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Practice routine for rock - help from pros needed

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Kurisu, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    I've been struggling to get together a practice routine that will help me prepare for starting a rock band. I'm working my way through Willis's Fingerboard Harmony for Bass, building speed on my arpeggios (but keeping them clean), and going through the circle of fifths finding the note on each string. So far this is what my teacher and I have worked on.

    But I'm worried. Is this enough? Is there more I could be doing? Are there some practice exercises that have proved to be great at building the skills needed in a rock band?

    After each practice session I have this nagging feeling that I could be doing more, a lot more, to prepare myself for a band. But I don't know what.

    I know I should be transcribing songs, like Ramble On, but is that enough?
    Maybe it is, seeing as how that's how most pro rock bassists learned (from reading interviews).

    Thanks for the help. I feel I'm a little lost, and it's difficult to get my teacher to see that I'm not really "getting it" yet. He keeps telling me to just get out there and play. I know that's good advice, but first I want to be prepared, so as not to make a fool out of myself. Maybe next lesson I'll put him on the spot and see if I can get him to hammer out a routine for me, but it probably won't happen. That's why I'm asking here.

    What do you do in your routine that you've found has really helped once you're with the band?

  2. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Oh, to add to the previous: I don't have a great deal of time to practice (a daughter, wife and work - in that order ;) ) so the "practice on a schedule" thread got me thinking about this.

    My current schedule (that I try to keep to, but never really do):

    This week:

    Pacman's surefire scale method: 10 minutes

    Arpeggios (all arpeggios in second position starting on G, from Willis pg. 7): 10 minutes

    Walking basslines (Willis's "linear approach") Cm7 to F7, third position, that is, third fret A string third finger position): 10 minutes

    Finding each note on each string, working through circle of fifths: 10 minutes (but my mind wanders on this, it's tough to keep concentrating)

    And that's about it. Sometimes I stay longer, sometimes I just noodle and try to make music. I do all the above to a metronome, just working on different tempos as I feel like it. For ex. 60 bpm eigth notes, 100 bpm eigth notes, or sixteenth notes at 60 bpm, etc.

    I should do more transcribing i know... But how can you "just" do 10 minutes of transcribing? It's such an involved process that I never get around to doing it, unless I have an hour at night when the monkey (sorry, daughter) is asleep.

    Anyway, there's the detail. I hope it helps. If not, sorry for wasting your time. ;) I have an Accugroove Tri210L on the way, I need to earn it. Please help me earn it. :)
  3. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    For me, I like to practice first thing in the morning - about 6-7 am. It seems to be the best time of the day when my mind is in that "learning mode". But from I can see of your practice routine, it looks pretty good. I think about 1 hour of focused practice, running though all the exercises and stuff, should do the trick. Over-practicing can lead to stress, which will hamper learning ability.
  4. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    What you are working on will help you be a good player, and I wouldn't dare trying to break you out of that routine. You'll get somewhere a lot of rock musicians never get to - decent musicianship.

    But, if you want to do rock (or any other Genre), I advise you learn to play as many songs in the genre as you can. Pick a few songs a week (or more if you have time and energy) to really nail down and learn inside out. Learn the notes, the rhythm, the dynamics, the accents, the fills - everything. Really focus in on the subtle bits. Do that with songs you like and are interested in.

    Immersing yourself in the stuff you want to learn is the best way to learn it.
  5. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I'm in the same boat you are, except my order is 7 month old son, wife, housework, work work. :)

    Your practice routine looks great, I wish I could be so dedicated! :) I play for 10 to 20 minutes a day and usually only get to work on a couple of things. I play blues progressions in 'the key of the day' to warm up, then I either play along with music or work through one of the books I have. For the last two days I've been working in Ed Friedland's Walking Bass Lines book and I think I'll be spending much more time with this.

    As far as transcribing songs, if you only have 10 minutes to devote to this you break the song down into verse/chorus/bridge and work on a section of the song.

    If there is a lot of variations and you want to get every single note you could break it down to a measure at a time, and use the lyrics to keep your place in the song between practice sessions. There are some songs where it'll take me 10 minutes to nail down a single measure but that's because I'm totally new to transcribing.
  6. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    While I'm here, I might as well ask what are some good practice routines to just plain get better at bass. I like classic rock/metal, and if i was in a band (workin on it) then I would play stuff like that, along with some chills stuff.

    The only routines i have are the finger-on-every-fret, and practising building up a finger speed. These have helped, both of my hands have gotten faster, but i fell as though these will only take me to a point. What are some good routines for me to be trying, and where can i find out about them?

    Also, I dont really know much about arpeggios or the circle of fifths, although i've heard of them.

    In case it wasn't obvious, I'm new to bass, but i used to play saxaphone so i know the treble clef and how to read music, just not the bass clef. Whats a good place to learn the bass clef (preferably a free guide on the internet, my funds are tied up right now)

    Any info anyone might have would be much appreciated
  7. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Thanks guys for all the great help.

    Well, here's an update:

    I went to my lesson last week, and it turns out I was asking the wrong question. It shouldn't be "how do I practice for rock" but rather "how do I practice to be a better musician." Kind of obvious, I know, but it was a big eye opener for me.

    So, we're working on some specific areas that my teacher found most helpful when he was learning. I'll post a new thread later with some specifics, because just focusing on "rock" was the wrong approach. Hopefully I can help some of the newer newbies (heh) with specifics, and maybe show what I'm doing as far as keeping a practice log, measuring progress, goals, etc.
  8. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Hey Grug - best bet to start would be to read through some of the theory links stickied at the top of this page. Look at Jazzbo's theory article in the "articles" section of Talkbass for help on arps and the circle.

    Hope that helps.