Tough time getting good at bass guitar

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BassPlayer900, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. BassPlayer900


    Oct 19, 2011
    I've been playing guitar for 9 years. Last year, I started developing a bit of an interest in bass. This year, I started listening to Rush and then I decided to spend some money on a starter kit for bass. I bought a Silvertone starter kit 4 months ago. I really love playing bass, more than I love playing guitar. After I got the bass I got some Rush tab for it.

    Well anyway, I feel like I am not doing a good job. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing alright. Most of the time I feel like I'm really bad at it. I like to play songs and play some improv on it every day. I usually play for more than 5 minutes a day. I like playing with a pick, because it sounds too quiet for me when I use my fingers, and it brings out a nice, piano sound. So what can I do to get better? Should I be practicing for hours more than usual? Or try getting better at using my fingers? I'd definitely like to improve a lot. :bassist:
  2. Mayers

    Mayers Guest

    Sep 28, 2007
    well ... playing more than 5 minutes à day will really help...
  3. grass132456


    Sep 12, 2011
    I love putting on some headphones, blast musinc on iPod, crank up the bass amp and just jam. That is how I figured out how to play. And print some chordsheets too will help.
  4. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    "improve a lot" and '5 minutes ad day" do not go hand in hand ....epecially if you are looking at hard stuff like Rush .....immerse yourself!
  5. BassPlayer900


    Oct 19, 2011
    Ok, thanks! :bassist:
  6. If somebody has to tell you that you need to play for more than 5 minutes a day, then you need to probably just put it down and find something else that actually does interest you.

    you should be bugging the entire family because you have that thing in your hands constantly. Talent is wonderful, but it means jack without drive.

    * and before anybody sigs that line above - I didn't mean THAT thing, I was referring to his bass.
  7. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    Practice alot... Even when I sucked I practiced for 3 hours a day. The parents would have to come yell at me to make me stop. Now I have been playing for 10 years. I suck less now but Ill never be as good as Geddy.
  8. +1. Play for a 30 min stretch (at least) to get your muscle memory going- that'll help speed up ur learning heaps.
    Try covering 4 frets with your four fingers of yr left hand, & play each fretted note evenly & in time on each string & in each pos on the neck. Stick at it!
  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    More time in! It takes me 5 minutes to turn the amp on, warm up my fingers, and check my tuning.
  10. BassPlayer900


    Oct 19, 2011
    Thanks! I am starting to enjoy playing it more than guitar, so for now, I'm only going to focus on bass until I get better. The frets on it are so different, so I usually have a tough time with my string rattling up against the frets and straining the note. If possible, I'm going to try to play for a really, really long time today.
  11. mantrabass


    Sep 16, 2011
    Reading, PA
    Definitely work on your technique. Learning to play these songs will come a lot easier if you've got some technique down. Elaborate on all of your guitar knowledge, typically I feel as though guitar players have a huge advantage over somebody starting out with NO background. Good luck!
  12. i know how you feel, getting used to playing finger style is a bit tricky, what you need is a bass instructor. my one alwasy said "really give it the beans, sometimes its the only way to be heard" so now i play it quite hard, even without the amp, i can still hear it fine. i had to stop getting lessons a few months ago because i couldnt afford it anymore, and since then i feel like i havent made much progress, despite practicing everyday, and playing in the school band as part of our A levels.
  13. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    It has to be a hunger, a compulsive thing that you can't do without. Besides that, learn some theory, and try to feel what you're playing. Feel the groove. But, don't worry about being able to play complicated stuff to begin with. Learn that FEEL first on the simple stuff.
  14. BassPlayer900


    Oct 19, 2011
    Well this morning, I did some improv with my bass and for some reason I felt like I was playing better than usual. Over 20 minutes ago, I just finished playing bass for a little over an hour. A few minutes in to playing, I was playing better than usual, with less accidental fret-hitting. I played along with a bunch of songs. It definitely helped a lot! :bassist:
  15. LennyPenny


    Mar 14, 2011
    As most of the above already said, you should practice for at least half an hour every day. I mean, with me it varies from day to day: some days (like today) I can play for hours on end, other days (although they're very rare) I hardly touch my bass, if at all. If you really don't feel like playing, IMHO it's no good forcing yourself, but often you'll find you want to keep going once you get started. So try to do *something* every day, even if it's only some scales.
    I'm not questioning you love for the bass, but if that's still too much for you, maybe you should consider another instrument.

    Of course, there are always off days. I have a small epiphany every couple of weeks when I stumble across some new pattern, and then I have something new to practice and to incorporate into the stuff I already know. Don't let off days get you down, everyone has them.
  16. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    1. Screw the $#^&% tab! :spit:
    2. Soon as you can afford it, invest in a quality instrument and a quality practice amp.
    3. Learn proper technique.
    4. Change strings as often as required.
    5. Train your ear! :eyebrow:
    6. Practice, practice...and then go practice some more.

  17. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    + 1 to everything up there. +100 for the ones I bolded.

    I would add these.

    7. Practice with a drum machine. Not a metronome.
    8. Practice with other people whenever possible even if you hate the music.
    9. Make boring songs interesting with some clever bass playing.
    10. Be subtle when the other instruments are interesting.
  18. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Turn up your amp, lose the pick for a while and relax your right hand.
  19. Liam Wald

    Liam Wald Supporting Member

    May 17, 2011
    California Coast
    Get a small practice amp with two channels. Get a laptop computer and plug it into one of the channels. Pull up a song you like on You Tube and play along with it until you know it and like what you are playing. The next day pull up a new song on You Tube and learn that one. But before you do play over the one you learned the day before a couple of times so that you remember it. Now you know two songs.
    Do this day after day until you know 100 songs. This might take you 6 months or so.
    By the time you do this you will be a much better player.
    It is all about putting in the time.
    And yes, get rid of the pick.
  20. BassPlayer900


    Oct 19, 2011
    I haven't used tab in days. I can recognize notes by hearing them, so I don't really need the tab much because I am used to it now. I usually just play along with songs without the tab, and it's very helpful since I don't have to be focusing on it throughout the song, allowing me to focus on fret positions and such. I've actually never used a drum machine or a metronome, and I don't own any. I also don't live around other people who play instruments, so I never get the chance. Making boring songs interesting seems like a fun idea.
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