Need a little Guidance

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by GlennPagano, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. GlennPagano


    Jul 20, 2009
    Glen Mills
    Well I have recently met some new people about six months ago and have come really good friends with them. They are all really into music and have their own band. I love hanging out with them and I really want to jam with them with me on bass. I have been playing bass for about 4 weeks and am pretty decent, I am learning all the notes on the fretboard and practice about an hour a day, with some theory by I was just wondering what I should do to get on the fast track to jamming with them. Every time I try it usually takes me a while to get down what they are telling me to play. I just want to be able to hear what the guitars and drums are playing and just join in with the bass. Any suggestions would be awesome. Thanks ahead of time.
  2. zackattack

    zackattack Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2006
    San Francisco
    Practice Practice Practice!

    Having a good ear will help you TREMENDOUSLY in jamming situations, so have a look at some ear training exercises.

    Do you own a guitar (or an instrument with which you can play chords) and some recording gear(tape recorder, computer, etc...)? If so, record some simple chord progressions and have a go at jamming along with yourself. Also, learn a bunch of songs and look at how other bass players approach chord progressions. Feel free to steal as many licks as you can from as many players as you can, I'll let you in to a little secret - everyone does it.

    Good luck!
  3. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    Hang with the musicians and just absorb everything you can. Yep, stealing is a musician's way of life for sure. Learn to "hear" phrases or runs and try to make your bass "sing" them back to you. Learning to hear notes is so valuable. Since you are new, there is TONS to learn and do, ie finger exercises, tablature, etc. Learning to be "in tune" is very valuable and very difficult at first. Have the guitarist show you the fingering he's doing and mimic it best you can. Play what sounds good and experiment. Try your best to "lock in" with the drums, watch his hands actually hit the beats. Remember the bass is an octave lower in pitch than the guitar at the same fret note. SO if he's playing an open E, then the same pitch will be your E at 7th fret on the A string. This will also help you hear the pitches of the notes. Listen to APPLE's tips above me too. Apple does rock.
  4. GlennPagano


    Jul 20, 2009
    Glen Mills
    Dont worry Greevus I spend a lot of time with them just hanging out and when they jam I attempt to absorb everything I can. Anyway I did a little jamming tonight with one of the members. It went ok, I just mostly played the root note and threw in a couple 5ths here and there. When the bass lines got a little more complicated I got off beat so I guess I have to start using a metronome. I can't wait until I just here what they are playing and then just start jamming away. I was also wondering if it is worth it to get a teacher in my situation. Right now I just graduated High School and will be going away to college in four weeks. Is it worth to get a teacher for those four weeks and cram as much as possible into my head before I go away? What is a good way to train my ear to hear a note and determine what note it is? Thanks again.
  5. Bassnoob515


    Jul 8, 2009
    Bass Student, M. Smith
    you can learn at school too a friend started teaching me... just look for people who play bass and other instruments and play with them.
  6. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    No offense and IMO these are contradictions. A decent bassist is able to hear whats going on without it taking "a while."

    Best way to over come it is to keep practicing. Scales, arpeggios, chords, etc, learn what the notes/intervals sound like every where on your fret board, in all the chords and individual scales and how they all interact with each other.
  7. bryceg2189


    Jul 24, 2009
  8. bryceg2189


    Jul 24, 2009
    i can totally relate dude...ive been playing for 2 years, and i was in a similar situation when i first started out. my friend started and band and needed a bass player...and i was pretty new to the whole thing.

    just practice practice practice and attention to drums, face him when you jam and watch what he hits. when you start getting a feel for it, locking in will occur much more naturally. try to match the low notes with the kick

    train your ear too...thats gonna come a lot easier with time, my suggestion is to just jam to your favorite records and anything that sounds similar to the style of music your friends are playing. soon youll start recognizing patterns, notes, etc

    and REMEMBER: as a bass player, its your job to hold a dont need to do anything too flashy or complicated. unless its a jazz fusion band or something. if playing root notes is what you're comfortable with, go for it....but try to push yourself a little out of the box so you dont get TOO comfortable.

    i really hope all of this stuff helps dude...good luck and make us proud.
  9. bryceg2189


    Jul 24, 2009
    ha just listen to greevus
  10. DeluxeRed


    Jun 2, 2009
    The short-cut to jammin' is to study and learn some blues, starting with the basic stuff. That gives you not only some forms and progressions to use to jam on that other players will recognize or be able to follow, it is the basis for most rock/pop progressions, as well, and will give you insight into how many songs are put together (and what notes/chords to expect next). Almost a universal language, if you will, at least in the West.

