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First week - few very annoying problems

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Boltboy, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Okay, so I have decided this road will be far too long without any lessons. However, it will be weeks before I can manage this so I would like to get a few things out of the way:

    - The most annoying thing thus far is the strings making the "buzzing" noise when I try and play simple basslines in my crappy instructional video. I mean, if I press REALLY hard in the center of the fret that im working with it wont happen but I CANT see this being right. It would be far too uncomfortable to do this in a full song. Why does it buzz against the fret so easily? I cant even play 3 notes on the E string without this happening constantly. VERY frustrating

    - Same thing for when I release the note. So for the 3 note bassline im learning on the E String (dont laugh - I got to start somewhere :D ) whenever I move from the first to the second the first leaves a buzz sound after the release like its hitting the fret.

    - Everything but the E string is difficult to play. Like, I attempted to play the same frets except on the G string and I kept hitting the D or A attempting it. Very uncomfortable. Hopefully this is something that gets better and better with practice (I assume it is) but i hope its not my hand positioning or anything. THAT at least I learned from the video.

    Thats about it for now. Im sure il have more =)


    EDIT: BTW, my setup is Here
    I know this is a common problem (for beginners) that could be almost anything from gear to technique. I just really hope its my technique
    :( I know starter basses arnt supposed to be AWESOME but id hate if it sounded THIS bad no matter what.
  2. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    LOL, you guys are going to get a good kick out of this =) In an earlier post I mentioned I have never touched an instrument until a few weeks ago when I got my bass - and after what I found out tonight I have for certain proved that =) Um, so yeah, I havnt had my fingers in the right spot the ENTIRE TIME. I was fooling around and realized that the sound came out a LOT better when I put my finger on those little metal spacers on the fretboard. Turns out *gasp* those "spacers" are ACTUALLY the FRETS! I am retarded. B/C of that stupid video mixed with my stupidity I was putting my fingers in BETWEEN the frets (the metal bits, right?) onto the actual wood. I was actually making music too except for having to push REALLY hard =) Wow, so stop laughing now. Im going to go make some REAL music! =)

    Bah, im so confused. My problem with the buzzing is basically fixed aside from the release. That being said, watching more of this video he is alternating between putting it directly on the metal bits and the wood. It seems like it doesnt really matter as long as you hit a space in between the fret or on it but that just doesnt make sense to me. Try and clear this up if you dont mind =)
  3. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Yeah, you sure are confused! (no offense of course).

    You are supposed to put your fingers between the frets. You're just having problems because you're new. You're not pressing down hard enough. It will take time to develope those muscles in your hand.

    Also, try to make your posts more consise. That way, we can understand you. We really want to help you, but in this case we almost couldn't because your post was so long.

    If you need any more help, post away.
  4. Infested_Leming


    Jun 29, 2003
    My guess for the buzzing is that your bass isn't set up properly. If I understand you correctly, it's buzzing not only when you're hitting the note, but when the string is open as well (when you "release").

    As for finger placement, it's all about preference. Personally I like to hit the note just above the fret (The metal spacer thing).
  5. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Wow. im so confused. I swear looking at the video that he is putting his finger directly over the fret. So if your putting your finger right above the 4th fret you would actually be in the 3rd fret b/c your ABOVE the 4th, right? AHHHHH

  6. Infested_Leming


    Jun 29, 2003
    If you want to hit the note at the first dot on your fretboard (the 3rd 'fret'), I personally would place my finger just above the third metal thing from the top. I hope that clears it up for you.
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    You should push right behind the frets. Not on the frets, and not right between them, but right behing them. It has to do with pressure, break angles, and other physics stuff. But... IT WORKS.

    Your problem with hitting other strings when on the A D and G strings is just because you're new. It will take time to get used to the hand position muscle memory for the strings. You're not doing anything wrong, you're just new at it. Like you guessed, it comes with practice.

    Number one rule: KEEP PRACTICING :)
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The string buzz could be an improper setup for your bass or it could be due to your fretting technique. As you are new, your fingers may not be strong enough to hold down the strings correctly and you may also be releasing the strings too quickly before you fret the next note. It takes finger strength and agility to do that, but that will come with time and practice.

    One test you can do is fret F on the E-string. Keep your finger down, then fret F sharp on the E-string. Keep those two fingers down, then fret G on the E-string, then keep those three fingers down and fret G sharp with your pinky finger, but still keeping the other three fingers down.

    Then release the pinky finger, then the finger fretting G, then the finger fretting F sharp, and finally the last finger.

    You can do that strength building drill on any four consecutive frets on any string. Remember, you are not working for speed, but instead a smooth, steady fretting of notes.

    As for fretting on the metal of the fret, I don't know anyone that does that. I've had several teachers and all had me place my finger just beside the fret, almost, but not quite touching it. For example, if you are fretting G, place your finger just beside the metal fret that separates G and G sharp. Make sure your finger is on the G side of the fret, not the G sharp side, of course.

    Another caution. If you fret just above the metal and don't press hard enough, you will risk sounding a harmonic which will give you a chiming, ringing tone on certain frets, such as the twelth fret of each string. Harmonics are fine if they are done deliberately. But if the music does not require a harmonic, it can sound like you made a big mistake.

    As for confusion over fretting notes on different strings...there are some excellent string crossing drills that can help you build speed, accuracy and dexterity. Do a search and see if you can find a web site that has string crossing drills for bass.
  9. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    much better practice day. Im having a blast! Decided I would take what I needed from the video and ignore the rest. Learned some scales, etc. but im figuring out finger positioning, ways to play faster, etc. on my own. This is great. Decided to have a little fun and jump on the tabarchive and now im sitting here playing the intro to the Green Day song "Warning". woot!
  10. Meehaw


    Jun 11, 2003
    Gdynia, Poland
    I wouldn't define myself into any type of music just a week after starting. I think you should go straight through the video, exercise after exercise. There are some stupid sounding tunes there, who, by accident, ameliorate your technique. You never know when you'll need it, but balieve me: you will.

