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New Bass Player

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by schaet, Jan 5, 2012.


  1. schaet

    schaet

    Jan 4, 2012
    Good day!

    I just started learning bass guitar and I just bought myself an Aria STB JB DX Bass Guitar last Christmas. My problem is, I don't know where to start. I'm starting from scratch so please bare with me. Advice as well as guides will be much appreciated.

    Since I bought the Bass, I practice no less than 2 hours a day doing major,minor and other basic scales with a metronome. Am I on the right track?

    Thanks in advance for the help and advice! Cheers!
     
  2. Yep!
    Although, learning a song or two and/or finding people to play with would help!
     
  3. Chord tones should probably be your next mission.
     
  4. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    +1. When you know your scales well, move swiftly on to chord tones, as this is what a bassist plays 90% of the time. As well as the theory side of things, try playing along to some music you like. Don't rely too heavily on tabs. Much better to train your ear and try to work things out for yourself.

    Since you are putting in two hours a day practice, make sure your left and right hand technique are OK. Otherwise you may encounter hand/wrist problems at a later time. Do a search on you tube. For the R/H, do a search for "Floating Thumb Technique." The idea is to have both wrists as straight as possible. During your practice sessions, take a five minute break now and then. If you feel any pain or discomfort, don't play through it or ignore it, but try to find the cause and rectify it.

    Below is a great all round site for bass. Here it deals with chord tones. On the fretboard diagrams, if you put the mouse arrow over a note, it sounds that note.


    Chord Tones Are Primary
     
  5. schaet

    schaet

    Jan 4, 2012
    Thank you for the quick response guys! We also bought a Yamaha Gigmaker drum set last christmas and my bro is playing it. Maybe we could jam together and help each other out with the beat and groove. :hyper:
     
  6. kraigo

    kraigo

    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Tune it up, put on your favorite music and try to find it. You just need to develop your ear. For most of us it takes a bit of time. The scales and metronome are fine, but they don't make you musical by themselves.

    You can find chord charts for a lot of music out there on line, which is good. They're very often wrong, but they will point you in the right direction. At the same time it good to figure out a lot of stuff without them, to keep your ears working.

    There are a lot of bass lessons out there on You Tube and the like. Take advantage of them.

    In the end you want to play music, not scales and exercises, so play along to music. Scales and chord tones and reading are all great things to learn and will broaden your palette, but you are inspired to play music so make sure you do a lot of it.

    Most of us have a long period of suck we have to struggle through before we are comfortable playing. Find inspiration where you can and keep plugging away.

    After 15 years of playing I'm confident that I'll be leaving my own "suck period" any day now.

    KO
     
  7. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Agreed. At the same time, while playing music he will be playing chord tones most of the time. Knowing these will help to broaden the musical palette. :)
     
  8. kraigo

    kraigo

    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Absolutely agreed. Having an understanding of why things work helps you avoid wrong turns. Theory and reading will help you move past ruts.

    I just want to make sure that the OP balances the brain work and technique work with things that motivate him or her and improve the ear. I wish I'd turned on the radio and played along with it on bass early on, like I did with the drums. I think it would have made me more musical and helped me make progress more quickly. Being able to "fake" a tune in real time is a really valuable skill to develop. Of course sight reading is at least as valuable skill to develop. Learn both and you will probably never want for playing opportunities.

    KO
     
  9. A site that has been really helpful to me is Welcome - Free Bass Guitar Lessons

    This guy is just awesome, it's like having your own personal bass teacher and he has a delightful british accent :D
     
  10. OddWithoutEnd

    OddWithoutEnd

    Jan 5, 2012
    Study chord tones before studying scales. It's simply more intuitive in that order. Trust me.

    Always practice with either a metronome or music on.

    Focus on rhythm over melody. A good bassist knows that he's playing with the drummer more than anyone else in the band. Feel the music.

    studybass.com is a great site for beginners.
     
  11. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011
    I'm kinda jealous....I want an Aria bass. I started from scratch with no formal lessons at all. Practice switching between pick and finger....I prefer finger, I can feel the bass better that way.

    Experiment with songs you like, then browse the setup/repair forums to make your bass play smooth as silk.

