How do you guys practice?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Bigeyes, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Bigeyes


    Dec 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    Hey guys, I'm just trying to find out what way people typically practice the bass guitar?

    I personally have been practicing unplugged for as long as I can remember. I don't even have a proper amp in my house. I leave my amp in our rehearsal space and its too big to drag around on public transport but lately I've been thinking of getting a small decent practice amp or a laptop programme with headphones just so I can really hear every small detail that I may miss out on unplugged!

    So what way do you guys practice and is there any recommendations for practice amps and the likes?
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Now that I've got my scales, arpeggios, etc. into muscle memory I always practice plugged in so I can hear how I sound.

    I too leave my big amp where we rehearse and play (Praise music) and found a Peavey Max 15B amp for $109 (US) and use it for what I do at home. It is a good amp for practice and has a built in tuner, which I like. Not sure it's available in Ireland, but, I'm sure most any comparable 12 to 15 watt amp will work for your practice.

    I also have a Vox headphone amp I use when I do not want to be heard by the family, but, the sound quality is not the same as going through an amp.

    I like to hear what I'm producing.
  3. All I have right now is a practice amp Crate MXB10 I got off of GC used for like $30 2 years ago.

    I probably practice different than a lot of people do. I have two sets of songs that I run through a dead cellphone attached to a set of computer speakers so I can hear the music and turn the amp up so I can hear myself and just play. I work on my technique with trying not to pluck hard, not death gripping the neck and being more accurate. Two hours a day with a break in between.

    I'll see scales posted but not entirely sure how they're to be played since some of them stack numbers on top of each other. I'm self taught and those scales always confuse me.
  4. I've got a little SWR Workingman combo, purchased used, that works for quiet practice at home and even for some band rehearsals, though it's not sufficient for gigs.
  5. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I have 2 amp setups. I went lightweight recently. The light rig is 2 32 pound carvin 2x10 mbe's And the heavy rig has become my bedroom practice amp. Who else practices with a 6x10? The neighbors probably hate me haha...
  6. For a practice amp I plug my bass & phone or metronome into an old four channel mixer(its tiny). Then I run that into some old computer speakers. Dosnt sound too bad for what it is.

    I like to practice to my bands ep & demos we make. Sure this gets boring but makes me play the songs really well. Then I do some metronome practice. Just basic stuff to keep my fingers nice & fit. Sometimes I just play around & have fun instead. Usually involves playing along to Iron Maiden - Live after death or something like that.
  7. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    The best practice setup I had was just running my bass/any other instrument into a Carvin mixer which went through my computer and into some nice flat studio headphones. I could hear my playing in full detail without any noticeable coloration, play along with songs and backing tracks, and record in good quality whenever I wanted to.
  8. Cafe Walter HA-1 and some house of marley phones. I can mix in a stereo track from a drum machine or an mp3 player.
  9. I don't have an amp at home either, but I think it's very important to practice 'plugged in'. I have a Zoom B3 that feeds into a Mac, then I just run iTunes or Garage Band and practice to that.

    In between the Zoom and the Mac I have a little Lexicon Alpha that I use to control the bass/song mix when practicing. All this goes into ATH-M50 headphones. The Zoom goes out to gigs, so I usually have all my tones set ahead of time.
  10. If I'm learning a song, I start out on a little SWR Workingman's 10. After I have the song "roughed-in" I'll switch to a Tascam GT-R1 with the song loaded, using headphones. Seems like it should be the other way around, but it works for me. That Tascam was a practice time game-changer. Then I'll finish up back on the amp, like I started.
  11. Bigeyes


    Dec 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    What do you mean by stacked numbers?
    I'll try to help you understand them if I can!

    How would you go about using a mixer?
    What sort of equipment would you need because the set up you have sounds perfect for me!
    Could you plug the bass directly into the mixer or would you need a DI?
    I've never used a mixer before so its a little confusing!

    I also think its pretty important to practice plugged in especially for techniques like fret hand muting and slap!
    Would you recommend the Zoom B3?
  12. Bigeyes


    Dec 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    I'm just after checking out the Tascan there. Is it worth the money would you say?
  13. They kind of look like how a guitar tab would look like if you're playing chords. I saw something like that either in this forum or the Technique forum. Can't remember which one as I've basically been all over the forums here.
  14. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington

    This is similar to what I had, just a cheap but functional mixer that can be used for personal practice or for recording a whole band. The bass track in my sig was recorded with just my bass running through my mixer and plastered over an mp3 that I EQ'd the bass out of.

    You don't need a DI, you can simply plug your bass into one of the line inputs with an instrument cable. Then you can take the mixers signal from the tapeout or the lineout and into the line or mic input of your computer. You may need to adjust the settings on your computer if you haven't tried this before, I've experienced some latency issues from having an audio setting or two misconfigured.
  15. Bigeyes


    Dec 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    Oh I get what you mean.
    I'm on my phone so I'll try explain as quickly as I can!
    Well say the C major scale is written like this:

    G ---2--------4-----5----------
    D ---2---3----------5----------
    A --------3----------5----------
    E --------------------------------

    You'd first play the 3rd fret A String then the 5th fret A String followed by the 2nd fret D String, 3rd fret D string, 5th fret D string. Then you would play the 2nd fret G String, 4th fret G string and finish up on the 5th fret G string!
    It should sound like do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do if you do it correctly!

    Don't forget to also try use one finger per fret when practicing so all the notes on the 2nd fret will be fretted with your index finger, the notes on the 3rd fret will be fretted with your middle finger, the notes on the 4th fret will be fretted with your ring finger and the notes in fret 5 will be fretted with your pinky!
    Oh and also try learn the names of the notes so you can play the C major scale for example in a different position on the neck. That way you won't solely be relying on Tab.

    I hope you understand what I'm saying!
    Check out this video by Scott Divine. He can explain better than I ever could!
  16. OMG! THANK YOU! I understood you very well so now I get it :)

    I have an extensive bass chart in an old bass instruction book I've got around here somewhere where I wrote the notes on top and put the tab notation underneath so I could read them both ways in knowing the note for the tab I'm using.

    I should probably go through this book again and it's got chords in it as well. I know what I'm doing tomorrow :)

    Thanks again,

  17. Bigeyes


    Dec 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    Oh okay I understand now. Thank you!

    You're very welcome!
    Don't forget to use a metronome while you are practicing stuff like this. Also take it slowly for a while!
    Its all about accuracy. If you try rush things at the start you'll notice that you may end up playing sloppy and out of time further into your playing!

    Good luck :)

    All the best,
  18. Thanks. Forgot to mention that my pinky won't get to play. Full size bass and stubby fingers waiting on the short scale I promised them :) So my ring finger gets more of a workout than anything.

    I need to get a real metronome. I don't have a smart phone but an idiotic phone that only takes/makes phone calls and texts and the computer's out as the audio is busted. Wonderful equipment don't ya think :p

    I definitely will go slow and take your advice about saying the notes out loud to commit them to memory as well as fret board memory. I'm sure all of this will redevelop my ear to hear notes and know exactly what it is and where it is.
  19. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    I don't want to bother my neighbors with my 1000 watt 4x10+1x15 stack so I just send the signal from the amp into my cheap USB audio interface (Focusrite Scarlet 2i2) and listen through my headphones.
  20. raventepes


    Jan 7, 2012
    Reno, NV
    As far as practice amps go, I'd go relatively low power, say, 150 watts or lower, especially if you have a 5-string. Personally, I find my Laney RB5 (120 watts) to be plenty for apartments. As far as brands and drivers go, really, it's really choose what you like.