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So ive got the bass, now what?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Boltboy, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    have wanted to learn to play a guitar for years. Due to lack of time, or for whatever reasons I have only now come around to it. I decided to take a trip down to the local music store and see what caught my eye. After about a few hours of holding different guitars, listening to customers, and talking with them I decided that the bass was what I wanted to play. So I did some research and read some reviews and decided this would be the best bang for buck deal I could find:


    I'm set on pretty much everything at this point I think. I did some basic searching for advice on starting off but would like some more opinions. So anyway, here is my formal "hello" to the forums, followed by the question list from hell

    - I should toss the picks correct? Learning on the fingers is the way to go from what I have been told.

    - This is my first time EVER touching a music instrument. Are there things I should know specifically b/c of this in relation to choosing the bass as a starter? Some of the replies I received from customers was that it was a "lonely first instrument" mainly b/c of the lack of chords, etc. that you can do with it. I took this with a grain of salt however.

    - I do not have time to get a teacher, and besides that, I enjoy learning things on my own. With being said, I assume the instructional video that comes with my package will not be enough? Any recommendations on videos, books, or webpages that would help?

    - What exactly do I learn to read first? The whole "Tabs" thing has me confused. I could basically learn to play TABS without even looking at a music note im assuming, but I can figure this is a bad idea. So, learn the notes first, then the tabs?

    - More specifically on the starter kit I went with, what do you think of it? From reading around on reviews I know that it is at LEAST a great deal, but also read that many people enjoyed the particular guitar, even more experienced players.

    - Will the 10w, 6inch combo amp be enough for just practicing? I did some research on it and apparently it has good reviews and puts out a lot more than most would think, but I would think something more like a 20w 10in would be good for practice. This is all for personal use btw, not planning on joining a band or going anywhere with this.

    - This one is sorta a personal thing, but how advanced should I get in using the bass before I purchase any distortion petals I am really big about this kind of thing, and LOVE the sound that comes from using them - particularly the crybaby wah. Is this something that I HAVE to get great at playing before I should toy with or something that wouldnt hurt to hook up just to have a little fun with?

    -Lastly, this is a totally useless question but one that I wondered about. What kind of sound quality difference will you get from using a cheap standard cable in comparison to a $35 "Monster" cable. If a new cable can change the detail to a night and day difference, id say its a worth while investment. Generally this isnt the case though.

    *deep breath*

    So yeah, thats about it. Sorry for the insanely long first post and im sure it looks like I have done NO research but that just isnt the case. The more opinions the better, in my opinion . Anyone who wants to take a shot at any or all of these questions are welcome. Hello again btw, im sure ill be around for a while learning the ropes.


    EDIT: added 1 additional question.
  2. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Thanks for the link =)

    Hmm, would this post be better fit in the General Instruction forum?
  3. I got the same pack...I love the bass!

    Have fun:)
  4. Many of us had the same questions when we started playing, in time things will make more sense.


    I guess there are two things that I highly recommend...

    1) Ear training... hearing the role of bass is absolutely imperative from square one. Listen to bass parts in songs that you like... even the best musicians in the world never stop listening...

    2) Spend time with your new instrument every day. If you can spare 1 or 2 hours, you will be off to a good start. Finger exercises, scales, etc. When learning an instrument for the first time, it will feel awkward in your hands. Don't worry, you managed to learn to walk, talk, write, & drive a car so there is little reason to believe that you cannot learn to play bass. Gotta spend time with it, soon it will feel natural and you won't be able to imagine life without it.

  5. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Thanks! I appreciate all the help, and the links. If anyone wants to take a shot at anymore questons go for it =) If not though, ill just read up some more and shouldnt have a problem.
  6. Surgeon


    Mar 4, 2003
    North Dakota
    You'll find answers to many of the questions that you ask by using the search function and perusing the old posts in the TB archives.

    Can't reitterate enough the last comment either, daily practice makes all the difference. (Daily focused, musical practice that is.) I'm just starting out myself and my job requires a massive time committment. What i have noticed is that small amounts of time more frequently help more that a killer multihour session only once a week.