    As a few others have mentioned, keep your wrists straight. I almost cut off a finiger yesterday stripping some crappy veneer from a bass, and my fretting hand is wrapped in an elastic bandage. As an experiment, I wrapped my plucking arm's wrist with another elastic bandage....I found I could play longer and faster that way.

    Experiment with your bass and have fun.....welcome to the dark side.
     
  12. Toastfuzz

    Toastfuzz

    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Personal anecdote, this probably wouldn't work for everyone...

    When I first started I had that same problem where you never feel like you're accomplishing anything.

    I taught myself to play bass, of course with much practice and dedication, but a big thing that helped me was I was really into Rage Against the Machine at the time, and Rage basslines, while being heavy and mean, are actually all repetition and fairly simplistic. Its a quick return on your investment, 30 min or so getting a couple riffs down and you can nail a song start to finish. Then move on to the next song, because they're fairly similar in structure. Once I was able to play the entire first Rage album from start to finish, I had the confidence boost that really took my playing and practicing in different directions. I'll still throw it in and jam through it from time to time when I'm feeling bored or discouraged, and it brings the excitement back to my bassplaying.

    Maybe find your own "Rage" to master?
     
  13. schaet

    schaet

    Jan 4, 2012
    Thank you so much! Chord tones are truly a must learn! Its getting clearer and clearer now. I realized and learned a lot already. I just need to apply what I'm learning. Thank you guys!
     
  14. Some good suggestions so far.

    To people that ask me about learning an instrument, one of the first things I tell them is that a metronome is one of the most important/underrated things in a musician's toolbox. The better your sense of time is, the easier it will be to play with other musicians.

    Like others have mentioned, scales and theory and technique are important, but just they're a means to an end. Ever go to a concert where the artist/band just got on stage and played scales? Probably not because that'd be BORING. ;) You want to play music. You might check out Victor Wooten's Groove Workshop dvd... it's a GREAT workshop that discusses approaching music from the groove mentality rather than from scales and thoery.

    Another suggestion I'd make is to learn to read standard notation (music notes) if you don't already know how. Reading tabs helps of course, but standard notation gives much more information. There was a site a while back called Playthebass.com that had some handy tools for learning. It's not around anymore, but they had some great resources in PDF form... check the attachments. Bass clef flash cards for learning notes and key signatures.

    Another great site for lessons is Playbassnow.com. MarloweDK does a great job in his videos... in his Bass Lick of the Day category for example, he'll play the lick and then break it down slowly. He's got a LOT of good stuff on his site.

    5sg.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. More flash cards...

    5sg.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. ...... and the last of the flash cards. :bassist:

    They're all 8 1/2 x 11. Print them out, stick them back to back and cut out!

    5sg.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. P.S. Here's another good PDF. Knowing your fretboard is a good thing too!

    5sg.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. kraigo

    kraigo

    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks for the PDFs, Gecko! I know the mechanics of reading just fine, but the actual practice of reading anything other than snare drum sheet music is nothing I've cultivated. I'm hoping that your PDFs will help me (even if just inspiring me) to put one of my major Achilles Heels behind me.

    KO
     
  19. schaet

    schaet

    Jan 4, 2012
    Thank you so much fivestringgecko!
     
  20. No problem!

    Sight reading is a VERY good thing to learn too. Unfortunately, the only thing you can really do to practice sight reading is to, well.... sight read! Get your hands on any and all music you can and work on playing it. Go to your music shop and see what they've got for MUSIC books (tip: check out the piano books. Guitar books usually only have treble clef and tab).

    What really helped me out in this area was joining the church choir I play for. It's been practically constant sight reading for me since I joined. I've been playing there for seven years and there's still probably 50% or more music that the director pulls that I've never heard/read. Simple lyrics sheets with chords, rhythm charts, songbook stuff with just treble clef and guitar chords, "real" music with a full staff, even choral charts with four-staff systems broken down for soprano/alto/tenor/baritone vocal parts (now THAT'S something to read! :rollno:Lol)... my ability to sight read (almost) anything has VASTLY improved.

    Once your more comfortable on your instrument, maybe you can find something like that in your neighborhood?

    5sg.
     

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