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New to bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Aicdummer, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Aicdummer


    Mar 18, 2013
    Hey guys. So ive been playing drums for a little over 3 years. And ive always wanted to play bass to. My friend has taught me some basic songs and im really excited to start playing. I ordered a red fender jaguar. Any advice for startin off? Id really apreciate it.
  2. mjbing


    May 5, 2005
    Western Oklahoma
    Read this forum
    Read the stickys
    Search advice for new guys and read
    The info you desire is here
    Search is your friend
    I read for years before I started posting
    All my questions were answered
    Welcome to the low down :D
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Mjbing is correct. You will get all the information you require here. The problem is, getting it in the correct order, to help someone starting out.

    As you are new to the bass, my advice (in order of importance, as I see it) is;

    1. Spend a bit of time just getting used to the feel and different sounds of your bass.

    2. Learn how to hold the bass, so as it is comfortable to play.

    3. Learn good left and right hand technique.

    4. Learn where all the notes on the fretboard are situated.

    5. For a start, learn the Major, Minor and Pentatonic scales. Learn how chords are derived from scales.

    6. Tabs are OK up to a point, but dont rely on them totally. Instead, develop your ear by trying to play along to music that you like. Try to figure things out for yourself. This will pay dividends in the long term.

    A teacher would get you off to a great start. Even a few lessons would be a good idea. In the absence of that, below are some books and web sites I would recommend. "Study Bass" is particularly recommended.

    Best of luck with it, and welcome to the low end. :bassist:




  4. mjbing


    May 5, 2005
    Western Oklahoma
    Thank you Fearceol
    I knew one of you "other guys" would
    qualify my post
  5. All good information, I'll add the following.
    I'll try and give you the big picture -- how you will be using all this. I find that if I understand why I'm learning something it helps me see the big picture - and then it makes since to me. Here goes.....

    The Internet sites listed will get you started. Don't remember if the book Bass Guitar for Dummies was listed, if not that is a very good starter book of instructions.

    Few words about the sheet music you will be using is in order here. If you will be playing from standard notation yes you need to know first, how to read standard and then, second, where the notes are in the first 5 frets of your fretboard. Point being a lot of the sheet music we use is not written in standard notation. So we need to learn how to play the sheet music associated with the style of music we play, i.e. if Jazz you will need to know standard notation, however, if Country very few Country songs are published in standard notation, fake chord, or lead sheet seems to be the most popular way of presenting Country music and neither of those methods list the bass clef. Standard notation should enter your World sooner or later, however if you are not going to be able to find your songs in standard notation, well, that means fake chord, lead sheet, tabs, or ear is where you should spend your time , right at first. Most bands pass among themselves fake chord or lead sheet music. So it is kinda important you know how to play from them. I'm sure you already have used fake chord.

    Very important. We all have to run our scales - so our fingers know where to find the correct note and while doing that know where the right spot to finger those notes are located, i.e. just behind the fret, not in the middle, etc. And here you need to be able to run a scale in several locations on your fretboard. Why? First position, up around the nut, the frets are spread out, however if using a key located at say the 10th fret the frets are close together - yep - something that must be taken into account. Then most of what we will be doing is playing from the chords and here we need to know how a chord is built from scale notes. For example the Cmaj7 chord is make of the Root, the 3rd, the 5th and the 7th note of the scale (R-3-5-7).
    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    So see a Cmaj7 chord coming up in the song and your fingers know that the R-3-5-7 notes of the scale will make a good bass line under that chord. Just the R or root note at first will get you by. Later if the song will give you time adding the 5 would be better than just the root. Still have time before the song goes off and leaves you -- add the 8 which is the root in the next octave. Still have some time then the correct 3 and 7 will fit in nicely. Root on 1 with the kick drum is always a good way to get started.

    • Chord tones:
    • C chord R-3-5-3
    • Cm chord R-b3-5-8 or R-b3-5-b7
    • Cmaj7 R-3-5-7
    • C7 R-3-5-b7
    • Cm7b5 R-b3-b5-b7
      C major pentatonic R-2-3-5-6
      C minor pentatonic R-b3-4-5-b7
    You were given www.studybass.com that site will go into detail on this. This will come in handy. http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm

    Yes tabs are OK to get a riff down, or to see how a certain passage can be played, but, should not be your principle means of reading sheet music. Why? It does not tell you enough, and when you get hooked on it - it only leads down dead ends.

    Couple three or four lessons with an instructor should get you started off fine. The bassist from your old band I bet could give you what you need. Mine told me to put the root on the 3rd string and the IV and V would be on the same fret, but, up a string and down a string. Check out C-F-G and D-G-A. That was a big WOW and I took it from there.
    I see that dummies is listed. Time with dummies is time well spent. As will be time with www.studybass.com

    Welcome to the bottom end. Root on 1, then the 5, still have some room, the 8 or the correct 3 and or 7 on the 2 and 4 beat will keep you in the game. Right at first R-R-R-R will play a lot of bass. www.studybass.com will have some examples you can play from.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Welcome to the wonderful world of bass!

    I recommend to learn the most common chord progressions (I-IV-V, I-V-vi-IV, blues form, etc.) in all keys, so you can play *thousands* of songs that use these chords. Your teacher (or any intro-to-music book) will explain the basics of harmony, so you can understand how chord progressions work.

    The secret to playing bass is understanding the harmony/chord progression of a song, and then expressing it rhythmically. Since you are a drummer, you are already ahead of the game through your knowledge of rhythm.
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Good work on providing the "big picture" Malcolm (post#5). :)
  8. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Welcome to the bassment. Listen to as many kinds of music and bass players as you can. Go see them play live. Do not covet another bass players gear, you'll go mad. Don' try to keep up with the joneses. Listen to and consder everything but make up your own mind.
  9. Hulktopus


    Aug 22, 2012
    Mansfield, TX

    If you're interested in learning to read music, Hal Leonard's "Bass Method" books are wonderful. There's a link in a previous post.

    Also, I'll add: Listen to MalcolmAmos. He's probably been playing music for longer than most of us have been alive.

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