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Things a bass player should know

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by TomatoSandwich, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. TomatoSandwich


    Jan 29, 2013
    Hi, y'all!

    This is my first post here, and here's the thing: I've been on-an-off playing bass for about 7 years now. It has never been anything really serious for me, but now I realized that I'd really like to learn to play GOOD, to KNOW what exactly I'm doing when I'm playing.

    I have basic idea of notes, some theory knowledge. BUT there's A LOT of holes in my knowledge (first thing I know I'd like to fix would be to learn to practice with a metronome). So I was wondering does anyone have any useful advice, links to lessons theory I MUST look at and learn? Any advice appreciated - where should I begin and what should I do to become a guy who's good enough to call himself 'a bass player'.

    P.S. I thought that I could elaborate - I've had interest in music for a long time. Got an opportunity to get a bass guitar, so I did. Began to play 'just for fun'. Over time I've been interested in different styles of music from thrash to funk, but lately I've found myself being more and more interested in playing this one particular kind of music - let's call it stoner rock mixed with 'grungy' post-rock. So I began to search through youtube, and began to listen to Kyuss, and man I'm LOVE! I realized I'd really like to learn more about stoner rock - scales used, common techniques etc. Maybe later I could find some other amateur guys in my area just to jam together on weekends. Anyhow, the main question remains - where should I begin to learn to play bass? Links to lessons appreciated. General advice welcome.
  2. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    Well common scales used are ounces, grams, pounds sometimes and common techniques usually include rolling a bi-


  3. Less is usually better
  4. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    The "Search" link in Talkbass is your best friend. Search for "metronome" and you will find a lot of good stuff. There was a video with Victor Wooten talking about how he uses a metronome. He plays a pattern with the beat set to 120 until it's tight, then the same pattern with the beat set to 60, so he only gets half as many "hints" from the metronome, until that's tight, then he sets the metronome down to 30 and practices it until it's tight.

    The thing about a metronome is you don't want to become dependent on it. Use it to build a sense of time then wean yourself off of it.
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Find a good teacher and take lessons.

  6. Borzi_4


    Apr 3, 2012

    I played electric for 5 yrs, started upright and got a teacher. Completely changed the way I look at both instruments. Major Scales, Minor Scales, Modes, Chords, Transcriptions, etc.
  7. This isn't so much a list of "what to practice," but a good wrting on "how" to practice:


    It was written by a retired professor of jazz piano at the University of North Texas; substitute "funk" or "rock" or whatever style of music you play whenever you see the word "jazz," and you'll find it's pretty applicable to anyone who wants to become a complete musician (not just a complete bassist).

    And a huge "+1" to getting a teacher.
  8. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    So how does one go about finding the best teachers in my area? Electric
  9. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Or on line - is that delivery method (on line - Skype) a reasonable substitute for physically spending time with a good teacher?
  10. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    What should a bassist know? First, what your job is. No matter the genre or style, ultimately it's always the same job, and it has two equally important parts. First is to connect the rhythm with the melodic/harmonic part of the music. Second is to define the harmony.

    The first job mean's we're the glue that ties the drums to the guitars, or keys, or vocals, or all of 'em. That means we have to understand groove, swing, flow, etc. and make it happen.

    The second job means that we not only tell everyone what the current chord is, but what the next one is, and HOW THEY ARE RELATED. That means we have to know harmony.

    Dig through the theory forum for some excellent posts about harmony, how chords are derived from the scale (which is NOT the same thing as "use this scale for this chord" stuff), etc.

    Now the other stuff you should know...
    A. Start with one good amp and good bass. Stick with them until you KNOW everything about their sound and how they work. You don't need a lot of expensive gear to play bass.
    B. Don't get hung up on stupid stuff like what kind of bass for certain styles, what strings/bass/amp/effects your hero uses. You ain't them and any decent rig can get you 90% of the way to useful sounds anyway.
    C. Playing the right note at the wrong time means it's still the wrong note.
    D. It's supposed to be fun!!
    E. Just because it's supposed to be fun, doesn't mean that you don't have to work at it, and sometimes work can be anything but fun. Enjoy the journey anyway.
    F. Learn things in a reasonable and logical manner (and there're several threads in this forum already where I lay out what I think the progression of learning theory should be).

  11. chubrocker


    May 6, 2006
    I live by "always hit the one...and make the rest sound funky." When in doubt, hit the one! Less is more.
  12. Itouchdownthere


    Jan 24, 2013
    I just picked up Bass but looked around at lessons for about a year before i chose this guyhttp://www.freewebs.com/groovymusiclessons/ He really breaks it down where you can understand it and with a little humor added. Plus its all on a flash drive so you get to do it at your convenience which was a major plus for me. Hope the link helps
  13. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Learn songs. Lots and lots of songs. Songs in your favorite styles, but also songs outside your style. Learn to recognize the common chord progressions that come up over and over again in thousands of songs, so when a new song comes on the radio you can say "oh, that's I-V-vi-IV" (or whatever).
  14. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    Scott's bass lessons are crap. He has terrible technique and plays bass like a guitar. Plus his attitude doesn't cut it for me either.
  15. Itouchdownthere


    Jan 24, 2013
    Ah that explains it why i been picking it up like that then. Been playing guitar since 72 i guess he just translates it better to guitar players. At my age i don't plan on making money from playing bass just want to play around recording at home
  16. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Uhm, no?

    Edit: deleted rest of argument because feeding trolls is not cool.
  17. If you like stoner rock, pentatonics, pentatonics, pentatonics, and Black Sabbath, which is pentatonics.
  18. ics1974


    Apr 13, 2012
  19. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    Not a troll. My cousin bought his "super pack". He can play guitar that's for, the guy teaches mandolin, lap steel, keyboards, dobro, bass etc. anyone who plays any of the other instruments he teaches will tell he doesn't teach proper technique, etc. his blues and country bass lessons have some decent info, but the aren't great. Look up his slap and pop video on you tube and tell me that is a good way to teach slap.
  20. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Scales, modes, arpeggios, and 30-40 most common song progression structures.
    Huge plus if you know how to sing harmony.