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How to get started?

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

  1. fingerguy

    fingerguy Banned

    Aug 2, 2016
    BTW to the OP and anyone else starting out, I can't express enough much faster you will improve if you go with a good teacher. The problem I notice with self-taught is you are your own worst enemy. You know you want to learn this, and you try what you can find, but in the end do you really know what you should do and how to get good at so and so? Probably not. Case and point, me and my teacher have been working on American Pie and when playing with the song I am either way behind or way ahead. So he generated these exercises for me to play daily (not songs just exercises) for about 15-minutes a day, and I can tell you just working on them the first time made a huge difference.

    So my point is this, you can't really know what you need till someone that does know their stuff can tell you. Maybe with the digital world as it is today apps can tell you, but I never used them so can't comment on that. But in the end nothing beats a great teacher.
    BuDa likes this.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have no idea, but I would guess not. I assume it's something to do with the stimulation of nerve endings contacting the strings, but I really don't know.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Youtube lessons that start very basic and gradually build from there are fairly rare. So here is a series of lessons which should be helpful to someone starting from ground zero.

    BuDa likes this.
  4. Former pro back on TB with a new name. First paid gig over 50 years ago. Lots of good advice on this thread. If i could do it all over again, i would do the following:

    1 learn to practice "perfectly" from the beginning in a focused manner to make every practice effective.

    2 ear train early

    3 read sheet music at the beginning. Avoid tab. Focus on rhythm and musicality as well technique.

    4 Learn to play fluently up and down the neck (i learned this from upright).
    5 Enroll in music college (jazz performance at night school) and learn the real deal.
    6 Playing jazz taught me how to use scales as a ingrained tool in my walking lines and soloing. It took over a year for it to come together despite 20 previous years of performing. I use the analysis skills in all music forms. If nothing else, it helps me memorize songs.
  5. bassville pete

    bassville pete

    Feb 20, 2018
    This is a great thread. Thanks guys.
  6. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Hi Toby If you wish to improve your bass playing in the best way possible, I suggest that you find a bass teacher that ONLY TEACHES MUSIC TO READ AND PRACTICE.

    I had to make the letter into capitals to show you how important this is. There really isn't any other proven way to improve as a bass player when being taught The only other way that people improve is by being self taught which puts you in charge of what to work on.

    Reading music has no equal in musical and playing improvement. It synchs up your mind, eyes, music, hands, and instrument to spark into a unified action of playing the notes on the page. This is perfection in musical improvement! Doing this every day will save you years of wondering how to play your bass.

    Again, your teacher should be teaching you music only. I would avoid any bass teacher that mentions the words, "gigs" "groove" "lock with drummers" "metronomes" "communication" or "technique." If you have any questions, write me and I will explain further my thoughts.

    Oh, P.S. Learning like this doesn't stop you from listening to any CD of any band and imitating what you hear. IT doesn't stop you from jamming with people either. Reading and practicing is specific to improvement as a bass player.

    Best of luck!
  7. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    I would avoid any bass teacher that mentions the words, "gigs" "groove" "lock with drummers" "metronomes" "communication" or "technique." -Berlin,Jeff

    Unbelievable!!! These ARE the requirements for playing and learning bass or any others instruments in the real world of music.
  8. Tbsx

    Tbsx Troll Banned

    Sep 12, 2017
    Some teachers like to drag out the lessons to make more money. They'll go over things you've already learned to eat up your time, and won't let you move on. Or tune your bass (after you've already tuned it) to eat up more time (that you're paying for).
    Much of the theory you can learn on your own.
    Buy a bass book from Hal Leonard or Alfred Publishing. They start you out reading notation and learning your notes on the fingerboard. As has been mentioned, avoid tab.
  9. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    The most important thing for a beginner is to learn the double bass grip, with 1-2-4, maintaining correct palm and wrist curvature. Ignoring the fundamentals like these will haunt you for the rest of your musical life.
    Mushroo and IamGroot like this.
  10. The OP said bass guitar, not double bass.
  11. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    I know, I was talking about bass guitar. It's 100% transferable.
    Mushroo likes this.
  12. On DB, I agree the 3 finger method is the way to go.
    On BG,,, the 4 finger method provides more dexterity and speed and, proprly done, does not result in injury ... and I have been using it since the mid 90s.
  13. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    You can probably experiment with 4 fingers later, but the start should be the old school DB grip, and there's tons of academic quality instruction on that (unlike methods for bass guitar).
  14. Do you have some references to back up your opinion???

