I stink at bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Duce-hands, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. kellyrojo


    Feb 16, 2011
    South Carolina
    Some tips on becoming better:

    1) Have fun and enjoy yourself

    2) Use a metronome whenever possible

    3) Spend a portion of practice each day playing over stuff you already have mastered to enjoy yourself and remind yourself about all you have learned

    4) Youtube is a great resource for lesson from the easy to the outlandish

    5) Find other musicians to work with/get advice from

    6) Try to record your playing so you can listen back and hear what is right and wrong

    7) Play along to songs to get the feel

    8) Have fun

    I have been playing for a long time and yeah, I am a good enough player but I also know there are 1000s of guys who could smoke me. I still have a lot to learn and will never know it all. But I always enjoy myself....also, remember, the bass is different than a lot of instruments in that it is more important for you to hold down the rhythm and comp for the other instruments so learn your part of a song inside out.

    Don't worry...one day you will get there
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    Steve is a consummate musician. He has a great ear, knows his theory and application and all the technique in the world.

    Jamming is great, but you need to be able to, at least, speak the basic language. Pat Metheny says that you should be the worst musician on stage -that is the way you grow.

    As for lessons, you really need to think about what you want to accomplish. What are your goals. If you really want to get better, however, lessons are truly the way to go.

    Mike Dimin
  3. Perfect advise...I started recording myself and a friend said "why do people post vids of themselves playing to covers?" and then said it was stupid. I've learned more from watching Youtube vids and posting vids of myself in the last few years than any books taught me.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    i'd skip the metronome advice but other than that, it's pretty solid. a metronome teaches you how to play to a click track...that's about it. i guess that's a necessary skill in today's market, but i see so many metronome addicts these days that it makes me wonder about their internal sense of time and if they even have one.
  5. AlexKralles


    Jan 13, 2011
    Find something to be passionate about the instrument. No matter how difficult it is to play learn and know it in your blood.

    When i first started I listened to Metallicas master of puppets album and desperately wanted to learn it. 5 hours a day and a month later I did and my chops... huge difference.

    Now im turning into a Jaco fiend. Never ever thought I could play his stuff. Find a project and stick with it till its done. You will get better.
  6. oldbassplayergu

    oldbassplayergu Inactive

    Dec 19, 2010
    all the teachers in the world can not replace playing with others. jam with as many people as you can. listen to the drummers foot and try to lock on to it. don't worry if the band dosen't sound good to you at first you'll get better. and when you do get a little better play with guys better than you are. you will learn alot more that way. that advise was given to me by my teacher a long time ago. as soon as you are the best one in the group quit and find better players. (until you are happy with your playing) I'm 42 been playing since 8th grade, not the best player out there, but I can get through anything a band can throw at me. and thats from jamming with everybody I could.
  7. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Where'd the OP go?
  8. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    He went to go practice!
  9. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    Don't be so hard on yourself.
    Progress will come in levels.
    It took me three years just to think I was any good.
    Don't be negative.
    Play for the joy of it, the love of music.
    You have to want to pick up the instrument.
    It will come.
  10. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Inactive

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Totally. I have been playing for 16 year, and feel like I just achieved a major breakthru. I am playing better now that I ever have before. Always room to grow!
  11. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Inactive

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    I have been having a bad week. I practice upright bass with a bow, and all this week I feel I have been fighting an uphill battle. Hard to get a good sound, and nothing I played sounds good anyways. But, I keep practicing anyway. By the way, I have been playing bass for about 35 years now. Point is, don't give up just yet!
  12. Musicphan


    Oct 11, 2008
    Don't get discouraged... I've been playing for 3 years and still suck :) ... but having fun! That's the key!
  13. ubersku


    Sep 15, 2010
    Keizer, OR
    Wow, lots of good advice, and maybe I missed it, but what is your definition of "perfection?" Does that mean playing every note you hear on a recording you like? Never missing a note or a beat? If you strive to emulate someone else that is commendable, but do your own thing, too! For me - and as you can see I am a thriving member of the Mediocre Bass Club (#649) - I came into feeling adequate by jamming with others and finding my own groove. I have distinct tendencies and a style that some may think is junk and others have told me I rock! So it really depends on what you want out of it.

    I, too, did the music major in college thing for a while and hated it! And I grew up in music. I found out having fun with my music, no matter how eclectic or mainstream, was my music - and mine alone. Learning theory has helped a lot – a ton, actually – but others think it’s a waste of time.

    You're technical skills will improve as time goes on. How you choose to perceive it and use it is entirely up to you. I hope you get to a level where you can have that fun! This is not a competition, though some wish it were.

    I have played nearly 37 years and I am nowhere near what I’d like to be proficiency-wise, but I am having a helluva time!

    mj :bassist:
  14. After almost 30 years playing, I think I'm all the way up to mediocre...
  15. Without extra work you aren't learning theory from notation - whether it be tab or standard notation.

    Tab, and standard notation aren't useless - they just aren't by themselves useful for getting a deeper understanding of music.

    ...and painting by numbers is a perfectly useful form of practice, as long as you understand it helps you with things like brush strokes and brush technique but is relatively useless when it comes to composition.

    There is a reason that art students spend so much time making as identical as possible copies of master works.
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    Sorry, I have to agree with Jimmy - TAB is actually detrimental to your development. It only allows for a single intpretation of a
    way to play a given piece.
  17. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Change your listening.

    What I mean by this is that too often when we're playing all we hear or pay attention to is ourselves, and our mistakes. Try playing with some friends/band or with a CD and instead of focusing on the bass, listen to the WHOLE picture. What's the drummer doing? How does that affect and interact with the vocals? Listening is the greatest ability you can have as a musician.

    Play along with a CD or iTunes for a bit, but instead of focusing on the bass, listen to the drums and try and keep up. The thing with playing along with a CD is that it wont speed up or slow down for you so that will force you to keep moving and not dwell on your mistakes simply because there is no time to do so. The next change is coming and although you may have missed that last fill, it's in the past and theres nothing you can do about it so quit worrying. Just keep rolling, and nail the next change since you CAN do something about that.

    I've also thought that going over the same scales you learned a year ago isn't practicing, it's noodling. Practicing is working on stuff you don't already know, and working towards expanding your abilities. You need a balance of both.

    Don't give up and remember this is supposed to be fun! :hyper:
  18. Just thought of something I wanted to add here....

    "Sucking" at bass or being a "great" bass player is all subjective. There are some bass players others think are phenominal that I personally feel are horrible. Don't measure your advancment off other's skill levels. Do your own thing at your own pace.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    once you learn standard notation, the pieces of the puzzle become a LOT more in focus, and from there, learning chords and scales becomes a lot easier. tab, otoh, tells you nothing except where to put your fingers. learn to read standard notation and you open up a whole world of understanding, plus you can decide for yourself where to put your fingers.

    in other words, i agree with mike ;)
  20. ubersku


    Sep 15, 2010
    Keizer, OR
    And I'll jump on JimmyM and Mike's band wagon here.

    I think tabs are worthless. Tried to use them an few times and they just don't do it - at least for me. Standard notation, chord structure, scales, modes; all the things that are part of theory will help you be a better musician, at whatever instrument you want to learn to play.

    I'll admit, learning piano at 4, Cello at 8 and gutiar at 10 helped me pick up the bass at 15 and be ahead of the game. My fall comes in the amount time I practice. I'm just a weekend warrior, not a full-time pro (though I'd like to be!).
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