On average, how long does it take?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by the_vza1, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. the_vza1


    Jun 15, 2004
    for a beginner (no musical experience) to be able to learn bass?
  2. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    :eyebrow: ABOUT 20 MINUTES IF YOU REALLY FOCUS :meh:
  3. First off, welcome to TalkBass! :bassist: The people on this forum will be able to answer alomst every question you throw at them. They have a wealth of info.

    Anyways...Just to play songs and have at least decent technique, maybe 3 months. Maybe a year. It all depends on how much work you put into it. I think it took me 6 months to 1 year to really get the hang of things and kind of know what I was doing.

    However, I can guarantee you, that you'll NEVER stop learning things. There is always someone who knows something that you don't.

    Some tips if you are just starting: get a beginner bass method book and a good teacher. I never had a teacher, but I wish i did. Also, learn some music theory and learn to read standard notation/be able to play sheet music on bass. It should make things easier.
  4. You can learn to play songs on your first day, ready to play decently with bands within months, comign up with decent original material within 6 months. That's considering you put some work, but it's really not that hard to play "decently" or write "decent" stuff. It could be much better or much worse depending on work. But you could be looking at jamming with friends within a month if you know what you're doing (either know some cover songs or learned basics of notes on the fretboard).
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I was recording 2 months after I started, but I practiced about 30 hours a week. I'd get off work and stay up until about 4am practicing. :bassist: My wife HATED it!
  6. the_vza1


    Jun 15, 2004
    yea, mthanks for the feedback guys :bassist: :)
  7. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Welcome to TB vza1, and to the wonderful world of bass!

    Don't try to pre-determine your schedule, as there is no "average" amount of time to become "good".

    I have to respectfully disagree with those who say that "working hard" will determine how quickly you progress. Inherent ability (talent) has much more to do with the speed at which you progress.

    That being said, don't be discouraged if you're not playing like [insert name of great bassist here] within a year. Or two. Or three. If you dig it...stick with it!

    In one of my earliest bands, the rhythm guitarist was a student at a local music college. Great guy, very dedicated...but quite frankly not a very good player. In fact, at the time I thought he was nuts for studying music. I just didn't see him having the ability to progress, and he didn't in the two years we were in that band together. The band broke up, and a couple of years later I heard he had replaced an excellent guitar player in a band that was the jazz band in my city at the time. I thought "that can't be right...can't be this guy." But sure enough, it was true. In fact, he got me the bass gig in that band. When I heard him play at the first gig I checked out, I couldn't believe it was the same cat. Chops out the yin yang. We were in that band together for two years, and he just kept getting better. After that he went on to lead his own band, and he was the principle composer. He produced his own CD, and was offered a contract with a major label...which he promptly turned down because he married the love of his life and took over the family dry cleaning business. He's now effectively retired (at the age of 40), with two gorgeous kids and more money than God.

    The moral of the story is...your journey is your own, and you'll make it at your own pace.
  8. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    3 years, 8 months, 19 days, 7 hours, 36 minutes, and 10 seconds.
    Just a guess, I could be off by a year or two.
  9. Well, there is a natural talent aspect to consider. Most anyone can learn to play an instrument if they apply themselves and stick to it, but the fact is that some people just pick it up more quickly and naturally.

    No way to know if that is you till you just jump in.

    Now, great advice about getting a teacher... learning music theory, etc. but what you really want to do is develop that ear.

    Pick out the kind of music you like and play along to it on cd. Play over and over. Record yourself so you can hear what you are doing right and wrong.

    And if you can get with some other musicians at or near your level, to jam with and grow together musically it will help keep you focused. It helps also to have other people counting on you to show up and jam. Keeps you from finding excuses like 'my fingers hurt' or something.
  10. even the most talented have yet to fully 'learn' bass.
  11. GDAE


    Aug 14, 2001
    The things B-Note Cowboy said are really big I think. Playing along with CDs of music you're into can really help you learn (if nothing else, it's fun so you'll at least have some motivation to practice). Also, finding some other musicians who are at the same level as you really helps. When I started playing I got together with three friends who had also just started playing, and I've improved more from playing with them than I have from anything else I've done. But you've got to make sure they're at the same level as you. Trying to jump in with guys who are way better than you is just gonna make you feel inadequate when you play with them.
  12. Absolutely. But one's natural ability toward any skill always affects the time it takes to become functional at that that skill. True of music, true of jumpshots, true of golf, etc. etc. etc.

  13. Morkolo


    Aug 11, 2003
    To this day I wouldn't say I'm able to play bass, even though I've been playing for a little over 2 years now. While looking back at shows which my family video taped for me, I realized how awful I was and how far I've come. It does your confidence a lot of good, I believe anyway, to watch videos of yourself to see how far you've come in a month, year, maybe even a day. But when you get to that point where you don't feel like you're getting any better just take my advice and look at an old performance. Practise pays off.

    Good luck learning bass, hopefully you'll have as much fun with it as I and others have on this board.

    -Matthew :bassist:
  14. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!

    Great advice and story. :cool:
  15. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    "On average, how long does it take?"

    On average, a lifetime.

  16. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Craig is right on.

    How far to the top of the hill??? You will know when you get there.

    Then what??

    Climb the next one, of course, if you wish to climb. ;)
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I bought my first bass in 1977, and was gigging a week later. Of course, I had been a musician for the preceding 21 years, so that helped. Also, I sucked for about three months, whereafter I started my own band, the core of which still performs today. By the way, I suck less now.
  18. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
  19. But if you can't, try to find someone better, and let them inspire you rather than make you feel bad. Don't just sit around by yourself because everyone is better than you.
  20. Great advice. Let them help you out, give you pointers and stuff, but all the while, in the back of your mind, you'll be driven to be better than them! I think it applies to everything: art, sports, skateboarding, and music. Find people who have been where you are and have gained much more experience.