Need some help with practice routine (and another question)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, May 7, 2002.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Hello all. Even though I've been playing bass for 6 years, I think that it's time to do some big progressing and I've been thinking about getting a strict practice routine going. (say an hour or so a day) Question is, how do you think I should go about it? I've been doing a lot of work with tapping but I'm going to start working in some other things.

    Right now, I want to work on:

    Tapping (both single hand, and two hand)
    Theory (I know all my modes, how to construct chords, ect. But I want to learn about tri-tones and things of that nature)
    Slap (I'm really behind on my slapping, I want to get a video on just slap, any suggestions? I can do some basic Flea-type octave and pentatonic things, but I want a video that takes you all the way from the basics to the advanced techinques)
    Soloing (a guess this goes along with the theory part)

    Just wondering, how should I go about this. Should I allot a certain amount of time to each technique? Should I write a practice interary out? What are your suggestions for a good practice routine. Also, do you know any good resources on the web for what I want to concentrate on?

    And my other question is, do you find it frustrating about learning certain things on bass and never being able to apply them to a playing situation? For example, the current band I'm in, I'll never have a reason to do any two handed type, yet I feel I should learn how to do it well. Every expierence that?
  2. Get up at 6 play bass for an hour, go to school and play in my breaks, come home, eat, play till about 5, meet with the band and play till 8, eat, watch TV and play bass, then play untill I eventually fall to sleep...
    This routine every day of every week of every month of every year...

  3. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'd separate it into two things. Tapping and slapping are just physical techniques so working on them is different than working on music theory concepts. A major scale is a major scale whether picked, plucked, tapped, slapped or bowed.

    For example, I have been working on upright bass slapping for a while since I play in a blues band and it is common in that style of music. I "practiced" at home for a few hours after watching the Mark Rubin/Kevin Smith video to see how they used their right hands. Then it was just a matter of going out and DOING it on the gig. The actual notes I played didn't change, only how my right hand struck the strings. At first, I had to limit myself to slower tempos and I could only do a few tunes a night like that, but endurance and speed came the usual way, simply doing it for three hours a night on stage.

    Does that make any sense?

    If you have trouble concentrating, by all means write out a routine. If you do keep a record of what you have done, you can gauge your progress by it.

    As far as what is a good routine, basically take a few minutes to warm up (run scales, etc.) then spend 15-30 minutes on one thing, take a 5-10 minute break and then on to something else. Leave a few minutes at the end for noodling around for fun, especially if what you are practicing seems dry and boring.

    Playing every day is important, an hour a day is better than 7 hours just on Saturday. I'm admittedly guilty of not practicing on a weekday if I have a gig, simply because it's tough to find the time; I'm going to get three hours in on the instrument anyway.

    Nope. I don't bother to work on stuff I don't think I'll ever need. I'll never need tapping on a gig, for example.

    I take lessons off and on; what I study is focused very narrowly on solving problems I have on the bandstand. Put it this way, after a gig what do you feel you could be doing better? Work on THAT.

    It's certainly OK to learn something just for fun or because you like it, but when you say you "feel" you should learn how to do it well, I'd ask you "why"?
  5. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Thanks for all the info guys.
  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I did my first strict practice session today and it was great. I did about an hour and a halfs worth. I started off doing about a half an hour of scales. I stuck mainly with the G scale. I practiced playing the G scale in different hand positions, different styles, going through the relative 3rds, and going through all of G's corrisponding modes. I'm going to work, just on G this week.

    I know that my standard notation reading has gotten very bad, so I decided to tackle Bach's Cello Suite in G Major, to help my reading. (Plus I'll end up knowing a cool bass solo) I spent a half an hour on the first line of it. It went great. It really helped with my stretch, since I'm playing a melody line and normally you aren't called upon to do that kind of thing in an accompaniment situation. It also helped me understand the fretboard a little more. Since normally I think in terms of patterns and where the notes of certain scales fall mathmatically and visually instead of therotically.

    Lasty, I did tapping. I didn't just run into my cliche malmsteen wannabe arrpegios like I normally do. I played scales mostly. Just trying to get my touch nice an even and actually pay attention to the notes I'm playing. Normally, I do 3 interval runs when tapping, but I was actually getting 3 fingers working on my left hand and I did some 4 interval runs. It looks like I'm going to have to lower the action a little bit on my bass though. I quite, due to my hand aching a bit. Well, thanks for all the input and things are looking good for me.
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Cool, thanks Kong, it looks really interesting. I'm definatley going to check it out.