Musical Leap

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by The Mole, Apr 27, 2001.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am a young musician of 15, currently playing two very different instruments to that of the bass guitar (saxophone and clarinet). I learnt them from an early age and enjoy playing them, but I feel I should expand my musical horizon to different areas.
    Ever since I listened to Metallica about a year ago, my views on music have changed. I am deeply intrigued by this genre of music now, and can't stand arrogant people who consider it to be a “racket” or a “din”. This music is extremely skillful, and I appreciate it much more than I used to. I especially enjoy listening to the bass guitar lines, simply because they are so smooth and mellow. This is why I have become interested in learning the instrument. Another reason why I wish to learn it is because my friend plays the guitar, and it would be cool to jam with him =)
    For saxophone and clarinet, I am about grade 5 standard. I am also doing GCSE music which will then go onto A level music (I am from the UK so if your not sure what these mean I’m sorry, lol), therefore I have a good knowledge of music. I have been looking at bass guitar tabbing and I can follow it along with the music fine. The actual playing of the guitar will be a big change for me, which I’m slightly worried about. I am also unsure of what equipment to buy.
    Please give me any advice you can, I will be very grateful (such as is this whole idea very wise, lol).

    Thanks for reading =)
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Mole -Welcome to TalkBass. Hope you find it rates your further involvement.

    I am not a dealer, just someone who has been playing since the Beatles first came to the US and showed up on The Ed Sullivan Show.

    My advice is to determine your budget then start looking for what fits, if you haven't already. Then, get as many catalogs sent to you as possible so you have something tangible to think over. If you go to they have several big dealers with mail order catalogs. Some are listed at the top of the page or you can use their search for "bass." There are many other sites, but that would be a start. Or, you could just plug the word "bass guitar" into a search engine and find a multitude of sources. is the standard rag that many of us suscribe to.

    Then, I suggest culling some possible bass/amp candidates and putting up a thread here at TalkBass and tell us what makes/models you are considering and finding out what other TalkBassers' experiences are with these potential choices. Not many exist that one of us hasn't either tried/owned/used.

    As for the "big change" you are worried about, you could either try some out at a music store and see what you think, or rent a setup which would let you see if the instrument is a good fit for you.

    One word of caution - once you start, you can count on your bank account struggling to stay in the black, as many of us tend to get GAS, (Gear Acquistion Syndrome).
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Welcome to the wonderful world of bass guitar.

    First, as you already read standard notation, it will be fairly easy to learn bass clef if you don't already know it. Learning tab is almost a step backwards. Some would say it is more than a step backwards.
    The ONE and ONLY advantage of tab for a beginner is it tells you at what strings and frets the notes are found. Until you have developed some fretboard familiarity, knowing where the notes are will be a challenge.

    Second, when you select a bass, go to the store, with a strap and put it on any bass that interests you. Don't buy a bass without "wearing" it, both sitting and standing. See how comfortable it is. Also try to reach the E string at the fret closest to the head and at the frets closest to the body of the bass. How hard is it for you to reach those frets?

    Another thing notice how far apart the strings are. Try a bass with narrow spaces between the strings and one with wider spaces. Which spacing seems more comfortable for you?

    Check the circumference of the neck. Some are fatter, some are flatter, some are wider. Which feels best to you? Also check the finish at the back back of the neck. Some are painted, some are plain wood. WHich feels best for you?

    While at the music store find out if there are any bass teachers and how much they cost. It will help you immensely to have a teacher orient you to the bass, it's parts, how to pluck, how to fret and get you started on a systematic plan for fretboard familiarization and bass line construction. Honestly, you will not regret having had four or five lessons (or even more) to get you started right and avoid some of the pitfalls and bad habits of improper technique.

    Good luck. Any more questions? Ask us here.

  4. madsky


    Apr 21, 2001
    Bangkok, Thailand
    You sound kind of like me in some way. I played the alto saxophone for almost 3 years now. I don't really enjoy playing it now since the school band make us practice like animals. Hey, but lots of practice improves skills. :D I'm learning bass now. Good luck [to me too]