any books you think might be helpful please let me know.
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The normal stock answer (and the right one IMO) to your question here on TB is to get a teacher. In the absence of that, some books I'd recommend are :

    Bass Guitar for Dummies : (ignore the "D" word. It is a good all round book for beginners).

    Bass Method Book by Ed Friedland :


    There are three volumes. You can get all three in one spiral bound edition, at a reasonable price.

    Another book I found very good is "Progressive Jazz for Bass". Even if you dont like jazz, it is still packed with useful information that can be used in any type of music.


    All books come with their own CD's.

    Happy practicing !! :bassist:
  3. Those will get you started. www.studybass.com is perhaps the best free "How to play bass" Internet lessons out there, of course, IMO.

    Again IMO - we have a couple of ways to go; 1) playing from standard notation or 2) chord tone scale degrees (R-3-5-b7). I went down the scale degree road. Why? Well I could not read fast enough to play from standard notation and the music I play, Country, is hard to find in standard notation. Yes you can find fake chord or lead sheet music, but, those have no bass clef, just the chord name so it fell upon me to construct my own bass lines.

    So I went down the scale degree road. Ed Friedland's books will notate the score using scale degree numbers, so yes to anything Ed writes. His books on building a bass line are well worth your time and money. If you have not already found Scott Devine's free Internet lessons that too will be time well spent. http://scottsbasslessons.com/geometric-shapes-within-your-bass-lines

    Once on the scale degree road your major scale box:
    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    And chord / scale patterns will let you play a lot of bass:

    Have fun.
  4. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    A good jazz teacher. Worth the money. Get "Modern Electric Bass." Great stuff on there for all levels.
  5. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    What kind of music do you enjoy / would you like to play?

    If you haven't already, try to find a group of like minded musicians you can jam with on a regular basis.

    Good luck and keep on rocking!
  6. Ivan M

    Ivan M

    Aug 2, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    Great and useful info in this thread.
  7. Thanks for the reply. I like everything, no exaggeration. Playing style I tend to gravitate toward R&B, jazz, and funk. I am very nervous about playing with others. I even have trouble playing in front of my teacher, get way to self concious of what I dont know.
  8. Cosmodude


    Aug 14, 2012
    Glad to hear you are picking up the Bass, this realy is a great instrument that sheds alot of joy to the one whos playing it, aswell as listening to it!

    I just very quickly wanted to address what you said about you being nervous about playing with others aswell as infront of your teacher.

    I dont get nervous much now adays when i play, although i have'nt been on any serious gigs and so on and im generaly pretty confident in what i do. But i Was very nervous when i was inexeperienced with the instrument.

    What i found out though, and what has kept me from being nervous, is that there realy is no Right or Wrong in music, IMO. However people like music is entirely subjective and thus should be treated as so. If you are playing something, and someone tells you " That was some bad playing " you can be very confident in what you do, because that means that the listener doesnt understand your style of playing. The importance in music isnt wether my girlfriend likes what i play, if a 100 people likes what i play, or a 1000 people like what i play. The only one that HAS to like what i play, is Me. Music isnt about money, girls, drugs or whatever one might think of, especially not some kind of " Show off " thing. Music is about understanding and loving music, taking pride in what you play and having a blast doing what you love. As long as you do that, your music can never be critizised for being "bad" and you will forever be comforted by YOU Loving what You play.

    Ofcourse this is a loose philosophy and there are indeed more experienced players aswell as lesser experienced players. More technical players aswell as less technical player. Players with different skills that you dont have, but on the other hand, some skills they dont have that you have. But i think you get the philosophy im trying to deliver.

    My text i just wrote might not have been a answer of importance so to speak. But i found it needed to be said. A unhealthy mindset realy can kill motivation, lust and curiosity and those are all needed elements when wanting to develop pretty much anything. And all of this i just wrote is My Opinion, my words are Not universal truth!

    I wish you the best of joy with your Bass man, be proud!
  9. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    The only way I know to get over being nervous about playing in front of people is by playing in front of people! It's part of the bargain. Bass is a rhythm instrument. Your basic job is to support the time & outline the chord changes for the group. You're gonna have to get over this one & I don't know of any work-around, 8-( FWIW, alcohol & other substances will interfere with your playing, your life & are not permanent solutions to the problem.

    Maybe this will help;
  10. Great advice. I am not the kind of person who is influenced by others, but I do have high (sometimes unrealistically so) expectations of myself. If I am not hitting a line as well as James Jamerson or Stanley Clarke I dont think its good enough.
    What I took from your quote was as long as I am enjoying what I am doing the technical expertise is somewhat secondary. And honestly I am enjoying myself immensely. I wish I had got into playing when I was 19 not 49 heheh.
    Thank you for the encouragement.
  11. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I know how it is to feel nervous or self-conscious. It's part of our growth as musicians to deal with and get over it.

    I remember my 1st 'big' show as a bass player. Pimply faced and ripped in all the right places jeans. Put the marching band saxophone down 'cause I play bass now in a cool rock band! I'm sure to get chicks after this show at the obligatory high school dance. Each member of the band had a solo piece before we got into our set. We had to set up in a hurry and no sound check - I set my amp's EQ to where I thought it should go. I had worked long and hard on a funked up version of Beethoven's 5th. It's gonna be freaking AWESOME! My guitar player finished up his cool thing - the drummer (who was already considered a 'God' at school) did his awesome solo - and now it's my turn... Dun dun dun daaaaa - OMFG!!!! I set my EQ to the most God awful sounding thing ever experienced in all creation!! :eek:

    But you know what? I survived. I lived and I learned. At the time I thought I was gonna die but now I look back fondly at the memory and wouldn't trade it for anything.

    Life is too short. Music is supposed to be fun. As long as I and my fellow band mates are having fun and enjoy what we're doing, I don't give a rat's behind about what anyone else thinks.

    So, like I said, do your best to find like-minded folks who you like as people first and band mates second and just have fun. Life is too short to be timid. Most people don't even try to express themselves like we do and they respect us for doing what they wish they could do.

    I hope that helps. Just keep on playing! Reinforce your strengths and work on your weaknesses. If you practice every day it gets better every day.


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