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New girl needs honest opinions......

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tifa, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. tifa

    tifa Padawan Bassist

    Mar 8, 2005
    Blackburn, UK

    Sorry by the way if i'm in the wrong thread, this is my first day! :)

    I am 21, and thinking of learning to play bass. trouble is I feel like i am maybe starting a bit late, as everyone I know who plays an instrument has been doing it since they were kids. Id love to hear from other people who started about the same age - did you find it difficult to learn? what did other people think of it? Is it a bit like 'jumping on the bandwagon'?

    Also id love some advice from the girls out there - what are people's attitudes towards female bassists?

    cheers for the help!

  2. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I started later than you (26.) I played some guitar, but played drums in a clubbing band forever. I am 41 now. While I am no "Jaco," I feel I can hold my own. It all depends on how bad you want to learn to play. Play with other people every chance you get. It will make you better,faster.
  3. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    welcome to TalkBass !!
    this is THE place to learn about anything that has to do with bass ...
    alot of great advise , cool gear reviews and some very knowledgeable
    people are on these threads ...
    don't worry about your age , just keep learning , enjoying your new passion .

    there is a SEARCH feature that can answer some questions , just type in a key word and hit ENTER ...
    also , you might want to fill out your public profile , it helps people understand what your interests are , gear you want , etc ...
  4. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    Hi - welcome to TB!

    I started at around about the same age as you, with no previous musical experience to speak of (unless getting thrown off the school choir and the ability to play "Merrily We Roll Along" on a wide range of instruments counts as experience).

    I didn't find it particularly difficult to get started: got a bass, borrowed an amp, learned the basics of musical theory, tried to play along to songs I liked. It was a bit trickier to get to the stage where I felt I could play in a band, but that's a fairly important step, and I was lucky enough to team up with a great bunch of musicians who were very supportive and patient with the learner in their midst. These days, I'm a decent enough player. I'll never be a virtuoso, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be no matter how early I'd started.

    Hope that's useful - go for it!
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    It's never too late. I have one student - an electrician - who's in his 40's. I had another in his 50's - he was a cardiovasular surgon. Great student and I got some free medical advice, too.
  6. tifa

    tifa Padawan Bassist

    Mar 8, 2005
    Blackburn, UK
    thanks for the advice!

    Is it worth getting lessons? To be honest I cant really afford them! I was hoping I could learn the basic scales, theory etc myself (with a little help from my more musical friends!)

    Just the thought of sitting in a room with a teacher.... brings back memories of school music lessons..... attempting to play Three Blind Mice on a recorder!!

  7. ZonPlyr


    Apr 29, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    Welcome to the boards, one of the best places to find out anything bass. It's never too late to start learing. If you don't want the confined learning atmosphere you might want to check out musicdojo.com they have some great beginning classes that you might find helpful. Again welcome and just keep learning.
  8. lefty


    Sep 25, 2004
    i started at age 18 but had previous music experience, piano and drums. your starting at an exelent age to start playing. all you need is the drive to do it. a little talent does`nt hurt either. no matter how good you are or not you can find someone of your caliber to play with. find some cool people to hang out with who also play. ask about gear, technique and whatever. find someone who you like playingwise and talk to them, tell them you like thier playing and that your starting out, most musicians love talk about playing and what they do. learn various types of music, rock, jazz, latin, reggae, country or whatever, it`s good to know how to play all kinds of music and then incorporate it into your style, i can`t empathize this enough. if you don`t, your playing down the years will become stale. and another important part of your instrument is drums, watch drummers and how they play, the drums are the pretty much the second half of your instrument. when you get good enough to jam with people and you find a good drummer that you love to play with marry him (just kidding) joking aside allways stay in touch with good drummers you will kick yourself if you don`t. i lost touch with my favorite drummer and i hate myself for it (jeff, if your reading this get in touch with me!) practice, practice, practice your in the right place by staying in touch on this site. now, get to the woodshed and keep us posted. stay cool and stay out of treble!
  9. Hi Tifa, welcome to TB.
    You are never too old to start playing a musical instrument, so do not worry there. If you can teach yourself and have your friends help, then that is great, as long as the motivation is there, otherwise, take lessons. I play in a blues band, and I still take lessons as I want to know more and learn different things, I doubt I will ever stop learning!
    There is nothing wrong with female bassists. Carole Kay (sp?) is an icon in the bass world... (imo, she is an incredible player), and if you want a talented female Canadian bassplayer look no further that Rhonda Smith who plays for Prince. She is an incredible talent.

    Have fun and enjoy bass and remember there is no such word as impossible!

  10. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    I started at 27, and had no trouble learning. Its all what you put into it. A lot of times kids are more dedicated to practicing, because they take classes and have to show results. Sometimes its the opposite, because kids are made to practice, they dont enjoy it and therefore dont put in the effort needed to improve.

    Anyhow, you'll get out of it exactly what you put into it. I don't play everyday, and it shows, but when I do play everyday, that shows too hehe.
  11. tifa

    tifa Padawan Bassist

    Mar 8, 2005
    Blackburn, UK
    Thanks everyone I feel much better about it - I suppose the only way I'll know is to go for it and see what happens!

    Hopefully I will be able to grasp the basics of the basics then move on from there (without too many tears or fits of murderous rage!!) :bawl: :mad:

    Will let you know how I go on! Any tips/help will always be appreciated!
  12. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    You might pick up some videos or books to get you started since you said lessons may be out of the budget right now. I urge you to try and get lessons as soon as you can though so you don't develope any bad habbits hehe.

    Ed Freidland makes some really good books and videos, also, TB's very own Michael Dimin (check the ask a pro's section) has a great chordal approach book.

