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Things that should be on every newbies must learn list?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by darkstorm, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    What do you think are the first 5 things every beginning bass players must learn list? For me its:

    1. Tune by ear, useing pitch fork, pitch pipe or ref tone from keyboard. Along with tuning the rest of strings by ear via fretted ref note on next thickest string.
    2. Play notes cleanly on all strings on all the frets. It doesnt matter what order you do this in. Just that you actively play notes on all the frets and all the strings. This is learning to do basic fretting and note striking with fingers or pick.
    3. Action set up. To best personal taste. Ones taste my change over time. But only you can do best setup for you.
    4. Pickup adjustment for best sound by ear. & how to change strings
    5. Rhythm feel and ability. This can be by dance, hand shakers, playing randomly (note wise) in rhythm along with a drum machine or other music. Groove is number one, wether melodic, arp based, chordal, single or two note simplicity, or otherwise, rhythm is key.

    Id follow this with a couple fave songs learning. Along with comping rhythm grooves ad lib but in specified scales. And learning basic rhythm meters, quarter and 16 note etc etc basics. I dont place this techy type stuff in top five for rhythm meters cause I think its best to have the person just feel the rhythm and go with it.

    Basic instrument maintanence should prob be in their to. Simple things like check for loose screws and nuts. Ive seen too many reviews where newbie declared a bass defective cause it had a loose screw or nut. Or they lived with the input jack falling off now and then or knob that turns infinately which cause sound to stop being produced if they spin knob around too many times. But somehow I just feel that if a peep is old enough to learn bass playing they should have allready learned how to use a screwdriver and pliers. So left it out of the list :)~

    So what would you list as first 5 things for a newbie to learn?
  2. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    A lot of pros, who make more money than all of us together, can't do it. At least not as fast as they would like.
    Half joke, half true.
  3. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Thats true GianGian. Theres also a whole school of bass playing where one never plays higher then maybe the 7th fret. Sad but true. Lol.
  4. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    1) Learn to read score. On a related note, Mods, could we start a score sub-forum?

    2) Learn who the bass masters are/were (Scotty Lafaro, Anthony Jackson, Jerry Jemmott, Paul Chambers, Jamerson, Ron Carter, etc.). Too many don't know these names.

    3) The FB.

    4) How to get a note to sound nice and round, rather than punchy.

    5) The modes and how to use them.
  5. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    Yeah. As funny as it might be, I don't really see this as a problem.
    I mean, if people can express themselves with 7 frets, why using more than the necessary?
    I really like this idea, and to discuss what is essential for people whom are starting to learn the instrument, but a lot of players don't really need these things that you guys are pointing out.
    For people who want to build carreers as session musicians, or gig players, etc, it is important, I agree, but for a lot of "band guys", this these could be very useful, but they could also be a waste of time.
    Just saying...it is very hard to make these "universal lists".
  6. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    1. 0% Never tune by ear. Use a tuner. Study "just intonation" vs. "equal tempurement" for a good understanding why. Besides tuners are cheap.
    2. 100% Clean playing/technic goes a long way to mastering your instrument.
    3. 0% Get a good luthier to do your set ups. You will learn it in time but there are a thousand ways to screw up your instrument. So spend your time learning to play at this point.
    4. 0% P. U. adjustment. See #3.
    5. 100% Learn to feel the song you are playing. Jam with everything ie: Metronome, drum machine, CD player, any and all musicians especially drummers.

    My correction/opinion of course. My top 5.

    1. Practice
    2. Practice
    3. Practice
    4. Practice
    5. Practice
    6. Did I forget to say practice
    7. On the seventh day rest (unless your in the church band) And while your resting study everyone that has ever played bass. You will be amazed what chops, licks, runs, scales, etc that you can steal from others (you will get tired of droning 1's or bouncing 1 - 5's).
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    There is another very important point that has not been mentioned yet.... LISTEN.. closley to the other members of the band, especially the drummer.
  8. +1

    I've been playing almost 2 years and I've never tried to do any setups on my instrument, I just take it to my local shop. Sure, if you just hand over your instrument to a music shop and say "set this up" and don't mention anything about how you like your instrument setup, it probably won't be "perfect". But, they can usually improve the playability of an instrument by quite a bit. I've been happy for months since my last setup.

    I would say this:
    • Learn the musical "alphabet" A,B,C,D,E,F,G and all the accidentals
    • Learn where that alphabet falls on the instrument you're learning (learn the notes that the open strings are generally tuned to)
    • Learn how to fret and pluck properly
    • Learn scales, even if you shun theory and decide to just play everything by ear and completely ignore the names of notes and all of that...they'll at the very least help you build dexterity
    • Learn how to play in time, using a metronome or drum track or what have you
  9. johnboy65


    May 22, 2009
    Here's mine:
    1) Proper form, if for no other reason than the fact that bad form can hurt you
    2) Learn songs, it helps to keep people interested and is a great tool for using passing notes
    3) Listen, to other bass players, the drummer, music
    4) Timing, metronomes are great especially if you work on where to sit on the beat
    5) Scales in different positions, teaches the fret board and gives you great sonic options
  10. 1) Learn how to use talkbass.com
  11. ysand


    Mar 26, 2005
    1) Get GOOD instructor
    2) Do what he/she says
    3) Be patient
    4) Don't aim for speed, but for groove.
  12. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    I have perfect pitch and can tune without listening to a reference note. But why not just use an electric tuner?

    As for your OP, NEVER ever use a tab. Figure a bass line by ear.
  13. I've used tab since the start. Go ahead and use it. Nothing wrong with it.

    I've been playing almost 2 years, I still can't play by ear. If I only ever tried to play by ear I probably would have just gotten discouraged and quit trying to learn bass.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    tuners are cheap and it's fine to use them, but if you don't have a tuner, you won't be able to tune unless you learn how to do it by ear using a reference pitch. it's one of the very first things you should learn.

    i would agree in the beginning stages, but i think anyone who pursues playing and gets up to advanced intermediate level should learn how to do setups.

    ultimately practice is what it takes. also learn to read music. a great timesaver and invaluable for learning how to put it all together.
  15. learn how to play to a click. no one wants to record a guy that cant. especially me. its not hard.
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  17. Know when to STFU (in life, as well as Bass)

    Get it RIGHT before you get it FAST.

    Never let playing the "correct" note get in the way of playing the right note.

    At a minimum learn chord construction.

    Advice you get off the internet is usually worth about what you paid for it.

    And, yeah, use a tuner at gigs; but learn to tune by ear 'coz there WILL come a time when you need to.
  18. I have to disagree stronly with your point about the value of advice from the 'net. The rest of your post is quite valuable, as is much of what is in this thread.

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