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! :)


Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ChessTiger, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. ChessTiger


    Oct 26, 2012
    Greetings fellow bass men\women;
    I would like to know how each person learned to play bass. Some have a natural music gift. Others (ie...me) have to learn by other means and some are self taught.

    My daughter started teaching her self guitar (she is in the natural talent group). My son got bit by the bug and wanted to learn to play. So, he started with guitar lessons. He got bit by the bass bug and wanted to learn bass also. He talked me into taking lessons with him. So...I purchased us both bass guitars and here we are taking lessons together :hyper: And the good times are rolling.

    If you would; share with us how the bass bug bit you and how you learned to play.
  2. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    I started out on electric guitar, and after playing for several years I bought an inexpensive used bass to play around with. It was great fun and I found I really liked playing bass, but continued to play guitar in bands.

    A couple of years ago I was asked to join a friend's band on bass. So I decided to get serious and take lessons. I have to say, the lessons were extremely helpful. I would really recommend lessons if one can afford it and if there's a good instructor in your area. Having someone help with hand position, finger picking, ect...those are things a book or instructional DVD can't do.
  3. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    I was 15yo & some childhood/highschool friends wanted to start a band - since guitar & drums were already taken, I was handed a bass & informed that I was the bass player, lol. It didn't matter to them that I had never played a day in my life at that point.

    So, I decided I should take some lessons of course. I made it to the end of the first week & quit. I felt my instructor kind of overwhelmed me with charts, and theory right off the bat. Or maybe it was because I was only 15yo at the time, lol. I knew I didn't want to stop playing bass, so I just started playing along as best I could by ear to literally every song that came on the radio - all genres. Over the years, instructional DVD's & internet videos helped me dissect playing styles & technical aspects of bass playing as well. Also early on, I added a Roland TR-606 drum machine to my daily practicing when I was about 19yo, which really gained me a lot of improvement in the timing department. But starting off the way I did (self taught), I think help me develop a pretty good ear & feel for pitch over the years, but I sure do wish I could read & write music better & had a better grasp of overall theory. But I don't regret not having formal lessons & I'm still playing bass 28yrs later & still love doing so as much as I ever did, perhaps even more. :cool:
  4. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I started playing music when I was 11.

    My first introduction to an instrument (that I was allowed to touch) was a piano. I managed to find a few melodies by pounding around on the keys, but I gained my love of music from seeing others play that piano.

    Then I discovered guitar(!). Learned a few things, joined a band with some friends. We quickly realized that we needed a bass player, and since I was tallest and looked the part (still tryin to figure that one out!!), I got the job.

    My guitarist's dad had a bass, and we did a trade. I lost my butt in that deal, but the ball was now rolling.

    From there, we played a few gigs, band broke up, and I moved on. I did a huge number of open mic nights with an acoustic guitarist/songwriter friend, and that's where I learned a ton of stuff.

    Years pass, I've played in a million bands, had a great time, never planning on stopping.
  5. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Great thread, BTW.
  6. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Combination of natural ability, self-taught and private lessons.. One thing that helped me most was being able to study under a cat named John Onder who has worked with the likes of Michael Schenker, Joey Tafolla and Artension..
  7. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    13 years old with an $80 no name P bass and a $50 8 watt piece of $hit amp. Up in my room with KISS albums just putting the needle on the record, again, and again, and...

    I have a very good ear, and just love music, so it came pretty easy for me. Been gigging ever since.
  8. ACNick

    ACNick Guest

    Oct 23, 2012
    South Florida
    I bought my first bass when I was 15 so I could play along with my older brother when he played his guitar. At first, I learned by listening to a song and hitting every wrong note until I found the right one. Later on he showed me how to read tabs, and I just started playing along with him. He stopped playing guitar after a few years, but the musical fire he lit in me is still going strong today. I don't want to say I taught myself how to play, but I have learned everything I know without any formal training or education. Unless you consider youtube and "how-to" books formal.
  9. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Started on string bass at 10 (reading music). Was asked two years later to play electric bass on a piece, and that's when the bug bit me. I had been teaching myself uke during this time, and at 16 I bought an electric guitar and taught myself to play that. I have excellent relative pitch, which helped when I would play along with records and the radio.

    Good for you in getting your kids exposed to music early. It's always fun to share the ride with someone!
  10. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    As a long time music educator and performer, "talent" and "natural ability" really boil down to a few elements of a formula that CAN be replicated.

