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How many hours to learn bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by IamGroot, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. EatS1stBassist and RyanOh like this.
  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Learn to what level? I've been playing for decades and I'm still learning.
  3. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Good question. It depends on the person, the type of music and the level they are trying to achieve. Doesn't take long to get into some easier tunes but if you want to learn how to read and be able to play in a professional setting you need to have dedication and put in lots of hours every week.

    10,000 hours is 3.5 years if you practice 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. I think it's a bit too much.
    My son plays sax and practiced about 12 hours a week. After 2 years he played his first tour, he didn't have to do more than a few songs that featured the sax but he could read competently but now needs to get into a band that plays regularly to develop further.

    I think that in 5 or 6 years he'll become very competent and would be able to fit into any gig with ease but you never stop learning. I've been playing over 40 years, still practice daily and still find some stuff challenging.
    Tunes that I've done before though are like auto pilot because I've played them enough to internalize them.
    JC Nelson, IamGroot and Spidey2112 like this.
  4. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Bingo... I can better estimate the number of hours it takes, after I'm 6' under.

    Wait a sec...
    ruju, 12BitSlab, mongo2 and 4 others like this.
  5. I started in 1966. Last week I learned something new.:thumbsup:

    For the record , I was able to play in a band after a couple of weeks. I had a few months of guitar before that. I am still nowhere near mastering either instrument.
    Dunyet, chaak, ruju and 11 others like this.
  6. walking Bass

    walking Bass Supporting Member

    May 24, 2005
    Northern California
    I started in '64, so I've now got it nailed, those extra 2 years made all the difference...

    Part of the great beauty of music is that it's inexhaustibly deep. The longer I play, the more I realize how much I don't know, despite learning more everyday. How long to proficiency is individual.
    Dunyet, 1bassleft, timplog and 6 others like this.
  7. DrMole

    DrMole Supporting Member

    I don't know; go ask Mister Owl.
  8. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    FWIW, the 10,000 hour “rule” is bunk. And I like a lot of Gladwell’s stuff.

    As always, the answer is: “it depends”.

    For example, I taught myself how to play pedal steel guitar and was gigging on it a few months after starting. But I had 35 or so years of playing a bunch of other instruments under my belt when I started that. Don’t think it would have been as quick to learn if I didn’t have that foundation.

    But it’ll take a lifetime of playing pedal steel before I get “real good” at it.
  9. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    10,000 hours is approx 5 years if you do 8 hours a day 5 days a week with some time off. Just like work.
    There is a general rule of thumb that for most new endeavors, it takes the average person 5 years to gain a level of proficiency. That's for proficiency, not greatness. (That's a generalization of course. Some take less, some take much more, and greatness can take a lifetime)
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I learned all of Zeppelin II in about 2 weeks. That was over 40 years ago. Today I am still learning and improving.
    I am going to say I averaged about 30 hours per week playing time over the last 42 years or so.
    So 30 X 42 X 52 = 65,520 hours and I still suck in many ways.
    I bet with the right teacher you could become world-class in a few hundred hours or less.
  11. I have been playing over 60 yrs, maybe 25 years in bass.

    Bach shows me something new every day.
    Dunyet, timplog, mrm56 and 4 others like this.
  12. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    How many hours to learn bass? All of them.
  13. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    If you want to figure out the hours it's taken me to get as far as I am now I started in 1975 but in all reality you never stop learning...
    Dunyet likes this.
  14. Hambone70

    Hambone70 Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2018
    Tucson, AZ
    How long is a piece of string?
  15. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Everybody is different. I have a friend who started playing guitar in the late 1970s. He took lessons and practiced more than any other musician I knew at that time. He never got good enough to play in a band, not even a garage band. I picked up guitar and bass very quickly. It seemed to come naturally and I was gigging in less than a year.

    I've always compared learning an instrument to being an athlete. Not in terms of strength and endurance, but in the sense that they both require commitment, dedication and practice. However, if being a great athlete was just a matter of practice, we could all play in the NHL, NFL, MLB or NBA. Same is true for being proficient on an instrument. If it was just a matter of practice, we could all be a virtuoso. The fact is that you must also have some natural ability. A good teacher and practice will help develop your natural ability but if you do not have some level of natural ability, it will be difficult to improve.

    If you are not enjoying playing, don't do it. You will only get frustrated. Find something else. Maybe you're not a good bass player but you might be a great drummer, keyboard player or sax player. In the case of my friend, he went to school to become a sound engineer and got involved in mixing and producing. We are all good at something. Sometimes, we are not good at the things we enjoy doing or the things wish we could do.
  17. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    It depends on how much time you waste tooling around on Talkbass.
  18. grimjim


    Jan 26, 2014
    Chicago, Illinois
    Endorsing artist;DNA Amplification, GHS strings
    The more I learn, the less I know.
  19. LordRyan


    Dec 9, 2012
    Been working on Led Zeppelin II for over 25 years off and on and still refining it. I think I've finally nailed "The Lemon Song" and 'Heartbreaker".
  20. MG Wolf

    MG Wolf

    Nov 29, 2014
    Due East
    And the more I know, the less I understand.
    Kevin Lynch, Nashrakh, DrMole and 2 others like this.

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