Where to begin?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by fendervox, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. fendervox


    Jun 7, 2009
    I did a search and didn't see any recent threads on the topic, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I would have to introduce myself as a guitar player, but I've made the decision to switch to bass full time. I would dabble here and there with the bass, and something just felt more right, or more natural with the bass in my hands. Maybe it's because I'm 6'5", or I have a really deep voice and I'm more tuned to low frequencies, or maybe bass is just way cooler!

    Regardless, I have scattered knowledge when it comes to music theory. I have some basic understanding, and what has happened in the past is I've started from scratch, then when I encounter the stuff I already know, skip ahead, which then confuses me down the road.

    I'm wondering what the best way to start learning music theory would be. Unfortunately, the town I'm from has very few bass teachers. I used one in the past and it wasn't a great experience (forgetting what they taught me in previous lessons, cutting lessons, short, etc).

    My main objective is to be able to be a stand in bass player. Knowing that, is anyone able to help me out with a plan of study, preferably broken down into specific topics? Or, perhaps a great online resource?

    I appreciate any advice!
  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Coming from a guitar playing background with very little theory knowledge myself, I'd suggest focusing on chord theory and the role of bass in that context. If you more or less understood how chords work on guitar that's half the battle there. I got a very good appreciation for theory when I started learning to play jazz and chord theory was the thing that unlocked it for me.

    Having a good teacher - for a while - will speed up that development and ideally help you avoid bad technique habits.

    Welcome to the low end!
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Given that the old joke is:

    Q: How do you get a guitar player to stop playing?

    A: Put a piece of music in front of him.

    I should ask if your current guitar playing and/or your bass aspirations include reading music? If so, I'd start with learning bass clef and, given that you're a guitar player, you might also start with electric bass to get used to reading bass. My own journey went from guitar to electric bass to fretless electric bass to upright. I also started playing (and reading music on) the piano at the time I started electric bass, and I recommend that as well.

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    seems like Steve Freides has it right, IMO: and +1 for the piano/keyboard exposure/study.
  5. Could you describe this better please?
  6. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Phil Rowan likes this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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