What is your one piece of advice to a new player?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Grumry, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    I've been playing guitar and bass on and off for over 10 years but never had any formal training. I can play by ear pretty well and do some limited improvisation but I never learned a million cover songs, I didn't learn my scales, I know little to no theory.

    But, now that I've been able to play more this past year, I don't know how to spend my time playing. I'm finally learning the number system and trying to memorize the notes of each key and run through those over and over. I went back and replayed the 30 or so old covers I used to know from highschool.

    I feel like the best musicians I've been around are the players that know an insane number of covers, across several genres. Should I just sit down and grind out songs?

    Having said all that, I want to forget what I think I know about how to play and start from the beginning.

    What's the single best piece of advice for an aspiring musician/bassist?
  2. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    If you don't feel it, don't play it.

    In music, everything you learn comes from wanting to elicit an emotional response. Not all musicians know theory, but every single musician plays because it makes them feel good.
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  3. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    I made a playlist of like 20 songs I really enjoy listening to, from CCR to Allman Brothers, but when I sat down to learn them, I couldn't get into it. It's not that they were difficult, it just seemed like I was forcing it. I learned about 5 of them in a day or two but since then I haven't had the urge to play them again.

    I think I need to play with other people again, it's been a very long time and I believe the human element adds something that playing along to spotify can't bring to the table.
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  4. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    As a bass player, play what supports the song as a whole the best. This will make the music come alive.
    Jloch86, Jimmy4string, Grumry and 2 others like this.
  5. My advice would be to be well rounded. Be as versitile as possible, and don't close the doors to anything. Learn some theory and know your scales, find your ears by playing with musicians in live settings that challenge you, learn how to get different sounds from your gear and basses by doing nothing but moving your hands around. Record yourself and critique yourself often. Find goals and make a point to constructively learn a new sometimg each week. Learn old school funk, how to slap the bass in other keys besides e, play reggae, and other styles of music that push you out of traditional timekeeping signatures. Listen to solos on other instruments, and try to cop that on your own bass. Find the groove, lock with as many drummers as you can. Put a set of headphones on and really listen to how the bass and drums work with each other. Never stop learning. These would be a good starting point..
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    My advice would be :
    Avoid tabs.
    Play along to songs and work out the bass lines by ear.
    When playing with others, don't lock yourself away in your own little bubble. Listen to the other instruments.
    Learn some basic theory.
    Pay close attention to timing and groove.
    Play only what you think the song requires, i.e. don't over play, just for the sake of it.
    Last, but no means least, make sure your technique is up to par, both from a playing aspect, and equally important,
    to avoid potential injury problems at a later time.

    Best of luck with it. :bassist::)
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    My one piece of advice:

    Don't come on talkbass and ask people for one piece of advice. They're can be so much more helpful than that, and you're limiting yourself right out of the gate.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Practice more. However much you're doing, it's not enough.
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  9. Learn stacks of songs. This develops your ear, gets you jamming ASAP, reason to practice, way to measure progress.

    It also introduces you to hearing theory before studying theory. Light bulbs go off much quicker because you grasp it & remember it more easily.

    Put the radio/playlist on, turn the lights out, and just play. Be in the moment and just have fun.
    Kubicki Fan, Dgl44, funkytoe and 2 others like this.
  10. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Have fun. That's why they call it playing. Why else do it.
  11. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Spend time studying and practicing, and money on lessons. One bass, many books. Worry about all this equipment banter sometime down the road.
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  12. It's time for some knee to knee with a live instructor.
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  13. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Advice given to me at the Montreux-Detroit Kool Jazz Festival in 1986:

    Learn as many different styles of music that you can--don't have to become a virtuoso, but get familiar with them. Don't like country music? That's fine--learn it anyway and then never play it if that's your game. It's not a bad thing to have a large musical vocabulary.
  14. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    Learn. Your. Scales.

    I'm also a self taught player, and running scales was the single best thing I've ever done. Knowing the whole neck and what notes you have to improvise with will make your life so much easier. On top of that, evry advanced technique you might want to get into is dependent on knowing your scales and notes relative to the tonic.
  15. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    Well, of course I'm open to any advice or tips I can get. I was more getting at, if you had one piece of information to share, what's the most important thing you've learned?

    I understand "practice" is helpful, but what was that moment for you when everything clicked and what caused that?

    Your cover thread actually made me think of making this one and how all the best musicians I know, all know a million covers. It made me think, is that where I went wrong in my past trying to progress? I just never got into jamming a hundred covers. Growing up, bands in my area were more into original material and the cover bands were made fun of.

    I'm not that closed minded anymore, which is why I'm asking how to get better.
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  16. Chico Ruger

    Chico Ruger

    Dec 11, 2014
    Western NC
  17. Chico Ruger

    Chico Ruger

    Dec 11, 2014
    Western NC
    Don't sleep in your clothes.
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  18. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Inactive

  19. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Without exception, I have also found this to be true. There is a reason for it.
    When a noob starts learning theory, scales, arpeggios, modes ect,
    the inevitable question is how do I use this?
    the answer is: build your vocabulary via learning lots and lots of songs.
    theory can help identify opportunities to use your vocabulary
    but repertoire will teach how things sound

    +1 to avoid tabs
    Notation is slower at first, but it will improve your musicianship more.

    So I can't give one piece of advice, I must give two:
    Repertoire & Literacy
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  20. buy a tuner ,learn the scales , play with other musicians as much as you can , and never turn down your amp when asked to by a guitarist ,as I have found out the hard way ,most guitarists have no idea of volume or how to set levels ..........
    Kubicki Fan and Grumry like this.