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how do i get started?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by lime555, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. lime555


    Mar 20, 2009
    wasnt sure where to post this, sorry if its the wrong place...

    basicly i want to play the bass but im having a lot of trouble getting strted. a few months ago i decided it would be cool to play the bass, and easier than the guitar since it has less strings. so i bought a really cheap bass on ebay, and got some books and printed out some tabs for songs i like. but the problem is that i am completely hopeless at the bass. all the songs are too hard and even if i think i am playing it right it sounds terrible. the result is that the bass moslty just sits there because when i try to play i get depressed because i cant and then give up.the only song i can play is Get Free by The Vines(but still it sounds terrible). so about once a week i play that over a few times and that is about it but i really do want to actualy learn the bass.

    any advise? can you reccomend some songs that are extremely easy but sound good? also the strings buzz like crazy how do i stop that?

  2. my advice would be to edit your post so that it doesnt include
    This is a bass forum. Chances are youve offended someone.

    If you need motivation-get a teacher to get you started.

    A good start would be to learn to tune the bass if you dont know how. Could be a reason the songs you play dont sound right.

    Song recomendations? Depend on the music you like. Just try and learn anything and everything.

    It all about quantity and quality of practice.
  3. lime555


    Mar 20, 2009
    i didnt mean that is the truth, i just meant thats what i assumed and it was part of the reason i decided to try bass. i dont think its the truth anymore lol. sorry if i offended.

    thanks for the advice. thats a good point my bass probably isnt tuned right. i like all rock music mostly punk but i like classic and metal really and anything even jazz and stuff.
  4. Sunn


    Nov 9, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Well, we all arrive at our instrument for different reasons.

    What matters is the end result and not the means by which you arrived.

    With that in mind, the first thing I think you will need to obtain is the mindset and attitude toward playing an instrument. Notice that I did not say bass.

    If you can get it in your mind that nothing is supposed to be easy or simple without practice and patience, I think you will find that the journey you are embarking on with the bass will be more enjoyable and more fulfilling an accomplishment in the end.

    You must look at the other people who are reasonably good, to really good, to Steve Vai good. What is the one thing they have in common? Practice practice and more practice.
    Some people who make a living playing and performing practice at least 3 and at some extremes 6 hours a day!!!:eek:

    So I really think you are off on the right foot--try to learn some songs you like. I would recommend mixing in with that some study time that deals with technique (fingering positioning etc) and then some theory (progressions, scales, chord work etc) Since you are at such an early stage, I would throw in a weekend day of LEARNING TO READ MUSIC every week.

    Don't worry about effects for at least another year. You can not hide your lack of ability behind effects, and in most cases the effect will make your mistake shine like a gold plated piece of crap.

    Save your money and stick to the basics for now.

    All hope is not lost. You will learn to play, it will just take some more time and effort. If you can not afford a teacher (which is one of the best ways to learn) there is plenty of information in music stores, libraries and actually on the net (for the most part) that can assist you with learning.

    The bass is not easy. It takes a certain type of person to be able to dissect a progression, find the openings and nuances in a rhythm, and lay the foundation of a song. And you need to ask yourself now if you think you can dedicate the next 5, 10, 20 and in some cases 40 years to playing it.

    Good Luck

  5. I actually play bass with more strings than guitarists
    Its never easy just because it has less strings I've had guitar player friends soar at an early stage for some odd reason, then before you know it I'm the one playing still.
    I agree with MJ's advice A good teacher, but I recommend a bass instructor opposed to a guitar teacher that plays bass, he can teach your groove and techniques better, sounds like you want to play just need some kind of motivation, and if it is in tune, think about switching the strings "dead" strings sound horrible on any bass
  6. Brick Top

    Brick Top

    Dec 7, 2008
    I just started a few months ago...so maybe I can help get things going. I really can't find enough time to play. If the family all goes out...I'll play for hours until they come back.

    Anyways....get a cheap tuner to ensure your bass is in tune. Walfart has a cheap one for a few bucks. Get the bass setup by someone that knows what they are doing. Watch and learn so you can do it yourself. There are websites around that will teach you how to set it up as qwell. Just google bass guitar setup.

