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New <1.5 years Bass Players...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by xolin, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Hey

    Ive been playing bass for about a year (6string brice through hartke kickback 15). I want to get a good idea of how I'm doing (of course everything is relative, but...) in comparisonwith other rookies. So, this is an overview of my "repertoire" (fancy, aint it :)) So post yours too. (vets can comment of course!)
    Feel free to tell me what I should be focussing on or keep working at.

    Scales: Majors and Minors (and their construction, i dont remember all of the notes in each scale, but i could figure it out in about a minute without looking at the bass)

    Modes and relatives (m and M) (not necessarily how to apply them, but im working on it, i just started in a jazz group cuz i taught myself some jazz and notation reading)

    Multi fingers: 2 pretty fast either warm and groovy or clunky and agressive. Triplets with 3 (or just fast a la claypool slidin) and 4 fingers pretty good, not sheehan, but that kind of style (and when i had my blonde ponytail before i played bass I looked a lot like him :))

    Slap: well, i learned by playing TOmmy the Cat by primus (one of my first songs on bass). I dont know a lot, but i can play (1/4 heartedly) cant hold no groove or me and my bass guitar by wooten (not even close to him, but the style at like 1/4 speed) and i can do bassic slap stuff too. Primus is pretty much easy for me now cuz thats my style, not much movement in the hands

    Tapping: I can do moonlight sonata (a la stu hamm) and i can play through NV43345 at near full speed (my bass is a six strign and with semi mid action). I can also play eruption tapping part (if that means anything). I can also play sexually active (hamm) and some stuff from sheehans other solos.

    harmonics: i can play nats (of course) and can play tap harmonics easily and pinch harmonics on call (pretty fast). I can also kinda do the sheehan thing where you do left hand tapping and pulling off hard while resting fingers on the high end of the string to make really fast harmonics (nv has some of that). Also i can do some chords with art harmonics (nat ones give me some trouble, but may be the bass).

    Groove: well i play a lot of jazz, latin or melow and I can play sabbath stuff (Bassically, nib, war pigs, etc) with good feel and timing. Blues i can do too (theory behind that too).

    Metal: I can play fast, but i cannot necessarily shred as my left hand speed isnt as good as my right hand

    Strumming: can pla chords easily, i even use my fingernail like a pick to do flamenco (anyone else do that?) to try some al di stuff (not yet though)

    and i know a lot of tunes and write some tunes for my band (starting at least, metal with some complex guitar and bass).

    for reference, never had lessons, and just have two books (Al di meola tabs w/ electric rendezvous, etc and Jazz Bass). And i have a fakebook.

    Thats it...so for reference, Im not perfect at any of these things, some are better than others and none are as good as they could be (it may sound harder or better than it really is).

    So, I'm not trying to show off, I DO spend about 6 hours per day sometimes just playing bass. I use powertab (helps alot). I do neglect schoolwork (and somehow i got into university of toronto, who knew :/). Im in a rock band (only gigged 2x, once i just sang, second we just played enter sandman and foxy lady (which i sang and played for). ok, i know i do flashy stuff, but im not really as good as i seem, there are so many people better than me and i have bad habits (letting strings ring, etc). Im not a very accurate clean player, but i just work on chops (or theory whichever i feel like at the moment). So, people, get crackin'....and if i soundlike an *******, its unintentional, I just like input and i would also like to know if there are any good things i should remember, career or technique wise?
  2. Maybe it's time to learn a rock opera. Can you play every song in Tommy by the Who?
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Well...are YOU satisfied with where you are?

    It seems like you have a good BASIC understanding of various techniques.

    Don't spread yourself to thin.

    build a strong foundation now, or 2-3 years from now, you will likely find yourself stuck.

    It's one thing to know how to play a bunch of techniques, but it's another thing entirely to know how to USE them.

    a technique is just a tool, nothing more. It shouldn't dictate what your music will be, it should just assist you in getting what you have in your head out to the instrument.

    Do a search This topic has been covered before, something like "am I doing good(well)" "Where should I be by now?" or "how is my progress?" should yield results.

    there was a thread almost identical to this one a month or so ago.

    I would advise you consider what you want out of the bass, and music, and then use that as a guideline towards your studies.

    TABs are a crutch, ditch them.*

    Remember it's not about how many hours you practice, or how many notes you play, or how many songs you know, or how many techniques or whatever. It's about music, and making music, for yourself, and for others.

