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Dead End Practice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LizardKing45, May 3, 2001.

  1. I am quite the novice bassist. This is true. I am SICK and TIRED of my "practice" consisting of me trying to play the tabs from my favorite songs. I know that i may be shunned by the real anti-tabites for using tabs, but i realize that tabs just arent helpful.. They suck as a matter of fact. I just want to know what i can do to improve myself as a player now? What can i do? Scales? Chords? Neither of which i know ANYTHING about. Any suggestions of how i can learn my scales? hopefully i can learn some new practice techniques that will make me a bit more skilled.. Thanx People.
  2. Back in the old days of rock n roll, there were very few books, no videos, no tab, no nothin', we learnt by picking a song with a bassline that sounds as if it might be easy, and playing a tiny bit of it (easy with a CD) over until you can play it, then move on to the next little bit. Before long you've learnt the whole song (by ear), so move on to another. In time you will build up a whole repertoire of songs you know, this hopefully making you employable. As you are learning your songs, you will be automatically improving your dexterity, and your knowledge of your bass. The time will then come when you want to know more about MUSIC, and that is the time, IMO, to start learning scales, chord construction, improvisation, reading notation, etc, etc.
  3. Yes, I had wanted to do that, but no one i know plays drums, and i dont think anyone in my entire town does...
    I am looking for a teacher, but money is a big issue, as well as time, considering school, and soon a summer job.. But i will keep looking for a teacher anyway.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Marty - Thank you. That is what got me competent enough to play in my first, paid, band and onward to many years of bands.

    Lizard- Not only do you get a sound orientation to the fretboard and develop an ear, but you learn how basslines are constructed in a fundamental way. (Of course, it would be good to know which notes you're playing at some point and the time values of them, among other things).

    Yes tabs suck for some of us. Not only do you have absolutely no clue about how long to hold a note, how hard to attack it, etc., but I've seen many tabs that bear faint resemblance to the original. A good ear gained by playing along with recordings will get you much further. But some people have a mentality that all the answers, short cuts, tricks, and "instant microwave" technique are located somewhere. These are also the same people who can't do math without a calculator. :rolleyes:

    If you do the "find a hot drummer thing" all you're going to sound like, common sense will tell you, is a good drummer with a dud bassist, IF........the drummer doesn't tell you to start packing your gear too soon.
  5. funkastorious


    May 26, 2000
    Mpls, MN.
    Here's my best advice......

    First off, it really depends upon what type of music you are listening to. If you listening to RATM type stuff, you really have no choice other than to learn the rif. Hopefully you can do this by ear. (tab = very bad). But, I could maybe understand if your a beginner and need some guidance.......not sure if RATM has music in the lit stand. :oops:D

    If you're not that advanced in your listening, start off with music that involves simple chord progressive......maybe some jazz, blues, or rock.

    Your lesson is to determine the chord progressive and play the root. Nothing fancy, just the root. After being able to hear chords, start to learn some theory. Once you have a good ear with some theory, you will be AMAZED how fast you can play "standards".

    This ain't tough folks.......just put some time into it.
  6. I_Dream_Of_Bass


    Feb 8, 2001
    So far everyone's given good advice...I would like to offer what I'm doing for advancement with the theory side of what I'm doing. I take lessons when I can. Not every week, but I try and do it at least once a month for an hour. That helps keep the costs down and so long as your teacher knows this in advance and doesn't have a problem with it, he can make that hour very intense and give you plenty to go over if you can't make it in on a regular basis. You can also practice with any other instrument, not just drums. There will be advantages and disadvantages to every thing, but you can practice with just a pianist, guitarist, sax, whatever. It should help you on some level whoever you play with.
  7. BassicRob


    Mar 28, 2001
    Massapequa, NY
    What I did when I first started playing was after my lesson, I would practice what I'd learn and then toss it aside until the next weeks lesson. Not a good idea, but here's my advice. I also used what I learned at band practice, incorporating it into a jam. If you can find a band, you could also do this: tun on the radio, find a station with music, maybe not your taste but classic rock seemed easier for me when I did this. While listening, figure out the key and start jamming. Either write your own bass line or just play something melodic in key. Try figuring out the vocal line or the chord progression. I can tell you this, if you start early, jamming with a band becomes 10x easier because you already trained your ear. I am assuming you know the basic scales when I say this. Major, minor, pentatonics, and blues are always the fun and easiest. Have fun!
  8. Nope, not a clue!
  9. BassicRob


    Mar 28, 2001
    Massapequa, NY
    I would say then thats a good start. Once you got those down and feel comfortable with them, the doors will open wide.
  10. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    If you can't get lessons I'd like to suggest a book. Its the Bass Palyer book from Bass Player magazine. I think it's a good general guide. It has diagrams for all the notes on the neck, key signatures, circle of fifths, chord construction. It has all kinds of interviews and articles that are helpful with regard to theory and how the scales relate to rock, blues, jazz, etc.
  11. funkastorious.....you're kidding, right? "simple chord progressions.....jazz". The blues are basically 3 chords, rock n roll is basically 3 chords, jazz is definitely NOT 3 chords, at least the jazz I play and listen to sure aint! Have you played Ornithology or Giant Steps at 200bpm recently? At any tempo? Even a jazz blues with all it's substitutions is not a simple chord progression. Even a 2 chord jazz tune like So What becomes a challenge, first to remember your place in the tune during your sax player's 320 bar solo, second, to try and play something different each time through!
    Dont get me wrong, I believe everyone should learn to play jazz, for the simple reason it will teach you more music than any other genre. But it aint "simple".
  12. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    I agree with most of what the others are saying, learn scales, arpeggios, chords, etc. These are all available in books, videos, CD's whatever. Another important aspect is simple interaction. Playing in a band situation where you are forced to react with the knowledege you have acquired will help you grow musically probably faster than anything. Are there any bands around looking for a bassist? See if you can find a drummer to jam with. Hell, if you have to, use a drum machine, click on a beat and improvise.

    I've known a few closet musicians who could rip through every scale, arpeggio and technique imaginable but when placed in a group situation they were clueless.

    Pick up a few books or videos and then get out and play with others. That will save you from the frustration of stagnation faster than anything.
  13. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    I have to admit for the last year tried to absorb as much as could through magazines, books, videos, this website and apply it to my practice. But I just started taking lessons again in the last month and I am growing musically in leaps and bounds. Generaly Instructors are worth the price.
  14. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Im suprised nobody said learn how to read standard notation. Probably best to get a teacher to do this. This is probably one of the single most important things you can do. Those books wont do you much good if you cant read!
  15. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    I think that's were tab becomes a crutch at least for me. Lot's of instructional material these days comes with tab and standard notation. I think if your studying by yourself it's hard to have the discipline to read the standard notation when the tab is right there.

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