    As for the tabs question. There is plenty of anti-tab sentiment out there and I think that you should absolutely learn the notes that you are playing, how to read them from the bass clef, and the music theory behind the notes. However, I also feel that for the beginner, a little tab, to allow you to learn to play some music that you recognize and enjoy is good. The first time you play along with a CD on some song you love, and hear how amazing the bass line sounds, you'll be so excited you'll want to stay up all night practicing:D
  7. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Get the book "Bass Fitness" from bassbooks.com


    It has "non scale" exercises in it that are typical of what a teacher would have you do.

    Get a "bass trainer" CDBT-1 from Tascam.


    They are new. Buy a CD with a song you like the bass part. Plug in your bass and your headphones, slow down the song, repeat the verse, repeat the chorus, learn the bass part until you can play it perfectly at full speed. Then learn another song.

    Learn songs. Learn songs. Go to a club where a band is playing. They will play a "set" of music, maybe 10 songs for 40-50 minutes. So, you learn 10 songs you like that are related...your "set", learn to play that "set" just like you learned the first "song".

    Learn to play with a pick and with fingers. Learn Sk8er Boi with a pick with all down strokes.

    Find people to play with. Copy your set onto a CD. Give it to friends or strangers. They learn the same songs. You play together.

    This is a good place. Learn how to Search for Keyword in the forums, and wear them out.

    Multieffects units are a neat way to get into effects because they have presets that you can rotate through. I have an old DigiTech RP7 for guitar that sells on ebay for 50-70 dollars, and it has all these neat presets that are a lot of fun, and it has a headphone out, so I can play it anytime.

    Several people on this forum basically get the Monster Cables for their replacement warranty, and do not feel the sound is better, and others think it is a waste of money because they are using cheap cables they have had for years. You are ok with the standard cables.

    I like mxtabs.net, when I am learning a song, I print out several tabs for that song. They usually have mistakes, but they usually get me to the right place on the fretboard quickly, and get me started. Depend on your ear, use the tabs to help.

    Good Luck,

  8. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Awesome =) Thanks for the ideas. Going off what you suggested for a book, has anyone had any experience with Bass Guitar for Dummies? This series of books have always been extremely helpful in whatever they are teaching and I did a search on Amazon.com coming up with this:


    Flipping through some of the online pages covering the "table of contents" , this thing looks like the Bass Players Bible. Its HUGE, and apprently covers a great deal. Good reviews and a decent price. What do you think?
  9. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Definitely learn the notes that you're playing. As you're getting comfortable playing the bass, try to notice on the fretboard what combinations of notes/patterns you like. This will come in handy if/when you learn scales. And I do recommend learning scales.

    I find that fingerstyle is more versatile and comfortable to me than using a pick, but picks are still quite useful, depending on your application. If nothing else, practice using a pick just so you're comfortable with it... let your playing decide if you think you need it or not.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Yep, I think that this would be better in General Instruction, so I am moving it over there.

    Welcome to bass, and to Talkbass, Boltboy. You picked the coolest instrument in the world to learn. Enjoy the bass!:)
  11. Boltboy


    Dec 6, 2003
    Appreciate it :D
  12. Ok so this is my first time posting on this message board. I've only been playing the bass for about a month(although i can hardly call it playing) and i was gonna start a new post on here asking some questions, i have already been browsing through the boards and have found countless information to get me started but then i came across this post and bolt boy has asked just about every question that i would have asked which is cool cause it kinda killed two birds with one stone...however i do have one more question to ask, I can keep an ok rhythym in my mind and even just tapping or whatever. but i seriously have terrible hand eye coordination does anyone have some tips to help me along i mean i know over time and practice i will get better. but is there any pacific exersizes that i should be playing. i already have gotten serveral from this board alone...(i cannot stress how much you all have helped me without even realizing it) so thanks to you all hopefully ill be half as good as i know most on here are

    lol i sound like a total suck up but its true you know oh well :rolleyes:
  13. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
  14. Surgeon


    Mar 4, 2003
    North Dakota
    Hey JohhnyDMoto

    Someone on the boards here recommended a metronome. After using it for several months I think that it is essential for helping develope a better sense of rythmn.