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New to bass: how to make practice fun/musical?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by KeefazBass, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. KeefazBass


    Sep 30, 2017
    I've been playing guitar for ages, but am trying to get good on bass. At the moment, I'm concentrating on right hand technique. I really love playing bass in a band context but practising solo really feels like a chore. How do I make it more fun while still progressing as quick as possible?
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Find some jam tracks or tunes you like to play along with, maybe?
    Jhengsman, reddog and old spice like this.
  3. Play with a metronome. Try to learn parts you like by ear; when you get the first pitch right, the rest is easier.
  4. If you are playing solos ditch that and play rhythm accomiment. Take the fake chord sheet music you used with the guitar and play the chords root note to the beat of the song. Same as you did on the guitar, but this time you are not strumming the beat you play notes of the active chord to the beat. Just roots for now -- we will go deeper later.

    See what you can do with this.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Jam along to recordings of your favorite songs, close your eyes, and imagine you are on stage rocking out with the band! :)
  6. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Pick one, you can't have both. ;)

    If you want to make progress quickly, get a teacher and work the fundamentals - scales, arpeggios, reading, theory, transcribing. There are no tips, tricks, or shortcuts. Achieving excellence on a musical instrument takes dedication, time and hard work. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll wake up one day and realize that you are really good.
    928cat, SJan3 and Nashrakh like this.
  7. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    If practicing is fun, you aren't practicing. Practicing is work. The fun and musicality come with performance and not during practice. If you sound great when you're practicing, you're not really practicing. If you sound great, that's when you move on to the next thing you want to learn, and you'll once again sound bad. (Rinse/repeat). To make progress is to put in the work, and it probably won't be fun unless you love work.
    SJan3 and Nashrakh like this.
  8. Check out Janek Gwizdala's YouTube channel, he is constantly exploring, and might inspire you to be more musical when you practice.

    I reckon if you find fun in the work, then the work will be fun. :)
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    If you do indeed really love the bass, then putting in the work required in order to be proficient on it, should not be considered a chore.

    The ideal way to practice would be that after you have put in your quota of "hard work", you should take some time out and "reward" yourself by playing along to some (make them easy to start with) of your favourite songs.
    MalcolmAmos likes this.
  10. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Weather it feels like a chore or not is all about your mental attitude.
    practicing solo is fun and musical, If you choose to experience that way.

    If as you practice, you distract yourself thinking "this is a chore"
    Then you are not focusing enough on the task at hand.
    928cat likes this.
  11. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Try using a looper with some percussion tracks.

    Even if you're just drilling on scales, playing with different beats can be much more engaging and inspiring than using a standard metronome, and giving yourself a little looped accompaniment is both creatively fulfilling and super enlightening.

  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Vary your practice routine, and take some time every practice to do something fun. I remember when I taught skiing, no matter how technical the lessons got, we always finished with one run of skiing just for fun.
  13. Little more -- you are on the root and want more than just roots in your bass line......

    The 5th of any root is up a string and toward the bridge two frets.
    The 8th of any root is up two strings and toward the bridge two frets - right over the 5.
    The 3rd of any root is up a string and back a fret.
    The 6th of any root is up two strings and back a fret - right over the 3.
    The 7th of any root is up two strings and over one fret.​

    I'm not going to speak about the 2 and 4 as most chord tones do not have the 2 or 4 in them. Sus and add 4 chords will use the 2 & 4 and I don't run up on them that much in the music I play. So if you are following the chords and if you know where the root is the 5, 8, correct 3 (3 or b3), correct 7 (7 or b7) and 6 will play a bunch of bass lines.

    R-3-5-8 any combination of those notes in any order will work.

    Yes pick the groove notes that work best with this specific song - rhythm has more to do with accompaniment bass than specific notes... You can groove roots. If you need more help yourself to the above.

    Now melody. The major pentatonic scale has been used in a zillion tunes. It's made of the R-2-3-5-6-8 notes. I have not mentioned where we find the 2. The 2 is same string as the root and over two frets toward the bridge. Mix and match and see what you can do. The minor pentatonic notes are R-b3-4-5-b7. Like the 2 I have not mentioned where we find the 4. The 4 is up a string from the root, same fret. If the tonic chord is major use the major pentatonic, and if the tonic chord is minor use the minor pentatonic.

    Composing - three close notes then a leap of at least a 3rd is one way to build a melody. From where you landed, do it again - three close notes then a leap. Remember to include pauses, rests, etc. so the tune you have composed can breath.

    Playing melody of the tune. Listen and echo the melody, one phrase after another. Take it one phrase at a time.

    1. Mary had a little lamb,
    2. little lamb, little lamb.
    3. Mary had a little lamb,
    4. It's fleese was white as snow.
    That four line head will probably repeat itself through out the tune.

    Have fun.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  14. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    If practicing isn't fun, you're doing the wrong thing. Frankly, you should wake up in the morning looking forward to the time you can spend with your instrument...maybe even planning the day around your practice time.
    If playing an instrument is work, do something else. Without a doubt you'll make more money with that than with music. And probably have a better time.
    928cat likes this.
  15. This! For me it is like beeing 14 again and waiting to meet with my girlfriend to make out. I have scales and exercises in my head all day long.

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