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Stuck advancing my technique, what do I do next?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Absumone, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Absumone


    Nov 20, 2012
    I've been playing bass actively for a few months now, and I'm getting stuck advancing my technique. I'm at a point on which I can play easy/normal songs easily, but other songs just seem too difficult for me to learn and I give up too quickly.

    I also play in a band, and our songs are mainly pop punk. So the bass lines are usually really easy.

    Now I want to learn more stuff, I want to advance and play "like those guys in pedal demo's on youtube do" I want to be able to generate some cool bass line on the spot, but how do I do this?

    How do I build up my technique from playing basic songs towards being able to play generatively? Where do I start and what route do I take?
  2. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    One thing that has helped me is branch out to all kinds of music. To start, find out what bands influenced the bands you currently listen to and play some of their stuff. then find out who influenced the influences, wash and repeat. Can't go wrong with learning some motown/stax songs, also 70's funk, jazz. When I first picked up the bass I started on early rock and roll/ pop. Learn your fifths, your octaves, your major scales, your pentatonics. Learn ghost notes, chromatic runs from one chord to the next, quick mutes, chord triads, chord arpeggios.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    To do what you want to do you have to be able know what chords are involved in the song and how to build a bass line for those chords.

    Identifying the chords is the first task. I rely upon fake chord sheet music for this. Why? Well every band I've ever played with the director hands out fake chord sheet music on what he wants played. It has the chords shown and the order they appear. The advantage of this is we all are playing from the same sheet of music.

    Next thing is to recognize the chord coming up in the song and know what notes need to be in my bass line - for this specific song. With some songs pounding out root notes of the active chord is enough. Other songs need a fuller bass line. Ed Friedland's book Building Walking Bass Lines will go into detail.

    It's a long story, if you are interested say so and this will give us something to zero in on.

    Good luck.
  4. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Yeah, it's a pretty broad question. Maybe the harder songs you are trying to learn are too difficult?

    You need to learn harder songs to play more complex things can you currently can. Period.

    A program like Audacity, has a tool which can slow down an audio file without adjusting the tempo. Pick a song you want to learn and slow it down 20 - 30%. Play it well at that tempo and then speed it up a tad. Keep this up until you can play it cleanly at the original tempo.

    Learn music theory. Particularly chords. Find out what's different between a maj7 and a dom7, etcetera. Play the different arpeggios of different chords. Play them in order of the circle of fifths, go around the other way so it's the circle of fourths.

    Learn 12 bar blues patterns, and learns to improvise them over any key in a two-feel. Then learn how to walk and improvise on every quarter note. Learn funk and latin jazz and jazz fusion to learn different rhythms.

    Do ear training.



    Keep learning new material. Play your favourite pieces in different keys. Play them in different tempos.

    Learn melodies. Learn how to solo.

    Just keep learning.

    And oh yeah, keep working on your technique. I don't think the best players in world believe their technique is completely flawless all the time.
  5. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    You're a new player, so maybe your hands just aren't strong enough to play what you'd like. Just keep playing and you'll know when it's time to learn something more advanced, or someone will tell you so.
  6. Absumone


    Nov 20, 2012
    It seems like I will be doing chords and scales first. My finger strength is something I work on all the time, no matter what I'm playing, because I'll always need my fingers for whatever I'm learning anyways.

    Your post helped me the most, and I'm certainly interested in more!
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Is my reading up to speed(dots and charts)?
    Do I play arpeggios of all chords in all keys at speed and accurately?
    Might I expand my repertoire?
    How good is my timing?
    Can I play all chords(as chords) in all keys and positions at speed and at a level any vocalist would be happy with me comping in a guitar-like fashion?
    Can I comp from charts I have not seen before?
    How is my hearing...?
    Do I know where all the notes are on my neck?
    All the scales in all keys at all speeds?
    Can I play SLOW and accurately?
    Can I play all the melodies of my bands set?
    Can I solo competently on any chord sequence after hearing it only once or twice/ seeing it for the first time?
    Is my muting good?
    Do I have control over dynamics and phrasing when I play?
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    .....am I being a bit impatient in wanting to be like some of the guys on You Tube when I have only being playing for a couple of months ? ;)
  9. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    If you really like music, you'll gradually develop the Patience muscle as well.
  10. Absumone


    Nov 20, 2012
    I know it takes a lot of patience, and that was something I really knew before I started. But with me the problem is/was that I don't really know/knew how to build up my knowledge, which path to follow to eventually reach my goals and what to learn before the other.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Possibly, I think that's not necessarily a bad thing however! ;)
    Just don't rush too much and try to put anything you learn into a practical context.
    That way you'll get it down much quicker and more solid.
    Knowing how anything relates to actually playing the music helps.

    ....and always ask yourself critical questions. Answering them with honesty will get you somewhere! :)
  12. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    First things first. Start at the beginning. Get Bass Guitar for Dummies and start on page one. Dummies is one of the really good dirt simple instructional books. It starts out with how to hold the beast, how to tune it, etc. Things you need to know and probably have not taken the time to get into your bag of tricks.

    This thing we do is a journey best taken one step at a time. Great thing about that there is enough to keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

    Scales first. Why? Well it is the easiest way to get our fingers knowing where the notes are on our fretboard AND it lets our ears recognize the good notes from the bad notes. I really do not know of any musical instrument that does not start you out running your scales. It's a right of passage thing.

    Have fun.