Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Masterbasser71, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. It may be the mild depression talking, but how good should a bassist be after playing for 3 years. What's the average bassist supposed to be able to do, how about an above average bassist? I've been playing for 3 years, and I think my chops should be much better.....:crying: . But I don't know what's good. :help:? Somebody wanna enlighten me? :eyebrow:
  2. I've been play bass for 18 years, and I'm still learning new stuff. And there are things that I struggle with too.
  3. Slurm


    Jan 9, 2005
    for chops , you can never do enough practise, good technique practise will dramaticily speed up your progress, playing good practise excersises and focusing on things you cant play. look at jacos modern electric bass and get the book and learn all of the excersises, these excersises will make your fingerstyle extremely efficent. most important thing is to start slow and build up speed, most people neglect this and end up being sloppy. start slow and you'll have better tone, accuracy and rhythm.
  4. T-Funk


    Jul 2, 2005
    Only considering the duration of time a person has played the bass is not a good determining factor to conclude how far he or she should progressed. Other factors include:

    1) Quality of music instruction
    2) Time dedicated towards practice
    3) What was practiced? (i.e., music theory, ear training, dexterity exercises, sight reading, etc.)
    4) Time dedicated towards playing in a band, group, etc.
    5) Innate attributes

    The list goes on and on.

  5. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005

    I've been playing for the same time period. It's mild depression dude. I have the same exact thoughts as you. I ask the same question but no one can answer it for us. Just keep on playing is all we can do. I wish I could find a quality teacher around here but I can't.
  6. I think most people with creative minds are always asking, "can I be doing it better?".
  7. count me in
  8. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    I just joined a pretty solid band, musicians who have played for more than 10 years, and they've booked gigs all in March, and a lot of the summer.

    It's a b8tch trying to learn the songs, find the time outside my 10-14 hour a day job as a journalist and practice.

    But, you know, I am coming along. I've learned maybe 8 songs pretty solid and another 9 are very close. We've had 5 practices. Not too bad, but then again, the music is not that technical, especially the ones I picked up :)

    But I enjoy music enough to not just give up and be a hobby player.
  9. the most talented bassist ive ever knew had been playing for about two years at the time i knew him.
  10. Kroy


    Jan 19, 2006
    Before I say this, let me preface it by saying I don't mean to say this to be a jerk. It's gonna sound like it is, but it isn't...

    That's not exactly a good metric of how good this guy was, or how good anyone should be after 2 years. What if you only ever knew one bassist, and he was it.

    < opinions >
    Masterbasser71 - Everybody else is doing the touchy-feely, "you're doing great, man" thing so I'm gonna go another route. (Not that I think that supportive collegues aren't important, just gonna give you a little different view.) After 3 years of playing I would say you should be well beyond where you were starting out. I don't like using words like "beginner" and "advanced" because I consider myself a perpetual beginner. I'm all Zen like that. Anyhoo, you should be able to hold down a decent groove. Not just play the notes but actually groove.

    I would also say that after that much time you should have a decent portfolio of tunes that you know. Maybe between 20 or 30, minimum, that you know, inside and out, like the back of your hand. If that's not the case, don't sweat it, but maybe you should think about just learning some new material. (Note: These songs can range in difficulty from "Ride One Note"-Easy to some kind of intermediate difficulty -maybe Love Rollercoaster by the Chili Peppers or something.)

    If you haven't spent much time playing in a group (whether an actual gigging band or just a hobby type group) I'd say that would definitely be worth your while at this point. You'll learn a ton about music just from playing with other people. If your answer to all these things is 'yes', then I'd say you're in pretty good shape for where you are.
    < /opinions >

    Others may decide to take issue with my 'requirements' but I just figured I'd give you my off the cuff reaction for what I think a bassist who'd been playing for 3 years would be capable of. These are just my thoughts.
  11. even after 15 years i havnt run into a bass player that was more impressive than him, {so a year ago i took up the bass}. in about 2 weeks ill be able to hear him play again after 15 years, so that should be cool
  12. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    I adamently disagree with you. You measure a person's ability on how many covers they can play? That is ridiculous. I think it is mor eimpressive on how many original tunes you can learn from a band.

    I agree with the rest of what you said.

    I have played for 3 years. I can groove. But Playing covers and how many I can play, is hilarious.

  13. Kroy


    Jan 19, 2006
    See? I knew somebody would take me to task over this. Ok, I'll bite. I have a few counterpoints.

    So by your line of thought, if someone hadn't had the opportunity to play with a band yet for whatever reason (maybe they live in an really rural area without a lot of gigging options). And all they'd had a chance to do is learn covers for a few years, then they're a rotten bassists? I would disagree.

    For the record, I only know covers and I've been playing for around 10 years (not exactly consecutively). I never had time before now to seek out a band and work up original material. I've also never had the gear to play with a band so my ensemble experience isn't nearly what someone else's who's got more time with a group would be. Does that make me a crap bassist? I don't think I'm God's gift to the 60-3kHz but I think I do more than alright.

    And just to be good and clear, I never specified covers. I just said tunes. They could be originals from a band, self-written, or all Donnie Osmond songs for all I care.

    One more thing, what's the big difference between learning a cover and learning 'original' music from an unsigned band. They're both just songs you don't know. What if all the original material you learn is Van Halen style root note playing? Would that somehow cultivate your playing more effectively than learning a more mobile and complex bass line from a Dave Matthews band, Jackson Five, or Marvin Gaye tune?

