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Would you comment on my practice schedule?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Redleader, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Hi there. I wanted to get some opinions on my idea of "practice". I first started with a really solid practice routine (because I had school, it was a really simple schedule :smug:). But then, I stopped. I don't know why; maybe just thought "this much speed/technique" is enough.. I studied no theory; just 1-2-3-4;1-2-4-3-like finger patterns.

    But recently, I had a revelation :eek: (through some of the interviews and biographies I read); if I wanted to play seriously, I really needed to improve EVERYTHING.. So, I came up with a schedule of my own:

    15 Minutes of Scale Excercises (Up and Down, and modes)
    ?? minutes of 1-2-3-4-like excercises (speed is important a little ;))
    15 Minutes of Slap (I can slap, but not very fast.. so I plan to both play some slap songs and some finger-style songs with slap..)
    30 Minutes Rhytm (from the Berkeley book "Contemporary Bass Rhytms")

    Then 45 Minutes of Theory (mainly from Ricci Adams' site, with maybe a few scraps from some books..)
    and 15 minutes of sight-reading exceercises (both treble and bass)

    So, What do you think? I probably can't work with a 8-hour long practice session :) but any other ideas to improve is really appreciated. Thanks in advance..
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    That looks pretty good. Make sure you're not just learning your scales from root to root - learn them the entire range of your bass.
  3. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Looks good but I would suggest allocating a little time for transcribing basslines and/or solos and would also add some time for just some free-form playing for fun.
  4. nickonbass


    Jun 8, 2008
    Definately transcribe some stuff.

    I would suggest some solid playing by some of the greats. Motown is a good start - you can play along with the songs but there is so much if you want to learn that stuff note for note and to try and emulate the feel and groove of the songs.

    Enough to keep anyone busy for a long time, it's fun and you can apply that knowledge to ALL styles.
  5. nickonbass said motown.


    put some time into your practice for playing lines you like or jamming... speaking of jamming check out nicks jam toons


    and if you find you hate doing something in your routine.. dont do it for a day or two but remember to come back to it...

    remember bass is fun
  6. shatterd


    Feb 24, 2008
    If you are looking for some really good online lessons, check out workshoplive.com

    I've been using them for several months. There is a small fee to access, but it's very cheap compared to a private teacher. I think it's like 19 bucks a month for unlimited access. There are enough lessons on there to keep you busy for 2 years or longer.

    Here's another little finger dexterity exercise for you. Try this pattern and move it up and down the neck on all strings. It's a closed position sequence...meaning four fingers on four frets...a box!

    021 321 4320 ....repeat next fret up. The o is for open of course...LOL.

    Listen to a lot of music when you are not practicing. Keep an iPod with you filled with your favorite music. You learn a lot by listening too.

    Take a few days off every now and then.
  7. thanks for your opinions everybody.. I should've mentioned; I am playing and rehersing songs outside this schedule :smug: but i will definitely start transcribing.. Motown is great and the jamming tracks by nickonbass are really welcome :)
    thank you..
  8. bwv1013


    Mar 20, 2008
    southern cal
    looking good man. maybe throw in some arpeggio studies to change it up a bit, i find it helpful to vary my routine just a bit each day. also, arpeggios can be fun to combine with slap, especially if you are into double thumb at all. happy thumping :cool:
  9. CurtisAikens87


    Apr 21, 2008
    alot of classical bassists (including myself) believe scales are the best exercise, and recommend 2 hours of scales a day
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd combine scale and 1-2-3-4 practice into the same 15 minute session, but like the others, I'd recommend spending more time playing music. If you're playing classical bass, then it's OK to spend 2 hours on scales, but modern music doesn't require so much scale playing. And I wouldn't recommend taking a few days off every now and then, either. Take a day off once in a great while? Sure. But until you've gotten yourself built up to a level you like, taking days off can result in a lot of time rebuilding yourself. Even after 30 years, if I take more than a day off, I spend the next two days just getting myself back to where I was before I stopped.
  11. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Like Jimmy said I would can the 1-2-3-4 excersizes, cause the scales will take care of dexterity. replace them with Arpeggios, cause they will help a ton...I was totally lost until I started learning them.

