Questions from a lost bass newbie.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Onian, Jun 26, 2003.

  1. Onian

    Onian Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    Alright, I've got a couple questions that I'm hoping some of you might be able to shed some light on. First of all, Its mainly about general bass instruction.

    Can anyone give me some insight as to what I should probably start learning as far as fundamentals and stuff?

    I plan on checking into teacher instruction here shortly as well. I was hoping someone here could give me some information on what I could do to help get me going.

    If anyone can help, a response would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    One, learn how to tune your bass. If you have no clue about how each string should sound, buy an electronic tuner to help you at first. One can be had for as cheaply as fifteen bucks.

    Two, start fretboard familiarization. Learn what notes are on each fret and string. To avoid being overwhelmed, start with the first three to five frets of each string, then learn a few more frets each day or week. You will learn that some fret positions actually represent two notes (that sound the same) such as G sharp and A flat. Other frets have only one note, such as C.

    Learn how to "pluck" the strings. You may prefer to use a pick or to learn fingerstyle which involves alternating that fingers as you pluck the strings. You must also learn how to properly fret the notes. Good technique here will make your playing sound better, and will keep you from injuring yourself with wrist strains and thumb pain. It will aso help you finger notes more efficiently and faster.

    Three, Learn the patterns of the major and minor scales. While you are at it, learn what keys are and how they are formed. Learn the Circle of Fifths. That will help with your mastery of keys.

    Learn how chords are formed. Learn their patterns and know how to play them all up and down the fretboard. While you are learning chords, that is a good time to underttand intervals, the sonic distance between two notes. Intervals are also very helpful in ear training and developing good relative pitch which will help you with learning to play songs.

    Start with major and minor chords. Eventually move on to dominant 7, minor 7, minor 7, flat 5, and diminished 7 chords. Learn how to play chord arpeggios ascending and descending. There are many more chords, but these are for starters. You may never play the more complex chords.

    While you are learning the fretboard, that is a good time to learn to read bass clef. In fact, it is the perfect time to learn to read bass clef.

    Take your time with all this. You want to get a really solid foundation. Don't rush, or you may find there are gaps in your understanding. You cannot master all this in a few weeks. We are talking months or years.

    Learn a simple bassline to a simple song or two. You want to have fun.

  3. Howard K

    Howard K Guest

    Feb 14, 2002
    Scrub that!

    Learn simple bass lines from as many songs as you possibley can, if you cant learn the whoel song, just a bit of it is goodgreat practice.

    This in conjunction iwth all the other bits and bobs Bop advised shoudl set you in good stead.. especially understanding of how chords are formed. Every musician knows this!

    ...and having fun is the most important thing, much more important than how good you play!
  4. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Boplicity has the best adive i have ever heard for a newbie.

    Follow that and you CANNOT go wrong :)
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Great post Bop, theres only one thing Id like to add to it.

    Learn how to proporly hold the bass. It shouldnt be too high or too low.

    The height it should be at standing is where it is comfortable sitting.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Good advice. Holding a bass improperly or having it at an awkward position for one's height can create all kinds of problems from making it difficult to fret notes properly to causing backaches to causing thumb and wrist pain, etc.

    Again that is why I say try to have someone show you the basics rather than trying to learn it all by yourself. I know some people can neither afford nor find a teacher, but if it is at all possible, a few classes in fundamentals are worth their weight in gold.