    The guy asked for some feedback and up until my post noone had really given him any. Like I said, back-patting and encouragement are great, especially because this is probably just a result of self-doubt more than anything, but having something tangible to measure yourself against (no matter how ethereal) is worthwhile.
  14. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    Good points. I agree with you a bit more now. When I first picked up the bass all I did was try and learn Floyd songs. And I still try and learn covers.

    My point was measuring a 3-year bassist on how many covers he knows is ridiculous. I can't claim to know any covers anymore. But I sure have some originality.

    That, to me, makes a better bass player.

    But, I imagine you are a very good bass player for what you want to do. I won't knock that.

  15. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I agree with the concept of this post. And I would add to this list, "You should be able to play well enough that you can see what it is you want to do and have a fair idea of how to get there".

    I don't know how many 'covers' you have to have memorized, but I would say that if you aren't memorizing your music, you'd better know how to read.
  16. Kroy


    Jan 19, 2006
    Now,I agree with that 100%. And think there are a number of ways to skin that cat. If you have a big library of covers then you have more influences to complicate and enhance your own style. But collaborating with other talented musicians can be just as rewarding and efficient.

    Thank you for the kind words. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say "very good." I still have plenty to learn. And stacked against another player who'd been actually playing for 10 years. I'd most likely get smoked. I didn't play a ton while I was in college and grad school. I practiced just enough not to regress too much as a player. So it's probably more accurate to say I've been playing about 5 years.

    Sorry if I seemed kind of militant in my reply (it seemed that way to me on a re-read). That wasn't my intention. I guess, bashing on peeps who only play covers cut me too deeply. ;)

    p.s. Masterbasser71 - Let the record show that I've never been voted Player of the Year by Downbeat mag. nor am I anyone who you should neccesarily listen to. I'm just a guy with lots of opinions. Knowing what we do about opinions and anuses, I won't be offended if anyone decides to disagree with me.
  17. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    I think you're missing some very important aspects of what you can learn by playing "covers". Merely memorizing the notes does little to help you further your playing skills. Sure, you may be able to mimic the lines the bassist played on the recorded tune perfectly, but unless you understand why the notes that he/she played "work" in the song, you've gained very little. Instead, if you can learn a song and take away from it an understanding of the feel, timing, phrasing, and groove of the song, you can then apply all those aspects to your playing and learn how to compose your own original lines. Same goes for understanding why the bassist selected the actual notes for a line, but that falls to my next point.....

    Or you can learn standard music theory. But that will involve learning "covers" too, since you'll have to play lines that someone else has written, and likely compose bass lines over existing charts for standards from the Real Book.

    Either way you look at it, most any serious musical instruction and learning will involve "playing covers" to one extent or another.
  18. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    We're all missing each of our points. Learning covers--fine. Playing them out as a cover band--no way. no thanks.

    But, I've learned alot from just listening to music and picking up the bass lines. Do I know why the bass player is playing those lines that way? No, and so to one poster, I am gaining very little from it. I disagree. But I understand.

    Time after time we hear or learn of bassist who have ZIPPO theory knowledge. I just read a very inspiring small piece in Bass Player Mag about a basssit who doesn't even know where all the notes on the neck are. Yet, he plays with top notch quality musicians.

    It's all subjective and at times objective. But, the original poster will never get the answer he needs when asking how good he should be at 3 years. It really just depends on how much you practice, if you have a quality teacher, etc. Factors come from all over. Jaco had original, out of the box talent.
    I don't

    But, after 3 years, I am good enough to audition and get accepted into a working band that has gigs scheduled all of March and most of the summer. I am doing something right I guess.

    And I can also play along to almost all of Wilco's albums :)

  19. How do you measure "goodness"?

    Finger speed? Number of exotic techiniques mastered? Ability to read and write music? How about number of musical styles you can play? Number of songs you can play flawlessly by memory? Is it technique, or knowledge, or ability to play with other musicians...

    The list goes on and on, and it's different for everyone.

    And how long you've been playing does not matter. The amount of time you spent practicing during that period is the real kicker. Even then, what and how you practice affects the result, as well as your "innate" abilities. One man's practice is another man's "fooling around."

    I don't think there is an accepted measure of "quality" for playing the bass.

    For example think of some people who are recognized as "greats" or "elite" or "pioneers" or whatever. Some folks will agree they are in fact "great", while others are unimpressed. Those people have a different measure of quality.

    The only person who can really decide if you are good, or good enough, is you.

    Or as better put a long time ago by someone else, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
  20. J Funk

    J Funk

    Jan 14, 2006
    I'm J Funk, and relatively new to TalkBass.Com. I come in peace. My opinion is that you can to an extent measure your progress (given the amount of years you have been playing) by some criteria (some aforementioned). Some criteria:

    1. One suggestion is to purchase a good bass lessons beginner book. Can you go through that whole book and/or CD without errors? Do you understand the theory? Can you advance to the next level or book of lessons?

    2. Can you jam spontaneously with musicians who know theory? Can you go to an open jam at a restaurant and play along with the house band with limited difficulties? Do you know the key and the notes to play? Can you play rock, blues, jazz (okay, maybe not necessaryily jazz) and r&b?) Can you play a solo?

    3. Can you teach someone else music theory for the bass?

    4. Do you record your solo jam sessions and are you impressed?
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