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Speed. Imsurethishasbeendonebefore.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by natedawg5280, May 2, 2006.

  1. Ok, I've played bass for about a year and a half now. I'm in jazz band and concert band at school (for the first year.. I was actually homeschooled 'til this year) and of course my own band. I've never really been able to master speed, for lately I've been all about sight-reading.. which I've mastered pretty easily. I've always been content with my ear, time, and composing skills.. I can also improvise pretty well, solo ok.. slap (not too fast though..), etc. But I can't rip out the uber-fast skills. I just revisited this website for the first time in a while yesterday, and saw some videos.. (That Erlend one) and now I'm jealous. I need to get fast. Any ideas?

    I've been thinking revisiting the tab-learning phase (It's been sight-reading and composing lately) but I don't know what tabs to pick up. I don't know enough good (fast) bass music to pick out awesome bass lines to learn either, so any tab ideas would be great.

    If it's not tabs, maybe some excercises I can run through every day to get it down?

    Any other tips or ideas would be awesome. I started learning Classical Thump today (wooten) and can do it pretty well (the beginning parts).. but I feel like that is such a wierd setup (the hammerons) it won't be all that helpful for playing my own stuff. Anyway, tips or ideas would be awesome. This site is the shiz.

  2. aristotle chang

    aristotle chang

    May 25, 2003
    i'm not a superfast player, but whatever you do, don't bother with tab. being familiar with standard notation, you probably know the limits of tab. tab won't help your physical technique any more than standard notation will. if anything, the lack of rythmic notation in most tab will make learning complicated bass lines more confusing.

    what has helped me in the past to improve dexterity is learning solo classical/baroque music such as bach's violin sonatas. it's pretty easy lately to get a book of bach transcriptions for bass. that stuff will keep you plenty busy, and if you aren't fluent in treble cleff, it will help you learn that too, as many of the transcriptions cover entire range of the bass.

    good luck, and remember to start slow and use a metronome when you can.
  3. whether or not you use tab is not going to affect your ability to play faster. In fact, if you are referring to Erlend's sweeping videos, tab might be helpful to figure out what position on the neck to start on.

    as for how to play fast,
    You mentioned Wooten in your post. Try getting comfortable with the "down/up(double-thump)" and "down/up/pluck" method. You can use it on one string and play some very fasy bass lines without using any hammer-ons.
  4. Perhaps im just a slow leaner, but to be concerned with erlends sweeps after a year and a half of playing seems like it would be out of your league. Unless ofcourse you had been playing some other instrument that helps you with bass for a while before.
  5. Ahh, I don't know what that is. Can you elaborate? I have slow internet, so a video will take a while.. but I can check one out if you've got one. :)

    Hmm, that would be fun. Is it just the same as reading the bass clef in some classical piano books, or are the bass transcriptions different? I'll look into that. Basically the vibe I'm getting is that simply playing anything with a metronome and getting faster will work. Thanks for the input.
    With me, if I put my mind to something for a lil' while.. I can usually atleast get it down fast. I'm just not sure what the best way to get speed is.
    Naw, bass was my first instrument, but now I can play guitar, drums, and piano. (Piano not as good as I wish.. just enough to double up on it for some of my bands songs)
    Yeah his 'sweeps' I think were awesome. what is a sweep by definiton anyway though? And his slapping was fast. That I'd assume I can just metronome up on.

  6. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    In my experience, speed comes with practice. Once the movements for a particular piece of music become second nature, speed comes naturally. Start slow and get the technique clean first.

    If that doesn't work, do what us old and untalented guys do. Play slow with lots of feeling.

  7. :D

    I'll have to write that one down

    Double-thumping is the slapping technique Victor Wooten uses. It's bassically using the thumb like a pick, but when you add plucking to it you get a lot of rhythmic combinations. Every song on my myspace page uses double-thumping. The first song is only "down/up" while the other two use plucking as well. http://www.myspace.com/penguinbass
    Currently i'm trying to apply this technique to metal music so i can follow the shred guitar and quick bass drum patterns, however i don't have any metal recordings up yet.
  8. Try Charlie Parker's omnibook. Lots of notes, lots of lines to decrypt and it doesn't fall into the usual "bass patterns".

    Take a look at Gary Willis' right hand technique. Some call it complex, but it's actually pretty simple. I can't think of a better basic fingerstyle technique. It's about economy of motion, having your fingers ready to play and muting for a cleaner sound. The three fingers are great for string crossings.
  9. +1 on the gary willis thing. Im working on combing his playing style with matt garrisons and steve baileys to get some wierd 4 finger thing going. Not about to use my pinky yet but maybe with time. An excersie adam nitti taught me has worked well. Ill tab it out so you can get the idea of the positioning since crossing to the next string is a big part of it

    i m i m i m i

    the second time around it would go m i m i m i m
    or you could do i m r m i m r
    either way start slow and make sure you are keeping an alternating fingering most peoples tendency when coming down from the g string to the d is to rake and if you can alternate that it helps keep a consistant sound. Anyways play it twice through at a slow tempo then go twice through at double tempo then back to original and so on. Dont stop between them unless you mess up your fingering once you can do it for about 2 minutes without messing up your fingerings bump your metronome up a few notches and keep going till your original tempo is fast and your double tempo is crazy!
  10. jazzbasser535


    Feb 25, 2006
  11. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Yes - this subject has been thrashed.

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