New with bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by brandon6295, Jan 7, 2001.

  1. brandon6295


    Jan 7, 2001
    i have been playing regular guitar for about 3 years now and i recently got a bass. im not takin lessons or anything but i need to learn some more of the basics like slaps and stuff. can anyone help me or anything?
  2. First of all, some technique. The most common style of playing that works with most variety is playing with your fingers. Keep in mind that everyone has their own style, but here's how I like to play: I rest my (right) thumb on my lowest string. (when not playing the lowest string) I pluck the string towards me and finish the stroke resting in on the string lower than it.

    example- When playing the A-string, I finish with my finger on the E string.

    For most material, I use my index, middle, and ring finger in a pattern of ring, middle, index, ring, middle...etc, with variations for what I'm playing. For doing some material, I use an index, middle, index...etc technique, such as notes in sets of two.

    Slap is another (requested) playing technique. I'm no slap genious, but I'll contribute what I know. It involves making a fist with your thumb extended, and hitting the string, but letting it bounce off. To pop, which goes hand-in-hand with slapping, simply pull up on the string with your finger (any will do), and letting it slam down and hit the frets.

    On another topic, I sugest that you learn how to read music in the bass clef, and relate it to the notes on the fingerboard. A superb tutorial is available at This will open you to a whole lot of new music, better music writing, better timing comprehension, and access to music theory.

    Music theory is a general term, which is a bit tough to explain. It helps you write music, usually using scales, or sets of notes. I think I'll leave this section open to the experts in this area.

    One of the biggest elements for great playing style is practice. Practice as much as possible. This will help you in just about every field of bass-playing.

    Now, for some information on setup. Setup refers to adjusting your bass's many tweakabilities.

    -Action-The String height. That's left up to you. Do you like your strings higher or lower. The action can be adjusted by putting an allen wrench in the top of a bridge sattle, and turning. A right turn should raise the action, a left turn should lower it.
    -Inotation-The foward/backward postition of the bridge saddle that controls the active string length. Adjusting this changes the realitive fret-to-fret difference in pitch, example: If the action is correct, an open A string should read the same same on a tuner as when it is fretted at the 12th fret. If the open note is too high, just shorten the active string length but placing a screwdriver in the back of your bridge and turning counter-clockwise. The same thing works in reverse. (Get the point(
    -Truss Rod-The metal rod that runs the length of the neck. It can be tightened or loosened, adjusting the curve of the neck. I don't frankly know much more about it.
    -Pickup height-The height of the pickup. It should be high enough to pick-up the sring loud enough, but low enough so that it doesn't make unwanted static. To adjust this, simply put a screwdriver in the screws of the pickup and adjust it.

    Questions? comments?

  3. welcome to the dark side, brandon. it's a lot of fun. i think slap is pretty much the last thing you need to learn, though. concentrate on fingerstyle. here's my advice for beginning bass players:

    -don't use a pick. they're good for a few songs, but your fingers are way more versatile.
    -the amp comes first. before you invest in an expensive bass, way before you buy effects, get a decent amp. i bet right now you're playing through your guitar amp, which will keep you from attaining true bassness and might kill your amp.
    -have fun. religiously doing exercises and practicing scales will probably make it a chore. you have to balance technical practice and goofing around so you don't get bored.
    -listen to rancid :D