One Song Before I Die

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lookin4SomFunk, Dec 8, 2021.

  1. Lookin4SomFunk


    Dec 8, 2021
    I am 72 years old. I bought two new basses. A Jackson Concert in white and a Ibanez gsr200 in black. Have cases for both, straps, a 25 watt amp and a tuner.

    I am working on online tabs and have paid for 5 lessons with a teacher over 5 weeks.
    My left fretting hand is not cooperating. Actually, let's blame it on the fingers. They don't want to work together.
    I can play the intro to "Let's Groove" by EWF with one finger and I'm not far along with anything else.

    I do love the bass and thought that with only 4 strings it could be easier to learn. Apparently, I was wrong.
    I'm kinda serious about this when I say that I would love to be able to play one song before I die.
    GnR, Marvin Gaye, Rick James, Isley Brothers, Parliament Funkadelic or as James Brown would say, "Whatever it is, it's got to be funky"!

    I'm thinking that I do not have a proper set course to learn this instrument ; like I'm trying a little of this, try a little of that and get nowhere overall.
    Maybe if someone here had once been in my place and is now a great player and could offer some direction would be great !

    For me, quitting is not an option. I see myself playing "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Got to Give it Up" one day !!
    DaDo625, nixdad, Jim Kernan and 18 others like this.
  2. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    You can learn this one today.
    Only one note, but it's all about feeling that note.
    Good song to work on your timing, too.
  3. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    It sounds as if you would benefit greatly from a teacher. :)
  4. Texaspandj


    Feb 13, 2021
    Heart Of Texas
    Bottom line is you're a beginner. And we all have to start somewhere. By the way nobody's fingers cooperate in the beginning.
    Stay with it, keep playing the same lines if you have to but stay with it.
    You got to get a like minded person who's willing to help you.
    Frequent guitar shops, strike up a conversation with anyone and if they're just a little bit better than you, you can still learn something from them.
    Learn at least one scale and will be easier for you to learn.
    five7, Mili, Relayer71 and 10 others like this.
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    If you're only been at this for 5 weeks you shouldn't be spending much time yet learning songs: You should be learning proper technique and other basics. I realize that you're eager to start cranking out the tunes, but you have to learn to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run.
  6. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    There’s no reason the two can’t go hand in hand.
  7. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I remember when I learned to play when I was 14. In my memory it seemed like I would play for hours a day, but it was probably more likely to be 30 to 90 minutes total. I am not sure what other things you got going on, but the more you play everyday, the better you will become. It is hard to see that in the beginning. I think 60-90 days is usually what it takes to play some pretty simple parts reliably in tempo.

    Working on separate elements like plucking and fretting can be an approach too. Pluck out rhythms to songs on the strings without fretting, maybe mute the strings with a wash cloth or foam. Then practice fretting around a few frets.

    When it all becomes comfortable, bring the two skills together. You may even find that you naturally start to combine them.

    I never thought of music as learning songs as much as it was making sounds with an instrument that sounded like music.
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I understand what you're saying, but I also respectfully disagree. Any teacher that doesn't include songs fairly early in their lessons is going to lose a lot of students through lack of motivation, some of which might have the potential to become great musicians. Endless months of "wax on, wax off" do not help build a musician's soul.

    There is no greater motivation to work on certain parts of your chops than to be able to almost (but not quite) be able to play a tune you really want to. I've been at this for decades, and play out every weekend at church. I'm very motivated by the fact that, in a few days, I AM going to be playing this set of music in front of people (it's an absolute deadline), and...I don't want to suck. Yes, you might learn faster if you defer learning tunes for awhile, but it's a dead end if you take it too far. Our OP is telling us he's close to that point.

    I suggest you get an old Rolling Stones album, and play along. Their tunes are mostly very simple, and easy to learn (the basics at least). Yes, even the simplest song you can spend a lifetime learning to play the groove and nuances well, but the OP here just wants it to sound a bit like music, I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
    eric_B, TyBo, EatS1stBassist and 5 others like this.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Point taken, and I agree that starting to learn (easy) songs can be incorporated early on along with (and especially to illustrate) the basics. But the whole point of OP's post seemed to be that he was trying to learn songs from tab that he isn't yet able to play: He needs to develop his technique further before trying to tackle them. The songs he wants to play are going to take more than 5 weeks of lessons and practice, and IMO requires focusing less on songs and more on technique and other basics.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    We all want the same thing. Some of us just get there via different paths. On bass guitar, I'm entirely self taught (i've had music theory and classical instruction on violin many years ago). As a result, I've actually never been taught technique - it's always been something I worked on to give myself some headroom between what songs I needed to play, and what I could play. Then again, when I took up bass guitar, the instrument itself was a bunch younger.

