Best Way to Learn Bass (newbie)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Groove Finder, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Groove Finder

    Groove Finder

    Jan 27, 2020
    New York
    Good morning All!

    I am looking for some advice/feed back.

    Back in May 2019 I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing baseball and had to have it surgically repaired. That meant from mid May to about mid August I was laid up with either a cast on or a walking boot that I could bear weight on it. During this time I decided to make an attempt to cross an item off my bucket list and picked up a Fender Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass off Facebook market place and began trying to teach myself to play using YouTube. I was able to pick up reading some tabs and can play some small recognizable bass lines like Seven Nation Army, Iron Man, Smoke Over Water, Another One Bites the Dust, etc. But I'm looking for more...

    Fast forward to now; I'm up and walking around and the father of a 4-month old. I'm in it to win it but am trying to find time to take lessons. I know there some online things like Fender Play or Scott's Bass Lessons, some teachers offer an online Skype lesson and then there is of course private face-to-face lessons.

    What do you recommend? Pros/cons of each?

    When it comes to private face-to-face lessons the local school of music are all about the same price range for a 30 minute lesson (about $20.00-$25.00). With that said do you think 30-minutes is ample time for a lesson?
  2. 46and2


    Nov 12, 2017
    30 minutes is fine IMO. One advantage of an in-person instructor, whether face to face or Skype, is they can point out flaws in your technique to correct. With online lessons, you are pretty much on your own to recognize those flaws and correct them. Another advantage of in-person lessons is tailoring the lessons to your desires. Fender Play may not have much in the way of tech death metal lessons, and if that is your thing, you would be better off finding a teacher who specializes in or is at least aware of the techniques used in that style.
    SoCal80s likes this.
  3. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35 Supporting Member

    An instructor for 30 minutes is OK, because he/she will give you homework to keep you busy till the next lesson.

    If you can pull off Knee to knee lessons, don't worry with anything else during this time. Your instructor will keep you busy enough, and IMO why not concentrate on what the instructor gives you.

    For Internet help I like Mark's Talking bass and the book Bass Guitar for Dummies. Plus ole Google answers most of my questions.

    OK you have some licks and read tab. We follow the chords and play notes of the chord 99% of the time. True, roots at first, is what most of us did. Then we added a 5 for R-5. The 8 is always safe as it is the root in the next octave. R-5-8-5 plays a lot of bass for me. Let Google call up the spelling for the chords you will be running up on, like:
    C = R-3-5
    Cm = R-b3-5
    C7 = R-3-5-b7
    Yep all minor chords have the b3 and perhaps the b7.

    Most directors will be handing out fake chord sheet music not tabs, probably a good thing to learn how to play from fake chord is there is a good ole boy band in your future. These search words - chords, name of the song - will bring up fake chord sheet music on the song you are asking about.

    Another thing, where are those R-5-8-5 on your fretboard?
    You know where the root is.
    From the root the 2 is over two frets same string.
    From the root the 3 is up a string and back a fret.
    From the root the 4 is up a string same fret.
    From the root the 5 is up a string and over two fret, or down a string same fret.
    From the root the 6 is over the 3 on the next string up.
    From the root the 7 is up two frets and over one fret.
    From the root the 8 is up two frets and over two frets.

    Make a chart of where the notes are located. Once you can visualize the chart, let it help you.

    That enough to get you started. When you come up for air check back in.

    My two cents.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
    Reegan Potz and Frans688 like this.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Hi Mike, you are absolutely on the right track learning famous songs like "Smoke on the Water." In my opinion, the ability to pick up your bass and rock out a solid variety of bass grooves (whether they are classic bass lines or original ideas of your own) is the number one most important musical skill, where the rubber meets the road, as they say. I call this skill "musical vocabulary." Jamming with a musician who has a large musical vocabulary is like having a conversation with a smart person who knows a lot about the world.

    I would encourage you to explore different methods for learning new songs: TAB, standard music notation, chord charts, transcription by ear, jamming with friends, sitting with a face-to-face teacher, online lessons, books, DVDs, slow-mo YouTube videos of famous players, etc.

    The more tools you have for taking in new musical information, the more versatile a player you will become. A versatile baseball player who can run, catch, throw, bat, and hit for power is called a "five tool player." Mushroo's "five tools for the versatile bassist" are: 1) read several types of music notation (standard, TAB, chord charts, Roman numerals, etc.), 2) write several types of music notation, 3) learn songs by ear, 4) learn songs by singing, and last but not least, 5) physically give a good performance of the songs, on your bass.
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    One of the best things you can do is picking out bass lines off of recordings. By ear. Do that in addition to whatever lessons or studies. It helps train your ear. And if you study some basic theory you'll learn what it all means, how to reproduce it, and how to improve even quicker...not to mention being able to communicate with other folks who are "in the know."