New bassist has some questions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by pickhead, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. pickhead


    Jul 23, 2004
    I was a guitar player until a month ago, then I decided to buy a bass. Being a newbie, I have a few questions , please :help: me!

    1. Is Washburn XB100 a good bass for beginners?

    2. How much time can I go with my guitar amp Washburn BD12? (Because I couldn't afford a bass amp, they are pretty expensive :crying: )

    3. As you can guess, I have some difficulties playing my fingers and more confident with picks. Can you suggest me some exercises and songs which strengthen my fingers and improve accuracy? (There aren't any bass books in Turkey, so I really need this)

  2. You could put a bass through a guitar amp, but you'd better not put it above whisper quiet. You could damage your speaker badly by putting too much low end through it.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    If you are referring to strengthening your fingers to use fingerstyle plucking rather than using a pick, I'd say it isn't so much that you need strength as agility and speed. You don't have to pluck hard and probably shouldn't.

    You can improve your agility with this exercise I learned from a Michael Manring video.

    1. With an open E, just practice alternating your index and middle fingers on the E string until you can do it smoothly, condfidently and consistently. I advise starting by alternating just two fingers. Some more experienced bassists use three, but two make a good start and you could play all your life with only two.

    2. Then alternate between plucking first the E-string, then the A-string and back again. This will seem harder, because the middle finger has to reach further. It is also harder to remember to return to the index finger when returning to the E-string, but this how you learn strict alternation.

    3. When you have that going smoothly, pluck the E-string, then the D-string. This is even more of a challenge because of the distance the finger plucking the D-string must travel. It will probably take you longer to get that down with strict alternation.

    4. Alternate between the E-string and the G-string, the longest distance.

    5. After you are confident and fluent with those combinations try others, such as A-string to G-string or D-string to A-string to G-string and back to the A-string. Mix it up and have fun experimenting. This is best done with a metronome. Start very slowly, then gradually pick up speed. Slow down again if you start to get mixed up or begin to sound sloppy.

    By the way, these same drills are useful with a pick too.
  4. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    guitar through a bass amp = no prob. bass through a guitar amp = bad idea. if you need one amp to do both get a nice bass amp or a keyboard amp. a keyboard has range larger than guitar and bass put together so...

    the washburn isn't bad, i had a student with one, good beginer ax, comparable to a fender standard P or J, IMO. I've actually seen some made in china basses with the "Austin" brand on the head stock that beat out the Standard P and J from fender, again IMO.

  5. pickhead


    Jul 23, 2004
    Thanks Boplicity, this really works. And, I have a 4th question: I saw that most bassists use index-middle-index-middle when playing walking bass lines. However, I got used to playing middle-index-middle-index... Should I practice the other thing? Is mine a bad habit, or normal? Thanks.
  6. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    not at all - i`ve been playing middle-index-middle-index for almost 4 years now, and didn`t had any problems. it just seems a bit more natural to me. when i tap my fingers on the table i alwasy start from the pinky, not the index finger...
  7. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    yeah i go both ways depending on rhythm and which strings i'm playing. there isn't really a difference, a "weak" finger (like a drummer's left hand), unless i try to do that ring finger thing