How can I improve?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by gfdhicool, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    I'm 14 and I barley got my bass 6 months ago and I unfortunately started poorly (I wasted 5 months playing songs from tabs).I'm learning theory on my own (I know the notes,I just don't know any scales like Ionian etc).
    What books can I buy? I'm too poor to afford lessons (I did get 160 dollars total for christmas luckily,but that won't do) and if I did have the money,I don't have any teachers near by (only Guitar Center).
    I'm in marching band at school so I do know a few of the basics (rests,coda's,D.C al fine etc).
    The 2 books I have are
    The Bass Grimoire
    Hal Leonard Bass Method Books 1,2,3.
    I want to learn more and I want to get better.I use both fingers and picks....I want to get better and hopefully I can someday form my own band lol :).
  2. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    *That won't do for lessons
  3. RxFunk


    Dec 2, 2012
    The HL books are a good place to start, there are also online lessons at, and I believe they are free, can someone confirm this?
  4. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    I went on the website right now and I do think some lessons there are free
  5. Spatial


    Oct 30, 2012 offers free lessons with videos
  6. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    StudyBass.Com is an invaluable resource. If you read through all those free lessons you will have some direction on what is possible.

    For starting out you should endeavor to know which numbered tone of the scale the bass is on.

    e.g do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or more correctly I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii
  7. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    I'll try both of em out :p,any books you can recommend me?
  8. Red_Merkin


    Nov 12, 2012
    The lessons at studybass are free, and quite useful. All the theory lessons are tailored to bass, and organized in a way that makes more sense than any other resource I've used. I wish it had existed when I first started playing.

    I can't recommend them highly enough.
  9. mcglyph


    Aug 17, 2011
    Do you know that Bo Jackson started doing pushups for hours and hours? Had no gym, so did what he could in the most single minded, focused way possible. You might think about that. The thing you want to realize right now, today, and hopefully never forget is, this is not a sprint. In fact, thinking of learning to play music as a race is for the most part inaccurate and possibly counter productive as well. Right now, start setting realistic, specific goals. Pick daily, weekly, monthly, and then longer out, as you start seeing success in reaching them, hopefully you will learn how unlikely it is you will ever see a finish line; only bigger brighter markers mixed among many other smaller ones. Write your goals down. Use a timer religiously! This is to keep yourself aware of how much time you either noodle away or actually practice. Set a goal of playing for thirty minute stretches to begin with and then break that up into parts. When the timer goes off, no matter what awesome thing you are working on, stop. When you come back to it, you'll be ready to really work. Concentrate on having as little tension in your hands and arms as humanly possible. Play incredibly slow so one day incredibly smooth and fast is more likely. Play as fast and as much as your BODY is ready for, do not let your mind push you into learning bad or hurtful technique. Remember to mute every string you are not playing, including the one below the fretted note. Think of every note you play as precious and meaningful, if there is a wonky unclear or buzzy note, figure out why, do not be satisfied with good enough. Work to have great technique, clear tone, and a good ear. All the best.

    Best book I know of is the Bass Encylomedia by Mike Overly. This book among about four hundred other things will get you to see how the fretboard is connected. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
  10. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    :) I'll try my absolute best to not give up! I'll try the timer advice and i won't rush things :)
  11. I was 14 when I joined Talkbass. I had about 6 months of playing behind me, but two things skyrocketed my learning:

    1) Reading, learning, and dissecting many of the theory threads that came up here on Talkbass (seriously) and then finding ways to apply little concepts when I was jamming.

    2) Joining a band with a drummer and two guitarists.

    As for theory, small steps. Do you know your C Major scale and the notes on the fretboard, or can figure these things out? If so, you can figure out the modes. Next time you're warming up with scales, start with a C Major. Then start that same scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C) on D, E, all the way back to C an octave up. These will be your modes and you'll remember them from memorization... A Locrian pattern will be a Locrian pattern no matter where you put it.

    The real bread and butter is intervals. 3rds, 5ths, all that. Learn these and you'll have the secret to chords, scales, and so much more.

    But the biggest thing is to keep playing. I played rock and metal for a year and a half before I looked at anything else. Play what's gonna keep you having fun. Look for things you recognize. I catch a lot of diminished and harmonic minor scales in the music I listen to, and it's always interesting to see an odd pattern pop up, like a major scale shape you recognize popping up in a metal song.

    Knowledge is not one level, it is many. I forget the actual scale, but you must learn the information, comprehend it, reproduce it (spit it back out the same way you got it), dissect/analyze/question it, and finally master it to the point that you have knowledge of it. Example, can you play a major scale on your bass? Now, can you play it on a cello or piano? What happens to it if you raise the 4 and flat the 7? What modes and chords does that produce?

    Ultimately, if you have a passion for it and keep playing and learn just a little bit at a time, after a while it will start to come on its own. That has been my experience anyways. Today run minor scales for 2 minutes before you play. Tomorrow run minor scales and say the intervals (root, major 2nd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th) etc. while you play it.

    This is, of course, in supplement to what I feel is a standard education like the Hal Leonard Books you mentioned or

    Sorry if this post is long winded
  12. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    IMO you have one of the best books out there in the "Hal Leonard Bass Method". Work your way through the book(s). Dont rush it, but try to make sure you understand one section before moving on to the next one. With this book and the "Study Bass" site, you are in good hands and have plenty to keep to occupied for quite a while.

    One more thing, be patient with yourself and take things in small steps. This way, you wont become frustrated and want to give up.
  13. alec


    Feb 13, 2000
    Perth, Australia
    Playing with others is the best way to practise what you're learning. Ideally, find some people who are better than you and are prepared to take you on board as a beginner. Advertise locally looking for people to jam with. Blues is a great place to start. You can make it as simple or as complex as you can handle, and it provides a great foundation for most other styles of music.
  14. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    ^^^ Awesome post, Oniman7 :cool: Just curious ... how old are you now? (ie: how long have you been playing??)

    OP- As has been mentioned, the HL book(s) are chock full of valuable info,
    as is a few free websites like &
    Plenty of infos to keep you learning & practicing for a long time :bassist:
  15. I joined in June 2009 and am now 17
  16. amablkm


    Dec 19, 2010
    I have several books from Musicians Institute. Lots of info works for me.
  17. msaone


    May 13, 2012
    Actually I found. Jaco pastorius video on YouTube that had a lot of good exercises.

    Search jaco pastorius modern bass. It's about 1 1/2 hour long video.
  18. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    We used to have a saying: You can only play as good as you hear, and you can only hear as good as you listen. There's an old Hungarian composer named Zoltan Kodaly who had a rather brilliant approach to learning music - sight singing. It teaches how to read music and trains your ear to recognize intervals at the same time. If you can sing the notes, you fingers can find them.
  19. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    My honest opinion, the best thing you can do is fiddle with that bass all day and night, get in with some guys to play with (a band) and play tabs till you're blue in the face. YouTube is quite handy as well. Especially if its a trickier/ more complex song. Good luck. And practice practice practice and more practice dude. Don't stop playing!!!!! EVER
  20. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    And really try to listen to your favorite bands and try yo play along with them on your iPod/CD. Nothing ever beats experience and calases.

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