Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BCHS_Peacenik, Mar 21, 2003.

  1. Alright, I feel a bit foolish but, well, where is the best place to start learning?

    I'm a bit strapped for cash and I'll probably have to live off of borrowed basses for a while. I used to take piano and viola lessons, and I currently sing. I've got a good ear for pitch and I can read music.

    My question now: where do I start out?
  2. I would normally say with a good teacher, but if that's not an option for you I suggest a good book. Since you have prior musical training though, you might be starting off on a higher foot than the average beginner, so a more advanced book may be better. But first thing's first: get to know the instrument. Learn the fretboard and how to play scales. My friend once told me when I was starting out "Just practice scales all the time and then go from there." From then the world opens up. Rhythm practices are a must, too. Being able to play on time is a definite requirement. The trick is finding a book/teacher/regiment that will get you started and allow you to stay balanced in learning all of these things.

    Since I don't have much time after my 9-5 and I'm pretty tired, I try to do some rhythm warmups, go through at least one scale using Pacman's method, and learn/practice at least one song from beginning to end a few times. Doing this makes me feel like I've covered most of the areas in bass training. As long as you keep a regiment that you feel comfortable with and you work yourself (one of the hardest things to do regarding self teaching since there's no one around to keep you in check when you're lazy), then you will definitely notice when you start growing as a player. (Though this week I've been really lazy :()

    Unfortunately I can't recommend a book that's proven 100% useful and is the book to end all books regarding bass. But I found the Bass Player Book (by the guys who do the magazine) to be more useful than others as far as beginner books go. It covers several bases (no pun intended) regarding playing, buying, and recording bass for people who have no experience in any of those matters. It also covers genre differences as in playing for rock, blues, jazz, etc.
  3. Thanks a lot, that's a great help.

    Yeah.. no cash = no teacher. I'm already getting <strike>expensive</strike> voice lessons and I would feel bad asking my parents for more lessons when we're already paying a lot..

    I think the biggest problem for me as well will be laziness.. but I'm sure I can work on that. *grins*

    Thanks for the advice!
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I believe laziness comes from lack of desire and motivation. If you really get interested in bass, you will not be lazy. Your motivation to learn will give you the will to pratcie. Besides, you don't sound lazy to me. Afterall, you are taking voice lessons and have some background in piano. Both of these things will be a help in your bass playing.

    Another thing, you said you may have to borrow a bass. Could you get the person who lends you a bass to give you at least an orientation?:bassist:
  5. Yeah I was thinking that.. I have a friend who might just do that :D

    Thanks for the bit about me not being lazy.. although.. I just got home from seeing Victor Wooten on bass with the Flecktones.. and.. I think I could play bass every day for the rest of my life and never be as good as that man.

  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Maybe, but you're putting the cart before the horse. You say that you can sight read, and have a decent ear, so you're not in bad shape. Many people that have been playing bass for years can't say the same.

    Really, the thing you do is absorb absolutely everything in your environment. A teacher is always the best idea, but other resources exist. Sometimes it can be as simple as just playing what you hear. Playing along to recordings, transcribing. There are a lot of threads in General Instruction that can help you. Here's one:

    As a bassist, the most important thing you can do for yourself right now is establish a good sense of time. Buy a metronome. If you have to sell a couple of old C&C Music Factory or Color Me Badd CDs to do it, then do it. The metronome will become your friend. Establishing strong time and rhythm is crucial, and now is the time to start.

    Unfortunately, some things will be harder than others. A good teacher can help you learn proper technique, and that is very important at this point in playing. You do not want to start bad habits now. In fact, what I suggest is to scrape together your money, and pay for 2 one hour lessons right now, just to get the fundamentals. Trust me, you will thank yourself years later. Money comes and goes, and most of the people who complain that they can't afford lessons, well if they just didn't eat out an extra two or three times a month, or didn't buy that CD, or just bought it used, or didn't stop at the 7-11 for a Red Bull and a Slim Jim, or didn't get that Grande Mocha, then they could afford it. And trust me, those 2 hours worth of lessons will go a lot further than the slim jims. So, try and get those two lessons to understand the bass; tuning, right hand technique, left hand technique, tone, scales, the metronome, the amp, etc.

    And don't forget to click on the baby frog.

    <a href=""><img src="" width="175" height="150" border="0" alt="Everyone must click on BABYFROG. Nothing but good could possibly come from clicking on the FROG. CLICKITY CLICK. Get CANDY by clicking on BABYFROG!"></a>
  7. Well.. the thing is.. I don't have a steady job or anything [babysitting is about all I do.. and not really all that regular] so I don't have much cash for lessons..

    < /excuse >

    Blarg.. yeah.. and the frog kind of scares me.. but I clicked on it anyway and it turned out to be pretty useful.. thanks XD

    Oh, and I already have a metronome.. gotta find a battery for it..

    Man.. that frog gives me the willies!!!
  8. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    Even if you're not into lessons (like me, I'm teaching myself) you should DEFINITELY get at least one or two lessons, just to learn basics like changing strings, basic maintenence/cleaning, and how to hold and play the bass. Tendonitis and its friends will wreck you if you play wrong for a long time.
  9. It isn't that I'm not into lessons.. I just can't afford them at the moment [no job = no lessons] My friend told me that she'd give me a few lessons for no charge which is good stuff.. then I'll have to russle myself up a bass from somewhere..
  10. Also.. Only.. is the "Grr Arrgh" underneath your name.. is it from the end of Buffy?
  11. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    Well, lessons or not, even if you can only afford one, it'll more than pay for itself later.

    And aye, it's a Buffy reference. I've been watching it a lot lately, for some reason.
  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I learned bass by playing along with records. Play along with everything you like to listen to.

    For reading exercises, get the Bach cello suites and play through those.
  13. Thanks for all the great info. What a great forum. I'm an old guy who's just started learning music. Got my bass exactly one week ago, and have been spending way too much of my work day here reading all I can. There is an insane amount of good info all over these forums.

    Now I need to find a good teacher. Played guitar (yeah, I know) for about 9 months, and took lessons for a while, but my teacher was mostly into teaching riffs and licks and things like that. The only theory I've ever learned is what I've read here in the past few weeks. Obviously I had a lousy teacher, but since I'd never taken a music lesson in my life, I had no idea. Anyway, I've wanted to play bass since I was a kid, so the guitar sits lonely and idle in it's case, and now I feel like a kid again. But I have to tell you, teaching 40 year old fingers to do new tricks is..... well, it's a blast, actually.
    Thanks for all the great info.
  14. Cool XD I never thought of doing crazy stuff like that!