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What is your own personal pratice routine/schedule?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassSurfer, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. This question may have been asked before but I just wanted to get a better feel for some of your personal bass practice schedules/agendas/lesson-plans. For example, what do you do for the first ten minutes, the next ten minutes, the next half hour? How do you divide your one hour practice sessions? When do you "advance" yourself to the next stage so to speak? A teacher/instructor is a good start, but what if you were doing it alone, without the help of an instructor or teacher? (not all of us can afford it ya know! :bag:)

    I have recently started to take my bass playing to another level in terms of technique and overall knowledge of the bass both inside and out.

    As I said, this may have been asked before, but I don't necessarily believe the philosophy that something can't be asked again because there will always be a new person (that was not around two or three years ago) who can offer better insight or something even better than the last time it was asked.
  2. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    You read my mind! I was also curious about how others on here break up their practice time, & was settling down to post that very same question but you beat me to it.

    Assuming I only have an hour a day to pick up the bass, my routine has been going something like this:

    10 minutes doing finger warmups from this book- http://www.musiciansfriend.com/book...ard-bass-fitness--an-exercising-handbook-book
    5 minutes running through a particular scale in 2-3 octaves while naming notes out loud to familiarize myself with the fretboard
    5-10 minutes practicing arpeggios in a particular key
    15-20 minutes working through Ed Friedlands HL Bass Method
    15-20 minutes trying to nail songs my teacher & I agreed on or favorite riffs I found the tabs for.

    Of course I try to get double (or more) that amount of time behind my bass everyday, but life gets in the way. Also that doesn't count the 20-30min per day I try to devote exclusively to reading & various theory, or the other 20-30 I spend cruising around on TB :p
  3. Thanks for the response catcauphonic. Amazing how there is like 146 views and you are the only one! Exactly what I was looking for by the way, kind of cool how you were thinking of posting the same thing. This is not an opportunity for me to necessarily "copy" anyone, it is just an opportunity to see what other people are doing.. simple as that! :)
  4. I believe many people are looking for the same thing you are, hence the number of views to responses. I myself always check out threads of this type to get ideas, but I rarely post because I'm still trying to put one together.

    I generally spend about 5 minutes warming up with finger stretches and scales, then about 15-20 minutes working through Ed Friedland's HL Bass Method. I might spend a little time noodling around or playing songs after that, but I have limited practice time.
  5. Great point. I guess this is an interesting topic, especially for those of us who don't have the time/finances to obtain a well-known/god enough teacher. Hopefully we can get some responses from people who have been doing the same thing for a long period of time. The whole problem with me sometimes is sense of direction. I will get serious and develop a good routine, but then I will start noodling around and it will throw everything off completely.... DISCIPLINE! :bassist:

  6. OnThaCouch


    Aug 10, 2006
    Fairfield, CA
    I was given this breakdown for a practice routine*. There aren't time limits but break down the 4 areas into a quater of your practice time each. It was also suggested that each area be worked in order 1 through 4 (start with Technique and end the session with creative work).

    1-Technique--exercises to just work LH and RH.
    2-Music Fundamentals--scales, chords/arpeggios, rhythms
    3-Vocabulary--Basslines, melodies, solos etc. Studying written materials to learn what is going on.
    4-Creative--Make your own music, basslines, play-alongs, etc.

    * This concept is from my bass instructor Michael Wilcox. If you are in the Bay Area in N. CA he is a great teacher :D.
  7. Currently, I am:
    1. Working through Hal Leonards bass books 1-3.
    2. I mess around with some songs I like to play, to keep me enthused and to forget it's practice.
    3. I work on my band's songs that I feel could be improved, on my part.
    4. I play a note recognition game on my phone right before bed time. I try for at least 2 perfect sets/scores before crashing.
  8. bassfuser


    Jul 16, 2008
    I practice around an hour in the morning:
    (30-40 min) Scale/arpeggio work. Starting from the position of 4th string/1st finger, I play up and down 2 octaves which results in a shift to the 3rd string/2nd finger position. First I make the shift on the 4th string and play the associated arpeggio shifting on the 4th string. Then I'll shift on the 3rd string etc. I do this for Major, Mixolydian, Dorian, Locrian and Diminished scales and associated chords. I've been working a different key everyday using the cycle of 4ths.