    Also I would try to do a transcription a week or something like that...learning new songs exposes you to new techniques, note combinations ext. in an applied environment, and transcription helps your ears.
  12. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't see enough playing music in that schedule too much technique. You need to practice scales and fingering exercises, but too much you muscle memory is scale sounding. Working on music that develops a technique, or transcribing and learning lines or solo that using particular scales. Then master those pieces of music still develops technique but in the musical manner. Also forget speed work on playing perfect every time. Speed come naturally you don't really have to work on it. Plus focusing on speed you are going to be making mistakes and your muscle memory remembers the mistakes along with the correct times. Practice at speeds you know you can play perfect and you muscle memory will only know how to play perfect. You will know when to push the metronome up.

    Last have kind of an alternate practice schedule too for when time is short. Things happen, but you can always find 10-15 minutes in a day to do a little practice. Especially if having a hectic day you will find your short practice not only keep the bass progressing, but becomes your relaxation/reward for a hard day.
  13. Thanks everyone.. So, a "renewed" one, from your opinions; here you go:

    15 Minutes of Scale Excercises (Up and Down, and modes)
    ?? minutes of arpeggio excercises
    15 Minutes of Slap (I can slap, but not very fast.. so I plan to both play some slap songs and some finger-style songs with slap..)
    30 Minutes Rhytm (from the Berkeley book "Contemporary Bass Rhytms") and playing songs; like one day rhytm and one day songs, then rhytm again, etc.

    Then 45 Minutes of Theory (mainly from Ricci Adams' site, with maybe a few scraps from some books..)
    and 15 minutes of sight-reading exceercises (both treble and bass) (i think everybody thinks theory part is ok? :))

    Also, for arpeggio excercises, what do you propose? I did a little research on the forum and found "The School of Agility" (although I think it is for upright) book has some excercises; I'll try to check it out. Anything else?

    Thank you everyone!
  14. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    My instructor gave me a bunch of arpeggio excersizes out of an old Jazz bass book they are all basically the same....

    Major Triad I - III - IV - I (octave) start on C play it up and down then move to C#, D, D#,ext. (minor seconds) then play it in major 2nds (C-D-E) then Minor 3rds, Major thirds, Perfect 4ths, Perfect 5ths.

    Do the same thing for Major 6, Major 7, Major b7...then do minor chords, then do augmented and diminished, then start with inversions....you can do this stuff for months.
  15. +1 Pac.

    I used to only practice root to root. It really limited my abilities to do good runs and fills. It also limited my creativity. I recently began on learning them all the way up and down the neck. It has helped me immensely.
  16. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I'd add that when doing your technical exercises (or really any practice playing) you should be singing the notes too. You need to add serious ear training to your regimen.
  17. rhix


    May 14, 2007
    In regards to transcription, I think some people overlook the fact that many beginners haven't developed a good ear yet and end up playing the songs wrong without even realizing it. Most of the time this comes from trying to learn above your own level, I recommend starting with very simple songs with just BASIC technique at first, then move on gradually to the more technical stuff.

    So many people try to emulate the greats right from the get go without fully grasping the true essence of the instrument first. I know kids who can play Cliff Burton's solo note for note but get tripped up on keeping basic rhythm. Not saying this applies at all to the OP at all but just getting that out there.

    All of the suggestions you've heard hear have been spot on, I recommend though heeding pacman's advice though about scale exercise, also try to use the scales in actual music while they are still fresh in your mind. Get past the scale patterns and play the notes in different intervals other than root to root. The intervals between notes are what truly evoke emotional response in my opinion. Once you toy around for a while you'll see what sound's good and what doesn't. Playing along with those jam trax someone posted is a great idea as well.

    Practicing playing and supporting various keys, chords etc. is very beneficial. I think loop pedals are invaluable practice tools in this regard.

    Also playing along with a metronome or drum machine(I much prefer a drum machine) should be incorporated in you're rhythm exercises if you're not already. This sounds like a pretty intense schedule, i'm sure you'll be seeing results in no time.
  18. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Check out the Berklee book on Chord Studies for Bass it helps with sightreading and chord knowledge and has fingering written in. I find the fingerings clutter up the page and Berklee makes the same book in bass clef for trombone. If you like discovering your own fingering get the trombone version of the book, much easier to sightread.

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