Journal Of A Beginning Bassist

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Son of Spam, Jul 23, 2001.

  1. Yes

    22 vote(s)
  2. No

    6 vote(s)
  1. Well, I'd like some feedback on this, but would any of you guys be interested in maybe me doing a journal on my bass experience, maybe you could also help me while your doing it. It could be an interesting read cause I think I'm a pretty good writer, although from my recent posts you couldn't tell ;)

    But you might learn something, I might learn something, it might interest your mind, and you can guys can tell me if I'm doing something wrong.

    I'm not gonna do this if nobody is gonna read it, so maybe just post a short response telling me if you would like it or not.

    Oh yea, just in case you've been wondering, I will have played bass for 2 months on the 25th. And today I will participate in my first "jam session" with a friend whose played sax for about 3 years, so I'm a little nervous, but I think if I stick with the riff's im comfortable with, let my mind relax, and my fingers do the talking, that I'll probably come up with some neat stuff (for a beginner at least.)
  2. Cat


    Apr 5, 2000
    Penn State
    good luck! i know i didn't get into playing with others at all until i had been playing for a year! now im at about 2.5 years and im just starting to look for a band...
  3. im right there with you, im a year in september. i would love to read your journal, youve got lots more motivation than most people do. keep it up.
  4. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Let's vote on moving this to Misc.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  5. Yes, I know its the 24th, shut up ;)

    Well, I can't tell you how much I learned. I screwed up alot, but a few people told me I sounded good then asked me how many years I'd been playing bass, I said 2 months (or 2 months tommorow) and they kinda freaked. ;)

    I went from memorizing riffs to learning the names of the notes, and remembering them. Mostly cause my friend is a Dixie Style saxist, so he likes doing stuff randomly, he just told me to play along. He'd play a few notes, then I'd hit em on my bass... at first I screwed up alot, but eventually I began to understand.

    But of course the great question eventually rose up...

    "So, show me a few cool riffs.."

    So I played some easy stuff at first, like the beginning part to Ironman, I played Longview by Greenday, showed him how to play Happy Birthday, and then he asked me if I could play a New Found Glory bassline (Sincerly Me.) I said sure, as I wasn't really impressed with New Found Glory, thinking they weren't that good....

    Well, for some of you, that song may be easy, but it was hard for me. I just can't play it that fast and that smooth. I did do the verse riff twice succcessfully as fast and smooth as he did it, in a row, but then I messed up.

    Which is my new goal now, working on speed. I could probably easily play this song on a pick, but that would be quite boring, so I'm trying to play it fingerstyle, but it just doesn't cut it.

    Right now I use my index and my middle finger mostly, and every once in a while when I need an extra note, I use my ring finger... is there any certain way I could get my fingerstyle quicker besides practicing (which I do about 3 hours a day... lol.)

    Or am I doing this completely wrong?
  6. I like this idea. Keep writing. Ive been playing bass for a year this month. So, Im a relative newbie too.
  7. Oh, and there is no way to get faster, other than practice. Over days weeks and months you will get very fast and accurate. At first I could only play Brain Stew by Green Day and Id mess up a lot. Now I can play a lot of fast Rancid and other punk and Im much more accurate.
  8. I just thought up a cool idea to help me memorize notes on the fretboard... I just made little sticker type things, and put em in there.... at first I was afraid it would mess with the sound, but then I realized the frets are the first thing the strings hit, so no worry. Also, it helps to see the notes and say them out loud.... I'm also trying to get the hearing down right...

    Currently I have to use an electronic tuner (please refrain from stoning but eventually I hope my hearing will develop a little better.
  9. The best advice I can give you about building speed is (ironically enough) to play SLOW.

    My high school music teacher told me once that if you can't play a tune slow, you'll never be able to play it fast. This has proven true on more occassions than I can count. It is true that you can cover up your mistakes easier playing fast, but if you learn a song slow, and learn to play it correctly, then the speed will come and there will be far fewer mistakes to hide. :)

    Anyway, just keep practicing and take it slow.
  10. dawgawd


    Mar 23, 2000
    I've been playing for 2 years and still use a tuner, it's just quicker, no shame in it. I don't NEED it, but it is helpful to me.
  11. I've been playing bass for a year and a half now. I started off playing actually to play with my friend who has played guitar for 3 years now. We started off in his garage with his, at the time, 150W Peavy, and my 15W practice amp. We would learn Blink 182 songs, and Pennywise. After about a 9 months, September, we had gotten so much better just by playing with eachother, and haven written our very first song, a punk song, we decided to look for a drummer and it worked. We've been a band actually for almost a year, this September, and watching videos and listening to tapes its amazing how much we have improved from two kids sitting on chairs in a garage to playing in front of 100 people once a month doing shows in different towns. Of course, we have a long way to go, but A LOT of practice helped. My advice and what worked for me with learning to use your index, middle, ring, and even pinky finger is this: Start with your index finger on the the first fret of your E string. Hit that note and then use your middle finger on teh second fret of that string, and so on. Eventually going index,middle,ring,pinky,index,middle,ring,pinky. It helps you to learn how to use all fingers. After you get the hang of that, start on the E-string and work up and down all the strings, and then go backwards. Its frustrating at first even going slow, but you'll get it, and it helps a lot...or at least it did for me. I agree with SLOW...u'll never play a song fast unless you can play slow. Good luck and keep this journal thing, its cool.
  12. bootyquake


    Mar 29, 2001
    Washington, DC
    I just wanted to chime in to say how much I'm enjoying reading about how people are starting with bass today. It has been so long since I started that I have lost touch with why people might begin to learn the bass.