    Other than that, learn your scales (try and avoid open string scales to start with to build your hand strength).

    Some simple excercises are little things like using 1 finger per fret, and doing a 1, 4, 2, 3 pattern, move down a string, repeat till you get to the last string, then slide up (closer to the bridge) one fret and do a 4, 1, 3, 2 pattern comming up. When you get to the top, slide up a fret and keep on going. Start slow, get your notes clean and clear. If you mess up, start back on 1 or 4 of that string and try again. Go as slow as it takes you to get it to sound clean. I usually do this excercise everytime I pick up my bass. I normally play from about the 2nd fret down to around the 12th fret or so. This stretches the hands, it builds strength in all 4 fingers, and gets you used to playing all over the neck. Just a simple little thing like this to start your practice is very helpfull Ive found.

    Oh and two things you may not think about getting along with your bass and amp to play through: A tuner, and a Metronome. Since one of the key roles of a bass player is to keep time, you should start as soon as possible attempting to stay in time. Tap your foot along to the metronome to build that internal time keeper up :) And the tuner is because your ears wont be as good as they need to be starting out. Playing in tune is the first lesson to training your ears to know when its not right.
  13. buddahbass


    Dec 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    lessons are always a good idea. i started playing at 28 and took a year of lessons and now i play as well as people playing for 10 years longer. but if money is an issue for lessons check out www.activebass.com some reaaly good info on there........good luck :)
  14. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi tifa, in my early bass playing career, I tried to "play along with the radio" as much as possible. That's kind of a "poor man's lesson", if you're willing to take the time. There's nothing like "operational knowledge" (of the engineering variety). Formal lessons tend to be more "theoretical", in other words, you learn the "good" techniques, and the "good" finger position, that kind of thing. But "operational knowledge" is when you can pick up a tune ("any" tune), and play along with it in real time. That's "ear training". Jam sessions are really good in that regard too. I don't know how it's like in your area, but out here in the LA area you can take your choice between five or six club jams on any given night. I did that for a while, I started out with the simple ones, where the players were basically beginners and wanna-be's, and then gradually progressed through more challenging venues, where the players were pro's or ex-pro's who were just jamming to have a good time and get out of the house once in a while. There's more than one way to skin that particular cat. My own recommendation would be, develop your ear "first", "then" take lessons. Once you've got your ear in place, the lessons will be much more meaningful. The thing to watch out for, is that you don't go too far down the path of "bad habits", 'cause they can be pretty hard to unlearn. So in that regard, "one or two" lessons might be a good thing, when you're starting out, just to get going on the right path. But endless lessons are counterproductive, has been my experience, they tend to stifle one's creativity. The most important thing, is to learn to get around on the fingerboard, and for that, you don't really need a formal teacher. The radio is just as good. But two thoughts in this context: one is, it's important to get a "variety" of input, in other words, don't just listen to KROQ all day, surf around to the jazz and classical stations too. And the other thought is, once you find that you're starting to develop a decent ear, get out and start jamming with people as quickly as possible. There's a big difference between the radio (where you know more or less how the song goes "ahead of time"), and a live jam, where people will pull surprises on you all the time. But that's a good path, in my experience, first build an ear, then learn how to use it. Just a thought, two cents for free. :)
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Don't feel bad due to your age. There are a ton of folks who started playing an instrument in their late teens to early 20's and in 2 years time have mastered their instrument and can go toe to toe with the best of them. It's never too late. My brother-in-law is 44 and just started taking drum lessons!


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA

    Yep...I did the same thing. I took a few lessons so I could learn finger positions, a couple scales, etc. and then I attacked my cd collection since the instructors I had could really help with funk and gospel music. Now that I'm more proficient, taking lessons again would really help me get more out of my playing....BTW, I picked up bass 7 years ago at the tender age of 37.
  17. bste9


    Jun 15, 2000
    St. Louis
    im bought my first bass when i was 21. i tried guitar first and i didnt get it. I taught myself how to play by reading tabs and playing to songs i like and lessons here and there. Im 26 now and i started playing in my first band about a year ago and started playing shows with them about 6 months ago. By no means am i talent, but i reached my goal of wanting to play shows. so dont be discouraged or anything by saying its too late. i wish would have started younger too, but like everyone else has said, its never too late.
  18. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005
    Ever hear the express "It's never to late to learn". I started about 4-5 months ago and I'm 26.
  19. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    You might keep in mind that the bass instructor might not be so bad! I have tought bass for about 7 years now and i always make sure my student are relaxed and feel welcome and not pressured. I relize its hard to learn when you think you have too. So i try to make it fun. But i do relize its hard to find a teacher like that. And yes most of my students are older than 18. And 3 of them are girls. I see no diff in girls and boys playing bass. Both seem to grasp it the same and take off. Hey maybe you could afford to fly me there and i would love to drink some great scotch and give you lessons! :eyebrow: Naa i didnt think so!

    If you ever have any questions feel free to message me or any of the other instructors here.
  20. Tifa, all the advice given so far is great - not a bad piece in there.

    But a point that has been overlooked is that no matter if the TB'er is a pure newbie like yourelf or an old road dog like Ed Fuqua, we are all learning. So in that light, all of us are just starting out somewhere! For you it's going to be just learning the notes and parts of the instrument. For me it's mastering double thumbing with 2 finger pull-offs, while for another it will be the intricacies of building an interesting bass line within the ionian augmented #2 mode of the Hungarian scale :confused:

    For the real student of this wonderful art, you never really "get there", you just keep going and enjoying the interesting things you experience along the way. And if you decide someday that where you are at is far enough, that's OK too. This isn't a race.