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How to advance

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Chikn, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Chikn


    Mar 27, 2009
    Hey all
    First post :D :D
    Im a bass player (obviously) but you know that saying "bass is easy to play but hard to get really good at"? Well im somewhere in between those 2 extreme and i was wondering from the more experienced players how to get better. What are the most usefull things i can do to advance my self, yes practice, obviously, how?
  2. paul_wolfe


    Mar 8, 2009
    IMO the most important thing is working on your ear.

    There's a great John Goldsby quote from Bass Player magazine - "I don't get hired to play fast, I get hired to HEAR fast."

    If you can understand the wisdom in that sentence you're on the path to getting better.

    IF you want further clarification post here or PM me. Remember, this is my opinion - others will surely disagree (which is one of the great things about this forum, you can get a whole range of opinions!).
  3. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    For a second, my dreary morning eyes made me think that Paul wrote "the most important thing is working on your GEAR." :)

    Find the best teacher you can, particularly someone who will inspire you to keep practicing when you get into a rut, which you will get into since just about everyone hits a wall once in a while.

    Some of the best advice I received was to just have fun. Sounds hoaky, but it's too easy to come down hard on yourself for not practicing, not being "good enough" etc, losing sight of why you wanted to play a musical instrument in the first place.

    Finding a good book is also helpful, especially in addition to finding a good teacher. There are many books out there, some of them better than others. Which one you choose depends on your current skill level and your short and long-term goals.
  4. JEBassman

    JEBassman Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Welcome to the bass community!!

    Asher gives excellent advice. The most important thing is to find a teacher and take regular lessons. The next important thing is to practice what you're assigned in the lessons. Some assignments will be hard, at first. Begin each new piece at a slow, steady tempo.

    It's okay to go very slowly; give yourself time to think about what you're doing with your hands, what's on the printed page, and on your tempo. Tapping your foot will help you learn to work at a steady tempo, and to feel the beat. It's important on all instruments, but the bass generates the beat, leading all the other musicians on their silly instruments.

    Ask your teacher to recommend some beginning bass books. There are plenty out there, and they all offer something useful. It can be helpful to have some recommendations from the person teaching you. Ask for a teacher who will teach you to how to read music.

    Finally, have fun! Listen to music, find the beat, listen to the individual instruments. Enjoy!

  5. Happynoj


    Dec 5, 2006
    I like turtles.
    I am self taught, but I also play double bass, which is where I picked up my left hand technique and musical theory knowledge. I think that as long as you have good technique and good musical theory knowledge you can go far.

    My advice would be to have some lessons - make sure that your technique is nailed and learn theory - keys, chords, intervals, etc. Learn positions, scales, arpeggios, all that technical stuff.

    From there, I would say just play as much music as you can - when I was younger I used to devour albums. There was one point where I could play Rage Against The Machine's entire back catalogue from memory. Learn and play stuff, and you will get better as you try to learn stuff that is too advanced for you to play immediately.
  6. the engine

    the engine Guest

    First of all...WELCOME!

    Couple of questions...
    Do you read notation?
    What kind of stuff do you play now/want to play in the future?
  7. bassistgook


    Feb 5, 2009
    I just keep challenging myself. I find some of the most challenging bass lines I can then learn them at a higher tempo. After learning something at a higher tempo it makes playing it at normal speeds cake work. If it's a slower riff I sometimes go as far as doubling the tempo. It can get a little frustrating at times doing this but it has helped make me better and I never have a problem keeping up with my guitarist or drummer :)
  8. no one said (or i missed it) join a band.
    school jazz band, dudes in a garage, or a band that is already out playing gigs. the only way to tighten up your playing is to play. and i don't mean nights in front of a metronome. the better the drummer, the better you'll learn is what i've found growing up. my drummer trys to screw me up everytime there is a bass intro. you learn to count real quick that way!
    3 peice and 4 peice bands (one guitar) help you learn to keep things full, 5 and 6 and up will allow for you to move around the neck a little more with out the band becoming empty
  9. bassistgook


    Feb 5, 2009
    I disagree with that statement. I'm in a 4 piece band and I cover almost the full range of my 6 string basses. Knowing how to work with your guitarist let's you climb the fretboard pretty high.
  10. Chris Ramlar

    Chris Ramlar

    Feb 8, 2006
    if you get a teacher find someone how actually plays in a band or something not just a guy that can play but isn't doing something with the instrument, also look for a teacher that plays bass as his main instrument
  11. +1 Spot on

    Go and have a listen to your teacher in his band, or even something he has posted on MySpace.

    If his playing inspires you, you're on a winner.

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