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Confidence & Consistency. How?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by KissThaRing, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. KissThaRing


    Nov 3, 2012
    Hello all, brand spankin' new to the music instrument world, had a friend give me a "hand-me-down" Dean bass 3 months ago, started doing self-teaching through youtube videos and learning little popular riffs and whatnot, but about a month ago I finally went to GC and bought a book, I was recommended "alfreds complete bass beginner guide" and also bought a new bass, an Ibanez SRA300 (I don't know why, but the sales guy was very adamant about this bass, saying its the best bass for the money, etc, etc, and it was on clearance for 219, so I went ahead and took the bait)

    Anyways, for the past month I been going through the book, and really trying hard to dial in and master all the chords, scales and arpeggios, it came with a DVD where you have to play along with the music, which I really like since it helps with timing. However, I'm having a huge issue with consistency, which in turns hurts my confidence with the bass, sometimes when I play with the DVD, I nail it dead on, which makes me happy. Then, to make sure I "get it" I will continue practicing the same bass lines, only to find that the 2nd and 3rd and even 4rth time around, I always fumble half-way through and have "brain farts" where I forget the notes or hit the wrong strings. It's frustrating! It makes me question whether I'm really getting it or not. I just wanted to ask if anyone here had similar learning experiences, and what you did to remedy the situtation or what advice you got that helped you. I been playing for about 3 months now, I try and get atleast 1 hour a day of practice in, this is just a hobby right now, I'm not looking to join any band or anything, its strictly for leisure, so I'm not in a hurry to learn fast, I just want to make sure I learn right and dial in these basics, but I'm really strugglin'. Sorry in advance if this is the wrong sub forum.

    On a side note, the action of my Ibanez is killing me, I mean I love the sound of it, and I appreciate it building my finger strength, but doing the "1 finger per fret" on these thing is a ton harder then on my Dean bass, where the action seems very low and its just easier to get around. Should I try and lower the action at the bridge or just keep practicing and let my hands adjust?
  2. Mitchinboxer


    Jan 25, 2012
    When practicing music, don't practice till you can get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong. Don't expect to move on quickly, and master all the fundamentals, the alfred's book is good for that.

    On the action, get it lowered, whatever feels best is the way it should be.
  3. There's a formula to this.

    Slow down until you get it right and are comfortable. Stay there for a while and increase confidence. Then slowly increase the pace until (as said above) you get it wrong. Then start again from the beginning. Iteration and incrementation.

    Old Irish Folk Tale:
    Two bulls are watching a herd of cows in a field. The young bull says "Let's run down to that field and f***k some of those cows". The older bull replies "No, let's walk down to that field and f**k ALL of those cows".
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    You have being playing only a very short time. It will take a bit more time before your fingers will do what you want them to. As others have said, slow things down and gradually build up the tempo. Be patient with yourself and take things in small steps.

    As for the bass itself, I'd recommend getting it set up (i.e. the action lowered and generally comfortable to play). It is hard enough learning to play, without having to wrestle with the bass into the bargain. ;)

    Just as a side note :

    Be careful with the one finger per fret technique, especially on the lower frets (1-5). This can be too much of a stretch for a lot of people. Use the index and pinkie on these frets and use the thumb as a pivot.
  5. KissThaRing


    Nov 3, 2012
    Thank you all for the advice, I've learned alot just from the few post so far. fearceol, about the thumb pivoting, thats exactly what I been doing without realizing it, I can't think of any other way to really reach those frets, and I have pretty lengthy fingers as it is. I was under the impression that the pivot thumb was a bad technique so I was really hurting myself trying to do those stretches. The guy in the video doesn't seem to pivot (I think he moves his hand very slightly for those 1-5 stretches but its not much)
  6. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    This is the basis of the whole thing.

    You might check in with a teacher every now and then. Regular lessons might not be your thing, as you seem to be a self starter... but once a month or so with a list of questions.
  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Just be patient with yourself and try to be conscious when you are practicing.

