Practising, what first

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mennolineum, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    Ladies, Gents, others,

    I've been playing bass for almost 10 years now.. i Thought it would be a good thing to actually learn How. I am talking scales, arpeggios and so on.

    But im a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff i want to learn:p

    My question: where do i begin? Scales? Maybe chords? Cry?

    Plus, what do i learn after that?

    Do i tackle every scale, mode, arpeggio, chord of one key then move on to the Next?

    Thanks in advance!

    Btw, my first post! Yay
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I would begin by learning the notes on the fretboard. Then I would learn the major, minor and pentatonic scales for starters. Be aware that "knowing" your scales does not mean being able to play them from root to root at a million MPH. Search here on TB for "Pacman's sure fire scale method" for the best way to practice your scales. I think it is in the stickies. Learn how chord tones are derived from scales.

    Here are some links that are worth checking out : : The lessons follow a logical order. Start at the beginning and work your way through the lessons slowly.

    This is a great link for basic theory : Theory - Basic, Intermediate, Advanced.pdf

    This link covers arpeggios :

    It is always recommended that you practice in different keys.

    If you can afford lessons then that would be the way to go.

    Finally, as well as all the above, dont forget to listen closely to songs/music that you like and play along. Use tabs very sparingly. Instead work things out for yourself.
  3. Welcome aboard! Lots of helpful people here, and it's good to have you!

    I kind of did the same thing. I bought a bass, an amp, and a Mel Bay book, and spent two years getting nowhere. I finally decided to take some lessons, or just give it up. I found a great teacher, and the more I learned, the more excited I got. That was thirty years ago.

    Get a good teacher. Take a step back, and work on fundamentals. Some of it can be boring, but you need to go back, and grab any of the stuff you missed. I'd work on some blues, and walking stuff. Scales. Reading. This will help you with any kind of stuff you're going to play, going forward. Learn both fingers and pick. Learn different styles. It all adds versatility.

    While you're working on the more "boring" stuff, pick out a project song to work on, on the side. Something beyond your current abilities. Just work on it, a phrase at a time, and take your time with it. As it starts coming together, it's a real shot in the arm, to keep you excited. Once you have that one down, pick another, and you'll find it gets easier with each one.

    There are a number of threads here, for some really good on-line instruction and books, too, but there is no substitute for one-on-one, if you can afford it.

    Again, welcome aboard! hrb
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    + 1,000 Scales first. Why? So your fingers know where the notes are and your ears get used to the good, and bad, notes on your fretboard. In every key? Yes. Why? Notice the frets are not the same width, but, your sweet spot stays the same. Playing in F at the 1st fret is different than playing in E at the 12th fret. Gotta get used to that.

    What next? Chord tones. See a chord on the sheet music and your fingers already know what bass line you need to produce for this song.

    Studybass has been mentioned and Bass Guitar for Dummies is a great first book. The following should keep you busy for six months. Have fun.
    When you can see a chord and know it's spelling - making your own bass lines becomes a piece of cake. Why is that important? We play chord tones 90% of the time, so find some fake chord sheet music that lists the chord's name. Find that chord's R, root note, on your fretboard and pound out roots to the beat of the song. When that gets boring, add a 5, R-5-R-5. Remember the generic spellings I gave you above? R-3-5-8 will work for any major chord and R-b3-5-8 will work for any minor chord. Start with roots and work from there. That sounds easy, there must be more to this. There is, but, this will get you started.

    Good luck.
  5. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    Thanks Guys!
    I do know some stuff, like all the fretboard and major scale.. but was really looking for what next:) will be busy coming months haha.

    Cheers! And thanks
  6. Best way to get better, IMHO, is to play songs. A great way to organize your practice is to spend some time jamming along with songs you've never heard before (on the radio, youtube, pandora, etc.) then focus on learning a few songs in more detail. You can learn useful repertoire by googling lists like "Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs of All Time" or tune into the radio when they count down the most popular songs of the week. If you are looking to learn more theory, the best way is to analyze your favorite songs: ask questions like "what is the chord progression?" and see if you can transcribe the songs you know into all 12 keys. Don't just learn the bass parts; learn the vocals, chords, distinctive guitar/horn/synth hooks, etc. That should keep you busy for a few decades, good luck! :)
  7. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I was in a similar boat. I've been using this site recently:

    Start at lesson one and work your way down. It's implied, with these lessons, that you already know the notes on the fretboard, which you said you do.

