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if you went back...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Alberta Mac, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Alberta Mac

    Alberta Mac

    Dec 4, 2012
    Hello All
    I am new to the forum and playing bass and would like to know
    if you could go back to when you started what would you do to become '' MORE '' of an excellent bass player.
    I started on drums and learnt for a short while to read and then began playing by ear.
    Now that works but I'm just ok and my band is pretty happy so far. I am working on site reading and knowing where the notes are on the neck of my Ibaneze.
    I would appreciate your constructive wisdom of the direction to head in.

    Alberta Mac
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I would spend more time listening to and learning many different styles of music. I would also learn theory much earlier and how to sight read.
  3. I've told this elsewhere, so I'll be brief in my back story.

    I took up bass from rhythm guitar when our bassist and drummer split. So I never really learned the fundamentals. I went from playing songs on guitar to playing bass lines. I knew some theory, but mostly used guitar knowledge to fill in my bass playing.

    This time around, I went right back and treated it as if I had never played before. Learning all the basics, the role of the instrument, and its true potential. More bass oriented theory. The more I do, the more I love bass and what it can do in its own right.

    So, if I had anything to do over, I would have tried to make more time for all that that first time around.
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I would have taken formal lessons on learning my scales and how to play arpeggio runs with more authority (it's a coordination issue). I would have also learned to slap properly as there are some things I just cannot figure out how to do after all these years. I think I've done pretty well though as a self taught player and having close to perfect pitch and a great ear helped tremendously!
  5. I would have tried to play out more with musicians that are better than me, and develop a network of contacts. There was no Craigslist or Internet back in the 70s, so finding musicians to play with was a chore! I was just a kid then, so I didn't know squat about networking.
  6. Great question, Alberta.

    I, for one, would've started concentrating on "timing" and locking in, instead of doing parlor tricks and slapping like a lunatic. I've read so many stories about flashy, lightning fast bassists who lose auditions and gigs because they couldn't keep the song in time or lock with the drummer. And then there are the guys who aren't fast and flamboyant but who land every note with precision and take the song to the stratosphere. Really, unless you're Victor Wooten, your purpose is to move the song forward effortlessly and punch people in the chest. :)
  7. Spend less money on equipment and more money on lessons. Buy a simple $300 Squier bass. Good enough for gigs with any bar band.
  8. CraigTB


    Feb 16, 2012
    I started as a self-taught player doing mostly original stuff.

    If I could do it all over I'd find a good teacher and take lessons from the start, including learning to read.

    I'd also spend a lot more time learning covers note-for-note (or close enough). You can learn a lot from playing other players' basslines. Even the stuff you'd expect to be pretty simple.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Two words: practice more.
  10. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Start at a younger age, get a great teacher, stop with other distractions and practice as though my life depended on it. At age 18, move to the city and meet, talk to, jam with as many musicians as I could.

    Also, I'd be very careful what I said to people and keep a good attitude.
  11. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i would have taken lessons for 6 months to get the basics, and i would have not concentrated almost exclusively on a particular style of music
  12. Taken real bass lessons for proper technique, scales, and all the rest I still don't know after 25 years.

    Even if I had - they still would have never taken my picks away.
  13. MrDOS

    MrDOS Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I've been playing self-taught for over 30 years. I can't stress enough how much you can improve with good lessons!
  14. noisetherapy


    Aug 9, 2010
    I wouldve spent more time learning theory and scales.
  15. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    I'd place a stronger emphasis on vocals as a bass player.
  16. I would've played with more drummers and metronomes. My timing SUCKED then. Now, I'm pretty happy with where I am even though I'm always trying to learn more and get better.
  17. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Hmmmm.... probably would've done less drugs.

  18. This
  19. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    PLay more by ear, or work more on my ear to figure out song faster ... otherwise I think I did everything right
  20. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I would have taken up DB in high school, and learned reading, etc with more formal training ... then with that as a background, added the BG afterwards ... another big difference would have been NOT, to NOT play for 30+ years ...