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How to get started?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by TStorm, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Something that helped propel me was once I went through the scales and chords, explore diatonic chords and chord progression. I learned a lot from the fretjam site and other google results for them.

    Here's a blurb I wrote up (mostly for myself and my friend) to help explain Diatonic chords and progressions - The "Hit Song Formula". I figured adding it here would help in case you don't find the great sites I did. Note this is slightly more for the "intermediate" level, after you've started feeling comfortable with chords and scales.

    Most guitarists/bassists learn chords and scales, but few learn about the connection between the two. Diatonic chords are the chords that are derived from the notes of a key. Each note of the key serves as a root note for a chord; therefore, each key has 7 basic diatonic chords. In other words, they are different chords using only notes from one scale... so for example, if you use only notes from C Major, but to construct not only C chords! So if you make a D chord using only notes from C Major, you would get D minor, and here's why:

    In a D Major chord, the third would be F#. The C Major scale includes F (not F#) so in terms of the D chord, it's third is flat, making it minor. If you continue to construct chords in this way, using only notes from the same scale every time, the chords would all be considered "diatonic", and the coolest thing is you could solo over top in the key (in this case C Major or A minor, the related minor scale to C Major which uses all the same notes) and even while the rest of the band moves through the chord progression, the solo will always sound "in key"!

    References (each is an excellent read):
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  2. reddog

    reddog Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Philly burbs
    Book Review -
    I found the above book (Bass for Dummies) only mildly helpful.
    Wanted to keep just a couple of the pages when I had finished.
    Seems like one of those things that should be continually sold used for
    $4 amongst TalkBass members. You buy it for $4 and then just sell it again
    when you've read it. On second thought.... I better read it again.

    Hopefully more people benefit from it.

    Just found out about this guy. Jerry Jemmot

    I'm curious about his learning products.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
    iain westland and Jian like this.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    This video for absolute beginners was posted by LanEvo in another thread. I think it is too good to be left out of this particular thread :

    BuDa, -Liam-, iain westland and 2 others like this.
  4. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    When I started on guitar I was Guitarnoise.com where David Hodge who wrote The Complete Idiots Guide To Bass Guitar was on staff so I got that series instead of the For Dummies book. Along with the Hal Leonard Method which I used for the exercises the Idiots Guide was more a role of the bass type of book for me. As I progressed over the years I still go back to it as a check and reference. However it is the first edition and it felt like a draft with typos and it doesn't have the CD locations in the main text but rather in an appendix. I hope it has been corrected since then.

    I also have the Jerry Jemmott Blues and R&B Bass Techniques book and for me his improvisations and fills instead of the basic shuffles and patterns were to much for me as I was just getting started. Also unlike Ed Friedland's Blues Bass book he did not have the rights to the standard songs so he is giving a lot of in the spirit of examples. So that book went the library for a while before I came back to it better prepared for what Jemmott was passing on to us.
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Another vote for focusing on basic hand position and technique first, before getting too much into theory or learning songs. One important reason for this is that the more you practice using bad technique, the more bad habits you will develop (it doesn't take long!) and have to un-learn later. Remember, every time you practice something incorrectly, you're learning how to play incorrectly.
    Aaron Mc likes this.
  6. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    drumsnbass and ScottMatt like this.
  7. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Find a good teacher and save yourself years of dubbing around & building bad habits.
  8. practice scales, modes , learn some theory regarding melody and harmony . you might want to get a guitar tuner as it helps to always be in tune. you might poo whoo the idea of learning scales as I did when I was first learning ,but I soon come realised that the learning and the playing of scales and modes helps you a great deal with things like hand eye coordination muscle memory and training your ear . also learn old school 12 bar blues riffs rock n roll and walking bass lines and even country music bass lines ,as the more you know the better you will become .
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  9. Woodstockz


    Sep 23, 2011
    San Diego, Ca
    1. Practice ii-V-I in all keys

    2. Practice the blues

    3. You gotta learn some tunes. Make up a list of standards, and get a Real Book.
    Jian likes this.
  11. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
  12. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    Like a virgin,touched for the very 1st time! Lol.1st of all IMO if you really want to learn,you've got to be serious&dedicated,it will also consume lots of time which you say you have.I am a old retired with lots of time to learn I've got about 6months of 12-15hrs a day.old people don't need much sleep anyway.if you have kids and or old lady becareful not to neglect them of time.like the previous guy said i wished i would've learned to read music1st if I were younger,its all about what you want.have fun,guitar maybe one of your bf too!
    Jian likes this.
  13. Tottery


