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Observations of a not so new-newbie.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Growler, Apr 5, 2005.


  1. Growler

    Growler

    Sep 26, 2004
    Ok, so I've been playing bass since November of '04.... and in that time i've done a lot of reading (on here) and alot of asking questions.

    I've had a good instructor since day-1... and picked up a Fender MiM Precision and a Peavey Microbass from a local guitarshop. Mainly on the recommendation of the shop owner as I really had no idea what I was looking for in a bass and this one had pretty good reviews and was in a good price range. I didn't worry too much about *exactly* which bass to get, b/c when you're just starting out, you probably have no idea what they'll really sound like once you get good (unless of course you bring a solid bassist with you to demo the instrument). But not knowing any bassists , I took a leap of faith. I figure within a year, I'll know if a P-Fender has the right sound. Though, the more I practice, the better the guitar sounds.. (funny how that works.. a crappy bassist with a $10,000 bass produces crappy sound!).

    I picked up an instructional DVD at the same time, tried for a week before my first lesson to play with the dvd and *hated it*. I found myself using the remote control more than the bass. So on my shelf it sits. Worst $10 i've spent.

    Anyhow, I've worked scales, chords, worked on AudioSlave, Pink Floyd (money!), Stevie Ray Vaughn (Pride n Joy).

    So I've realized a couple of things that can help out some of the others that are just starting out:

    • Practice the basics. Timing and technique. We're part of the rhythm section. Everybody wants to be Eddie VanHalen, but oddly enough every band *needs* someone that can lay down a solid beat.
    • Get a drum machine, metronome or something to generate a consistent beat. I found Hammerhead Rhythm Station to be fine for setting up simple beats. It can be found here: http://www.threechords.com/hammerhead/
    • I found a book of drum beats gave me tons of simple beats to practice. It helped build my 'beat vocabulary'. Since they were simple, I could program them into the above drum machine so I could have a solid beat to duplicate on the bass.


    Latest Observation: After a while (2 months or so) of trying to play what was on the tab of some songs. I realized that if I turn the drum machine to a simple beat, take a scale, and slowly copy the beat on a couple of notes. Then slowly expand to other notes in the scale. Improvise a bit... the best part is since the notes that you are playing are coming out of your head, you can concentrate, not on what notes to play, but on your timing and technique.

    When I discovered this, practice seemed to go by twice as fast.. and actually made bass playing a bit more fun. Tonight while at bass lessons, the entire lesson was spent jamming with the instructor on guitar, a solid drum machine and myself. I guess this reinforces what others have said 'find people to play with.'

    Oh yeah, remember the basics.. timing, technique... and having fun.

    Celebrating playing bass since '04

    -Growler
     
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    That's a good story!!
    It sounds like you are getting the hang of it. In fact it sounds like you might be ready to put the TAB away, start reading music and learning more parts by ear. Ask your instructor about this and see what he/she recommends. IMO, the sooner your off the TAB the better..
    Keep it going!!
     
  3. chimp

    chimp

    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    I can't agree more with lowphatbass START READING!!!
     
  4. I don't mean to hijack this thread, but would it be better if I started learning to read and tab at the same time?
     
  5. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Learning to read music is NEVER a bad idea if learned properly!
    IMO(I can already tast the beatdown I am about to take)
    TAB is good for one thing. It allows a beginner to stay more interested in playing. During the very early stages of musical development it really does not feel like you are playing music(except for Smoke on the Water, or whatever typical newbies figure out THESE days). By having access to TAB a younger beginner can stay inspired until their ears and chops can catch up to their expectations, this is a tough period in which many quit. It also gives the instructor a method of easily assigning exercises. Learning to play music is a series of plateaus, TAB can give you some initial momentum to make it up to the first one.
     
  6. Growler

    Growler

    Sep 26, 2004
    Reading music is something that you definately want to achieve. But i think in the beginning there are so many things that you need to learn... fingering, fret hand... locating the right notes, avoiding fret buzz, tempo, different beats, alternating fingers. That in the beginning i think that TAB can alleviate the need to read notes..

    HOWEVER, it should be in the back of your mind that as you pick up one of the above skills, you introduce reading music in its place.

    I'm not there yet, but it seems like a sound idea.

    -Growler