1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Help for complete beginner

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassSquatch, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. BassSquatch


    Dec 30, 2017
    I'm a old guy who's never played an instrument in his life. Love all types of Rock and Roll, favorite bassists are Geezer and Steve Harris. Just bought a Fender standard P, and Rumble 100. I have no idea how to even hold it.
    Looking for general advice: what to learn first, exercises, what to worry about later, good sites and YouTube channels, any good Android apps, etc.....
    Thanks in advanced. I feel like a 16 year old who's getting ready to get laid for the first time!!!
  2. 46and2


    Nov 12, 2017
    www.studybass.com has some good resources on how to hold the bass, how to fret, etc. I think having a teacher who can correct you though is very helpful as a beginner.
    Lo-E, micbass, Alfonso Alba and 2 others like this.
  3. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Talkingbass.net has some great lessons, I think Mark is a great teacher.
    fearceol, Mili and BassSquatch like this.
  4. Ooba Tooba

    Ooba Tooba

    Apr 30, 2017
    The sub forums here could be helpful regarding technique, gear, and setups, and care, exercises etc. my advice would be to just start playing. After a few days you will be able to do things you weren’t able to do at first. So on and so forth...
    BassSquatch likes this.
  5. Apparently metronomes have just been outlawed on TalkBass...so don't bother buying one..

    Do not take bass lessons...because nobody knows how to teach bass.

    Study jazz theory and classical...because that's where it all started.

    You won't need to touch a bass string until you've studied music for about about three years at least.

    Music is a language ...and anybody can speak it...except when they get into really odd time signatures..

    :dead: :whistle: :woot: :bassist: :laugh: o_O
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  6. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    ^ Jaded much?:cool:
  7. Welcome to our World. All the sites mentioned are good. I'd recommend the book Bass Guitar for Dummies. It is a great get started book.

    First thing to learn is how to hold it.
    How to tune it.
    How to get a good sound from it. We can use our thumb, a pick, or our fingers. I recommend you try fingers first. Which ones? Index and middle. When you get that we can get into other things.
    The book I mentioned will have all of the above. A live teacher - that plays bass - for about 4 sessions would also be a good start and save you a lot of time.

    The get started sticky in the General Instruction section would be time well spent. How to get started? I know of no instrument that does not recommend you start off by running your scales. Why? Gets your fingers going between the four strings and lets your ear start recognizing the good notes from the bad notes. Yes we try and play the good notes, but if you hit a bad note a good note is just one fret away. :) This is not rocket science and you'll be holding your own in a short time.....

    Again, welcome.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  8. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Welcome from the Wisconsin Bassplayers Club
    Stop by anytime
    Learn the notes on each string and practice you scales
    BassSquatch likes this.
  9. ^^^ to what TheDuke1 had to say about learning where the notes are on your fretboard.
    Get the A and E string down first. Why? Cause that is where we place our patterns. If you are going to use the Major Scale box pattern and place the box's root note on the A note that is on the E string the notes of the A major scale await you within the pattern. That getting started string I gave you goes into detail.

    OK we are going to use the major scale box pattern and want to play the C major scale. Where would I place the major scale pattern's root note? Answer; 4th string 8th fret or 3rd string 3rd fret. Both will give you a C major scale. Brings up the question. Which one should I use? Good question, put that question on the back burner for now and when you figure it out come back on and tell me what you came up with.

    We kinda need to know where the notes we need are located. :cool:
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    BassSquatch likes this.
  10. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    There's plenty of free bass instruction videos on YouTube, some of them aimed at beginners too.

    So my first advice would be to search for "bass instruction" on YouTube, then perhaps add "beginner" too to narrow the search down.

    Next I would advise you to go to your local library and look for bass instruction books for beginners, some of them even comes with CDs or DVDs.

    I know I learned a huge amount of stuff from books from the local library when I first started out playing guitar, and I too started completely from scratch (Yes, I confess, I am a heretic who started out on guitar, but to speak my case it only took me about 2 years to repent my sinning path, and today bass is my main instrument).

    And then, although this will be a while still till you get to that point, as soon as you can play just fairly well, like fret and plug the strings decently and know the notes on the fretboard, find some musicians on about the same skill level as you and start a band.

    In fact playing in a band, in my opinion, teach you much more about music and playing your instrument than any instruction book or video would ever be able to do.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  11. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Comedy gold!

    Actually, you can start playing right away. There are plenty of online resources available to show you how to hold the instrument and how to get a few basic exercises. Start by learning some scales because bass playing is often about outlining chords. Don't even worry if you don't understand how 'scales' relate to the chords the guitar player is playing. Just learn to play a major scale and a minor scale. Then learn a walking bass line for the 12 bar blues.

    A decent teacher should be able to give you enough material in 1 one hour lesson to keep you going for several weeks.

    I have tons of tabs and teaching materials in pdf form. Contact me via PM if you want me to send you some.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    Cheez and BassSquatch like this.
  12. Dedicate yourself to practicing every day, and to understanding that it takes time, patience, and persistence.
    micbass, fearceol and BassSquatch like this.
  13. I´m going for Ed Friedland´s "BASS METHOD". Great book for beginners incl. Audio CD´s.
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Ed Friedland's book is good, so is www.studybass.com. There's also this old Billy Sheehan video for absolute beginners...

    The one thing I don't like about it is his insistence on anchoring the thumb on the pickup and plucking really hard. Not necessary.

    I also really value this point on left hand technique -

    Though I'm not as sold on his right hand technique video.

    Welcome the low end! Have fun!
    BassSquatch likes this.
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Related to that technique video - avoid strain, especially since you're older. You can squeeze too hard, you can twist your wrists into all sorts of unnatural positions playing bass. That way lies carpal tunnel and tendinitis, which are no fun. Take your bass into a shop for a setup so that the action isn't too high, and aim to play with a natural, relaxed technique.
  16. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Pick two or three songs you like, let us know what they are, and we’ll help you learn to play along with the recorded version.
    There is no more fun way to practice than to just turn up a song, turn down the bass knob on the stereo, and fill it in with your instrument.
    BassSquatch likes this.
  17. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    Plus one to all the above. Good as in... SAFE.... technique is very important especially as we get a bit older. A general rule of thumb (excuse the pun ;)) is to keep both hands relaxed, and both wrists as straight as possible.

    For now, keep your practice sessions short...about half an hour at a time. Take a break and come back to it. Build up the practice time gradually. Ten minutes every day is better than four hours at weekends. Little and often is the key.

    Here are two clips on technique that should be useful. Also, here is a link to a set of lessons that start VERY basic and build from there. Find lesson one (it's a ..."this is the bass guitar.." type of lesson) and work from there.

    Best of luck...and welcome to TB and the low end. :bassist:

  18. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I interpreted the post as being tongue in cheek.
    JRA and InhumanResource like this.
  19. Mili


    Nov 14, 2015
    Hi, welcome and congratulations.
    There is thousands of materials on web but this is a hard work to find good and reliable ones so i suggest you get membership of biggest online Bass Academy. Scott devine is a great teacher and he record courses with best players in the world. www.scottsbasslessons.com
    BassSquatch and BOOG like this.
  20. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    If I had to do it over again, I would seek out a good teacher. A few lessons, in person, to get you going, could be worth every penny.