    Ibanez neck- Try lowering your strings. Maybe a slight (1/4 turn) tightening of your truss rod.
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Glad that you are getting some benefit from the replies. :)

    The thumb pivot is a good way to reach those lower frets. The "one finger per fret" is not a rule, merely a good economical way to play. Some people can make the stretch on frets 1-5, like perhaps the guy in the video, but many cant. Above the 5th fret however, it is a very good technique.

    Everyone is different and technique is not a "one size fits all" thing. Always listen to your body. Pain ( as apart from the burning sensation often experienced from the build up of lactic acid) should never be a part of playing the bass. If you feel it, stop, investigate the cause, and correct accordingly. Never play through pain.

    Best of luck !! :bassist:
  9. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Another thing that helps is developing your inner ear, you mental, internal sense of how the music is supposed to go. Don't just memorize the fingerings and positions: memorize the sound of the music.

    You adjust string height using the bridge saddles (and possibly filing/shimming the nut).

    You add or subtract relief by adjusting the truss rod. While the result of adjusting the truss may include raising or lowering the string height, that is not the purpose of truss rod adjustments and misunderstanding this can lead you to do some real harm to your neck's guts.

    If you are not comfortable with doing proper neck adjustments do yourself a favor and take the instrument to a pro and pay to have it done. If that is not an option, there are many threads here as well as tons of information online regarding how to properly do it.
  12. Yogen


    Jul 15, 2012
    I have the same thing happen to me, taking a rest and listening to what I'm supposed to play seems to help a lot. Breaking down everything to little pieces and paying attention to "everything" (right hand fingers distance to strings, fret buzz, positioning, etc.) somehow also helps me get those parts better, maybe because I'm more focused or because I'm doing it slowly, I don't know, but it works.
  13. Sometimes people end up practicing mistakes.

    When that 'glitch' happens and each time they come around to that part and that glitch happens again, they are reinforcing the glitch rather than practicing the part.

    As others have suggested, the key is to slow down and 'de-glitch' the part that is glitchy.

    You should also find the 'glitchy' part and simply work it out. If it's a two bar riff out of a 16 bar phrase that you keep tripping over, go to that two bar riff and get it under your fingers slowly and methodically. That will help you find where your finger-brain disconnect is and help you resolve it. Then you run the entire phrase at a speed that lets you get through the whole thing glitch-free. Once you get through it glitch-free a lot of times, increase the speed. The minute you fumble, back down the speed a notch and de-glitch.

    Later, rinse, repeat.
  14. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    One thing about when I was learning to play---it never seemed to be hard. Why? because I wasn't in a hurry, and I didn't overthink anything. Learn some stuff you like and enjoy playing. Don't just do exercizes.
  15. pandros


    Oct 25, 2012
    I taught myself too....Tried to stick to the diagrams/videos etc... but in the end, you find the way that's best for your hand.

    However.... If you CAN get it 'as per the book'....you'll end up a very good bassist. These guys know what they are talking about...and sometime in the future...you'll want every finger to play fast and clean ..and if you haven't put in the hours of practice, you'll not be able to play some songs as they are written. And some of those riffs...really have to be played as written or not at all I'm afraid.

    I agree...sounds like your bass needs setting up.
  16. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Maybe if you go back to the sales guy at GC and ask nicely, he'll arrange for their tech to set it up better for you. I've gotten chummy with one or two of the fellows at my local music stores & they've been very helpful with things like that. I definitely wouldn't go messing with the truss rod unless you've thoroughly researched that topic.

    Touching base (or bass?) with a teacher for a few lessons in the beginning is extremely valuable - my first lesson came after a few months of self teaching, & he instantly corrected some fingering issues that I didn't even know I had, that would have made it much harder to progress & unlearn down the road. Because of finances I see my instructor much less these days, but I always show up with a few questions written down regarding something I came across in a book or read here. Otherwise those books are wonderful, & also recommended is Ed Friedland's Bass Method book1(Hal Leonard), and Bass for Dummies (either of them).