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How does everyone else practice?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Christian12, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. Christian12


    Mar 20, 2015
    I'd like to know, so I may do the same and improve my bass playing.
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Everyone is different, are at different stages in the learning process, and have different strengths and weaknesses. The idea of practicing is to identify your weaknesses and work on improving them.

    A good teacher would be able to access your abilities, and recommend a practice schedule suitable for you.
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    A couple of things I keep in mind for personal practice.

    1.) Have a goal. 2.) Cover things that are the building blocks of the technique you need for your music. Even if you can do things like scales and chords, do them anyway. Positive repetitions are your friend. 3.) When learning new material, go as slow as you need to go to get a steady tempo. After things are correct, gradually increase speed to performance tempo, and then go a little beyond that. 4.) Good playing is a habit. If you play something 47 times incorrectly and then get it right once.... well, you do the math what have you really set in your mind? 5.) Variety is the spice of life. Take the mundane thing and do it differently, do that differently, do that differently. Creativity is a matter of choice, not a gift. 6.) Some days the brain just isn't going to be into it. Obviously something else in going on in there. Put down the bass and take a walk, plant a flower, call a friend, do a dance or some household chores.
    pacojas likes this.
  4. I warm up with scales and chord tones and spend my practicing time on the six new songs we will be doing this week. Praise band at church.

    I play from fake chord and Nashville numbers so the first thing I do is:
    • Get the fake chord that was given to me by the BD into Nashville numbers. I then enlarge it to 11" X 17" so I can read it on the fly.
    • Next I call up a video of that song and listen to it while following along on my sheet music.
    • Next I make notes in the margins and omit or add a chord as needed. Looking for where runs or fills could be used.
    • Next I play the song. And here I notate the order of the song in the margins, i.e. Intro, V1, V1, V2 C, V1, B, C, C, Outro.
    • As you can tell a lot of my practice time is taken up with getting the sheet music into the format we will play from.
    • Praise is 99% roots to the beat, however how you play that root, 4/4, straight 8's or just one whole tone per chord needs to be worked out.
    That lets me know if there are "things" I need to work on and it's here that I do just that. Right now I'm working on getting my no line fretless ready to take public. Which consists mostly of running my scales in the flat keys, i.e. Bb, Ab and Eb I have problems with the flat keys - staying within the key and not going sharp or flat, i.e. staying in tune. The no line fretless is taking a little longer than I expected. It'll come just need more time. So I'm allowing practice time for this.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  5. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Chinchano and Orangeclawhammr like this.
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i break my practice up by doing the same exercises on each of three basses. it makes me work longer. if i get bored, i pull out more basses. all the while i'm eating stale corn chips. the loud crunch is my bass drum, the lip smack is my snare, so my mouth controls the tempo.
    i literally go through a 1lb bag of chips per hour. chips gone,.. practice is done! my friends see me at the corner store with one thing on my mind,... playing my bass!
    heyyy,.. you had to ask. :wacky:
  7. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Matters what I am practicing really. For technique like double thumbing or finger style..etc, I find it best to just work on it while watching tv. The goal is to get comfortable with it and make it a subconscious effort. I have been double thumbing arpeggios - Emin7 to say Gmaj7 to F#min7..just stuff like that while just engraining the technique into my hands.

    I find that to be a great way to get really good at right hand technique.

    For soloing, or practicing over changes I plug into my iPad and fire up iRealBook and program in changes that I want to work on. I usually go 100% focused on what I am doing for stuff like that.

    Learning songs for gigs. I play the songs over and over until mastery and practice standing up. When I walk into the audition or on stage, I feel extremely comfortable already since I have over prepared and practiced on my feet. At that point my stage presence takes over and everything is in cruise control.
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I don't practice as much as I just sit and play. But I've been playing a lot. Sometimes the two manage to happen at once. :)
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  9. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    +1 to the above.
    When I started(1965....pre-internet, no youtube, no online lessons), it was books, scales, and copy other players.
    Now? Only when I can find time with a fulltime day job and band with 80+ shows a year. Usually some warmup followed by review of any new songs or songs that need work and possibly stuff I like but band doesn't do. Then there are tons of teaching sites, youtube vids, etc. Take your pick. Just keep it FUN and do not burn yourself out.

    Even at work now a Behringer V-Amp 3, headphones, and either work's PC or my mp3 player make lunch hour more enjoyable and productive:

  10. Not nearly enough.
  11. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    DAILY - 6 DAYS A WEEK + 1 day per week is with a live band rehearsal or gig - usually 2 to 3 hours per session.
    Shed practice in typically 3 parts =
    1) A musically oriented Method or Technique program - Books work best for me with TAB blanked out
    2) Current "set list" songs to stay fresh, rearrange, or improve on difficult parts
    3) New set list songs

    And if you don't know your fret board yet (REALLY KNOW IT) - Put that time at the very top of your to do list. Lastly, get a good instructor.

