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Where to start learning?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Murmaider, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Murmaider


    Oct 20, 2013
    Just got my first bass: Ibanez SRX505 5 string and an Acoustic 15 watt amp.

    Thing is, idk what to start learning. The only experience I have is a bit of guitar experience I'm kind it lost. I bought Alex Webster's Extreme Metal Bass book to learn with, and it has many scales and stuff that seems useful. But I'm not a hundred percent sure if that is like, what I NEED/SHOULD be learning at this beginner level.

    Should I just jump straight into the scales and **** or should I focus more on my bass's positioning, finger position, and whatnot first, or am I right with just jumping into the scales?

    If I do just decide to learn the scales, then what's next? Do I try to improvise in a particular scale to test how well I can apply it or something? Music isn't exactly as linear as school xD

    Are there any exercises I'm missing? Help me out here! Thanks \m/
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Get a teacher.
  3. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    If you're disciplined and motivated to learn, get the Hal Leonard Bass Method book. An hour or two a day and more on weekends will get you through the book in a few weeks. You'll be amazed how much you will learn.

    It would be a good idea to get a teacher to help with technique and keep you pointed the right direction, but an hour-long lesson a week is just too slow.
  4. Well you really need to know how to hold the bass, how to get sound from it, how to tune it and things like that first or you will be going off half cocked and waste a lot of time and energy. That Hal Leonard book is good, I like Bass Guitar for Dummies as a starter book, your local library may have a copy. Ed Friedland wrote that Hal Leonard book, IMO Ed writes good stuff.

    I do not know of any instrument that does not start you off running your scales. Why? We need to get used to our instrument and running scales is a good way of doing that. We learn where the notes are on our fretboard and our ear starts recognizing the sound of the good and bad notes.

    From that it really depends on what you want to do with your bass. If you want to pound out roots and play in a garage band go find some fake chord sheet music and follow the chord progressions using roots and changing roots as the chords change.

    If you want to do more than that. Dummies or Volume 3 of the Hal Leonard book will get you there. An instructor sitting knee to knee with you will get you there in half the time it will take you by yourself.

    We first learn how to make stuff, scales, chord tones, arpeggios, things like that. Then we learn how to use the stuff we made in the songs we play. It's a journey that starts with how are you going to get sound from your bass - pick, fingers, thumb, or what. Then there is that fret buzz thing that we all have to master. Google can find most of what you want to know. It's going to be a journey. I recommend you do this journey with someone or something. If you will be using something start on page one of the books mentioned or www.studybass.com is well worth your time. Start at the beginning and do not skip pages.

    Good luck.
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Start with a teacher. Yes, learn you're scales well.
    They are the ABC's of music.
  6. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
  7. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    To people suggesting a teacher, we don't know if they can afford it. Not everyone can. I certainly couldn't when i started. Not that id have wanted one though. I can't be taught anything. But just saying.
  8. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Congrats on joining the low end! :) At the very minimum I would suggest you find an experienced bass player for fundamental tips on the mechanics - correctly holding the bass, adjusting the strap so that it's most comfortable, and how to properly hold your left hand (or right if you're a southpaw). Correct mechanics now will save you tons of potential problems down the road. An experienced player can also help you with things like changing/buying strings, learning the fretboard, tuning, etc.

    I didn't have a teacher (entirely self taught), but I wish I did. If you can afford it, find one and check references. If you can't afford it, there are tons of instructional vids on youtube, instructional books, etc. I'd say learn the major/minor scales and start off learning some easy tunes that you like to keep it fun (the first thing I ever played was the main line from Zep's "Dazed and Confused." It was a start!)

    More than anything, have fun and stay at it! Again, welcome to the deep end of the pool!
  9. madrob


    Aug 22, 2006
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Forget lessons or scales, just find some friends to jam with and have fun.
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    See if you can pick up a used version of bass guitar for dummies. It's a pretty good source of information that you'll likely find useful as you grow as a bassist.

    As far as where you should start, here's what I'd suggest:

    - Learn how to properly tune and maintain your bass (including basic setup stuff).
    - Learn proper hand positioning and technique. This is crucial. Bad habits learned early on will only make things more difficult for you as you progress as a player.
    - Some may disagree with this, but don't focus on scales or other aspects of theory too much just yet. Learn your major scale, minor scale, their pentatonics, and how to create simple three note chords. From there, just work on learning songs. If you're not interested in what you're doing then you're likely to give it up prematurely. Develop a love for playing first and then jump into the theoretical aspects once you know it's something you want to learn.
  11. Halvorsen


    Mar 7, 2008
    +1 to this. That stuff will get you in shape to play an awful lot of bass with just those things alone. Then look for people to play with that are slightly above your skill level. This is pretty much what I did, or am doing still........:bag:
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
  13. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I've been playing about 9 months now.
    I have both the Leonard/Friedland and the Dummies book.
    I _should_ study the Leonard book more because I know my notation-reading is quite weak. But the Dummies book is my go-to book because it always gets me closer to something that sounds like music in a short time. I practice 'the fundamentals' (e.g. scales) too but I don't have a lot of time to practice. Since I'm in it just for the fun of the music, if it doesn't sound musical, it's not going to hold my interest very long.

    I wouldn't start with anything that had 'Extreme' in the title, but that's just me. Sounds like a setup to frustration ;-)

    Definitely check out the _many_ excellent online resources, especially for basic technique. Repetitive-motion injuries acquired from improper technique are painful and slow to heal - and the underlying technique flaws are hard to un-learn.

    Whether you will have success with the "just jump in and play something" approach will depend on your listening skills and how well they translate to your ability to consistently find the notes you want. This is usually an acquired skill but some are better at it from the start. If you have trouble, don't get frustrated, just find a different method. There are all kinds of learning methods, no one fits everyone. You may find you learn better with the learning notes via notation method. This used to be the standard technique for orchestral instruments.

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