Improving as a newbie...thoughts?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Steve Harris Is, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    What would veteran bass players here recommend as a daily practice routine (I am planning on going with pick style at least initially) to improve? I am currently trying to get comfy locating notes on the neck, playing various chords, scales, etc and also throwing in some TAB bass lines from songs I like. However, my goal is to at some point play in a local band(I have only been playing for a week now) and I want to learn whatever would be best for getting comfy "feeling and hearing" what makes up a bass line so I can jam with others.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    I'm not exactly a veteran bass player, but I can help you find a ton of info right up your alley. Check out the sticky posts at the top of the General Instruction section right below this one.
  3. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I think it's important to have a performance goal.

    Can you somehow play out? Do you have any contacts who could perform with you? Maybe a buddy who plays the acoustic guitar.

    Having a performance to prepare for makes practice time more purposeful.

    Also, try to figure out what bassists are playing on recordings - by listening intently to the bass lines you hear and attempting to imitate them. This will develop your ear and expand your vocabulary.

    I would suggest avoiding tabs - tabs seem to hinder ear development.

    Good luck - the bass is a great instrument.
  4. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Find someone to jam with. Someone who will support you, and not try and take you down. This person could use an instrument of any type.

    That's the nice thing about bass. It goes with anything.
  5. Ethon


    Jan 25, 2003
    Akron, Ohio
    A cool thing that I've noticed that helped my playing is, like CJK84 said -- listening really closely to a song's bassline, but at the same time, singing along to the line and getting it into your head. Once you can learn how to play whats in your head out onto the fretboard, it will help you out tremendously. (IMHO ;) )
  6. groove100


    Jan 22, 2005
    i guess everyone's desire as a musician is to improve their performance. veteran or not.
    getting a teacher would be really nice, by that he/she can guide you on your learning experience,=.

    markus huber
  7. bonscottvocals


    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
  8. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    thats something I really need to work on I do some ear training with my friend and if he plays a note I can hum the exact note but can't tell him what it is or play it back to him. I'm really looking forward to getting over that hurdle but you cna't really ear train by yourself can you?
  9. After you hum it, can you find it on the bass? You don't have to tell him what it is; you just have to be able to match it to your instrument. Telling him what it is will come later. What you're working on when you do this is "ear-training", not Theory.

    Kudos to Ethon! Learn to take what you hear or hum in your head and get it on the neck of your bass. I spent my first years learning to play bass by performing with the Beatles, Dave Clarke 5, Paul Revere and the Raiders, etc, and progressed through the years advancing on to other groups with more complicated lines the better I got. (Believe me, Gentle Giant's music a bear to learn!) I only learned to read notes for bass after getting into Jazz Band in High School, although it wasn't too hard; I already had a music background playing piano and other instruments, so I could read music; just had to apply it to the bass. But seeing the intervals on the paper, and hearing them in my head made it a lot easier to learn, because I knew where the sounds were going under my fingers!

    Being able to play what you're thinking is an awsome thing to do, especially when you get into a group and want or have to come up with some lines to go along with the music you're learning. If you're playing "cover" tunes you won't have music to read off of most of the time. You'll either learn it off recordings or make it up from memory. If you're composing new stuff, all you have is your lines in your head and you must be able to get them out onto the bass. Pull out your favorite discs and start playing! (Over, and over and over...) I wore out plenty of Vinal that way!

    Sorry to be so long-winded. Don't forget to take lessons, too, for technique! Start it right the first time!

    Take care and good luck!
  10. Don't tie yourself to one method of picking (ie. pick over fingers) or one style of music over others.

    The best way to make yourself better is to expose yourself to new challenges and new styles. You'll be amazed to find that there are actually a lot of things that build on each other like layers to make you a better overall player.

    Play with other musicians. Playing with a CD or the radio is great, but play with other people. That's the way to feel that connection and the time that you feel the music go through you like you are just conducting electricity.

    A teacher will help you with theory and technique, help you avoid bad habits and put you in a position to learn the instrument faster, but ultimately you "learn" your instrument by playing it and by learning to recreate basslines you hear, or construct your own. It's like anything else. The more you do it, the easier it is, and you should never stop learning things about it or improving.

    I would imagine that most here (myself included) qualify as "veteran bass players" but I bet a lot of us don't think that way, because the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know! Always strive to get better!
  11. Nail on the head! I know that although I learned a lot playing with recordings, there are things that I couldn't do, (like improvisational soloing in jazz), until I did more playing in combos and was "forced" into doing it. I'm a lot more comfortable doing it now and can play my own style soloing, but I definately have a lot more I can learn! The great thing about music is that it never ends! There's ALWAYS room for improvement of yourself and your abilities. So, good luck and enjoy! You, (and we all!), have a lot of work ahead of us. The lucky thing for us is; it doesn't seem like WORK!
  12. This doesn't have much to do with the original post, but i have been sitting here slowly learning my first ever song from paper tablature ... i have been cheating and using guitar pro as a backing band and tab guide, its like taking the training wheels off bass, now that i can memorize whole songs (nearly :D) i can focus on my technique, not trying to remember the next note (yes i know this is the backwards way of learning the person with no tuition :p ) btw, i am 1/4 of the way to learning Anesthesia ... from paper (should have chosen easier song)
  13. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    A tricky song is always good to work towards. Really get into ear training as soon as you can, it's so much better having got that at the start - after all, tabs only take a minute to work out, but if you have a good ear from the start, you're rolling.