    For me, at least, this site is covering all the gaps in my knowledge of theory. And Mark, the guy who's site it is, is a nice guy. I had some questions that I emailed him and he got right back to me.

    Let me know what you think. Good luck!
  8. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    Ive been on there Yea, the site said when you signed up for the newsletter you would get a pdf with all Scales and such. I didnt get a download link:( that is something i would love to have
  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If you are really serious, your best first move would be to get a good teacher.
  10. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I clicked on a link to get it (on the site itself). Look at the very top of the lessons page I sent you.

    There happened to be a problem with the link, so I emailed Mark, and he sent it to me. If you can't find it, email Mark, let him know.
  11. First question, have you taken lessons before? If not, the first step to helping you expand is to make sure you have proper technique. If you have great technique, then Awesome! You are that much closer to where you want to be; then I would suggest playing multi-octave scales using different fingering techniques and include the different mode scales. If you are not sure about your technique, find a teacher or a mentor and play with them. I was self-taught for 4 years before I first took lessons. My first lesson he just told me to play for 5 minutes. After I was done his first response was, "that sounds great, but we're going to have to completely re-work your technique." I'm not going to lie, it stung. It took me a good couple of weeks of daily practice to lose those bad habits, and that was only from 4 years. If you find yourself looking at page one, book one of Hal-Leonard's "Bass Methods", don't be embarrassed. Learning proper technique was the best thing I could do for my playing.

    I just started picking up 7th arpeggios (up and down) as my daily practice routine. Those will give you some very groovy ideas for fills.
  12. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    I have taken about half a year of guitar lessons about 11 years ago, but none for bass. I think my technique is pretty good, it feels good plus no injuries till now.. and i play about 2 hours a day, without any aches and such.

    I am Just a poor student, taking lessons is a bit out of my budget im afraid.. i do play with lots of people, both experienced and inexperienced. I ve noticed i learn quitte good looking at someones hands, asking what they play a.s.o.

    I got along great this way, Just want to know what i am playing, so i can communicate better with let's say a guitarist If he says Amaj7 i wanna know what he means without having to ask his notes.
  13. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    I will look in to those 7th arpeggios thanks:)
  14. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
  15. Sounds like you have a good foundation! Not having any soreness or tendon problems are a good thing, but you may still need some fretting/plucking pointers to help you expand. If you can, get the Hal Leonard Bass Method books (I am in no way affiliated, I just am an avid fan) with the CDs and read/play along to it. Ed Friedland is a monster by the way. It will also cover some basic music theory as well as different fingering positions for playing scales and arpeggios. I still open the book from time to time and usually learn something new.
  16. This is a terrible way to learn to play (no offense) as any competent teacher would tell you. What happens if the guitarist is in Drop D, or DADGAG, or you want to play with a piano/saxophone/violin/vocalist/etc., or you are playing an awesome gig you want to remember the rest of your life, but instead of dancing around the stage and having fun with the audience, you are following the guitarist around staring at his hand?!? (For that matter, what if the guitarist makes a mistake? Are you going to hear the mistake and fix it in rehearsal? Or are you going to put your fingers in the same place as the guitarist, and now you are playing the mistake too?) Instead of looking at the guitarist's hands, you should be training your ear to listen to any song on the radio and follow along with the chord progression. AMaj7 is not such an incredibly rare/complex chord that you'd have to be Mozart to hear it. :)
  17. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    Well, the way i play in bands right now is playing originals. We make a song and play it till it's known. So i will know what is played at what moment before the gig;) the guitarist making a mistake, that's out of my hands... In short: I wont gig staring at someones hands. The Amaj7 was an example;)
  18. So is your argument that ear training is a useless skill for you because you play original material? Blind people can only play cover songs because they can't see what the guitarist is playing to write originals??
  19. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    I did not say it wouldn't be a useful skill.. I said I won't need to watch guitarist's hands on stage because I will know the material. Please, Don't use words against me wich I didn't say..