    Approach the learning from several angles:

    2. Be aware of your technique but don't let it dog you down.
    3. Get a teacher who has a curriculum
    4. Spend some time every day learning tunes by ear
    5. Spend some time every day reading
    6. Have FUN with your instrument - doodle, create, compose
    7. Learn different styles
    8. Strive for perfection but don't let perfection get in the way of excellence
    9. Be patient yet persistent
    with that said.. I started in the elementary school band on clarinet.. taught myself guitar as a teenager.. switched to electric bass in high school - took lessons and immersed myself in it. Learned upright in high school... went to college for music ed....did a masters in double bass performance.
  11. ericdanger13


    Oct 30, 2012
    Danbury Ct
    I took guitar lessons for years and got ok at it. Played in a few bands but i just didn't love it. Stopped after ten years of playing. My buddy called me one day and asked me if i wanted to play bass in his band. I did and took what i learned from guitar and natural rhythm and learned in the band. Best decision ive ever made.
  12. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    11 yrs of music classes with orchestra and stage band mixed in followed by
    private lessons every now and then to help with 'getting past plateaus'
    and a lifetime of playing in bands ranging from country to worship to rock to bluegrass to smooth jazz and now Americana/Celtic.
  13. I had lessons on guitar for a while, but switched to bass on a whim (wasn't in a band or anything). Since then, I've just been practicing by learning songs by ear or, in case of classical pieces that I like, by sheet music.
  14. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    Excellent thread.

    Six years of piano as a reluctant kid, rebelled and quit. Foolish youth!! Decided at 15 to take up electric bass, and didn't. Waited 40 years. Heard my daughter playing a great jazz piece on the piano and bought a bass that day (6 months ago).

    Set up a music room above the garage. Became a gear head. :rollno: Danger Will Robinson!

    Got the Hal Leonard Bass Method book and CD, have been working on it every day. Got an instructor who comes over weekly. Also rocking out to classic Motown tunes at every opportunity.

    It helps to read music already and to have decent rhythm and relative pitch. And to play every day! I'm sure if I did more scales and theory exercises I'd be progressing even faster. Bottom line: love the low end. What took me so long?

    Now jamming with my kids!! :D
  15. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Childhood vocal lessons developed my ear for relative pitch.
    Countless hours of trial and error helped developed some technique.
    A folk mass ensemble taught me how to read chord charts.

    Still learning to this very day...
  16. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I started taking violin lessons in 4th grade in India (reluctantly). When my family moved to the US, I found music to be a good way for a shy kid to find common interests with other kids. I kept up playing the violin for about 20 years, so reading and theory became pretty natural for me. I eventually started playing electric violin in bands with friends, and picked up guitar, eventually moving 100% to bass.
  17. I was in a band the day I got my first bass and the guitarist told me what to play. For three years I played root notes only. A new band and a new gutarist and I added a couple of tricks, we made a lot of money. The 6o's were wonderful. The band broke up when it was time to go to college and I sold my rig. The point of this, what a terrible way to learn to play. 38 years pass, I pick up an EPI EBO for $200.00 and start playing again. I have been taking lessons from a pro. teacher and I have played a gig again.

    I would advise anyone who asks, take lessons, learn to read and you will never be sorry and a whole new world opens up.
  18. Pronin1986


    Apr 16, 2012
    I started playing on bass when I was 18. I bough Yamaha RBX-270 and started to play in band with my friends. After two years of selfteachin, i started going to the jazz college...but, after 4 yeras i left them.

    Sorry for my English, i'm from Russia, and my "English skills" very low yet )
  19. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Started learning bass a couple years ago after a long lay off period from drumming. Self teaching. Have gone through some theory books and as of about 3 months ago started a YouTube cover project. Fun! Trying to get out of the bedroom here and there when I can but not sure if I'm really ready for it yet. I wanna play with good players so I'm just mainly woodshedding for now.
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Well my friends were all playing guitar so I wanted a bass, my parents finally got me one (a 3/4 Regal, cheap korean P bass knock off) I didn't get lessons for at least a year after that so I had no idea what to do with the thing. I took lessons with a pretty mediocre instructor for a year or so when I was 15, spent years playing in bands before I decided to finally start studying music and theory about 8 years later and have grown more as a player in the last 3 years than the previous 8.