    Plus: it can be a lot of fun.
  11. I'd say learn some songs by ear, that will do wonders for your ear and teach you about bassline construction. I'd also recommend taking a few lessons. Some guidance from a teacher can open up your playing too.
    The best advice I have to give though is don't be in too much of a rush. What your asking to do is what ALL of us have been and are still trying to do. Music is a life long learning process and if you put too many demands on yourself or expect too much to soon you'll get disappointed and disillusioned pretty easily.
    Just go in, do the best you can to hang, and HAVE FUN even if you think you sound like crap.
  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Sorry, but I have to -1 your -1. A decent bassist is able to hear whats going on around them and not take a while to get things going. I've been in this game a long time now and in my area a player like that will not get work with "decent" musicians.

    There is a lot more to being a decent player than knowing all the notes of the scales, chord tones, theory, etc. IMO, none of that does you a lick of good if you don't know how to apply it and make them work in a musical context. So yes, you can still know theory out the wazoo and not be a descent player.
  13. GlennPagano


    Jul 20, 2009
    Glen Mills
    Well i think i am pretty decent for the amount of time I have been playing. Everyday I am showing improvement so that keeps a smile on my face. I also just upgraded from a no name ebay combo bass to a squire vintage modified precision bass, which I love and made my playing much better.
  14. I too have one month on electric bass, however I've been jamming rhythm guitar for years. Love to jamm and I've found that jamming rhythm guitar is not busting loose and winging random stuff. It is following a basic chord progression and knowing how to not step on someone else's toes.

    So....... IMHO and that is based upon one month of bass - your basic root - 5 would be the way to start. Now go find a couple more patterns you like and mix and match them to the specific song being played. Root-3-5-3 is one I'm having good luck with right now. Trick is to hear the chord changes and if that is not yet a part of your skills watch the rhythm guitar's hands. When he changes chords do the same - hopefully to the same chord. You will get to where you can recognize his finger placement, i.e. what chord he is playing. When hanging around ask for some of the fake chord sheet music they use when working up a song. When they play follow along (on the sheet music - lyric word/chord flow) and watch what the bass is doing. Understanding what to do is half of it. Again IMHO.

    Stick with a couple three patterns and rely upon them - don't wing it with random stuff. I think I'm correct with this - don't switch in mid song. Pick one pattern and use it through out that song. In rhythm guitar if I change strum patterns in mid song the vocalist starts throwing things at me.

    Practice jamming with your CD's once you find the key the CD is using it's a piece of cake. Finding the key - drone single notes - C, G, D, A, E, B will normally get it. Drone a C and see if that matches with what is being played on the CD. You are hunting for the tonal center - if C did not sound good try G. When one sounds good you've found the tonal center, thus the key. Jamm away.

    Help the members of the band - don't be a pest - tote their stuff, be the Roddie, and they will teach you all you need to know.

    Good luck.
  15. xxpigxx


    Nov 4, 2007
    I would like to add . . . from a novice. Don't get stuck near the head on your fretboard. Move around. It is much for fun, and you can do much more.

    I opted to take it piece by piece. I started learning all the notes on all the strings from frets 1-5. I have those down spot, and now I am learning the next 5 frets. Seems to be working for me :D
  16. GlennPagano


    Jul 20, 2009
    Glen Mills
    Just to give everyone an update on my progress (been playing for a month last sunday). Last night I jammed with a few of my friends and I played bass for a few songs. I have noticed that playing with everyone is getting easier just played along with the drummer and found a root note that sounded good, still cant look at guitarist hands and tell what they are playing, and played the root, 3rd and 5th, it did not sound half bad. Since my first post I have learned the first 21 measures of the lemon song and I am now working on limelight.
  17. Most of the songs I play are 3 chord songs. If you are using a chord now and the rhythm guitar moves to another one --- you've got a 50% chance of being correct which ever of the other two chords you chose. If it does not sound right you've got a 100% chance the other one is the correct one.

    My point - it's not rocket science.

    Sounds like you are doing great.