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Newbie needs help

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Pickn4u, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Howdy all. Hey just thought I would take a few key strokes to say hi and intro my self. I am a 61 year old bluegrass and other guitar player from NW Ohio. I have recently retired and have more time to dedicate to my music interests. The group I usually jamb with is having an awful time finding a good bassist, sooooo, here I am. I thought that maybe, just maybe I could learn to play base. Any input from y'all would be much appreciated such as, good beginners dog house to where and how to get started, training programs, suggestions. Literally anything that may help. Thanks and hope to run into some of you at the festivals. If you see a white dually and camper with plate numbers PICKN4U and PICKN4U2 on them please stop in and say hi.
  2. LoBassKing


    Feb 25, 2008
    Lolo Montana
    I too am a long time bluegrasser, learning bass as a second instrument. I have played the 5 string for over 30 years.
    I can highly recommend the Todd Phillips videos. His approach is not completely BG but he does start at the begining. He begins by talking about real basics, which is what I needed.
    The Mark Schatz videos are also good, but he doesn't talk about the real basics, his is more of the "Whatever Works for you school". While I appreciate this, I went down that road with the banjo, and spent a couple of years breaking bad habits that could have really been avoided in the first place.
    As for the bass itself. Most BG bassist prefer tha laminated basses by Kay, Englehart, American Standard, and King.
    I think these are the "traditional" basses much like the Martin guitar and Gibson banjo, probably due to price and availability back in the day. Now the Kay's AS and Kings can cost you more than some new basses, but have that traditional sound.
    I was fortunate to run across a King Moretone for a resonable price, so thats what I have. I do think in a year or two if my playing justifies it I will look for something newer, probably a New Standard.
    I have seen many Chinese basses at BG festivals in the last couple of years. I have also heard some horror stories, about them coming apart after awhile. Much of this appears due to the fact that these basses are being exposed to festival conditions, damp nights, hot days. At least thats how the weather tends to be in the Pacific Northwest during festival season.

    Thats My .02 worth, keep grinnin.

  3. Be prepared to leave your ego at the door. In "traditional" bluegrass your main job is to make everyone else sound good by laying a firm foundation. Someone once told me that no one notices a good bluegrass bassist but everyone notices a bad one. I've found that to be pretty accurate.
  4. Cathead


    Dec 13, 2002
    Premier, WV
    Someone once told me that no one notices a good bluegrass bassist ........

    I think this is true.....unless he stops playing to pick his nose.
  5. Cathead,

    I'm just about at the point where I can do THAT without stopping. A little more pratice and I think I'll have it.


    An excellent primer is the Beginnig Bass DVD by Missy Raines. After picking up some basic technique there, Mark Schatz's Beginning Bluegrass Bass will make more sense.

    Grab a couple of lessons if you can to learn proper form and technique. It's a lot easier up front, before you develop bad habits that you'll have to unlearn later.

    And (as you'll pick up from both tapes) practice with a metronome.

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