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Newer Bassist needs help

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by punk_bassist48, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. :help: Hey, i need some help with my bassing, ive been playing bass for 1 and a half years. im coming to the stage where i can play all the punk lines, and ive even got a few stanly clarke, les claypool lines down but i need to know where to go now. :)
  2. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Learn how to read music.
  3. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Ditto on the reading music. Also, learning about the chord progressions of the songs you have already learned will help you have a more intimate understanding of them and help you when you construct your own lines.
  4. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Start learning theory, it will help you emmensly
  5. Reading music is a good avenue.

    Also, if you have the means, find yourself a good drummer. Or some form of timekeeper. Practice playing on the beat, slightly behind the beat, and ahead of it...mix it up, play the same passge, yet vary the feel, and see how it relates to even the most basic beats... This will help you exponentially with your sense of time, and feel, and your way around a groove. That would be my suggestion for a possible next step. I don't know if you are currently seeking a band, or already in one...

    I don't know where your aspirations lie as far as "genre", as you've kinda run a wide variety, by the players you've named, and I think that is extremely healthy. Good punk is challenging to play to the same extent that good Primus is challenging, it all depends on what you're willing to put into it.

    Sounds like your head is on straight. Keep at it.
  6. vbass


    May 7, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    Yeah, definitely jam with a drummer if you can. Or any musicians really.... that really expedited my progress.
  7. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Ditto. A good teacher can help point you in the right direction. Looks like now's the time you need to sit down and examine some goals you have with the bass and then work towards achieving them. Want to learn how to read music? Want to play in a band (if you are not already)? Want to learn the theory behind those basslines you enjoy playing? What do you feel needs improving?

    Direction is the key.
  8. thanks guys helped heaps
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Knowing why you play bass and where you would like to be with bass a year from now, five years from now and ten years from now would almost give you a road map for what you need to learn next and buy next.

    For example, if you want to be a full time professional player, you will need to read standard notation, understand theory, scales, chords, modes, etc., may need to know how to play four, five, even six string basses. Maybe need to know how to play fretless bass. Maybe even need to know how to play upright acoustic bass. That means you will have to acquire those basses, plus the professional sound equipment for them and have adequate transportation to haul them.

    You will also need to have a large repertoire of songs in the styles you will most likely be playing at gigs or studio sessions and...oh, yes, be able to read charts and fake books and know how to improvise bass lines off those charts. Oh, you should have an acquaintance with a wide variety of styles such as bossa nova, country, jazz standards, swing music, old time rock, blues, disco, salsa, merengue, even country and polka. You should also be at least comfortable with slap technique.

    If you just want to be in, say, a cover band that plays a few gigs a month or be in a bar house band, your "need to know" list will be simpler, but how much simpler depends on your personal ambition to be a first call bassist or one who just gets along. Even as a bar band player, you should have a large repetoire of songs you might be asked to play at a moment's notice when a patron makes a request. Slap technique could come in handy, too.

    If you want to be in a punk band playing original punk music, you should work on ear training, then learn all the top punk band styles and best known songs of punk players. That will help you develop your own basslines in your punk original band. You will also need bass equipment typical of that used by most punk players.

    By setting goals and timelines for achieving them, you really have a way to know what you should be learning rather than just drifting along. One of the best things you could do is have a bass instructor at least evaluate your present level of skill. He can then tell you what needs work and what you have done well. But only you can know what you want from playing bass and the amswer to that one question will decide what you need to do to achieve your dream.
  10. thanks that was a great help
  11. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    That depends on your definition of "professional player".
    I know several bassists who have very consistant gigs, and a couple who are on the verge of being signed who don't know any of those, and only have a five string and an amp. Are they not pros? Saying he NEEDS those things if he wants to be a pro is kinda misleading. It may help for different situations, but needed? Don't think so.

    Doesn't this depend on the type of band too? If I'm in a metal band, there is no way in hell I'm going to need to play a fretless, or an upright, or even a 4 string.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I was thinking of a particular type of pro in the order of, oh, say Nathan East, one of my favorites, or others like him. I was thinking of an all around pro who can keep on playing and earning well into his sixties or even older. I wasn't thinking of a bassist in a metal band because I don't know a lot of them who really do earn a comfortable living playing metal that long. Of course you are correct, a punk or metal player would probably NOT need a fretless EVER, but you did read, didn't you, in my post that if one wants to be a punk player, one should acquire the equipment used by punk players.

    We've had numerous discussions here at TalkBass over the years about exactly what is meant by a pro. I have always maintained the position that a professional bassist is one who earns his living playing bass. A semi-pro earns part of his income playing bass. An amateur earns little or no income playing bass. Some here at TalkBass hold the position that if they earn ANY money playing bass, they are professional musicians.

    We have debated this issue many times. Using the definitions I support, those definitions do apply regardless of the type of music the bassist plays, so a metal player who earns his entire living playing bass is, indeed, a pro. What constitutes and defines his status as a pro is neither his equipment, nor skill, so much as does he fully support himself playing bass?

    My point in my original post is that the type of player you want to be will largely dictate the things you need to know, the skills you need to develop and the equipment you need to have to be that kind of player. Maybe that main idea got lost in all the descriptive paragraphs. Maybe I should have printed that one sentence and nothing else so as not to cause consternation.
  13. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Great advice given so far. I'm totally in agreement about learning to read and learning theory. Learning the nuts and bolts of music can only aid you no matter which style of music you play. If you're learning Stanley lines/solos it sounds to me like you're heading in that direction.

  14. thanks all a great help