    I started in 1987, back in the heyday of big-hair metal bands, shredders, Bon Jovi, "You Shook Me All Night Long," W.A.S.P., the recent loss of Jaco Pastorius, and the Dead Kennedys. I actually got started with bass and guitar to play jazz, but I was learning stuff off the radio too. Everyday I got more curious about how to play music on the bass, and people would show me little glimpses of what the future held. I remember in 7th grade being show the riffs to "Rock Me Like a Hurricane" by Scorpion. Power chords...what a novel idea.

    I'm 27 now, and it's been about 14 years with the bass, and I'd like to just tell you beginners that I STILL run home every day to learn something new. I'm still curious, I'm still practicing my butt off. I gradually moved on from rock to more jazz, to fusion, to Irish, Scottish, and Breton music, took a detour through latin jazz, ended up playing with salsa and merengue groups. The best is yet to come, and I'm still curious.

    I still feel like a beginner every single day. It feels like every day that has come before has led to this day, where I will play better than I ever have before. I will reach a new height, I will fail in a different way, I will embarrass myself, I will touch somebody new with my playing.

    I'm going to keep playing music until the blood runs out of my body.

    I have only just begun.

    Hey beginners--this is what you have to look forward to if you keep you mind and heart open, and your bass tuned. And buy new strings once in a while!

  13. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    "I still feel like a beginner every single day. It feels like every day that has come before has led to this day, where I will play better than I ever have before. I will reach a new height, I will fail in a different way, I will embarrass myself, I will touch somebody new with my playing."

    I started 45 years ago. Your philosphy fits me perfectly.

    When I no longer can play music, I'll become the best listener that I can be, but I can't even imagine life without being a part of music.

    My compliments, Bootyquake, a very well written post.
  14. Yea, a good post.... its rather hard saying something after what you just said... kinda makes me feel small and insignificant ;) Well, thanks for the encouragement guys, and telling me what to look up too.

    Today was fun....ha... I went to my best friends house, and he had just bought a mic, for bout 120 bucks. Its a pretty nice mic. He also has a bass, but decided not to play today. Instead, we would listen to The Vandals, Dead Milkman (crappy band, cool songs) and other punk bands, and would try to play/sing along. I used his old mic, which is a pretty good one too, and we were going crazy. Eventually I stopped singing, cause I really suck at it, but I kept playing, and I we were playing some Vandals, and at first I was playing the bassline to their songs, but it got boring hitting the open E string 8 times, then going to 5th fret, then to 3rd, then back again, so I started being creative and started making up my own basslines for the songs, which weren't that more complicated, (in order to still sound good with the song), but I can say they were mine.

    My plucking fingers started hurting so I used my friends pick, started jumping around wildly, went back to the easy bassline, and just started screaming/being stupid/crazy/idiotic. But had fun. I think this should be part of all new players experiences..... it really isn't a learning opportunity, but its damn fun.
  15. On an extension to my last post, does anyone else enjoy just letting loose and going crazy while playing bass? Basically showing off, being an ass, and acting like an idiot trying to show off when you know you suck (or are actually good)??

    I know it sounds terrible, but its awfully fun.
  16. That's the whole point of playing music, HAVING FUN! I'm not a great player (hell, I'm not even a very GOOD player, hehe) but playing is fun. Sometimes when jamming with the band, or practicing a song for the 20th time in a single rehearsal, it helps to just go ahead and make an ass of myself. But hey, I tend to make an ass of myself even when I'm not playing. ;D
  17. LimpChunk9


    May 8, 2001
    Bronx, NY
    This topic is great. I'm still a newbie, I've only been playing bass since February 2nd. When I first got my bass, I had no amp so I would just play anything while my stereo was playing. Anyway, my plucking fingers would start hurting too so I wrapped them up in tape so I could still play. I hated that because my fingers would lose feeling and would start becoming colder so I picked up a pic and started using that. A lot of people give me crap for using a pic, I now use it all the time. Many people tell me to use my fingers and be a real bassist but I'm not going to listen to them. I'm going to do what is most comfortable for me, I'm not going to use my fingers just because other people want me too. I don't really have any advice aside from that but the people at this forum give very good advice, I follow theirs a lot.
  18. I didn't start using my fingers till people in here told me too... and then one of my friends showed me how to play with my fingers fast... he sucks more then me at bass (if thats possible) but he was fast, so I picked that up, modifyed it, and now I pluck with my fingers.

    Just a tip, if your willing to take it from a newbie, but when your fingers start hurting alot, just put the bass down, or go to a pick, but soon, your fingers will develop callusses, which help in playin, but look sic ;)
  19. I agree with what everyone else has said about this's really cool to hear how others are getting along learning new stuff and having new experiences.

    I've been playing since Christmas, so everything you're saying is giving me ideas of how to improve my own playing.....THANKS!
  20. Oh god... it

    I was playing my bass in my front room, and the window was open, and the blind up, letting people in my neighborhood see/hear me play.
    My friend pulled up in front of my house in his red pickup truck, and hears me play. Now, this is the type of friend that listens to nothing but rap, and the only rock he has heard is Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock. Pity upon him.

    Well he is all excited when he comes to the door, we talk, he see's my bass, and tells me to play a "rap song." I tell him rap songs use synthesizers or whatever, so he tells me to do a Limp Bizkit song.... I play the opening riff to Rearranged, then I played some Operation Ivy I consider Matt to be a great bassist, was great with Op Ivy, is now better with Rancid, yet my friend goes

    "Limp Bizkit sounds better and harder"

    At no point in my life have I wanted to kill a friend more ;)

    I just quickly changed the subject and calmed down.

    Now I know why this thread is in micelaneous.