Learning Sheet Music

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Btrent, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. Btrent


    Mar 9, 2020
    Good Afternoon!

    I am new to learning the bass, I've never played another instrument and I am trying to learn how to play sheet music. What are some great resources/books I could use to learn? Not to interested in paying an arm and a leg for classes.

    I have seen alot of books on music theory that look like they "may" cover sheet music but im not sure. Im a little lost and would appreciate the assistance. Thank you kindly.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Welcome to TalkBass!

    I recommend to purchase a songbook of your favorite band's greatest hits, and follow along visually in the book, while you listen to a recording of the songs.

    This is the same way I learned to read English: My parents read out loud to me, while I followed along visually with the written words on the page. Pretty soon, my brain was able to make the connection, between the written symbols and the corresponding sounds.

    And an encouraging detail: There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, but only 12 notes the musical alphabet. So music is a lot easier to learn how to read, compared to English! :)

    Notice I didn't mention anything about a bass. You don't need a bass guitar in your hands, to learn how to read & write music.
    bholder likes this.
  3. Btrent


    Mar 9, 2020
    Thanks!! I will get to work on this. Very much appreciated!
  4. Btrent


    Mar 9, 2020
    Thank you for the reply and suggestions.. I will try this :)
  5. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    Hit up your local Library and/or Community College (or Uni). My library has a great source of musical literature available for the great price of FREE! borrow for cpl weeks and re-check out if need be. There is also a video rental as well (not as vast, but something) so it covers a lot of potential territory.

    If you have a music store locally too, just go in a 'browse' if the owner/workers ask if you need any help, then say "Why yes, I'm interested in 'such and such' but am working with the modest budget of ($$$ insert dollar figure here) can you point me in the direction of some affordable -or free- resources?"

    Then grind that axe daily cuz.
    Mushroo likes this.
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Since no one has so far brought it up: the Hal Leonard Bass Method get a tremendous amount of positive reviews around here, for just such a situation as yours.
  7. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35 Supporting Member

    Just starting off we use the bass clef and the solo instruments use the treble clef most of the time. So start with the bass clef first. Bass clef is the left hand notes in piano music. These notes normally provide the harmony and are made from the active chord. That is why the old guys tell us to follow the chords and play notes of the active chord.

    First things first. We have to recognize the fly speck and know what note it is telling us it is. I think, the best way to do this is by knowing what line or space the fly speck is on, i.e. this tells us what note we are to use.

    This site will help. Music Theory for Parents

    Now find some bass clef sheet music and read the notes. Right now be happy to identify the lowest note on the stem. After that know where that notes is on your fretboard.

    OK when that flows read all the notes on the fly speck stem.

    Point being we first have to identify the fly speck, before the music goes off and leaves us. If you can see the fly speck and say it's name in the same amount of time you can say your first name -- you are ready to pick up your bass and sound that note.

    Most of this is done with your bass on it's stand and sheet music in your hand. Google can find sheet music for you.

    Have fun. You have to read sheet music every day for the next month or rust will develop. So go get in the shed.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
  8. Btrent


    Mar 9, 2020
    Hey thats a good idea, i saw all three of his volumes on sale. i think i will give it a try. thanks!
  9. Btrent


    Mar 9, 2020
    thats a great idea, i will try that as well!! thanks!
  10. There's more than one way to skin a note. Many notes on the bass guitar can be found in more than one specific place so part of the reading process is to look ahead to get your hand in position for what's coming up next. After you've taken the time to learn the notes on the staff and can count note duration, two things you can do without the bass in hand, then you can start finding those notes on the bass. A lot of bass material is written more towards it's role emphasizing scales and arpeggios etc. but for reading you want to find and elementary book of melodic ideas even if it's written for trombone. As Mushroo mentioned his parents read to him and as he followed along he began to relate the printed word to the sound of the word which is why reading to your kids is so important to their early development. Kids music books are usually very cheap and very basic but they also have simple melodic ideas that are easy to retain. I'll be that you could figure out how to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in a few minutes but if you saw it on the written page you would initially struggle until you caught the familiarity of the tune. As you develop the relationship of the melody in your head to the melody of the written page you will be well on your way to dig deeper.
    Mushroo likes this.