    I would want to be very sure before I saddled a new player with a less useable technique to fix a problem that usually isnt a problem and then tell em, they can learn the right way later is bad advice.
    Folks learning bass... get a legit instructor to advise you on hand position and fingering. My first two instructors were college DB instructors...and they used 4 on the electric.
  15. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you work through Ed Friedland's Hal Leonard Method books he does start you using the 1,2 and 4 fingers, as Americans count them, and not all four
  16. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    I wouldn't call 1-2-4 a less usable technique, on the contrary. I think it's more 'biomechanically correct'. It gives you more grip. It's less complex - e.g. you don't need to worry about learning your arpeggios starting with 4 fingers instead of 3. Aside from maybe some crazy shredding, it's also unnecessary. Plus it's very hard to find a good e-bass technique teacher, +there's tons of crap on the net (like 'one finger per fret and here you go son', without even mentioning of your wrist angle, palm curvature etc), while DB method has been with us for ages and it's academically polished. Take any DB technique book and you're set. This doesn't mean you don't use the 3rd finger at all - but the ingrained basis should be 124.
    Mushroo and reddog like this.
  17. Do you type with three fingers as well???

    There is a reason why you should use 4 fingers to play bass guitar and that is the same reason you use 4 fingers to play guitar, violin, viola and cello (which is pretty close to the length of a short scale bass). Simply put, 4 fingers are better than 3 for getting around the fingerboard quickly with less shifting of position. Almost all people can manage a 34" scale, playing 4 fingered including the very petite Tal Wilkenfield.

    With Double Bass, its a different matter. The 3/4 scale is 42" and most of that extra length is down in the lower notes. By necessity, the 124 "Simandl" fingering is used to avoid injury and improve intonation. DB players do a work around by using open strings and lots more shifting. Music that is relatively easy on BG playing 4 fingered is a bear on DB playing 3.

    Why impose 3 fingered on BG when 4 fingered provide an easier way to accomplish the same???
    .."more 'biomechanically correct'"
    "... It gives you more grip."
    "... It's less complex - e.g. you don't need to worry about learning your arpeggios starting with 4 fingers instead of 3.
    "... Aside from maybe some crazy shredding, it's also unnecessary."
    ".... Plus it's very hard to find a good e-bass technique teacher, +there's tons of crap on the net (like 'one finger per fret and here you go son',.... while DB method has been with us for ages and it's academically polished. "
    "...Take any DB technique book and you're set."

    Personally, I believe your answers above were intended as a joke. Game over.
  18. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    I'm happy that you're happy with your 4 fingers. But your arguments are no more valid than mine. 4 fingers are not necessarily 'easier'. Mind that I do not contest certain cases, e.g. chromatic passages where you would employ the 3rd. We're talking about the foundation. 1-4 is much stronger than 1-3. The ease with which you dismissed biomechanical reasons shows that you have no clue - you can google it up. There is simply not much need for the 3rd at all. Most of the stuff written for bass you can play 1-4. Bass is no violin btw, different principles apply.
  19. Actually, you haven't been able to present a shred of evidence to support your "biomechanical reasons" other than "google it."

    The electric bass has been around more than 60 years and has now supplanted the DB as the bass instrument used in most rhythm sections. The first BG players were DB players and they brought the the 124 method with them. But in the 70s, a whole new group of players started coming up who never played played the DB and they used the 4 fingered method to take the instrument to new technical heights. After Jaco's solo album and Heavy Weather, it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that 4 fingers would allow you to do things you could never do with the Simandl fingering.

    So did Simandl fingering for the electric bass go way. Nope. There are still people peddling the myth of injury if you play the electric bass with 4 fingers. And "biomechanical advantages." Why. I don't know. I guess there are instructors that learned 124 and can't or wont learn the better four fingered playing style to teach their students. And so perpetuate the myth.

    But the truth is out there on the internet. You can go google it. Take a look at the videos of the hot players and they are all playing 4 fingered, from Jaco all the way down to Tal Wilkenfield, Dave Gwizdala and Victor Wooten.

    PS....I have been playing 4 fingered BG for over 30 years without injury. And Simandl method on DB. So thanks for calling me "clueless" .

    Come with your facts next time.
  20. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    Just pasting this from quora.
    /The Index or Pointer finger has something special as does the little finger. Each of these fingers have one additional muscle and tendon. So notice, if you put you hand down flat on a table, you can lift all your fingers up all together pretty easily. (This does not apply to the thumb. That is another discussion for another day). The reason that we can lift our fingers up so easily, is that each finger has a tendon that is connected to the same muscle - the same motor that when when working, will pull all the fingers at the same time. There are two exceptions though!!
    The Index or Pointer finger is pretty easy to lift all by itself because it has another separate muscle and tendon that can lift it all by itself (so we can point) as does the little finger. Therefore when you are trying to lift just the ring finger, the only muscle you have to do this with is the SAME muscle that wants to lift all the fingers. The fact that you are preventing the muscle from acting on all the fingers kind of negates it’s power, making the ring finger weaker/.

    There is also a neurological explanation of the weakness of the 3rd, relating to how each finger is innervated.

    Can you try to train it? Sure you can. But ask a pianist which finger is the weakest, and most will tell you that it's the 3rd. Bass guitar is closer to double bass than to piano or viola. It is no subtle instrument. It's an axe, espec with heavy gauge strings. By sticking to 1-2-4 as the basis, you
    - reduce complexity of the instrument for the newcomer
    - do not need to overcome your anatomy
    - do not lose anything vs one-finger-per-fret in normal practice
    Jhengsman likes this.

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