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How long before you get good at bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by sportsjen5, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. sportsjen5


    Nov 14, 2003
    Hey, before deciding to buy a guitar, I was wondering how long does it usually takes someone before they are at least halfway decent at playing? How long did it take you guys?
  2. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    It's very different for everyone. I'm still working on it...

    ...a lot depends on what you mean by good:

    * Good enough to have fun? A few months.

    * A teenager able to play parties, where everyone has a "tin-ear"? About a year.

    * Good enough to play "pop" tunes for money (assumes lessons or diligent self-learning and talent)? Perhaps 2-3 years.

    * Good enough to play Jazz with ol' timers? Don't know.

    * Good enough to teach others? Don't know.

    A lot depends on a) your innate talent, b) previous musical experience and c) how hard you REALLY work.

    An instructor can give you a (much) better idea, but I'm sure it varies person-to-person.
  3. I second everything. It really does depend on how much effort and time you put into it. I mean, if you buy a bass and spend maybe a day a month on it, as opposed to a few hours a day, which do you think will cause you to improve the most? I myself have been playing for 7 years, practice at least an hour a day, and I'm still learning things.
  4. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama

    I foresee this topic being moved off to the Miscellaneous Forum soon!!
  5. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    You get out of it what you put in.
  6. Depends.
  7. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Start taking lessons and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be getting "decent". What do you define as halfway decent?

    I've been playing for 8 years now and I consider myself to be a pretty able player.
  8. Yeah, lessons are imperative, even if you're a musical genius.

    There are a handful of musicians who attained a high level of accomplishment without lessons, by spending countless hours in the woodshed.

    They usually go nuts, and die young.
  9. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    I'm 13, and i have been playing 5 minutes a day for 2-3 years:D. And, im actually "pretty decent" too :rolleyes:

  10. First of all, it depends on how hard you practice.You'r not getting any better if you just play new songs all the time.You have to practice the right things....
    Second, it depends in your talent. Someone don't have any talent for music, and they can never become decent...That's the cold fact.I, myself, would probably be a decent pop - bassist. As a jazz-bassist, however, I'm far from being even halfway-decent. I've played for 2 years...
  11. i've got six years behind me now, and I was probably ok after a year. People seem really impressed at what I do, but I still think I suck. (that probably goes for lots of us here on talkbass)
  12. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    i'm the same, and i totally agree.

    and i also agree with the post by crazy two knobs.
  13. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Have you ever heard of Jaco Pastorius?

    Started bass when he was 16, in two years he was the best bassist on Earth.
  14. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003

    presumably because he was naturally gifted and "right place right time", put a lot of work in, was innovative, etc, etc.

    i've not actually heard much by jaco but i know he is respected incredibly by bass players. but i also feel he was an engima.
  15. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    I'm still not any good!!!!! :D
  16. As said in the first reply, it depends on how much you put into it. And, as previously stated, there are many different variations of being "good" at bass. One person who thinks that Dee Dee Ramone was "good" at bass might not think that John Paul Jones was "good", and vice versa. It all depends on how well you learn and what genre of music you enjoy.
  17. ten years and i'm still waiting for the magic bass talent fairy to come my way.
  18. Boozy


    Apr 29, 2002
    Kelowna BC, Canada
    It didn't take me very long to learn a few simple things on bass. I was able to jam with my friends band on a couple simple songs right away... BUT, I'm not saying I'm that great.

    I agree with what everyone else has said.. compared to so-and-so#1 I rock, but compared to so-and-so#2 I suck. I will forever be learning... I have never taken any lessons, maybe one day I will, then again, maybe I wont. I don't think it is essential. I have taught myself by figuring out songs I hear, and trying to incorperate things I learn by doing so, into my own songs.

    Practice is the key, and learning to "know" the figerboard is the biggest help for me (although I think it comes with spending alot of time playing your bass) ...learning scales helps alot IMO.

    I do beleive that some people got it, and some people don't.

    To be a decent bassist (obviously depending on your definition of "decent") you just gotta practice... it shouldn't take long to be able to play a simple pop song... but it will take more than a lifetime to be satisfied I think.

    I do think you will make better progress by spending alot of time (ie: several hours) each sitting maybe 3 or 4 times a week as opposed to spending very little time (ie: 1/2 hour) every day... but that is just me.

    If it makes a difference, I have been playing roughly 10 years... Not the entire time that dedicated, but I have always messed around either way... I have learned more in the past year than in the rest of the time combined, but I also like the bass I am playing alot more, like my tone alot more and actually make a point of playing every day. Dedication is essential to making good progress IMO.
  19. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Damn, you're omnipotent! Moved.
  20. There is a wide space between those that say they can play the bass and those considered bassists. I would be incredibly arrogant for me to place myself anywhere in that. Simply, I like playing...it brings me great joy...the rest is for the academics who give a Sh#t about how they choose to label me. Good, my friend is "a relative value unit!" It only means something to those that value it!

    Good you ask? I define it this way...The bass player learned enough to support the rest of the band...the bassist has the ability to take the rest of the band, including the drummer, where it needs to be while possessing the wisdom of knowing when NOT to take them there! Like the old saying the greatest gift of speech is knowing when NOT to speak!

    I think that's the difference between all us, regardless of instrument. There are those that play an instrument...then there are those that master the music beyond the capability of the instrument. Or so we thought before they did it.
    How many times have you heard or seen a bassist and said " Man, How the hell did he/she do that! That was AWESOME!"

    It's those that we in this forum idolize. The Chris Squires, the Geddy Lee's, the Jaco's...fill your's in here. Their style transcended the octave they played in. They got our attention...They capture our imaginations.

    I won't be good...ever...until someone says to me...Man, How the hell did you do that? That was AWESOME!...followed by...will you show me? Then I'll say sure...am then I'm good!

    "Play till your fingers bleed...tape them up...and play some more"-me!