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New bassist...??

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by shakira prophet, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. I've been playing my bass off and on for about a year. Just recently I started to really get into it. My friend wants to get some friends of ours together and just jam. The problem is that I am not really good enough to get with other people yet. I really would love to, but what would help me get to the point where you can get 2gether with my other friends and just make it happen.?
  2. sbasssman

    sbasssman Guest

    Jan 1, 2002
    > just make it happen

    There's no magic to jamming. Your best bet is to actually pick a few songs and work them out in advance. Also consider some of the beginners series books that teach the same songs in drum, bass, guitar. It will be fun. Go for it, but prepare
    in advance.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The main thing is to have a good idea of what kind of music your buddies plan to use for their jam session. Is it blues, hard rock, punk, tejano, or what?

    Some jam sessions can be pretty wide open...one guy wanting to jam on Hendrix and another on Korn. See if you can get an idea from your friends what they are expecting to play and what they expect from you. Also, do you know how good they are. Are they light years ahead of you or are they pretty much in the beginning status too?

    It is kind of hard to give advice without knowing how much you have learned and already know how to do. If some one says let's play in G Major, would you know what they mean? If they tell you a chord progression, would you know what to do? Do your know your fretboard well enough, that if they told you just to play root and fifths as a bassline on a chord progression they give you, could you do it?

    Maybe you are way beyond that, though. Anyway, give the jam session a try. Jam sessions can be very enjoyable and can inspire you to try harder and learn more about bass playing. They can be a big spur to growth as a bassist. I wish you luck and hope you will tell us how it goes.
  4. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    I've been jamming weekly for a few months now, and I'm still having a hard time. Someone will just start playing, and no one will tell me the key or the progression or anything. At least not usually. So if I'm not the one starting it, I have a hell of a time figuring out what's going on.

    So, some things I've learned:
    -Don't expect anyone to tell you anything. :(
    -Might be handy to have something like a whiteboard, in case people will tell you stuff like the progression.
    -Don't be afraid to turn yourself up loud enough to hear what you're doing. So what if you mess up.
    -Watch and listen constantly. You can watch the guitar(s) and usually figure out the root notes. Don't go off in your own world--watch other players so you don't miss key/tempo changes, etc.
    -If you don't know what fills or rhythm to play, at the very least you can follow the bass drum and play root notes; fifths are also pretty safe.
    -Try not to get all frustrated, and if you do, keep playing anyway. That's one of my biggest weaknesses, I get mad and put the bass down and sulk like a little kid. That's just dumb. Heh.
    -If you can improvise well, that is good.
    -Have fun. Jamming is great, it is low pressure and great practice and it is just good. :)

    Working out stuff to play beforehand is definitely a good idea, especially if the other musicians are not so experienced.

    Hope this helps.
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I actually joined a band before I could play or owned a bass. I spent 3 months borrowing stuff before I bought my own gear.

    Go for it
  6. if you're like i was when i first started jamming, you probably dont know much about theory(and if you do, thats good), so basically just ask the guitarist to show you the chords he's playing on what fret. if he/she is just doing power chords, your set. just play root notes until you get the feel for it, and then you can start to add a bit, make some fills and what not. or, just stick to root notes, just playing music with a band is fun, even if it takes no talent. but im probably starting to make less and less sense, so im just gonna shut up. hope my advice helps.
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Playing with others is one of the most efficient ways to improve. If they're more advanced than you are, they can help you, and you'd be surprised at how quickly you'll catch up.

    Even if the first jam doesn't go that well, don't worry. Even very experienced musicians can sometimes take a while to adjust to new mates. Once you know what to expect at a jam, you'll know what to work on for the next time.

    As for improving jam skills, good ears are a big plus, but those can take time to develop. Try listening to a lot of records, hear the bass lines, and learn how they are put together. Other than that, the best way to get better at jamming is just to do it as many times as you can.
  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You'll probably find it easier to produce satisfactory results if you get the chance to do a little preparation first.

    Experience makes it easier to recognise the patterns the other players are using and fit in with them, but if someone is kind enough to tell you in advance (before starting - and, if you're nervous but diligent, preferably a couple of days before the jam) you can go a long way.

    A lot of songs, especially in a genre like rock or blues, can be boiled down to two or three simple sets of chords. I would highly recommend taking the opportunity - assuming the people you're playing with have got some class, the worst that's likely to happen is that you'll get a clearer idea of your weaknesses :cool:

  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Get out there and make a few mistakes

    Playing with other people is an invaluable experience that you need. Unless of course you wanna just stick to playing in your room by yourself. Just keep it fun and have a good time, you'll do fine.

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