Where do I go from here?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by rangerz715, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. I am essentially a true beginner at bass. I bought a bass a couple of months ago and I have really just been "playing around" since then. I went through my first book which is a 30 year old Mel Bay bass book from dad called "The Electric Bass Volume 1" written by Roger Filiberto. What the book basicallt tought me was basic fingering and scales, how to read music and now I am somewhat comfertable playing at the top (first 4 frets) of the fretboard.

    I have tried to use tabs to learn some songs and I usually don't have trouble playing the actual notes but I always seem to get lost when I try to play along with the actuall song. The only thing that I have found real sucess with is when I take chill acoustic songs with no bass and find the lyrics with the chords on top and I play the bass.

    I know that the usuall responses are to go use the search feature and I have spent many hours reading similiar threads. Also due to time and financial constraint there is absolutely no way for me to get a teacher. My dad is a extremely talented guitarest and all around musician and is able to help me if I need help.

    Basically what I am looking for is what I should do now. My goal really is to play well enough that I would be able to keep up with a guitarist and was just looking for ideas of what I should practice and any good daily practice routines. Thank you so much for all your time and help I truly appreciate it. Also I am really sorry of how long the post was I just wanted everyone to understand where I'm coming from. Thanks again.

    Edit: Changed Title
  2. If you're having trouble playing along with songs, you should take a listen to the rhythm of the bass line first. Unfortunately, the tablature doesn't give you an idea of what the rhythm is, so you just have to listen and compare. If it's still tricky, play the bass line on your own, slowly, and then build up speed to the point where you can play with the song.

    As far as what to practice - the main thing that I would suggest is to find bass lines that sound challenging and transcribe them. There's not much that beats having good ears. Learn to read music too, if you can. This will allow you to do exercises out of bass books, trombone books, bass clarinet books, etc.
  3. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    It's only natural to do so. However, it takes time to develop good rythym and musical sense on different instruments. This technically has to do with the muscles in your hand.

    Here's an excercise to demonstrate my point:

    1. Look at some notes and try singing them.
    2. Look at the same notes and try playing them

      With the first thing on the list, you should find that you stay in tempo and rythym.

      The second you will find is a little trickier. This is because the muscles in your arms and fingers (your bass muscles) are not yet developed for playing bass. However, you have been talking since you were a baby.

      My best advice for you: keep practicing in the same begginner book. Repetition is the key to learning.

      Try translating those tabs into notes. This will help you out later down the road when you are ready for improvisational bass lines. Tabs will slow your understanding of chords and appregios; thus, inhibiting your advancement into actual jazz and improvisational bassing.

      Make sure you listen to songs about 8 times before you try to play them. Then you will have a much better sense of the rythym and where the notes fit in.

      It will take you time to learn fast electric bass lines, but you will learn naturally through the years.
  4. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    When I learned scales and understood what chords to build from each interval (modes), I felt like a kid in first grade learning to read - so much opened up so quickly. And my playing improved more in that short period of time than anything since. Once I had a teacher explain, and I understood, the theory behind the I ii ii IV V vi vii VIII nomenclature, it was like a major lighbulb. When I read chord charts I was confident to be creative and when I listened to songs I "knew" where the progression was going.

    Take a few lessons, it will give you a whole different perspective. The entire fretboard was available to me after that point and my private practice sessions were much more productive.
  5. BassesOfDeath


    Sep 13, 2003
    I'd say go for something real easy like Nirvana, builds your basic rhythm understanding and speed. Or make your own songs, you can't play it wrong because you made it. ;)
  6. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    since you dad plays guitar, have him play a 12 bar blues pattern and just play the root note (if you watch him you will see what his hand are doing). When you get that down play the root and the 5th. then you can play the cord scale with it. buy the time you get to the scale part you will have a fairly well since of time and will jam along with most of you favorite bands from tab.
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I believe you will never keep up with a guitarist until you acquire a full working knowledge of the fretboard...not just the first four frets. Begin by expanding your knowledge of all four strings up to the twelth fret. The thirteenth and beyond are repetitions, but you will use the first twelve frets more often. You need to be very confident of what notes are where, because the slightest hesitation to fret a note you are not sure of will put you behind the beat.

    You need to know scales, but knowing the structure of major and minor chords will give you a basis for playing basslines. Even if all you do is play root notes for a few months, you must still know your fretboard.

    An exercise you could do is to play the root and fifth of every note in the C major scale just to get you started.

    I have another "old" Mel Bay Filiberto book. It is callled "Play Electric Bass from Chord Symbols." It sounds more complete and more practical than the Filiberto book you have.

    With my book, Filiberto shows you how to create simple bass patterns and make simple basslines, plus how to read chord symbols on a chord chart. The reading is fairly simple because he uses only quarter and eighth notes throughout his many examples. They make excellent beginner drills, most especially if you use a metronome to help you develop timing and gradually build speed.

    One last thing, your father is a great guitarist. I say glue yourself to him and have him teach you pratcically everything he knows that you can apply to bass. You are very fortunate to have a father who can help you advance in your music.