Drummer Learning To Play Bass Guitar - Questions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by somebodyelse, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. somebodyelse


    Jun 22, 2005
    First up, I have a musical background, I can read music, I know about scales and chords and whatnot cause i've been around guitarists for years. But i'm just starting bass, and I have some questions:
    1. Where should callouses be forming, specifically? Cause I have one forming on the side of my thumb on my picking hand, and on the tops of my fingers (naturally) on my other. Should I have any on the fingertips of my picking hand?
    2. Well.. just any general tips? For starting out? I sort of lost my train of thought. Thats what drummers do.
  2. Kamelion


    Jun 6, 2005
    Cambourne, UK
    1). Calluses will probably form wherever your fingers/hand regularly contact the strings. When you say "picking hand", I take it that you are playing with a pick. If so, I'd guess that you might get calluses on the side of your thumb if your thumb is also striking the strings when you are picking. Does thay sound possible to you - I'm having a little trouble getting a clear picture of your picking style. You should only get calluses on the fingertips of your right hand (assuming you are right-handed) if you are playing fingerstyle, or (again) if you are using a pick and your fingers are also striking the strings when you play. If it's a problem, change the way you hold your pick so that more of the plastic protrudes from between fingers and thumb - that should keep your fingers and thumb away from the strings. Does this make sense to you?

    2). My top three tips would be a) practice lots, b) play slowly until you are comfortable with what you are practicing, and c)play with other musicians as much as you can. I'd imagine that it's pretty much the same with drums. If you have good rhythm and know your chords, scales and theory, you are probably in really good shape already, as far as most of the fundamentals go. Oh, and have fun :).
  3. somebodyelse


    Jun 22, 2005
    To clear things up, I only said picking hand because I don't know what else to call it, but i'm not using a pick. I'm going with the two finger method, I understand you get a better sound that way (in terms of a deep bassy sound).
  4. Kamelion


    Jun 6, 2005
    Cambourne, UK
    Heh, ok - gotcha. Well, your thumb is probably only going to get calluses if it is in regular contact with the strings, like if you're using it to pluck or slap the strings. Do you use your thumb for this (or anything else) while you play? I wouldn't really worry about it either way, myself.

    Different folks have different opinions when it comes to using fingerstyle or a pick. My personal take on it is to get a good grip on all styles of play for greater versatility - different songs might call for a different sound, for example. But at the end of the day it's wholly an issue of personal preference. Go with what suits you and the music you want to play.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "Plucking" hand?
    Anyway, is your thumb anchored on a pickup? If so, I can see why a 'callous' would be forming there.
    Or are you 'floating the thumb'(i.e. either the thumb 'rests' on the unused lower strings as a mute or the thumb anchors on the string lower than the one(s) being plucked)?
    If so, I can see why a 'callous' is forming.

    In any event...totally normal.

    General tip of the day?
    As a drummer, you are already at a great advantage over most total 'noobs'.
    One practice hint given to me by a drummer-
    ...think of your 2 plucking fingers as "drum sticks" in order to practice paradiddles & other rhythmic combinations.