    Guitar pro is a cool program for learning...but not essential.

    Get some tabs of some pretty easy songs like Yellow by Coldplay, with or without you by U2, Roxanne by the Police, seven nation army by the white stripes. Learn them to a tee...then move on to a few more. But always go back and keep practicing the earlier ones to stay tuned up, and keep your confidence.

    Keep your instrument out in the open so you see it every day.

    That should get you started.

  7. Couldnt agree more. its amazing how much less you play when you have everything in cases.
  8. Dertygen


    Dec 21, 2008
    A-Town, Colorado
    Ramones-> 53rd & 3rd
    Rage Agains the Machine-> Bombtrack (It's actually kinda easy if you go at your own tempo... not with the recorded tempo.)

    Using fingers? Use a lighter touch but increase volume to compensate for the lighter touch.

    Pick? Use a thinner pick or hold it more shallow-er-er (how do I explain this... less of the tip used).
  9. SabreChris


    Mar 19, 2009
    This may sound like a funny question, but do you REALLY like music? Do you have tunes running through your mind most of the time?

    You should only play music if you really lke it. Getting over the hump in the beginning where you feel accomplished enough to play with others may take several years.

    Also, music is a social thing and I find that it feeds on the other people you know, in both a collaborative and competitive sense. so unless you have or make friends that play, your interest may wane.

    That said, much of the practice occurs in between other things in your life. Instead of playing video games, pick up your instrument and practice scales. If you really like it and its not a chore (ie you really like experimenting with scales and making noise), then eventually you will get good. Then you can decide where you want to go with it.

    If you are young, the sky is the limit. If you are older, you can still get good enough to play in bands.
  10. Cameronj


    Jan 26, 2009
    Kaysville UT
    If you are older the sky is still the limit.
  11. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008

    I was a moron 20 years ago. I'm still a moron, but at least I know it now, enough to not care about silly limitations.
  12. Once you get your bass in tune, maybe get new strings for it, and possibly take it to someone to make sure it is set up properly, look for an overall instruction book -- it sounds like you have books on songs and none on theory. One that gets recommended a lot on TB is Bass Guitar for Dummies and it really is a great book to start on. It covers a lot of vital information you need to get on your feet.
    If that gets your head bobbing, then get an instructor (and/or more complex books if money is an issue) and fellow musicians on your level or even better -- you will learn twice as fast by applying what you're learning with other musicians.
    Have fun. But practice practice practice.
  13. ysand


    Mar 26, 2005
    I strongly suggest an instructor (a proper one, make sure he's a bassist, not a guitarist that owns a bass guitar. There's a HUGE difference).
    Having an instructor will help tou progress much faster than using a book (at least at the very beginning)

    Oh and:
    Less strings make it harder. Plus, strings are much thicker, and there's a longer and thicker neck than on the guitar. Eventually u'll see these things ;)

    Good luck and welcome to the world of bass! You'll love it here!
  14. Parrot-Head


    Jan 16, 2009
    I just started a couple weeks ago and am currently using the Hal Leonard Bass Method books. I am slowly learning the notes on each string and actually starting to read music and play along with the CDs. I was lost in the beginning too (heck, I still am lost)...trying online stuff, DVDs, books...not sure which way to go. I started with the studybass.com stuff, and then decided to try the Hal Leonard book and it seems to explain things better to me (at this point anyway).
  15. BagsBass


    Mar 7, 2009
    as for your issue with fret buzz, make sure that when you play the note, your finger tip is almost right up against the right side of the fret (as viewed with the bass in your hands). almost like you are "pushing" the note into that metal fret guide. i never strike a note on the "left side" of the fret and hardly play in the "middle" of the fret. you tend to get fret buzzing when you do. if you are already doing this, it could be a loose fret guide. unfortunately, i've found that even when you fix that, it eventually comes back. you may need to get a new bass.
  16. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Check out the link in my sig. for lots of great info.

    +10 on getting a bass teacher, not necessarily a guitar teacher who plays bass.

    I started on guitar and have never regretted learning chords so I can more easily follow the guitar player.

    Good luck.

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