    (20-30 min) Open string exercises from "The Evolving Bassist".

    All of the above using a metronome.
    Later in the day I've been working on the song "Sugar" as something I can actually play instead of exercises. Chords, walking line, melody and improvising. Also walking of jazz/blues changes etc.

    I also try to get in some practice playing with songs or looped progressions from various instructional books I have.

    All in all, about 2-3 hours a day if I can fit it into my schedule.

    The main thing is I've been consistent with my morning routine and I'm really starting to see benefits.
  9. I'm nowhere near as organised as I need to be, but recently i've settled on:

    1. Warm up (Scales + Arpeggios) - Currently this involves playing the major scale in a few different keys up / down and across the neck and playing all modes in a key as arpeggios (one key per day).
    2. Chords - Jazz standards, working out chord shapes with voice leading and inversions where needed.
    3. Walking - Over the changes i've been figuring out - no metronome or slow tempo

    4. The rest is a bit of a mess at the moment:
    Some casual practice of a handfull of challenging pieces.
    Picking funk bass parts out by ear.
    Latin (working through The Latin Bass book - Well worth checking out!)
    Random bursts of creativity
    Ear training (was doing this at a strong level every day, but have neglected it recently)

    When i do get my self in gear there will be more transcription, more Motown, more sightreading and more time on techniques i can't do so well (pick, arco, upright slap, double thumb etc.)
  10. bassfuser


    Jul 16, 2008

    I got this book awhile back and worked hard on the 1st couple of songs. Great stuff, but I got into the jazz thing the last couple of months. There's just not enough time to do everything.
  11. These are the exact responses I have been looking for. My practice routines are very similar to what you have all been saying and I think I can incorporate something new... ESPECIALLY the Latin book.. definitely a cool idea!
  12. I noticed my playing had stagnated recently, so I've started practicing consistently each day. I start out with about five to ten minutes of warmup exercises/stretches. After that I work through that days exercise in this 30 day bass exercise book I have (the name eludes me right now). The exercises are designed for improving dexterity and strength in both hands.

    After that I pick a scale and play through it all over the fingerboard, playing different patterns and in different time signatures. This has helped me quite a bit, since part of my problem before was always writing in the same time signature and in the same general rythym.

    And I end with learning songs by ear. What I did was pick an album, with the goal of learning one song off of it each day. This is definitely my favourite part of my practice regimen. I kind of stalled half way through the album (Kill 'Em All), but it's nice to have something to work towards each day.
  13. AMp'D.2play


    Feb 12, 2010
    My current instructor, who is the best by far of the 3 I've had, breaks our lessons down into 4 sections:

    1.) what he calls "gymnastics", which is a warmup that I believe is similar to the book referenced in post #2 (might even be the exact same book that he has downloaded). Various fingering combinations - 1,2,3,4 .. 1,2,4,3, .. 1,3,2 4, etc.

    2.) scales, chord tones, etc.; started out with intervals w/in a key going around the circle of 4ths. seconds in the beginning, followed by 3rds, etc. ascending, descending, alternating ascending & descending. like what's here. after intervals, we moved to triads, then 7th chords, then inversions, ...

    3.) rhythm - reading & playing along w/ a metronome. initially we started w/ the basic ¼, ½, & whole notes. progressing to where rests, dotted notes, syncopation, etc. were added to the mix.

    4.) various blues exercises, usually 2 songs per week. getting more complex each week, to the point where it borders on "jazz". :cool:

    For the above, I usually practice for at least an hour in the a.m. b4 work, and if I have any energy after work, maybe some more at night (through headphones since "the boss" is sleeping). Weekends, I may go for several hours, sometimes breaking it up into more than one session.