    *When you use TAB you really don't learn anything, besides how to play ONE song, however the person that tabbed it thinks it should be played.(this is my opinion, I don't use or encourage the use of tabs)
  4. Well, thats pretty much what I was thinking (thus the thread). I do enjoy just making songs (i rarely put many techniques in songs, i focus more on making it memorable than flashy). The unfortunate thing is that for whatever i write, the technique i use doesnt sound ideal. I guess i dont have what you call a strong foundation for one thing.
    When you say concentrate on the music, thats all fine and good, but we all know thats pretty difficult, and to get anything really special out of what you make is hard too. Unfortunately, I also enjoy doing flashy techniques (more fun) than playing a good song...I get bored, others dont, but i do. As for tab, well, I am teaching myself notation and i do most lessons using notation (no tab) in order to learn, but sometimes i require it to figure out rhythms and tempos, and ptab has a good metronome system to use (loud). As for tabs in general, i use them for rock songs im giong to cover (well, one can only findtab for them mostly) and how the music is made (theory, etc) is pretty obvious for the most part. For jazz and stuff I definately (as one must inthis case) concentrate on analysing the musica nd what the artist wanted to do.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    I would beg to differ, I think that if you hear music in your head, if you think about music, and if you want to make music, you're already there.

    it's connecting yourself with your instrument of choice, so that what you are thinking translates to the instrument flawlessly, that is the hard part.

    There are many ways to do this, if you want to get into that I have many great suggestions that will seriously help. but ultimately you just have to be aware of what you are playing, and make sure you have the widest vocabulary you can have.

  6. That's cool that you are able to get into such in-depth stuff in such a short amount of time. I assume you started on guitar, since it takes quite a bit of time just to build up an interface with a musical instrument to the point where you can play even competently, let alone Primus stuff.

    I started taking lessons this summer. One of the best decisions I ever made. My teacher is a monster, plays a 6 string Fodera, and is a pro jazz and fusion player, and when you spend time with someone like that, the greatness of their playing can't help but rub off onto you. I learned a lot about stuff that isn't real obvious, like economy of motion and how to practice various techniques and then (most importantly) learn to apply them in a way that is musical.
  7. well, actually, i never played any musical instrument until last october when i bought my bass. I sang for my band for like one gig at school in grade 11 because i was teh only one who knew the lyrics to all the classic rock songs. I sucked at singing (TNT was the only thing i could sing half decent, i have a fairly poor ear). So then we decided we needed a new bassist and drummer. We got a drummer, and i alwasy said to myself that if i were to play an instrument i wanted to be a bassist (looked easier than guitar :)). Anyway, I started without an amp and learned things like green onions, then i wanted to play Phantom of teh Opera by Iron Maiden (thought it would take me a year). But i got that song down (and could play it through except the short solo) after about a month. I was like "Woah!" and then (being a huge primus fan already) looked for a primus tab. I saw tommy the cat and was like "how the f am i gonna do that?!" Then i had to learn slapping and popping. I didnt know what it was supposed to sound like, i knew popping sound, but i thought theslap was supposed to sound the same so i always got frustrated. Then i downloaded the tommy the cat video (its a friggin closeup of claypool playing the whole thing with some cool animation in the midddle) and iw as like woah, thats cool. I looked at the tab and had to learn how to do the hammer w/ pinky then simultaneously use the other three fingers on the E string (2 strigs up) to do the descending line. It friggin killed at first. Im so lucky that i have good hand strength cuz i could easily do the strumming with my index fingernail immediately (before i saw how it was done, i didnt know how to pop the chord so i just strummed it hard...didnt know thats what les does). Anyway, reeaaaally long story cut very short (sorry), i practiced that for a while then did wynona's big brown beaver and southbound pachyderm (the easiest of them all but harder chord strumming) cuz they are common. Anyway, after a few months i could play the whole tommy the cat with licks and solo (my own solo even) as well as sing at the same time (had to use guitar pro tab for the drum as a backing track to figure where the 1 beat was each time when singing). Anyway, sheehan came cuz the guitarists in my band loved gilbert (funny guy) and vai and satch and saw sheehan duke it out with gilbert. I saw that duel (addicted to that rush) and was like...***!? So i decided to look for sheehan tab. Found a bad nv43345 power tab and reg tab, luckily i figured out the real order by listening and found the mistakes then figured out how to play it (i do the chord tapping differently cuz on my bass the bass notes dont sound well on hammer offs, so i actually tap every note, no barring, sounds perfect and clear). anyway, thats how i started bass...the first 5-6months at least. Then over the summer i bought a bass for jazz intro book, learned all the scales and modes and learned some jazz standards and made some solos (plus learned how to read...well kinda). So dedication is what did it...not previous experience...I would play that tommy the cat lick 500 times for hours until i finally got my fingers moving independantly, now it comes second nature, i dont even look at the fretboard when i play the song!
  8. HOLY CRAP i wrote THAT MUCH on that little...man, i type too much...sorry for making your eyes strain :D
  9. I never had the benefit of any teacher, completely self taught (i learned an out of position iron man to learn how to fret and fingerpick properly from a buddy). I wish i could be, especially now with the jazz things happening. I try to read a lot on things like bassically.net or jazzsoloist.com (good that i read notation, huh?) and other jazz lesson sites, they help a lot with figuring out applications and such, but a live private teacher would be great...no money or timet hough...university calls.
  10. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I thought I had first learned Tommy the Cat when I was wee-youngin' bassists too. However, later I learned that it is far less simple than it seems. There are many more notes in the song than one would before closer examination. A close look will reveal a whole masquerade of ghost slaps and pops which truly makes it a burden on the forearm. I can play it, but not for more than a minute. After that my forearm feels like it will explode.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Wow - that's impressive - a lot of kids can't even talk until they're 3 years old - let alone post on the internet and play bass, when they're less than one and a half year's old!! :eek:

