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Need help getting back in the grove

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CanadianEh, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. CanadianEh


    Jun 29, 2013
    First off mods, if this isnt the right place on the forum please move it.

    I started playing the bass about 3 years ago or so and for the first two years really loved it, but as I started getting into the scales, keys, and time signatures and what not I started getting stressed about it. I had a friend teaching me some scales and although it was helpful it really seemed to of killed my creativity in the worst of ways. A lot of riffs I wrote before knowing scales just did not sound proper at all and it really frustrated me to know that what I thought sounded good was really bad to the educated musician.

    The past year I might of picked up my bass maybe once every two weeks, which really has been bugging me. My time schedule has been real rubbish and I've never had much time to practice. But for the next few months I will have mornings to myself which kinda opens my time to commit to bass. I really want to get back into the grove and reclaim the enthusiasm I had when I first started supporting the low end. I never learned how to tap, slap, or anything crazy and don't know where to start, with my current financial situation being what it is, I don't think I could fund lessons while keeping up with bills, it would take me out of my comfort zone.

    If anyone has any references for bass scales books, videos on anything related to technique, etc I would be more then willing to check them out. I just need to set off on a proper foot. I like making music and have never really jammed with any other musicians other then my one friend so this whole thing on key and time signatures is really a mental headache :help:

    Its been a long time since I was on the forums and when I was it was always to gaze at the Bass and Amp clubs really, I have a musicman stingray and yes the bass way out classes my skill but I love the tone and feel of it. I know their is a lot of helpful people on this forum and I'd really appreciate if you could refer me to anything that has helped you out a lot asides actual lessons.

    Hope this isnt a "TL;DR" post :p

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing back from everyone!
  2. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Sing what you want to play, play what you've sung.

    In terms of technique and learning music, get the Ed Friedland books from Hal Leonard. And... find a teacher who is a bass player.
  3. bgressman82


    Mar 5, 2009
    well, seems obvious (to me, anyway) what you need to do. go out and just jam with people. you can learn more in 20 minutes jamming with people than you can in 20 hours of shredding out scales by yourself. plus, it's a blast.

    it's good you want to learn scales and time signatures and what not, but out in the real world (at least in my neck of the woods) that knowledge isn't worth as much as a well developed ear. in 13 years i have only once met a guitar player who could tell me what key he was playing in. drummers have either always said "4/4" or "something ****ed up", but mostly have said nothing at all about time signatures. just get used to letting your ears guide you.

    so, you want to get better, have fun playing bass, learn a couple of songs and find people to play them with, or go find people and write your own.
  4. aparker82


    Sep 19, 2012
    Anytime I want to get back in the groove I start watching Scott from Scott's Bass Lessons.


    Great Teacher, great grooves, and he puts it in a way that just clicks.
  5. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I'm of the find some fake chord sheet music for the chord progressions and then find some one's video of the song and use the video as a play-a-long. I do basically the same with my Yamaha keyboard. Ask it to play one of the stored songs - it will and scrolls the chord progression as it plays. Great play-a-long devise.

    Fake chord for the chord chart and the video to have something to play along with.

    Have fun.

    Good luck.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Learn your favorite songs by ear and have fun playing them with your friends.

    99 out of 100 successful musicians learn by this method. :)
  7. fivestring99

    fivestring99 Old Timer

    Apr 3, 2008
    The Republic Of Texas
    Screw the peer pressure. Take it at your own pace. Concentrate on fundamental riffs and patterns. Listen to what you want to play, run it through your head and practice it at your own speed. It's how I started over 40 years ago as a teenager and this old man is still playing regular, having a s**tload of fun and making a nice little second income. If you truly have the knack, that little light will soon click on and you'll roll with it. And it ain't all about being a rock star. I've played with garage bands and big names in those 40+ years. JUST HAVE FUN! Everything else is gravy!
  8. aprod

    aprod Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Time to groove in the grove with Carol Kaye's material.
  9. CanadianEh


    Jun 29, 2013
    not sure how to multi-quote lol but BassChuck I will go look for those books, I imagine LM may have them, if not LA Music might (popular local guitar store).

    by ear do you mean just going by what you feel and hear within the group you're jamming with ? the term is new to me and I feel like this is a bad time to be learning about it 3 years in lol.

    I will hit that up as soon as I get home! thanks for the link !
  10. +1 this.

    First off, full disclosure, I have been playing bass for over 20 years and consider myself a mediocre player so take my advice for what it is.

    Playing is supposed to be fun. If you can, jam with a good drummer, but even if you end up with a bad drummer, that will force you to keep the timing of the band together and could make you stronger as well. My first drummer always lost the time coming out of rolls. The band keyed on me to keep the rhythm going. I may not know how to slap, but because of that experience I can keep time like a SOB :bassist:

    Also, finding people who play covers as well as originals is good. Covers let you figure out how bass lines are supposed to go, how songs are generally constructed and help you develop your ear. Originals let you explore your own ideas. Both are good things.

    I can't help so much with videos, but I know many will post links to excellent YouTube channels. There are also YouTube videos of drum tracks. Check those out as well and make your own bass lines to them.

    So that is advice from a mediocre player. Wood shedding is good, but don't let it kill your soul!
  11. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    "Learn by ear" means to listen to the recording and play it back on your bass. It is an absolutely essential musical skill you can learn from a good bass teacher, or a class at a music school/conservatory, or just develop on your own by working hard. I can't explain how to do it in a few sentences; the best advice I can give in this limited format is to figure out songs on the bass that you know by heart, like: Happy Birthday, the national anthem, nursery rhymes, holiday songs, TV/movie themes, etc. Why don't you go figure out "Star Wars" or something on the bass---now you can "play by ear" see how easy it is? The more you practice, the more complex music you will be able to learn by this method. :)
  12. bgressman82


    Mar 5, 2009
    yes. and when you go out and do it, don't be afraid to suck. sucking just means you're in the process of getting better.

    listen to the whole group. learn what it sounds like when you're not locked in, or when you're playing bad notes. i've met too many people who only listened to themselves in group settings. all the scales in the world won't help them.

    also helps when learning songs. give this a try, pick a song and learn it by listening and playing. no tabs, no charts, just your ears.

    but remember to have fun, and don't pressure yourself, or let others pressure you.
  13. Check out MarloweDK on youtube. I find just watching him motivates me to be a funky white guy, but he also plays his licks at varying speeds so you can copy them. He doesn’t actually “teach” just shows. Good ear training, with a little visual help. You’ll also end up with a bag full of funky licks. Great for looking like you know more than you do when testing out basses in crowded stores.

    As far as “playing by ear” goes, can you pick out when a song has a 12 bar blues form? Try to find a song that isn’t a blues, but follows the same pattern. Being able to hear the change from I to V or I to IV will get you a long, long way at most jams.
  14. Flabass

    Flabass Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    St. Petersburg
    Also Adam Nitti and Tony Grey right here on Talkbass. They both are on youtube.

    Want to learn songs there is Finbarbass also on youtube. Goes note for note on dozens of popular songs.