So what are you playing?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cougar, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Cougar


    Feb 15, 2014

    I am relatively new to this bass thingy but can play quite OK. My bass teacher says sync with the kick drum, follow chord changes, stick to root notes but you can throw in 3rds and 5ths. That is it! I follow this religiously and I sound pretty good. However, when I see people playing bass, I see finger activities all up and down the neck, I hear bass notes outside of the kick drum, I hear notes that do not sound like 1-3-5, I sometimes hear the bass playing melody, etc, etc. In fact, I can't find any song with just bass root notes.

    So I am doing too little. What else are you guys playing in your bassline?

  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    What your teacher is telling you is good advice to get started with - the bread and butter of bass playing. Having mad chops and zooming all over the neck is of little use if you can't also lay down the basic foundation to a song.

    Having said that, it is the foundation and as you learn you should start stepping outside the box. Learn your scales, and maybe then go on to chords and modes, and learn your fretboard all the way up and down the neck. Listen to bass lines in different songs and try working them out by ear. Experiment and see what you can come up with on your own too.

    The key is to learn to be ABLE to play any flashy thing you like, eventually - but to also have the RESTRAINT to know when it does and doesn't enhance the song.
  3. thunderbyrd


    Nov 29, 2006
    you might want to check out ed friedland's "building walking basslines" book and CD. it teaches you a lot about how to get beyond root-5th, root 5th.

    i'd say it's probably the best book for beginners and near beginners there is.
  4. msaone


    May 13, 2012
    While I play a lot of arpeggios i never really did the root third fifth thing.

    I play and practice scales along with chords.

    Passing tones are your friend.

    Keep what you have, but continue to fill your "tool box".

    When I started playing it was in a band with no rhythm guitar or keyboard. It made my style (some would say) busy and more melodic.

    Try learning some melodies to the songs you play and then build off that.
  5. aparker82


    Sep 19, 2012
    I'm working through this book now and can already hear an improvement not only in my playing but an understanding of what's appropriate.

    Great book!