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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassCactus, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Well, I've had my bass for a few (maybe four or five) weeks now, and I bought the Hal Leonard Bass Method Book, which I have begun learning from - but I just don't feel like I'm getting anywhere with the bass.

    I can't read the musical notation properly or fluently, and my fingers get all mixed up. I love the bass itself - and I'd love to be able to play well, but the frustration is getting to me - and it just makes me feel hopeless.

    Any suggestions on what I should do?
  2. Get a song you like, and pick out the bass line by ear. Also, get a teacher.
  3. Good idea getting a teacher if you possibly can.

    As for the frustration... be patient. Learning isn't easy. You'll get there if you keep at it.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    While music notation is very important I think it's a case of first things first.

    I would concentrate on technique at this stage. Practice scales using the 1 finger per fret method. The important thing is to go slooooowly and build up speed gradually. As mentioned above, a good teacher is a must for getting you off to a good start before bad habits develop.

    A book I highly recommend is "Bass Guitar for Dummies". Dont let the "Dummies" word put you off. There is a wealth of info in there relating to everything to do with bass guitar.

    Bottom line : Be patient and above all, have fun :)
  5. Bassenstien


    Jun 13, 2006
    Get a good teacher. It cures lots of frustration and makes it much more fun.
  6. Shovelbone

    Shovelbone Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Yonderville Georgia
    Several TB'ers have already suggested getting a teacher. I cannot agree more! A good teacher can guide you through the rough spots and can also provide the much needed insight into technique as well as productive practice. The biggest challenge is finding the right teacher. Take lessons from several before you settle on one. There are many different styles and not all teachers take the same approach so you need to look for one that can accomodate your needs.
    Good luck!
  7. Thanks for all your input. So the main thing said is to get a teacher. I'll start looking right away!
  8. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    As some other people said, getting a teacher might be a good idea. Also keep in mind that if you want to learn to play and play well it is going to take a lot longer than 5 weeks. Playing music is not about instant gratification. If something is hard and confusing it means you need to do it more until it becomes clear and easy.
  9. shatterd


    Feb 24, 2008
    go to www.workshoplive.com

    there are some excellent online bass lessons(video) there...especially the ones by Alfredo Grado.

    There is a small monthly fee to access the lessons, but I have found them to be worth it.

    They feature dynamic on screen tab and notation, as well as metronome and such.

    The lessons are great and I have been making good progress. Start right at the beginning and work your way through the lessons.
  10. Playing an instrument is a life long journey. Playing it well takes two lifetimes.
    I'd say forget songs and learn the fundamentals scales, fingering, proper way to hold it, proper way to pluck the string. Then once you can move around on the thing then lean a tune or two. Music is creation.
  11. Joe Lindley

    Joe Lindley

    Jun 14, 2007
    I have been using that book, too, which I really like, and have only been playing for a year. Here's what I would suggest: First you have to learn the names of the notes on the fretboard. The way that I found that worked was using "Pacman's sure-fire scale practice method (http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50170)." Learn the names of the natural notes (CDEFGABC, unflatted or unsharped) at least down to the 5th fret by using the C major scale. You can do this in a week easy.

    I have the same problem, and to help me over the hump I write the names of the notes with a pencil just above the notes in the book. It's a lot less frustrating that way. Once you learn the names of the notes on the fretboard, you should be able to read the names of the notes that you have written and play along at a decent pace with the book. The tunes in the book are really pretty rewarding for a beginner, so give it a try. At least it's helped me.

  12. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Buy a multieffects unit and just try a different appoach to bass instead of the by the book method. YouTube is an EXCELLENT source for just random bass noodling and what effects can do. Take a break from drudging through lessons and have some fun with it.
  13. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Be patient. Chances are you're going too fast. Slow down. :) Music notation is a symbolic language and it takes time to learn. Transferring that language to your instrument is another step/skill.

    Find a good teacher. There are a lot of threads here about what to look for in a good teacher. Search through those. You'll find a lot of helpful suggestions.

    Best of luck to you.
  14. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Patience.......it takes time. Been playing a couple years and not even close to where I want to be. My fingers still feel stupid when learning new stuff...........

    Play what you know over and over and over and over (did I say over?). It's slow.......and at times it'll seem like you stopped.......but with persistance you'll get it :) :)
  15. jholanda


    Jan 21, 2008
    as everyone said: get a teacher, not only because he will probably have knowledge and a tested methodology. In my opinion, if he's really experienced and helpful he'll make you feel more confident and be supportive.

    After all, we all need a cheer leader when learning as it's damn hard ;-)
  16. eedre


    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    For beginners, I recommend:

    1. Getting a teacher for at least one year. A guitar teacher works, but not if you want to learn bass-specific technique like slapping.

    2. Building finger strength and technique on both the plucking hand and fretting hand.

    3. Listening to the bass and playing along with actual music compositions.

    4. Put the book down until you can physically play the instrument :)

    You need someone to show you what the book has staffed out - this is where the teacher comes in.
  17. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    This is great advice, before mine got stolen from a gig.
    I could spend hours in my basement with the head phones hooked up to it just screwing off and actually it really helped me learn how to compose.
    Made the wife happy too.:p

    Start learning from a teacher, books and theory, but don't limit yourself there you have to make it fun and effects definitely add a little more to the screwing off factor which i think is very necessary when learning.
  18. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Five weeks is no time at all. Give yourself a break. It will take time. Just remember it's called PLAYing an instrument and if your obsessed after five weeks with how well you play; wheres the fun in that?
  19. +1000000 on this. Keyword is language. We didnt start out reading newspapers, or reciting essays as children and this is along the same lines. You gotta get down the footballs, before moving to the more technical things.
    I instantly relate frustration to rushing, so whenever Im frustrated about something, I take a minute to collect, and start slowly. We have a saying in the military "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast". You'll get it. Stay encouraged.
  20. Conway


    Feb 22, 2008
    really wanting to learn something but not having good direction can be a pretty good recipe for burnout.... so yeah get a teacher it will help a lot with that.

    Also, just forget about how to play sometimes and put on your favorite cd and play with it whether you know how to or not...its a good way to remind you what you love about the bass and how great it will be as you better ... sometimes the best practice I think is to just have fun and pretend.... mix it up because if you stress yourself out too much you want learn very well anyway.

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