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Still can't play "Teen Town"

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassfart, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    I have been playing bass now for over 20 years and I still can't play Teen Town, my fingers just don't move that fast. It's the opening Octave descending run that I just can't get. The string skipping is killing me. Is there some exercise that I can practice that will help me get up to speed to play this song? Jaco is the man.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Get it perfect at half tempo (which is quite the achievement already) then slowly build up. It works with anything.
  3. +1. If that doesn't work, try even slower.
  4. dpbass66

    dpbass66 Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    If playing it really slow is still not working (if you are really diligent it should), add this to the mix.....make an exercise out of just playing ocatves (the first two notes of TT), then the dom 7 interval (the second 2 notes of TT) and then the fifth (the third 2 notes of TT). then make exercises of moving ONLY between notes one and two and notes 3 and 4 of , and then notes 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 of TT, again VERY slowly, and only notching the metronome up unitl you can play the exercise at the current tempo. When you move the metronome up it is OK that you cant play the next tempo, just keep working on the new tempo until you can do it.

    Good luck.....
  5. dpbass66

    dpbass66 Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    PS...I think the best fingering for that opening lick is 1-4 1-1(her you bar across the strings and play that Bb with the meaty lower part of your first finger) and of course the last 2 notes of that lick are 1-5.
  6. one technique that helped me is completely relaxing your right hand when plucking and pluck soft, it gave me more speed and a more even tone to my playing. after all the amp should do the work.
  7. esa372


    Aug 7, 2010
    In his instructional video, Jaco recommended that players practice 6ths up a scale, to help facilitate string-skipping (i.e. G>E, A>F#, B>Ab, C>A, etc.).

    It's tricky if you're not used to 6ths, but it's a good exercise. Check out the entire video, if you can.

  8. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    Thanks everyone for the tips and links, I am determined to learn this song once and for all.
  9. Matt Wilson

    Matt Wilson

    Jul 12, 2005
    I've been at it for a solid few months, in the same boat.
  10. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    How are you counting your fingers? If "1" is your index finger then "4" should be your pinky. What is "5", your thumb? :p
  11. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Not to bum you out, but my 10 year-old son can play Teen Town (at about 90 bpm - the record is about 130 bpm). He has been playing for 3 years and is currently in his Jaco phase. :D
  12. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    He clearly isn't practicing enough if his speed dropped 80 BPM in less than two minutes. ;)
  13. BillW87


    Oct 17, 2010
    Boston, MA
    One of my biggest revelations as a bassist was that I was letting my technique change depending on how loud I kept my amp while practicing. One day it dawned on me, why slam away with my right hand and play slower and more sloppy when I can just turn up my amp a bit and play softer on the bass to achieve the same volume. A soft touch will greatly increase your speed, as well as give you access to a much larger palate of tones that you can use. If you play too hard you get one tone to choose from: loud.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    all good advice, but i must mention that in about 32 years of playing pro, not one person ever asked me to play teen town ;)

    but it is a fun piece, and i occasionally try to work through it until i get sidetracked.
  15. I played it as one of my pieces in my music performance class once, i had the same problem but what really helped me was sitting down with a metronome and getting it at one speed on one day and then the next day coming back and doing it 5bpm faster. Also, play at the bridge definitely.
    I think i got it to around 126.

    Fun song to play though
  16. dpbass66

    dpbass66 Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Sorry about that....I was thinking the 5th of the chord...you are correct, it would be 1-4. (NO I DONT USE MY THUMB WHEN PLAYING SO NO SUCH THING AS "5"...)

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