    Aug 17, 2015
    Depending on where to go from the start depends on what your goals are. Do you just wanna play your favorite songs on bass or do you want to be a professional? Depending on your choice can lead you down two very different roads. If you want to just learn songs then learning tablature and having fun is all you truly need. If you want to be a professional, you best learn scales, chords, work on your chops, and become great at sight reading.
  14. iain westland

    iain westland first class idiot

    Just want to say thank you so much for this thread. I've been happily playing bad punk, root note based stuff for years, and it's fair to say my playing style has been akin to that of a road crash in slow motion.

    But, I'm at that age where I've decided to try and actually learn some to understand this thing...

    I'm picking songs I like, ducks stuff etc, and banging on with that. But the info here is worth a ton of gold... I can see me reading just this thread once a day.

  15. MalcomAmos, You are greatness. I know your post is good info because it made my head hurt. I am going to get in the woodshed soon and try and put your writings to use. Thanks others for posting tips as well.
    Gilligan8 likes this.
  16. -Liam-


    Mar 16, 2016
    Ottawa, Canada
    Welcome \m/
    I'm also a relatively new bassist (playing since about 6-8 months ago). Here are a few tips I think you might find useful.

    - I'm a metalhead also, but I've also tried to learn some funk/slap style songs via tablature and suggest you try the same once you understand the basics. I'd recommend in particular Flashlight, by Parliament, Higher Ground, by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Take the Power Back by RATM. Branching out to other genres means you're less likely to get tired of playing or lose interest if your enthusiasm for heavy metal happens to disappear later in life. It also teaches you good rhythm which is useful in every genre, metal included.

    - Learning scales and arpeggios of various modes/tonalities is a great way to build dexterity in your left hand and prepare for writing your own bass lines eventually.

    - Lessons are a good option, but if you want to teach yourself, you can find a ton of helpful books on the subject at a public library or a bookstore. In particular, I recommend "Bass Guitar for Dummies" by Patrick Pfeiffer. Very informative, and not at all boring to read. It also covers all the sub-topics you would ever need, saving you the time of getting various books. It also covers how to select your own bass when the time comes, and how to take care of the instruments so they sound great and last for a long time. A DVD that I found at my public library that has proved very useful (especially for a heavy metal fan) is "Modern Metal Bass: constructing bass lines" hosted by John Moyer of Disturbed. He covers a lot of things to help you in a band environment as well as basic bass technique.

    - I'm sure this goes without saying, but practice a lot. You can never play too much, especially when starting out.

    I hope that helps. Best of luck![/QUOTE]
    basspower and Allen Quillian like this.
  17. A-Ro


    Mar 22, 2016
    West Texas
    Any recommended reading for 5 string?
  18. Allen Quillian

    Allen Quillian

    Mar 5, 2016
    After playing and self study, finding a qualified teacher. Can help you climb over that hurtle and move forward. The internet and videos are a great source available at your fingertips. A program I have extremely useful is "Ireal pro". It has songs of all styles and gives you drums and bass and instruments to practice with. Have fun with it. You are starting a journey that can last a lifetime.
  19. Lots of good information above

    Just to add,
    Start learning the fundamentals and basic stuff

    Learning to pluck open strings, slowly and with even timing is the starting point

    And then working on left hand fretting etc

    It is not uncommon for people to skip past all the basics and it always shows in their playing down the track

    If you learn to play basic things on the bass well from the start then any covers or songs you learn later will sound better

    There is an old saying, walk before you run

    And learning to 'walk' on a bass is one of the most important and hardest things to ever master, irrespective of a persons musical preferences

    Be it metal or whatever ...it takes s lot of work and patience is very important

    A teacher is a good starting point
    -Liam- likes this.
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    The OP, TStorm, was last seen: Sep 2, 2014.
    I guess he's all good by now...:cool:

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