Learning the Bass - Checkpoints

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by wannabe_bassist, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. wannabe_bassist

    wannabe_bassist Guest

    Jan 25, 2002
    Most of you in these forums are clearly experienced bass players. You have years of practice, structured learning and school of hard knocks education on the bass.

    My question:

    If you had to do it all over again, given what you know now, how would you learn the bass and in what order?

    For example:

    1. scales (all or certain key ones at first)
    2. chords
    3. argeggios
    4. slap & pop


    Thanks in advance!
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Some things can more or less be tackled simultaneously, so a list that is a strict first, second, third format might not apply. Still, if I had it to do all over again, I would suggest an approach like this:

    Fretboard familiarization
    open and first three frets, all strings
    open and first five frets, all strings
    open and first seven frets, and so on

    Reading of standard notation at the same time, so that one can identitfy the fret, string, name of note and where it is found on the bass clef

    C major scale and its relative minor
    Harmonization of chords in that scale
    A simple bass line based on those notes and frets learned to date

    Major and minor chords and how to arpeggiate them

    SImple 12 bar blues structure; a few simple basslines played to a 12-bar blues chord progression

    Circle of fifths to help visualize keys, emphasizing most common keys. Learn to play all major and minor keys both ascending and descending.

    More complex 12-bar blues structure
    More "reading", music symbols, accidentals and kinds of notes and rests,

    Work on polishing technique of plucking and fretting

    Work on timing, keeping a "groove"

    Pentatonic scales; blues scale

    Ear training drills and practice at simple transcription

    More types of chords and how they are used

    As for slap and pop, I'd postpone that technique until the student has shown a basic mastery of the fundamental techniques and fretboard familiarization. How can one slap and pop without knowing chord structure and some basic theory or be able to have good timing or decent fretting and plucking technique? A typical student might not be ready for slap and pop for nearlya year, maybe even longer for some.

    That's just right off the top of my head. I may have left out something really obvious.

    There's another thing too. Depending on what the student's interest would be ( just to play the easiest punk tunes or to become a jazz musician or to specialize in one genre such as reggae or country), greater or lesser time would be spent on various parts of the above plan.

    Also, the speed with which one might progress through the plan would depend on previous experience with other instruments, plus the amount of time, effort and dedication the student applies to his bass studies.