  12. :p ga ga goo goo
  13. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    Sounds good bass wise but ego wise I'd cool it a lil*

    *sorry but thats my honest opinion based on all musicians of his age that have been playing that long.
  14. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I know you said you don't have the money, but if I were you I'd try to look for a teacher as soon as possible. It's one thing to list all the things you can and can't do on a forum like this, but you can't beat sitting down with someone in a one-to-one setting. In particular, a teacher will be able to see what problems you have with your technique, and hopefully help you put it right. I think that's the best way forward.
  15. Dude, like my ego is out of control on the internet (ever heard the term e-penis, well...). I certainly wouldn;t call myself a good musician, im just a technique junky. Anyway, I think my problem lies in focussing on technique too much, I'm just gonna mosey on over to the forum section where I have no hair on my balls...general instruction/theory. If i boast here again...just kick me over there...thanks :bassist:
  16. I've been at it since the late 60's. Does that mean I've been doing it right??? Hell, no!!!

    But nothing, absolutely nothing, beats playing live in a band with other musicians.
  17. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    Wow, that's an impressive list for the time involved! I've been playing since July of last year and my list is much shorter. I was however a three chord rhythm guitarist for many years. I wish I could give it 6hrs day, but with a full time job and a family, on my best days I get 30-45 mins, plus two nights a week max rehearsing with the bands I'm in. I got a teacher 3 months into it and while I had done ok on the theory on my own out of books and videos, my technique was horrible. He spent the first couple of lessons just working on my incorrect hand positioning. Since then we have focused on scales, modes, harmonies, chord contruction, speed drills etc... My primary goal was to learn to walk over chord progressions. As a result, I can't slap, pop, tap or hop yet, but I can take a lyric sheet with some chord changes scratched on it and turn it into a pretty solid groove. I see my role as holding up the bottom end, not being in the spotlight. I have no interest in soloing, and most bands I have encountered are simply looking for a guy to stand near the drummer and lay a solid foundation down, not a Victor Wooten type. Not that there is anything wrong with doing the flashy stuff if you've got the itch and the skill. Even with only 15 months at it, I am now the full time bass player in two bands, and the 1st alternate in a third. I'm not bragging by any means. I saw a 16 year old bass playing girl in a big band tribute group this past weekend that made me feel like a total all thumbs rookie. She was incredible. She was walking up and down the neck while singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy at the same time. :eek: I guess it boils down to what your goal is. Mine was to play with a band, and that's what I achieved, three times over. Compared to most versatile bass players however, I relatively suck at it, but I'm having a blast! :bassist:
  18. I actually wish i had done my theory studying too, man. I am now in a jazz combo at the U, and I cant really sight read yet (only started learning in june). I can do as you do over chord progressions for the songs, but not on sight, i really have to look it over first, then listen to the song a coup times, then pretty much memorize the progression otherwise i get lost. I cant follow the sheet (and im not helping it by memorizing). Also, I struggle with some easy jazz bass lines for sure, I just try to copy others. So, in that regard, feel reassured that you are probably well ahead of me. Plus, I'm in no other official bands, certainly not on any above amateur level. Good to see another novice doing well, peace.
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