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Guys, help a brother out. I'm stuck.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Captain Ahab, May 13, 2013.

  1. Captain Ahab

    Captain Ahab

    Jul 25, 2012
    Hey everybody, how's it going? So I've got my scales down and my question is exactly how do I get better at bass? I've hit a road block. I'm not saying I'm a boss of the bass but everyone tells me practice your scales and to be honest, it's not getting me anywhere and learning songs can only do so much. So what can I do to get better at solos, moving up and down the fret board faster and bass stuff in general? :bassist:
  2. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    Hey capitan.

    Now, I'm assuming your better than I am, because I don't know all my scales... So consider this a bump. :p

    Maybe you could work on odd time? It's not always applicable to every style of music, but it's good to know. I'm sure you can play all over you scales playing 8th notes, I'm sure you can do triplets. Can you play 5 notes per beat? 7? 9?

    Maybe you could play around in odd time grooves using your scales.

    I dunno. Bump. Your the first TBer I've seen from the beehive state. Other than me...
  3. Projectile


    Feb 5, 2009
    Just keep challenging yourself. Learn to play stuff above your current skill level and keep pushing until it's perfect.
  4. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Get good at arpeggios - first one octave, then two (three if you've got a 5-banger). Add the seventh. Get yourself a looping pedal and record short loops of any tunes you feel like you want to solo over. Using mainly those arpeggios (hit the scales for embellishment), solo over the changes (i.e. make sure you change the arpeggio with the 'chord of the moment' on the loop).

    Are you a reader? If not, become a reader. If you are, get better at reading :) Running through some Bach (cello suites reharmonized for bass guitar? They exist...) will give you ENDLESS ideas for solos. Read melody lines from fake books. Write out melodies you hear (start simple - Mary Had A Little Lamb, Happy Birthday, game show theme tunes, etc), then post 'em in General Instruction for critique. Graduate up to writing more complex melodies that you hear - sung verses from the radio, jazz heads, whatever floats your boat, etc.

    Finally, find a teacher. If there isn't a good teacher in your area, find a good teacher who does Skype lessons (I hear Anthony Wellington is an excellent instructor, regardless of whether it's in-person or over Skype).
  5. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Figure out the style of music you want to play. Find a bass player to study with who is fluent in that style and start mastering the 5 best albums of that genre.
  6. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Yeah that. Learn some Rush tunes, classical stuff, etc etc. Anything that seems difficult. Push yourself and most importantly, have fun! :bassist:
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    OP, as you know your scales, the next step is to learn how chords are derived from them. It is chord tones and arpeggios, rather than scales that a bassist will play 90% of the time. When you have learned arpeggios then go on to learn about their inversions.

    The "Study Bass" site linked below explains the importance of chord tones. It is a great all round site.

    I have also linked to a set of lessons on walking bass lines by Dave Marks. Even if you are not really into jazz, these lessons are very beneficial. They deal with chord tones and inversions. I think there are about ten lessons in all.

    Dave Marks lessons :

  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
  9. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    I can only speak from personal experience, but playing with others has done more for my playing than anything else. Open mics, jam sessions, etc.
    Also, I enjoy playing with backing tracks. There are some decent ones on YouTube.
    Also, Scott Devine is a wonderful online teacher. He offers the majority of his lessons free of charge. On his site, he has backing tracks available for download.
    Good luck and take care.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Do what sleeplessknight & PACMAN said.
    I learn't to read a bit and did The Nanny Method Classical book
    and Bach Cello Suites for bass. Great way to learn.
  11. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    Can you go up and down your major and melodic minor modes in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, 9ths and 10ths? That's a big help.

    Unless you don't want to play jazz... Then just jam a lot
  12. Pacman has some really great tips. One of my teachers at Berklee put me on to playing all of my scales from the first note of the scale on my bass. E.g. start your Bb scale from low F.

    There are some great suggestions here. A lesson or two from a pro might also get you pointed in new directions.
  13. Koji_Sunioj


    Feb 16, 2013
    Use the skills you have accumulated by using them in improvisation. Get a drum track you like and jam over it. Songs do help though, just think of it is part of your greater arsenal to influence your riffs and grooves.
  14. Play music.
    Play music with people.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    When you say learning songs can only do so much you are wrong sir.

    There is LOTS to be learned from learning songs. The problem is you are learning how to play songs. Learn how to explain songs.
  16. trtzbass


    Sep 25, 2010
    I'd say learn to play melodies.

    It's been a bit of an epiphany for me - been practising scales for years and my phrasing sounded linear. Melodies utilise scales, but in a fractured way. You have a chunk of scale then a big interval, then a stationary note. I'd say leaning scales is like learning the alphabet. I discovered I got better at playing when I started practising words, if that makes sense.
  17. And that.
  18. Captain Ahab

    Captain Ahab

    Jul 25, 2012
    :hyper: There has been a lot of good stuff posted here, I've tried it all out and it really has been helpful in giving something to practice and improve on, so thanks a bunch! :bawl: (these are tears of joy)
  19. Do you know your scales/modes well enough to pick a key and run all around the fret board? You need to know every note you land on and what mode it is the root of.

    +1 play with others.

    +1 play other peoples' songs. It may inspire something similar. Don't think of it as a rip off, just inspiration.

    Work up to more advanced techniques. Tap. Slap. Three fingers. Harmonics. I've been playing a long time and still have a LOT to learn. That's what keeps you inspired. It's something you can put effort into and come out better and it never ends, so you should have never ending goals and never ending happiness when you truly progress.
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Maybe find a teacher?

    Sight read?

    Music Theory and Harmony?

    Learn the lyrics/vocals for all the songs you play bass on?

    Be able to sing harmonies for all the songs you learn on bass?

    Notate all the songs you learn in Nashville Number System?

    Transcribe all the songs you learn on bass?

    Some other stuff....

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