    I'll also throw in some practice time for songs I need to know for either a band or P&W situation. This is where ear training comes in since unless I'm under the gun for time, or if it's an original song that I don't have an audio clip for, I try to refrain from using chord charts. Lastly, I'll also play along to & learn songs (also by ear) that I like but will probably never get the chance to play in public. (not too much demand for a 50-something bassist in a Porcupine Tree tribute band!)
  14. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    1.) Warm-up. Scales of any kind and arpeggios. But don't play them like I did yesterday. (different tempo, different feel, different rhythm, different direction, different order etc etc)

    2.) Intonation studies. I play fretlesses, so this is a very important thing.. for me. Octaves and fifths in tune.

    3.) Something I worked on yesterday.

    4.) Something I need to get better at.

    5.) Something I love to play.
  15. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    I work on my weaknesses.

    Intonation and ear training come first (mostly play upright)

    Then I put together music I feel I need to work on for gigs or just self furthering. This includes transcribing and digging into a style I need to work on.

    My philosophy is to always make music. If I think my chops need work I do the wrok within the confines of making music. And likewise with everything else. Since I began this my need for extended hours of practice to see significant improvement has diminished.
  16. Rudreax


    Jun 14, 2008
    New York, NY
    While I do practice on a regular basis, I don't have a structured plan like some of the other posters. Generally I spend 30 minutes warming up by just jamming out with myself to get the mind moving. Once that's done I'll work on something I know I need to work on. This could be playing in a certain key, working on some music, learning tunes, etc.
  17. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I don't use a specific time approach but I do have a structured regimen I break it down into 6 areas of music. Some say there are 3 basic elements to music (harmony, melody, and rhythm). I say there are 4 (Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Technique). So I work the 4 basics plus a style/groove part and a repertoire part.

    1) Harmony. For this I use an exercise that I outline in the technique section of this forum.

    2) Melody. I read a lesson in Guitar Player with Jimmy Herring talking about using scale diagrams to find new chord voicings. So I'll loop a chord based on a Major Pentatonic and practice different pentatonic sequences over it.

    3) Rhythm. I got an Polyrhythm exercise when I took lessons from Kai Eckhardt for a couple of months with every permutation of 2 to 8 eighth notes. Usually I put it against looped chords.

    4) Technique. I'm working through Joe Santarre's Slap Bass Line book. I'm starting with the pentatonic exercises in the back combining it with a column I saw in Bass Player Magazine about Triad Pairs looped on top of them using pentatonics to imply different modes.

    5) Style/Groove. The Musicians Collective has a great book on Afro/Caribbean and Brazilian grooves that includes drum transcriptions so I practice the grooves against a programmed clave rhythm first so I can hear how the bass line relates to the clave then I play the line against the programmed drum track.

    6) Repertoire. I have Transcription Books of Jaco and Stanley Clarke lines that I'm working through. Plus as a 6 string bassist I believe that every six stringer should learn at least 10 Anthony Jackson lines so I'm planning on working some of those into my practice routine.
  18. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Day to Day takes up ~ 3 hours, somedays less but I try to get 3hr/day. If I can only do 1 thing it's Technique, that's usually 1.5 hours minimum.

    1) Warmup stretches
    2) Technique - RH/LH
    3) Improvisation
    4) Transcription

    Ear Training I fit in when I can but I really need to do more of it.

    Weekends/holiday I'm playing all day.
  19. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    Always groove whenever u practice .. No point in practicing mindless scales and technique when u can practice and groove playing music

    From victor clinic
  20. ZanaZulu807


    Aug 6, 2007
    Good thread. Here's mine...

    1.) Warm up- Stretches, noodling with an arpeggio thrown in; get the fingers good and loose.

    2.) Scales- Moving all the way up and down the neck, which leads into...

    3.) Endurance- Play all the way up and down the neck in as many different patterns as possible, as long as possible.

    4.) Improv- Go nuts, jam to songs, mix up rhythms, solo all afternoon into sunset hours.

    Also, how long has everyone been playing? I first picked up a bass about 13 years ago but have been playing seriously for about 9 or so years.

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