  11. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    *shrugs* I guess I dont really see it like that. I mean, the video yes - but the tabs thing was just to see if I could use the few things I learned from the video and play a simple bass line. I will probably finish the exercises but this video is very poorly done. Feels very rushed and spurt-of-the-moment type teaching. Id prefer not to get too deep into the basic exercises until I have the instructor go over some stuff with me.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    BoltBoy, just curious...did you take any of the advice given to you by those who took their time to respond to your first post? I don't see any indication that you used any of our recommendations, but instead are continuing to refer to the video which by your own admission is of poor quality.

    Here's an additional piece of advice which you will probably reject just as you do not agree with Meehan's excellent advice. I would advise you not to become dependent on the crutch of tablature, but instead use some of your practice time to learning standard notation. That may seem harder at first, but actually it isn't any harder than learning to read tab and in the end you will find reading standard notation much more useful.

    You can familiarize yourself with the notes on your fretboard at the same time you are learning to read music, by reading the notation, then playing that note on your bass, thus "killing two birds with one stone."
  13. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Wow, calm down there big guy. No need to respond like that. Yes, in fact, I did take AND appreciate the advice given to me. That does not mean I have to agree with ALL of it. I did not respond in any way that I didnt appreciate or listen to any of it. I SAID I didnt see it the same way he did. Maybe you both misunderstood my post, but I am getting lessons in a few weeks so I dont want to go off teaching myself one way from the video and get confused when I am forced to learn a new way later. This post was about trying to fix some problems that were a result of my playing or settings that I would need to learn either way. I wasnt using tabs as a "crutch", I was just trying to have a little fun and see if I could play a simple bass line. You seem to take my response as a lie that the video is poorly done. I admit, this is the first I have seen, but I can say from an unbiased perspective (because this video WAS made for clueless players like me) that it is not helpful.

    Anyway, one thing I dont appreciate is people jumping the gun and getting offensive for no apparent reason. If I missed something, or said something I shouldnt have I do apologize but after rereading the topic I dont see that to be the problem.


  14. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003

    Nobody is jumping the gun or accusing you of anything. You posted this thread for help did you not? People are offering you help. We all know what it is like first starting out.

    Boplicity is offering you help, take it or leave it. For future reference, if you want help from people on this board, refrain from posting replies like this. After all, we are here to help, but not if you reject the help given.

    Sarcastic replies get you nothing!!!
  15. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Wow, this is frustating. Youre right though, we wont get anywhere with sarcastic replies. So if anything I said was a result of going completely off the topic that I had originally posted than I am sorry. I'm not hear to start petty flame wars (its a bass forum for crying out loud). Just hear to learn bass. I hope no one here thinks I dont appreciate the help I was given because that is simply no the case. I NEVER "rejected the help I was given" and i'm still not too clear where that came from. Someone made a comment about me using tabs and I attempted to clear up that I was only having a little fun. If certain posters here were confused by that, I hope this clears it up.

    Enough :spit: , more :bassist:

  16. For my first three years of playing the bass, I never had a teacher, nor did I watch instruction videos. I knew nobody who played the bass, either, so I didn't get any advice. But I still managed! It's only this year that I've gotten into classical notation again (I've studied that when I was 10, playing the piano) and I'm improving my technique in common a lot faster than before.

    But that doesn't necessarily mean that I should have started with classical notation, gotten a teacher etc. earlier. I had a lot of fun and that's why I played, so what the heck!

    I say: play in a band, that's the best way to learn. Make sure to have fun, watch & listen to other players, take some advice but don't be too hard on yourself when it comes to technique, scales, notation or whatever. That stuff is secondary, take your time. And use tabs meanwhile, why not?

    Disclaimer to everyone else here: that last question was a rhetorical question, please do NOT answer it :p. I know the advantages of notation and the disadvatages of tabs, but read the rest of that paragraph and I'm sure it makes sense.
  17. flacko


    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    I totally agree with apparatus here (except I would get a teacher as soon as you can afford one). Learning the bass is first and foremost a fun thing to do. And making music within a band is a great thing to do.

    I found that once you start playing in a band you naturally improve your playing and knowledge of technique/theory : I'm sure this will happen as a natural part of making better and better music. A teacher enables you to make better music faster though.

    As for notation - unless you are going to be playing songs you have never heard before, I'm a great believer in tab. A lot can be achieved with it - as you've found out !

    Have fun.
  18. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Awesome. Thank you guys. BTW, it probably all depends on where I go, but how flexable are music stores that teach lessons as far as schedule is concerned? Because of college and work I probably could only take on a Monday Wednesday and Friday from around 2:00 - 3:30ish. Sound reasonable?
  19. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    My feeling is that each student of the bass has to find his own way to his objectives. What worked for Jaco or Sting or Chris Squire, Stanley Clark or Fieldy or Les Claypool or Flea was strikingly different for each one.

    You have to find your own way. Maybe it will be tab, maybe it will be teachers, maybe it will be videos, maybe it will be hours of woodshedding on technique, maybe it will be playing in a garage band, maybe it will be dilligently and painstakingly working your way through Mark Levine's book on jazz theory.

    In the end ONLY YOU are the final determiner of what is success for you as a bass player. ONLY YOU decide if you are achieving the goals you seek in a timely and satisfying manner.

    You did ask our advice on some matters, but only you can decide what is truly relevant for yourself as a person and as an aspiring bass player.
  20. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Sorry about the double post.:bawl: