1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Everthing Bass(Help)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Keiko, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. Alright. So I am close to brand new at playing the bass guitar. Just started like 2 weeks ago. I look around on the net to see what information I can find and it seems that what information I do find has all these terms and things that must be done, and I am completly clueless in tabs. I don't understand frets(bet it is real simple though), or what hammering or pulling off is, or string bending..sliding. It is all just a bunch of words to me. I want to be able to understand all this stuff to be a better artist. Yeah playing is easy enough...but to be great at it, wouldn't it be best to understand all of these terms and tabs in itself. I do hope i picked the right part of the forum to post in. Please help me out! :help: I am at a total loss! :bawl: Thanks in advance.
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    First of all, you'd probably have better luck in the technique forum.

    Second, don't worry about hammer-ons or pull-offs, nor string bending or sliding. They'll come in time. And frankly, tabs are mostly useless, they hindered my playing for years. Find a teacher, it's the best investment you can make.

    On the other hand, each metal bump on the neck is a fret, and holding the string down just to the side of the fret, produces a tone (hold the string down just on the headstock side of the fret) and it will produce tones, each a half-step apart in succession. For example, each fret on the E string (lowest, fattest string) is F, F#, G, G#, A respectively while letting the string ring out with no fingers is an open E.

    Hope this helps!
  3. Welcome to the world of bass... Here are some terms of the bass...

    Headstock - The top of the bass, contains the name of the company that made your bass and the tuners.

    Tuners - Tighten or loosen the strings to get a certain pitch.

    Nut - Bottom of the headstock, straightens the strings out before they go over the neck.

    Neck - Long part of the bass that contains the metal frets and the inlays (dots, blocks, etc...)

    Body - The big part of the bass that shows a lot of dust and fingerprints... Keep it clean and sexy.

    Pickups - The big black things in the middle of the body, sometimes they will have metal poles in them.

    Bridge - Bottom of the bass, holds the strings tight.

    Knobs - Controls the tone, volume, and other stuff like that...

    I have been playing for about two years now and I still only have my 15 watt practice amp and my one and only black Ibanez bass. I am good, but nowhere near as good as people who have been playing all of their lives... Who knows... maybe i'll see you and your band in a show or something...
  4. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    A better fit in General Instruction, I think - moved.
  5. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Wow, this is a tough question to place on the board. I guess we'll keep it here for now.

    First off, welcome to Talkbass, and to bass playing.

    A couple things, bass playing is an art form that takes years to get. It's a never ending process of learning. As soon as you get to where you think you want to be, you'll want to be at another (better) place.

    Talkbass is a very good start. There is tons of information and incredibly talented members on the board. So don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly you may think the question is.

    Your best bet is to look for a bass teacher in your area. It's better to learn the basics of playing face to face with a good instructor. A good teacher will give you things to work on at a pace that will suit you. Be carful and choosy with who you pick for a teacher. Make sure they know the instrument.

    Many local music stores will offer lessons for about $15 bucks for a half hour. (prices will vary) Try to get an instructor that IS a bass player themselves. I know of a few teachers at stores that will teach bass, but aren't bass players. You will most likely learn a heck of a lot more from an actual bass teacher.

    Good luck with your new found addiction. And trust me, it is an addiction! But most importantly, have fun with it! :)
  6. lethifold


    Mar 19, 2005
    My advise would be to immediately refrain from learning any musical theory. Just experiment around with the bass seeing what cool sounds you can get out of it. Don't try and learn slap or anything special for a bit, just get used to what the bass sounds like, practise co-ordinating all 10 digits in one way or another. You will probably find that after a lot of practising you get a natural feel for what sounds good. And once you know that something sounds good, try and think of something else, it's complete opposite just for variety; good players don't always with the same notes or patterns

    Though some people might suggest learning a lot of theory, I would personally advise against it (I don't know any, except where a notes octave is... I don't even know where to find some notes on the strings because I don't really pay attention to them). I never learned any theory and my friends love the riffs I come out with and often end up telling me that it actually fits a certain musical pattern (that I have no idea about)

    If you want some specific ideas on useful techniques. If you go from one fret to corresponding fret on the 'thinner' string then you are playing 5 semitones 'higher'. If you go two strings 'thinner' and two frets 'higher' (towards the pickups) you are playing the same note but an octave higher. Always worth experimenting with these things (especially for funky bass lines)

    Find a good band with some pretty varied songs and try and learn their most diverse songs. Personally I would refer you to Red Hot Chili Peppers or Rage Against The Machine for beginners, the riffs can be very different and range from really easy to pretty tricky. Once you have got used to playing a few tabs, try adding neat variations on the riffs that you have learned. Once you are capable of adding variations that fit, chances are you will be able to start constructing a good bass line

    Basically just practise and it all comes with time, mostly without you realising it :) And by practise, I mean really practise. I try and play for around 4 hours a day, sometimes more and have been playing 1 year 4 months and people who have heard me play say that I am better than any bassist that they have met (and some have been to guitar college). It's not neccersarily a great talent, just a lot of practise :)

    If you need any more help or hints you can add me to MSN or email me and I will try and help you out :)
  7. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Get a good teacher, play lots and have fun. Those are probably the most useful things you can do.

    I tell people often that bass is probably the easiest instrument on earth to learn to play, and the hardest to learn to play really well. This also makes it one of the most fun, and for me the most satisfying instrument to play.

    Despite being a die hard theory head and music snob I will actually agree with lethifold: starting out its better to concentrate on basic technique and getting a feel for what you enjoy. How much theory you need to know depends on what you play. If you play punk or rock you don't need any at all. If you play jazz or fusion or prog you will need a lot. I still recomend learning as much theory as you can eventually, but in the begining its not as important.

    The other thing you should work on is connecting your ear to your bass. Try to figure out songs by ear whenever you can, and try singing back licks as you play them. This will help you connect a sound in your head with what your fingers are doing, then it becomes easy to just "imagine" a lick and have it pop out of your hands.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    IMO, the first thing you need to focus on is forgetting tabs, after that, the following:

    1. find a good teacher
    2. visit TalkBass daily...There's a LOT of talent here.I've been playing for years, and I'm still learning new stuff .
    3. Practice doesn't make perfect.....perfect practice makes perfect.

    Enjoy, and welcome to the Low End!
  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA


    I learned theory and my friends love my riffs so much that I get paid very good money to play shows with excellent players, in front of very large crowds, with lots of adulation and I have a helluva time doing it.

    When you begin playing the instrument, you don't have to submerse yourself in the more advanced levels of theory, but you absolutely, positively, unequivocally would do well to learn what scales are, what chords are, and how they're formed. You will save yourself YEARS of frustration. You will not hinder your playing in any way. Any person that tells you differently is a fool.

    Click on my username in this post, and "Visit Jazzbo's Homepage" for some more information.

    Check out www.musictheory.net and www.activebass.com for some scales and chords that you can quickly and easily learn and have fun with. Take your money and get lessons from a qualified teacher, at the very least get 3 or 4 lessons.

    Stick with it, have fun, and good luck!
  10. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    I totally agree jazzbo. I have been a musician for years, singing and playing multiple instruments. Bass is the latest thing that I picked up (about 5 years ago), and because of my music knowledge, which includes college, I came in with a lot of the basic knowledge already. Theory makes things easier, especially if you pick up on the patterns. Knowing that a basic chord is root- 3 - 5 and basic key sig helped me understand what should be played and what notes fit. I just had to translate that knowledge into the bass guitar.

    Whenever someone tells you not to learn something, I would dismiss that advice. There is never ANY harm in learning to do anything. Learning music theory can only make you a stronger bassist. Learning slapping technique can only give you another dimension. Learning to play both pick and finger style can only give you depth. Learning to read notation only makes working with others easier.

    The moment that you cut off the possiblity of learning any thing new, no matter how small or meaningless it seems, you've lost the battle.

    On the flip side, you don't HAVE to learn any of the above mentioned things, but I don't see why you would ever choose to cut off your left hand before going into the big game.

    When you don't learn from what people have already stumbled onto, you're bound to re-invent things that have already been done.

    You're admitting yourself that you re-invented the wheel. If you had known the pattern to begin with, you wouldn't have needed to spend time figuring it out on your own. So sicne you're good, you could have been better. You could have been working on something that was truely inovative.

    So my advice, go buy a basic starters bass book at the very least. If you can afford it, take a few lessons. If you can still afford it, continue taking lessons. Make some friends that know about music theory and then sucker them into letting you play with them. Some of the things that have made me grow the most were things that my guitar player and best friend pointed out. The idea of the bass being the instrument that foreshadows chord changes, the use of my pinky... He gave me some of the most important foresight as a bass player. Just stay open and be like a baby. Look at everything. Take it all in. Learn. If you don't understand something, ask questions. Especially here in Talkbass. I know I personally LOVE answering questions when it's a subject I know about and I know I am not alone.

    Welcome and I hope you enjoy your new hobby which could easily lead you to a lifestyle ;)
  11. This advice is really really great guys and gals. I am soooo thankful for all of your advice. Please please please keep it coming!

    Many Many Many Thanks,
  12. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Personally, my best advice would be to find a teacher and some people to play with - you'll learn a lot that way.

    I pretty much learned by playin with my friends and tabs, but i've found everything helpful in welll, sounding good. And like 6+ years of theory from piano and viola don't hurt either...

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.