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Switching from acoustic to bass in a week, suggestions?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by annae123, May 30, 2011.

  1. annae123


    May 30, 2011
    I've been playing acoustic for awhile now and am thinking of switching to bass guitar at least for a little while. I grew up playing mostly classical type stuff and prefer picking to playing chords, so I thought I'd give it a try. I want to try to play with some friends in a little over a week. Of course I don't expect to be great, but I'd like to be OK.

    I know some of the songs we'll be doing, but for a lot of stuff I'll probably just be given a chord sheet with lyrics (I know how to sing all the songs). I know some very basic music theory and how to read sheet music. My rhythms not the greatest, though, unfortunately.

    Any suggestions for how to prepare and get the most out of it in that short time? I hope to practice somewhere between 1 and 3 hours a day, probably in 45 min-1 hour chunks. I could probably spend some time outside of that reading too if there are any good books or articles out there for beginners.

  2. With your background and it being friends you may be able to pull this off. Great that you have been finger picking - the bass fretboard is the same as the acoustic fretboard minus the little E and B string. We play notes of the chords one note at a time. I'm suggesting that you only play the chord's root note right now. If you get the roots down then start playing R-5-R-5 (ask questions) Forget about anything else, you will not have time.
    Get the song charts (fake chord sheet music) and:
    1. Sing the song (under your breath) along with the vocalist. This will give you the beat and the tempo. By singing the song and following the fake chord sheet music you will know when the chords change. Pretty much it's one note per lyric word. Two syllable words get two notes, etc.

    2. Sound just root notes. Chord shown as a Cmaj7 chord, your job is to sound a C note in tempo, i.e. C-C-C-C until the next chord comes up. If it is the Fmaj7 chord you then sound F notes in tempo till the G7 chord comes up and here you switch over to G notes. Maintain a steady beat. Concentrate on the beat, if you sound a bad note - the Earth will not stop - recover and maintain the beat. If the song has some minor chords like an Am don't worry about it being minor - sound some A notes in tempo and move on.

    3. Problem being where are those notes on your fretboard? I see that as your largest problem.


    You failed to mention what type of songs you will be playing, I would hope basic Pop, Rock, and/or Country - simple tunes and if so they probably will only have 3 perhaps 4 chords in each song.

    If your songs are simple see if this works out with the sheet music you are given.

    Song in the key of C. Chords will revolve around the C, F and G7 chords. You want to get your C note from the 3rd string 3rd fret. Placing your key note on the 3rd string you can bet your other two chords (root notes) will be right above the C on the 2nd string, 3rd fret and right below the C on the 4th string 3rd fret. My point - place your tonic note (name of the key) on the 3rd string and your most likely other two root notes will be just above and just below your tonic note. Face the fact that in this short period of time playing root notes to the tempo of the song is all you can hope to accomplish. Keep it simple and you may pull this off.

    Bass Guitar for Dummies is what you need. It's well written, a little of everything you will need and does not bog down in any one subject, i.e. I think you can speed read it - slowing down for the "stuff" you need.

    Get the fake chord sheet music on what will be played and get started. Now we have not touched on how to sound a note, how to mute the notes, how to hold your bass, how to tune your bass, whether to use your fingers, pick or your thumb, and a whole lot of other "stuff" so...........

    Good luck and get busy.

    Take heart I switched over from rhythm guitar to the bass. Friend said I'm going to play rhythm guitar and sing at the local nursing home this Thursday. Take my bass and back me up. He showed me the 3rd string trick and I've been playing bass ever since. Great instrument you will love it.
  3. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    If you have been playing acoustic, once you pick up an electric it will all fall into place.

    As far as notes, There is nothing wrong with using the 1 2 4 fingers for the first 3 frets (F F# G on the E string). It will all fit into place from there.

    Good luck it will be fun, and I'm sure you will do fine..

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