Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Devilnutz, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Ive been playin the bass, and some other instruments for that matter, for about 8 years now. I took a few formal lessons back in the day just to get my bearing, but I'm more or less self-taught. The thing is, I dont know anything about theory. In fact, the only scale that I know is the blues minor. I don't rely on that to play. When I'm jamming, I just listen to what is going on around me and I know what will sound good. I'd imagine that buried deep inside my brain I know scales but I just don't realize it, but I hope you understand what I mean. I also don't understand why people spend thousands of dollars on their instrument. My bass was about $600 when I bought it and I wouldnt trade it for anything in the world. Just to set it straight, I'm not trying to knock anyone for how much they spend, theres nothing wrong with that. I just don't understand it. I've played my current rig for years now, playing God only knows how many different styles. I've always had people telling me that my tone is incredible and the likes. Total I have maybe $1500 in gear. Pretty modest compared to many. I know I'm rambling, and I myself am beginning to forget where I'm going with this post, but please bear with me.
    Lets recap. As far as musical knowledge goes, I have absolutly no idea what I'm doing when I'm playing, and I have cheap gear. But put me in any situation, tell me to play anything, and I feel confident that I could pull it off just as well as someone who went to college for music or whatever, and someone that could buy a a small country if they sold their gear. So does that make me any less competent of a musician?
  2. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    in a word yes. youll hit a wall eventually where you cant go as far as you skills will allow. I thought the same thing until i was put in alot of jazz situations. When someone gives u 3 bits of knowledge, like key, type of progression and speed, and says go your completely lost. Theory is more fun than anything though. Its the building blocks of everything youve been doing so itll make more sense to you now. Id say learn it cuz if it hasnt held u back yet it will.
  3. thank you, and i'll keep that in mind. know of anywhere online i can learn a thing or 2 about theory? i dont have much time to dedicate to it though, what with this war going on and whatnot. but one day perhaps. but still, i don't see the point. i guess im just hardheaded. thank you though.
  4. Get a teacher. I've started taking music theory and piano lessons a few weeks ago, after almost 14 years of playing bass in various musical styles, and I feel like it's the best move I ever made for my musical "career".

    It's kind of hard learning theory after all those years playing by ear, but it's very interesting, and I'm finally beginning to understand how music works.

    If your only goal is to play in your bedroom or in clubs with cover bands (nothing wrong with that), then you'll probably never need any theory. But if you strive to become a studio bassist, you definitely need theory, as well as good reading skills. Hope this helps, and good luck.
  5. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    There are so many options you are missing by not knowing theory. Like yourself I am mostly self taught. I relied on my ear and just played what came to mind which is ok. I started taking lessons and just by learned some modes and scales it's really helped. The big thing is what we have been doing is fine and they say you should play like that, once you have the theory behind you and you play by ear sort of speak then it will really open up endless possibilities in your playing.
  6. Bassart1

    Bassart1 Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    IMHO just the fact you seem to be more concerned about your education (or lack of) than how expensive your gear is means you're on the right track. Music theory and ear training classes at your local college (or privately) will not only help your overall musicianship but will also give you the basic skills for composition. In addition no egotistical untrained band leaders (there are a few out there) will be able to bullsh*t or bully you because you'll understand the music as well (or better in these cases) than they do.

    You go bro' (and Semper Fi)
  7. scatman


    Jun 12, 2003
    What everyone said about the importance of theory is correct.

    But DON'T abandon those ears!!!!!!!!
  8. I think the world of my playing changed when I started learning theory, and ironically, i had to teach my self to read music because some of the theory books I got only had notation, so it was kind of weird, i was "forced" to learn to read. I'm not the best at it or anything, but I can pickup what I need and I don't feel lost when playing with other people when they tell me the key's their playing in. I think compositionally, as a bass player anyways, it opens up a whole new world for bass players. Learning modality, intervals, and chordal relationships helps you think beyond just what you hear, it helps you get those sounds in your head out. Just my $0.02. I've got a long ways to go, but this is what I've found so far.
    If you've got the internet and some time, check out these courses at, adam nitti is the teacher for some of them, i'd be taking them, but I'm going to start college and will be majoring in music, the price for the courses is really reasonable, somewhere around 50 bucks, and decent course length. I don't know about the quality, maybe someone else on here has experience with them. Something to get your feet wet though.