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Really new beginner

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Bullet-Bob, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005

    I have spent an hour or two reading here, and some great info. However, I wanted to post to get some feedback.

    1. I recently picked up a bass and have begun practicing for one month.

    2. I have a teacher, and take lessons once a week for about half an hour (it is the best I can find in this rurual area, and I have to drive an hour round trip to do it).

    3. My teacher plays a little bass, but is mainly a really good guitarist.

    4. I understand notation from early days of playing the trombone in the school band, but have no recollection or fluency currently with theory, chords etc.

    Here are my questions:

    1. How much time should I be spending on learning/memorizing chords? My instructor has been talking to me about the "nashville numbering method" and we haven't discussed much "theory".

    2. If I need to be working on chords, which cords should I begin learning first?
    (I am doing finger practice up and down frets, across frets and working on regulating my two plucking fingers, and see approval of this method in other threads)

    3. I have ordered some song books that have bass line notations and tabs so I can begin learning some songs, and have a pretty good ear and can pluck out stuff from listening. Am I getting ahead of myself by doing this?

    4. Should I try to find someone to play with this early? (one month in) or wait until I am more "accomplished"? I am almost (hate to admit it being my age) afraid to play with other musicians for fear of showing how bad I am this early in my "career".

    I would appreciate any really basic ideas/advice on how to begin learning bass the RIGHT way. I want to understand the music and WHY you play something that way, not just HOW you play it that way.

    Thanks for a great forum and website. And thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.

    [Edit]: Also, a sincere note of thanks to Jazzbo for his "Introduction to Scale and Chord
    Theory" post. This was fantastic and I finally feel like I am "grasping" the WHY of scales and the WHY of cords from this!

  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    1. Plenty of time. Even though you'll usually play one note at a time, you still need to know chords so you don't pick the wrong notes to play against a chord.

    2. Major and minor.

    3. Nope. Ear training is every bit as important as reading sheet music. I would try to wean myself off tabs ASAP, though. Nobody will ever hand you a sheet of music with tab in a serious working situation.

    4. What you need to do is find musicians slightly better than you but not so good that you'll feel intimidated. I see no reason you shouldn't go looking for a band now as long as that band isn't way over your head.
  3. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    For Ear training, check out the Tonic Sol Fa technique.

    Starting at bass clef C, sound each note with your voice:

    1 (tonic) - doh
    2 (supertonic) - ra
    3 (mediant) - me
    4 (subdominant) - fah
    5 (dominant) - soh
    6 (submediant) -lah (fa)
    7 (leading-note) - te
    8/1 (tonic) - doh

    You have to sound the note with your voice in order to learn it's tone. You may remember Tonic Sol Fa, from the Sound of Music.

    And DOH! from the Simpsons :)
  4. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thank you very much for your input!
  5. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    Imho, there's no right or wrong way to start playing the bass... I'm all self taught and I'm about to take up lessons (2 1/2 years in).

    The best thing I did was start jamming with friends. Some of them are much much better than me, but are tolerant and inspiring, not showoffs! Honestly... I became better over the course of a week or two just because I had an aim to practice for!

    When I take lessons, I'll learn bass theory. I can already read music (slowly), but I've not actually applied it to the bass much.

    I think you'll know when you're ready to take the next step if you're enthusiastic about it, which you certainly seem to be! I've used the net, tab books, standard notation, went around friends houses, and of course relied on the many, many great minds at Talkbass for help.

    In terms of chords - I don't know any chords as such yet - that'll come with theory (as far as I'm aware they're not as important on the bass at the beginning as they are on guitar anyway). Needless to say, I can hold a grove with my friends and at open mic sessions... never actually gigged yet, but that's next on my agenda!

    You can't expect to do everything to begin with... you get a feel for what you like. You might end up preferring to slap, play with a pick or tap... you never know!
  6. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thanks for the help! I must say that I stumbled on this website, and since I have, I feel like my knowledge has grown a hundredfold. I feel much better about how I am doing now.

    I have decided to work on the basics, work through a lesson book I found (Mel Bay, local store didn't have the others) and just take it easy and not rush things. The getting there to me is going to be as much fun (and therapy) as the end of the trip.
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I'm like you. Since I've been here at talkbass, my playing has taken a completely new direction. A direction I thought never existed. Just a single small idea, can easierly explored into an Avalanche of knowledge and awareness.

    Try not to close your mind to any ideas. You never know where it may take you.
  8. pauljacksonfan


    Jun 14, 2005
    For me, and I'm certain a lot of others are with me on this, the greatest way of getting into playing the bass is playing with other people. If you got some friends who also play that is a really freat way to get into it. Otherwise, get your teacher to show you a basic blues progression and start going to open blues jams (every city I've been to in the whole wide world has blues clubs where you're allowed to go up on stage and jam). This not only strengthens your playing experiences but you get a stage habit and your bound to meet other people who want to play.

    As for picking stuff out by ear it's never too early to do that. You'll most likely find yourself revisting what you picked in the beginning a few months, or maybe years, from now and finding that you were dead wrong but the ears are the greatest assett of any musician and like every other aspect of playing music it requires training to function perfectly.

    Oh, and get into "Ultimate Ear Training For Guitar And Bass" by Gary Willis as early as possible. You won't regret it. An hour or half-hour a day of that one and you'll have great ears in no-time.

    But that's just my two cents.