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Is it hard to learn how to play the bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Kaboom, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Kaboom


    Jun 13, 2005
    So i'm a complete newbie. I've never actually played, and i can't read music. I'm a drummer, but i've always wanted to play the bass. Now this summer i'm gonna have plenty of time to spare and i thought it would be a nice time to start.
    Is it absolutely necessary to learn how to read score music?
    Is it a hard instrument to start playing (obviously real hard to master, but is it hard till u can actually play SOMETHING?)
    Do you recommend i attend lessons, or can i get by by using one of them "learn how to play bass" books?
    finally, for a total beginner, what bass/amp would u recommend?
  2. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    Well, I am newb too (played for a year). From my experience: Learn the theory. Learn how to read music. It is richness. And I recommend taking lessons AND reading those books. And searching Internet for stuff. Learn fingerstyle and pick. Be good and behave. Remember to wash your teeth.... rightythenokaybye!
  3. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Bass is one of the easiest instruments in the world to play, and one of the most difficult to play well.

    To start off I recomend finding a good used bass (you can almost always do better used than new) and a small practice combo. Then play a lot.

    It is not "necessary" to learn theory or reading. You can just sit in you room and make notes all day long. The notes will sound better if you know the theory behind them, and if you can read you will be able to learn an entire world of music beyond what is available in tabs.
  4. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
  5. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Yes. I threw away all my basses and picked up a uke, now I'm a Billionaire.
    saabfender likes this.
  6. Go for it !
    Being a drummer you already have an advantage, rythm is VERY important.
    No, not in the beginning.
    I found it surprisingly easy, but in the beginning you're too exited to notice how much you suck ... :D
    You can get by with the books, but you'll learn waaaaay faster with lessons.
    Do a search, there are a bazillion threads on this.

    And welcome to talkbass. :bassist:
  7. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005

    Nice site!!!!!
  8. I would really recommend getting at least one or two lessons, a good teacher should be able to make sure you don't pick up bad habits and you are using correct technique. I would also recommend learning to read music sheets. In the long run, if you are serious about picking up the bass, it is better to start early, I always regretted my first year where I didn't take lessons or read sheet music (although I could already read fairly fluently from keyboards). I had to work quite hard for a few weeks to correct a few small things in my technique.

    Some other quite odd advice, but it is really helping me now. Try and sing the notes as you play them, it will help you to get the music from your head onto the bass.
  9. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    easy to learn,
    hard to master.
  10. Three things.

    1. Belive in yourself. It may seem tacky, but think about it for a second. You are a human being with a mind capable of ANYTHING. Don't get discouraged because you can't play like Victor Wooten, because even he will admit that anyone can play like him if they set their mind to it. There I sooooo many times when I was stuck in rut and felt like I'd be at that level for the rest of my life, but I've always disproved myself. Learn to love learning music and bass. Learning to love to learn will make you a quick study.
    2. Learn as much as possible. Before I say anything else, let me start by saying that beginner to intermediate is much more difficult a road that intermediate to advanced to phenomenal. Now, I'm not phenomenal yet, but I look back at my memories of my old bass and I smile at where I came from. Don't stray from learning standard notation, theory, and even things you may never use because once you've learned them, they are learned, and all that's left is the fun part, becoming truly good. Besides, you don't know if you won't use something you learn until you learn it.
    3. Get a good teacher. This person does not have to be a celebrity in the local bass community, but someone who knows all aspects of the bass and has many years under his or her belt. Half of private lessons now for me is having an accountabilty partner, someone who inspires me to invent and grow. EVERYTHING s/he will teach you you will know and need to know for the rest of your life. Private lessons speed up your progress (no exageration) about 2 to 5 times as to when you are not taking lessons.
  11. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I recommend learning to read music from the start (at the same time as you're learning bass). That way it is easier later.

    The bass is a very easy instrument to learn the basics of, since the basics are very basic. What I mean is that playing any note is very easy, unlike a trumpet or saxophone etc... But once you are past the first stage of learning, it will become more and more difficult and challenging. There's hundreds of different techniques, scales, styles...
  12. lethifold


    Mar 19, 2005
    In my opinion bass is harder than most instruments to learn. Why? Because it must provide both rhythm and melody. Keeping the two balances is really difficult

    However, the more you play the better 'feel' you get for creating the kind of music that you want

    I would also not suggest immediately learning a lot of theory or getting lessons. In my humble opinion the best way to learn is just to play

    I know one other bass player who has been playing for 5/6 years and knows lots of musical theory. I know NO musical theory (not even where certain notes are on the fretboard) but because I play so much and have a passion for it I can play rings around him. Another guitarist I know has no musical knowledge but he practises so much and has a real desire to play and he is amazing. Better than all the other guys who just learn scales and stuff like that

    Passion and practise. It's all you need
    despised_icon likes this.
  13. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
    with a good sense of rhythm, it is easy to learn how to play bass. Without this sense of rhythm, it can be very difficult. It was easy for me to learn, without any lessons or books. It also helped that I knew how to read sheet music though... :smug:
  14. +1 to rythm. Rythm for any instrument is important, but people will notice the breakdown of groove more if the bass loses rythm as opposed to a saxophone player dragging or rushing. And I won't even get into what a bad drummer can do to ruin the sound/feel of an all-good-except-for-the-drummer ensemlbe. Thats for rants though.
  15. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    For starters, just get a bass that you'll grow into and keep around for a while, don't go out and get some used Squire P-bass for 50 bucks or anything. Ultimately it's up to you after all it's your $$, but you want it to be something you look forward to when you get home after school/work. As for an amp, something small like a 10inch combo practice amp would suffice. Get a couple of books on whatver music you like and download tab off the web, and see if there are any teachers in your area that can get you started off on the right foot. Or left :eyebrow:

    Always remember to keep an open mind about technique, you should have rhythm already so you're lucky. Experiment just hitting different notes for a couple of hours and you eventually find something that you think sounds good. Then write it down. Incorporate different drumming patterns into your playing too. If you get stuck, get your mind thinking in a different mode, and you'll be creative again.

    And......LISTEN TO LOTS OF MUSIC!!!!!

    Hope this helps,

    Oog :D

    EDIT: I'm not bashing Squire or anything, I just think IMHO you could get more enjoyment out of a bass that's a little better build quality, not to mention life. (I had a cheap p-bass copy that fell apart on me after I started playing 3+ hours a day)
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I agree with what Oog is saying about getting quality, but IMHO, I think Squiers are pretty badass for the money. I just helped my niece get one of those Strat Paks, and it's a terrific little guitar and amp for less than $200. Squiers are by no means all great, but if you look around, you can get a real good one. And hey, if you can get one for $50, even better!
  17. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Yes.  Particularly if you want to copy someone else's techniques.  
    But, go hard, and try to restain your GAS list.
  18. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    It's easier than guitar. Less strings.

  19. Kaboom


    Jun 13, 2005
    u have better put ur asbestos suit on before u posted that... ;)
  20. Cameron Porado

    Cameron Porado

    I play in middle school, 8th grade. I've been playing for 4 months and I can play any piece of sheet music put in front of me, so long as I label the notes on the music. I played violin in elm. school for three years. that might've helped. I play the songs, Haktikva fantasia, carols of old(shepards shake of your drowsy sleep) Rondeau, Hiawatha, African bell carol, and holly and the ivy. Best of luck!

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