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Getting serious about bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Vince S., Jul 12, 2004.

  1. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    Hey all

    After a jam session with a drummer this weekend, I've come to realize something: I dont really know what I'm doing.

    Here's the background: I have been "playing" for about a year and a half by now, and I realize I know very little about playing bass. Part of this is due to my lack of practicing, but also learning. My bass teacher is a guitarist who plays bass on the side, but like a guitar (pick, playing chords, playing through the guitar amp). I am not saying this to insult or blame him, since he is a very nice guy, but I believe this could be a contributing factor. I was taught to play with a pick, and to to play chords like on a guitar. Much of my playing was chording. And I didnt learn any music theory either; I only know the C scale, and the 12 bar blues. That is about the extent of my bass skill.

    My teacher resigned from the place I'm learning at recently to move to his own studio. Therefore, I have been assigned a new teacher. My new teacher is a bass teacher; actually, a stand-up jazz bassist. So, I expect that I will probably be learning much more theory and technique.

    However, I dont get started until September. Is there anything I can do to really catch up and learn more? I will try to practice a lot this summer, and I have tried to use the books, but they either become boring, or I just dont understand the material. So, any suggestions?

  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    activebass.com has lessons online. I might try them myself.
  3. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    You're also staring some really good utilities right in the face. Between Pacman and jazzbo and a couple threads/articles they've posted up, you'll have enough to do to keep you busy for the forseeable future.

    For what it's worth, you're also not alone. I daresay you're even in a better position than I am. I'm 24 now and have been playing off and on hsince I was 16; and only this last month have I acquired a teacher so that I can actually learn how to play intelligently. I think I did okay before, but I kept feeling like something was lacking and couldn't get serious about any practice routine by myself. Good luck with your new teacher.
  4. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Scales are always a good place to start...yes they are boring but learn to play them along the entire neck of the bass will really free you up.

    Can you contact your new teacher and see if they have any suggestions for summer practice???

    Pacman's scale (from bottom note to top) and also Ray Parker's Fingering exercise (learning the scale all along the neck) are good places to start:


    also, keep playing with the drummer...you'll learn tons

    always with a metronome.

    good luck
  5. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Would you mind posting where you are taking lessons? I'm looking for an instructor to take some lessons and a stand up jazzer would probably be a good bet.
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I'm sure he is a really nice guy, and I'm not saying this to insult him, but it IS his fault. He shouldnt be teaching an instrument he doesnt know how to play.

    I can strum a few chords on a guitar and play a few chords on piano, but I certainly couldnt teach anyone!

    That's more like it!! :) Excellent stuff! Good luck and enjoy!!!

    Things to study until September... I'd say read jazzbos scale and chord theory lesson, link below. This is a really clearly written lesson and if you work hard at it, and take it slowly, section by section ,you'll learn a hell of a lot by September :)

    My extra advice: take the new scales and chords you learn in jazzbo's lesson and play with each one until you find a few nice little bass lines, or melodies you like using each one. This is GREAT way to familiarise yourself with a new scale and how it sounds.. plus you're creating music at the same time, which is what it's all about :)


    leanne posted: "real books. that'll keep you busy. really."

    This isnt good advice for someone who is effectivley just starting down the theory route. It's like advising someone to go on an Formula One racing day befor ethey pass their driviong test. Ignore this, for now.. your teacher will get you onto this soon enough!!
  7. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    Thank you all for your replies. I'll check out the links and start on some of those. I don't have any contact with my new bass teacher though, since its summer and the school is out of session right now.

    Willplay4Food: You have a PM.