I want to be a real bassist

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Geezer Brown, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I've been playing bass seriously for about 2 or so years. I'm in a very serious touring metal band, but lately I've noticed that I've been focusing so much on gear and not enough as bettering myself as a bassist. I'm just a root payer that plays anything that "sounds cool". Whenever I play something that really sounds good I've stole it from someone else. I play other styles of music as well, but I always try and focus on stuff that will make me a better metal bassist. I've got a good ear and groove, I can play along to stuff I hear on the radio easily. But on stage, I am easily prone to playing open notes, playing stuff that doesn't quite "fit" with the guitar playing, and other general f&$; ups. I can't play a fill to save my life. I cut through the mix very well, but I've noticed that cutting through will actually hurt me because of my playing. I've never really felt like a "real" bassist and that if another bassist comes around, I am totally screwed. I really want to learn theory, I can read music, but when it comes to scales, keys, accidentalls, and all that "diminished third minor" crap I am completely lost. I learn at my own pace and would really prefer a book or something over a teacher. So if you could give me some tips and/or recommend a good book(tabs and music) I'd be forever grateful, and who knows, maybe ill write you a thank you letter when I'm rich and famous ;)
  2. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    After I'd been playing for a couple of years I said to my teacher that I couldn't wait until I was a "real" bass player. He replied, "You're a real bass player now....just not a very good one."

    You know what your weak spots are. Get to work.
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I've played with several guys that could lay down a bass line or lead solo with the best of them, however, could not tell you the first thing about theory.

    They know enough to get in the right key, but, ask them a question about how they learned to do what they do and they usually say something like; I can not tell you what I'm doing I just do it. I've always been able to do this ever since I first picked up my _____________".

    Getting off into deep theory would probably mess you up for awhile - however, in the long run it will help. So.......

    Time for knee to knee with one of the better bassists. Scott Devine talks about traveling thousands of miles for a lesson from someone that does what he wants to do. Everybody takes lessons from time to time.

    Of course, IMO. Good luck.
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Make yourself a list of your weaknesses. Then, work on them. Simple as that. And do learn more theory. It won't stymie your playing a bit.
  6. Books are the worst way to learn (and that's coming from someone who has published a method book ;)).

    The #2 best way to learn is to study with a good teacher who is trained in the styles you want to play. A book can't kick your *** to become a better player; a teacher can work with your psychology to figure out what motivates you and pushes you to improve.

    And the #1 best way to learn is to play songs in the genre you want to play. This means both playing with your band and also learning from recordings. If you haven't already done so, google "Top 100 metal songs of all time" and learn them all by ear. More than any other exercise, this will teach you "music theory" of what makes a good bass line.
  7. Dan_H


    Apr 27, 2010
    Surrey U.K
    Ive been playing about six years and joined a fully formed band where the bassist had quit. He had been playing just the root notes which gave me a platform to work on.

    I hadn't played bass before (I was a singer/guitarist) and was pretty terrible but what I found helpful was taking the bands recordings and writing my own bass lines to them adding fills that i worked out carefully (and casually dropped them in there to the amazement of the band) also adding simple things like octaves or slides can be a starting point.

    Jamming and writing is the best way to learn it helps you build your own style rather than imitating or using books. I also found this a lot more helpful than sitting with a teacher because with a teacher you can feel a little rushed and under pressure.

    "But on stage, I am easily prone to playing open notes, playing stuff that doesn't quite "fit" with the guitar playing, and other general f&$; ups"

    This sounds like nerves and lack of confidence in your playing which when I started i suffered with big time. I remember playing a gig and seeing a guy who i knew was a sick bassist watching me and it really ****ed me up. The best way to cope with this is having confidence in your playing show people "yeah I might be playing a simple bassline but Im playing it well and with attitude" Also stick to a set bassline and dont deviate from it until your completely sure you can.

    Also don't worry about other bassists lurking around. The other members picked you for a reason! Being in a band is like a gang there's more to it than just playing there your best mates you stick together! Maybe ask their opinion on what you should play as you are a collective! I'm sure they'd be happy to help!

    Good luck!
  8. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    What book did you publish?
  9. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    What book did you write?
  10. Stormer


    Jul 24, 2012
    Listen to different styles of music, not just "your genre". Listen to what other bass players do in a tune compared to what you would do and gradually work little licks and fills into your playing.

    Start simply and then build on it. Blues is probably the best music to do this to.

    Don't worry too much about "stealing" from other players, we all do it !!! Even the greats learned their style and chops from somewhere.

    Try using some of the lessons on sites like sudybass.com.

    Follow the advice of fellow TB'ers. There is a wealth of knowledge to be found here.

    Never slack off, make your practice time well....learn scales....it may be boring but they are essential.
  11. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    I've got Roys TMBG and love it. I was wondering about Guitartricks.com or JamPlay as a supplemental instructional tool. Any experience with either or a recommended supplemental?
  12. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Get Roy's Teach Me Bass Guitar. I will buy it too soon, since I haven't been playing the bass for a while now and I can use some improving om my techniques and such ;)

    Just look at this website http://www.teachmebassguitar.com/ for some demo video's and such and then you'll find out soon enough why you should buy it :)
  13. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Thanks for the support, guys!:)
  14. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    No problem. Every bassist on the planet should know about TMBG, Roy ;) I hope I can get my finance alright soon, so I can order TMBG. 2012 was a very bad year for me, I want to celebrate this new year with TMBG and hope that everything will go alright for me in 2013 :) :hyper: