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Started playing with a real band need some tips

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by cnl83, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. cnl83


    Jan 30, 2007
    I have been palying bass for about 2 years now. I play every single day, and dont miss a lick. I play with mp3s mostly. Im pretty accurate when it comes to playing with the mp3, but its a little different when you play with an actual band. You gotta adjust to hearing just the guitar, and drums, and you being the actual bass! All the band members are way more experienced than I am, so im trying to step it up. I find myself a bit sloppy. Any tips from you bassist that have crossed this threashhold? I gotta resolve this, and get better.

    Hit me up!

  2. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    You can play along to Guitar Pro or Power Tab files instead - from there, you can just mute the bass part out.

    Personally, I'm a big fan of just playing to a click. Figure out the parts to the song, make a cheat sheet, and play it to a metronome instead of the actual song.
  3. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    - Practice a lot. Four hours a day or more is normal for a working player.
    - Take lessons.
    - Use a metronome to practice exercises slowly, then build up speed gradually.
    100% perfection is where you need to be before you bump up the metronome - if you can't do it perfectly at a slower tempo, don't try for a faster one yet.
    - There are no short-cuts; it just takes a lot of practice.
    - Get a super-clear sounding practice amp so you can hear ALL your mistakes - I find that a Dragonfly Personal Practice Amp is best for this, and they are only ~$30.

    You can get one by donating to Talkbass:


    or buy one here:


    They're awesome for practicing - I use mine all the time.

    I also like these for practicing:


    although mine is the CD version, not the MP3 version. They allow you to slow down songs to learn them without changing the pitch, change the pitch without slowing them down, or both; mute the bass parts, create loops to work on hard passages, and lots of other stuff. Definitely worth the price and also make a great headphone amp.

    Also check out these threads:


    Have fun!
  4. after you have worked for a while on what our worthy colleagues(sp?) have spelled out. Record yourself, without any accompaniment, including a metronome, or a play along. Just you on the bass. Upon listening back, measure your playing and make sure the beat does not die. Your time and tone and notes should be as solid without a guitar player or a metronome as with. You can contribute much more to the presentation of the music this way, rather than leaning on everybody for the music. Hope that helps.
  5. jdb


    Jun 18, 2007
    probably on the road
    endorsing artist: ampeg, dimarzio, dean markley, jim dunlop
    the key to playing with live musicians is being able to adjust to human variables. tempo changes, new solos or just a "jam" section that may pop up. you didn't specify whether or not you are playing originals. if you're doing covers, learn the songs at home and keep it simple until you get a feel for how the band plays the songs. if they are originals, keep it simple, learn the changes and start to work with what you hear in your head. my experience has always been that the "new guy" always gets some slack when it comes to getting everything spot on right away...
  6. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    when playing with the band, listen closely to the drummer (and everyone else ideally) and listen to the timing of your note in comparison to the groove.

    if your note is not exactly where you wanted it, then you can hear the difference and that's the first step. try to get it in the right spot the next time through.

    i still can't quite get the notes right where i want them all of the time, but as you get better, you hear smaller errors and then you correct those and then you hear smaller errors and...
  7. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Listen -- a lot! I know you have a lot to think about with all that's going on around you.

    Like the above post: if playing covers, listen and learn the basic bass part and add what you feel is necessary. If your drummer is accurate with his part, then cool -- if drummer is adding his own "feel", adjust accordingly.

    If it's an original band: listen to what others are playing and develop a good foundation part for all of the chaos to rest on. :D

    Have a ball! :bassist:
  8. Listen to the kick drum and lock in with it if you are playing rock etc (the role of a kick drum in jazz is different) ... and do all the other stuff above.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  11. Developing a critical ear is important -- it's mostly to learn to be frank with yourself. One way is to record as much as possible and listen to the results, carefully.

    Anyway, it's not really band practice but the more you know how you play and any weaknesses to fix, the better. Just playing in a band is a big start as you could start to learn the collaboration effort. Doing live sets is the next level where you will learn a lot.
  12. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Those things are pretty cool...just don't try to use it and watch TV at the same time...I was dizzy for about an hour (I think it had to do with hearing everything from my waist).
  13. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    One of the first skills I picked up when i started playing with others was how to screw up and keep going.

    Ideally you don't make mistakes, but they happen. I don't think I have ever payed a gig perfectly in my 18 years of gigging. When you do inevitably mess up, The important thing is to get over your self conciousness and back into the groove as quickly as possible.

    As Someone's signature quotes Vic Wooten: "never abandon the groove to find a note"

    and one advantage of being a bassist is If you play the wrong root note, everybody else will assume it was themselves :)
  14. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007

    Hear what everyone else is playing and adjust to it.
  15. jdb


    Jun 18, 2007
    probably on the road
    endorsing artist: ampeg, dimarzio, dean markley, jim dunlop

    remember to have fun!!!!!

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