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In need of some direction.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Noosh, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Noosh


    May 1, 2006
    North Carolina
    I've been on these forums for quite a few years, but I've never really posted much. I've learned a ton reading through the threads though. I've been playing bass on and off for the better part of 8 years. I Played in various bands that played local for the first 5 or so of those years. But for the last 3 or so years I probably havent picked my bass up 5 times. And in the time I've been playing I've been mostly I'm hard rock bands and just root noted everything the guitar was doing. Maybe a really shakey improv here or there. I was self taught for the most part so I feel like that's why I never really learned much more than that. I really want to start re-learning, so to speak, bass now, but i don't really know where to start, or what exactly all there is to learn. Are there any books or websites you guys could reccomend me?
  2. An instructor can get you there much faster than you can doing it alone. Word of mouth, ask bassists in your area who they use. Get on his/her waiting list, if there is not a waiting list keep looking.

    I found the following helpful:

    Have fun.
  3. jon5252

    jon5252 Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Boise Idaho
    Do you really want to play bass? Get a teacher, someone you can connect with. Do the work, it is not easy and can be frustrating at times. Like Jeff Berlin says record yourself playing now, and do it again one year from now. If you chip away at it every day it will blow your mind how much you can progress in a year. It is all up to you, if you want it you will make it happen.
  4. Noosh


    May 1, 2006
    North Carolina
    I wish I had the extra money to get an instructor. Although at the moment I dont. I do appreciate the quick replies and the advice though, ill have a look at the links tomorrow.
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    In that case, take all the good advice given so far. My own advice FWIW, is to concentrate on chord tones. Malcolm linked you to a great site called "Study Bass". Here it is again, dealing with chord tones and their importance to the bassist. These are what the bassist plays 90% of the time. This is where you should start IMO.


    Best of luck. :)
  6. davidjackson


    Sep 10, 2011
    Do this.

    I have been working on my playing seriously for the last 12 months or so - most evenings. Because I practice with headphones in a spare room (we have a baby who is in bed by 7pm and a small house) my wife hasn't actually heard me play in ages. She did hear me the other day and was amazed by how much I had come on. To her it was so obvious but I coudn't appreciate that because it has been so gradual.

    Wish I had recorded myself :-(
  7. miltslackford


    Oct 14, 2009
    I agree that chord tones are the way forward for a bassist.

    If you can, learn to arpeggiate the three basic types of chord which are

    Dominant (7)

    If you are going to learn any scales then the two most useful are the Major scale (and relative minor), and the Pentatonic scale (minor and major, but minor is actually more common).

    If you know these then start taking tunes you know with Major, Minor and Dominant chords and play all the arpeggios for those chords as an exercise. This will give you a good feel for useful notes to use for improvisation.

    At the same time, an equally (or even, more) important area to work on is rhythm. I would recommend a couple of books.

    The first is 'encyclopaedia of reading rhythms'. This book is basically lots of single line rhythms written out page after page, with counting along the top. The idea is that you count out loud and play at the same time. You don't have to play the bass, you can hit a drum or clap your hands, although playing a note on the bass would be better. The combination of counting aloud and playing at the same time is very very good for your rhythmic awareness, perception and ability.

    The second book is 'the bass bible' which is an encyclopaedia of scales and exercises but more importantly, example grooves. It comes with a CD so you can listen to the examples, read them, work out how they relate to chord tones or scales, and play them. This book is great for showing how the above information gets used to make really good grooves.

    Hope this is helpful.
  8. Mokebass


    Sep 19, 2011
    Suggest "Bass for Dummies". Best book i ever played.
  9. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Learn to play scales all bass lines are taken from one scale or another
  10. Little something on scales:
    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.

    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    Pick one or two things from the above and get started. I recommend playing from fake chord sheet music, so you know what chord is active in the song, at this specific moment, then get as many chord tones into your bass line as the song will allow you to - before it goes off and leaves you. Just roots first, then root-five and if you have room add the correct 3 and 7 into your bass line. When that flows - then we can get into walking bass lines and how to walk to the next chord.

    Welcome back. Call up some video on your favorite songs use some of the above and see if you can add something to your playing that was not there yesterday.

    Have fun.
  11. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Nothing will give you more direction than being in a (gigging) band.
    But root note hard rock may not give you the impetus to learn something new.
    Pick a *new* genre you want to learn, and pursue a band that plays that genre.

    If you can't join a band, a more bite sized 'direction' to choose is learning a song you don't normally play.
    Start with common cover tunes. Try songs form this thread:

    To really benefit from learning a song, you should know:
    • the original bass line
    • the chords
    • how each chord is served by the bass line (what chord tones/scales tones theare used)
    • transpose the chords into a new key that forces you to play the line differently on the neck
    This will convert 'the bass line from that song' into 'riffs and phrases I can use elsewhere'
  12. Mokebass


    Sep 19, 2011
    Malcolm & Mambo excellent posts.
  13. NelsonNelson


    Sep 25, 2011
    Bump...and high five Noosh. I was going to post almost the same exact thread asking for direction as to where to start. I too have only done the rock root note easy stuff in the past, have had my bass dust collecting now for 4+ years...and decided I really want to take it serious and get good at it again.

    For all the awesome guys who have posted here....other than chord tones, learning arpeggios (which is Spanish to me right now) and learning cover songs.... any other advice for us who cannot afford lessons?

    I thought about some type of hand excercise in all seriousness...if someone knew of one. Because today I learned a cover song in about an hour taking my time. (Don't hate me) And my hand, fretting hand that is, was killing me afterwards. Obviously it gets better over time and you get faster...

    Not trying to hijack your thread, just wanted to add/ask a few questions on the same topic...
  14. Play covers - with people. Love jamming with people -- OK the next one is "Kiss ole Kate" in G ready 1 & 2 &....... Never heard "Kiss ole Kate" before. Well it's in G, grab a I IV V hook it to a 12 bar blues progression and hang on. You will be close enough...... for jamming.

    Our town has jamming on the street, 3rd Saturday each month. It'll be songs from Bluegrass, Rock, Blues, Country, most anything. I always learn something new each time I go. If you can not afford an instructor find people to play with. http://mineolabuzz.com/BUZZ/TX/MINEOLA/music-on-main-street/

    Garage band, church praise band, you and a friend on Wednesday night, and if you are lucky enough to have a jamming site near you, take advantage of it.

    Good luck.

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