    I keep a log of my activity and I pretty consistently put in 3hrs per session usually with a 15min break or 2. So 2.5 hrs of bass in hand time.
  12. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I spend 30-60 minutes a day practicing. Mainly working on mainly scales and modes but also work on my timing with a metronome a bit as well as using a looper the odd time to record a short progression to solo over.

    I also work on modes, scales and learning the entire fretboard when in my car, in a hotel room while away on business, etc. I have a set of cue cards that contains everything I am trying to learn.

    Most of this is due to me taking pretty advanced lessons after playing for 30 years.

    When it comes to practicing new songs for my cover band, I am pretty lazy and have a basic technique for learning.... I use Ultimate Guitar to download a TAB/chord chart file and play around with the song a few times learning the changes. Then I pull up YouTube on my iPad and play along a few times until I have the song down. Rock cover and current stuff, so it is generally pretty basic.
  13. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    I find that lately I am working more on attacking notes in different ways, developing my time feel and playing tunes in different keys. From a technical standpoint, I've been concentrating on different patterns and arpeggios based on dominant chords.
  14. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    What is this "prac-tice" that you speak of?
  15. pravus


    Feb 5, 2013
    Broomfield, CO
    If I had to sum it up for me I would say that you should pick a goal and don't stop until you are satisfied that you have progressed toward that goal. Where possible I also try to compress multiple goals into a single session to be efficient. For example, I might set a goal of polishing a cover I'm currently working on which by its nature allows me to spend a little focus time on my alternate picking and working on weaknesses in my left hand. Sometimes I'll just focus on note correctness which makes my playing sloppier but I ensure that the correct patterns are embedded for work later on. The key is to move forward every session. Just remember that you sometimes move forward by kicking back, too.
  16. alfoders


    Nov 14, 2012
    Orlando, FL
    I usually practice about 1.5 to 2 hours daily 6 or 7 days a weeks.

    I start with 20 minutes of technique training - left and right hand strength and dexterity, picking (plucking) exercises along with a metronome, double stops. After the "warm up" I will do ~15 minutes of scales and arpeggios in tempo with a metronome. Following that, I will do a standard notation reading exercise for ~20 minutes.

    After that, I "reward" myself with some "fun time" by playing along with jazz standards, building up my repertoire and memorizing the chord changes for the rest of my practice time.

    My teacher has me doing additional theory assignments which I manage to squeeze in 3 or 4 days a week at the expense of my "fun time".
  17. I have Mobile Sheets on my android tablet with all my song sheets. I then have all the songs from the setlists of the three bands I play in on the tablet and linked to the sheets. If we play in a different key I use BestPractice software to change the key of the original. Sure, it sometimes makes the singing sound like a chipmunk or Barry White but at least its in the key i need to practice.

    So with all this set up when I want to practice I plug in the bass, turn on the tablet bluetooth to connect to my good stereo, pull up the sheet on Mobile sheets and play the song to practice along to.

    The setting up took some time but now I can be playing along to songs a minute after deciding to sit down and practice with the sheet in front of me.

    Other than that I will spend time most nights going through arpeggios and scales for 20 minutes or so.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  18. gjohnson441496


    Dec 14, 2014
    I just practice every day. I'm learning all the songs I can from one band... The Beatles. I plan on switching to David Bowie one day, but The Beatles catalog is keeping me real busy.

    I practiced modes every day for one year, which was very beneficial.

    I can play with a pick as well as my fingers, but I prefer a pick. Started playing with a pick 5 months ago and it gets better, easier and more relaxed to do with time. Just love the sound of it.

    I would suggest finding something to work at and stick with it. The stick with it part is the hardest. I started the year learning to read the bass scale... only lasted about a month... Gotta stick with it.

    Do your own thing and don't worry about what anybody has to say unless it's positive. You know the difference between good advice and BS.
  19. Chinchano


    Jan 18, 2015
    Atlanta, GA
    1) Warm up chromatics
    2) Scales and Chord tones (this could differ if I'm spending time focusing on a specific scale or mode)\
    3) Transcribe, which takes up the bulk of my practice

    For me transcribing particular players over a span of time really helps my vocabulary and maturing my playing. I mean every little thing. The tone of the notes they use to see where on the fretboard they are playing, all fills, passing notes, etc.
  20. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    1)Use a PC and look up a lot of lessons on line.
    i.e. Riff of the week. Technique.
    2) Read. Charts, method books.
    3) Play along with tunes I know and then with tunes I
    do not know.

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