    People fail to realize sometimes how young this instrument is - we're still in very early days; some of the things we think are absolutely the way to do things may, when you look down the road, look silly. Cross country skiing had a very specific technique that was taught for over a century, and now, everyone does it differently. Ski jumping, now V style, after decades of everyone knowing that that wasn't the way to do it - they used to work at making absolutely sure their skis were parallel. High jumping, same thing - Dick Fosbury. We are an athletic sport of sorts, too - just smaller, more frequent movements. Our sport is newer than any of the ones I just used as examples. We're in our infancy, we need to understand that someone too stupid to have been trained "proper technique" may, right now, be inventing a technique that, in a few years time, will be recognized as better than what we think is correct right now. If you think music is different, I give you Eddie Van Halen, who changed the way people play guitar a few decades ago.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
  11. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    @Lookin4SomFunk next time you go to your teacher, tell him that you want to learn a simple riff. When I was beginning the common ones were “Seven Nation Army” and the main riff of “Sunshine Of Your Love.” Have him teach you the fingering for the riff, and then just repeat it when you go home. Leave your bass on a stand in the living room, and pick it up and plunk out that riff for 30 seconds every time you walk by it. Or play it over and over while you’re watching TV or whatever- you want to get to a point where touching the bass, fretting the notes feels comfortable and almost mindless. Eventually you’ll be able to play that riff without thinking about it, and you’ll find that your fingers cooperate better when you try to learn something new. Then the next riff, or the next scale, or the next technique will become part of your vocabulary, and you’ll find that the process accelerates itself as it goes along.

    It isn’t a fast process- that’s normal. But if you pick it up and play the bass every day, you’ll eventually pick it up and find that you’re playing music instead. Enjoy the process!
  12. Lookin4SomFunk


    Dec 8, 2021
    I think that I have "Everyday People" down pat ! LoL!
  13. A9X

    A9X Inactive Suspended

    Dec 27, 2003
    L4SF, just keep trying. I know I learn by going, nope, nope, nope, nope, ah hah!
    Lookin4SomFunk likes this.
  14. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    True enough, and you definitely know more than I do, but I think there comes a time when every beginner practicing scales over and over and over again wants to move's only natural...and learn a song. I believe it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
    That's why I'm always recommending "Everyday People" because it in no way takes away from the learning process, I believe, and it does teach proper techniqe...although I play it with a pick!
    Cool, as long as you didn't look at the fretboard too much!
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
    Lookin4SomFunk likes this.
  15. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Five weeks is still very early.

    Music is a marathon, not a sprint.
  16. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    One song before I die? Maybe Wipe Out (by the Sufaris). A 1-4-5 blues/rock song. Like Johnny Be Good.

    There are a lot of songs that we can play with limited hand ability. I look at Django Reinhardt the great gypsy jazz guitarist who used only his index and middle finger to play guitar because of a horrible accident to his hand. And yet, he was one of the greatest jazz guitarist EVER!
    Lookin4SomFunk likes this.
  17. nickpc


    Jul 23, 2012
    North Carolina
    Super-simple song: Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Except for the bridge you're looking at Open E. (Everyday People is in this same category, and already suggested)
    Mostly simple song: She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. It's really just 2 riffs, but you can get away with just one (you mentioned G&R so the genre is close).
    Get the fingers moving a bit song: Warning by Green Day. One riff for the verse, one for the chorus, but you're moving across multiple strings and the beat it a bit relentless so it's a good exercise song as well.

    There are times I get frustrated trying to play something, and I'll go "back to basics" and play these three, recalling that I struggled to get them right. And now I don't, and that reminds me that if I put in the work I can play most anything that I want to.
    Lookin4SomFunk likes this.
  18. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I'll add another super simple, and super fun song - and you're old enough that you probably have fond memories of it.
    Papa was a Rolling Stone by the Temptations. 3 notes and groove for ever.
  19. red_rhino

    red_rhino Artful Dodger Gold Supporting Member

    Absolutely everyone here has been in your place. Learning to play an instrument, any instrument, is one of the more interestesting, rewarding, and frustrating (all at the same time) processes you will ever undertake.

    • Be patient with yourself. It sounds like you're willing to put in the work and not bail on it, so you will get there. Just keep at it.
    • Find a good teacher. That doesn't necessarily mean someone who can shred or is a great player; it means someone who knows how to communicate. It also means someone who you can work with. If a given teacher isn't getting you where you want to be, or you have issues with communication, then find one better suited to you.
    • Set yourself up for success. Consider that learning a style of music, particularly funk, is built upon other song styles. Thus learning something other than funk will serve you in developing your ear, feel, song form, and familiarity with the instrument. Not that you shouldn't try funky things, just don't ignore other things that aren't necessarily funky. It's all related.
    You bought two good basses. I'm particularly fond of the GSR200, a very worthy instrument.

    Welcome to Talkbass. Lots of good suggestions in the other comments here. Have fun above all else. :thumbsup:
    Whale guy and Lookin4SomFunk like this.
  20. lark_z

    lark_z Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    When I started back almost 2 years ago, I thought "I can't do it anymore, my left hand hurts too much". I kept at it and now can play all I want (or really need to).

    Keep at it and try not to get discouraged.
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