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Old 01-17-2013, 04:44 PM   #1
Julius_97
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How to begin play bass

Hi,
I'm a bass beginner and I like to know what's the best way
to learning bass
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:08 PM   #2
FatalGear41
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"Beginning bassist" is a rather nebulous term. Are you a guitarist who has decided to learn the bass? Or are you a complete beginner to all instruments, and bass will be your first?

If it is the former, then there are any number of instructional videos, DVDs and books that can help you get the feel of the bass and learn the important differences between bass and guitar.

If it is the latter, then your best bet is to find a good teacher. Yes, you can learn from the aforementioned videos, DVDs and books, but if you are coming to the instrument completely cold, then you can miss out on a lot of very important things. Find a teacher who is a bassist. Don't fall for the "I don't teach you to play bass. I teach you to be a musician who plays bass." This is usually the mark of someone who is not primarily a bassist, and probably doesn't have a very nuanced understanding of the bass as a unique instrument. Do a little research in your area and find yourself a good teacher.

Don't feel like you need professional gear to learn. If you've got the cash for a Fender Custom Shop Jazz and a Glockenklang amplifier, then by all means go for it. But a servicable bass and a decent practice amplifier are what you need to learn the instrument. As you progress, your understanding of the bass will increase and then you will be better prepared to decide exactly what kind of expensive instrument and amplifier you want.

Welcome to the Low End, my friend!
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:46 AM   #3
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Go buy the book called "Zen Guitar".
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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I would practice scales for a bit to get the muscles used to it. Then get a good teacher. Also, start with the best instrument you can afford. A cheap guitar is uninspiring and IMO is the reason many people get frustrated and quit.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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I"m new...my process (for good or bad) was to watch a number of youtube videos and sneak some time from my son's guitar teacher. Nice guy..not a bass player, not a music teacher- he's big on tabs and riffs as a way to teach chords and such. Working very well for my son but not for me.

I"m working on learning the fret board and reading music. Imagine trying to have a conversation in russian when you have to look up each word in a translation dictionary. You won't be making sentences (or sense) just halting words. Tabs are easier but leave a lot of info out.

So im' working on seeing the music and playing what i see on the bass without any 'thinking' or 'processing' going on in my head inbetween. Practice is the key - scales work well. As you play each note SAY each note out loud Speed is secondary, accuracy important. Speed will come.

My next challenge is getting 'timing' right. Sure, the concept of 1/4 and half notes is there, but that isn't helping me 'get it'. Play say, the saints come marching in or battle hymn of the republic and unless you get the 'time' right you get notes in order not the song you're expecting to hear.

And 2 months in of every other day or third day (hey, I work for a living) of practice and my fingers still hurt at times.

I"ll second the idea of get a 'decent' instrument. I have a ibanez GSR200 ($179 new) and I just picked up a yamaha RBX375 ($369 new) and the yami feels / sounds much better - so that encourages one to play/practice more and it's a tad easier to get good sounds so you don't work as hard and feel (and are I guess) more successful.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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I started playing a year ago and have got quite good since ^.^ so here's some stuff I learned.

1. START SMALL. Don't go into it trying to play death metal or some old Jazz. Not gonna work and you're going to get frustrated and quit. If you like Rock; "Brain Stew" by Green Day is where I started (After admittedly playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star :P)

2. Your fingers (especially on your fretting hand [if you use a pick you will avoid this in your strumming hand]) will get chapped, blister, and hurt. Bass strings are really thick, bro. If they start to hurt, let them heal. I even recently got some blisters from playing a lot even one year after starting, so this will likely be a problem for some time.

3. Tabs are a good place to start. Easy tabs, too. There are several sweet songs that stay on basically one string.

4. You are going to probably sound terrible when you first start. Keep at it! You'll be better in a week!

5. Learn to enjoy the bass in music because it will help you if you ever write songs!

6. Give us more info! I'll be checking back. If you have any questions, ask!

Oh yeah, and watch this guy, it's what I did lol. youtube.com/Crope182

~Derek

Last edited by BassFreak98 : 02-09-2013 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:40 AM   #7
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Crash, Crash Course:
1-Play Correctly
2-Learn actual Music, and know what the Bass Clef is, and know what notes your playing.
3-Don't just learn with tabs, and if so, make sure your playing with right timings.
4-Practice Everyday, not insane amount of time, but enough to progress
5-If you plan to be in a band or gig, or "make it", make many, many friends(good friends buy your shirts at your gig, bad friends just like your facebook and only say they plan to go to your gig, and people who hate you, know you have lots of friends, so they still buy your shirt secretly online to be cool, cause they know hot girls go to your show).


My Crash Course and Tips:
1. Don't go fast, just steady. Do 100% correct fingering in the correct method. 100% correct 24/7 is way more impressive than flying up and down like a wizard with your own bad style habits. Bad Habits live free and die hard. So make sure when your watching netflix while you practice, make sure your practicing that you already know. When learning new things makes sure your focus on what your doing.

2. Learn multiple instruments. I am a believer in learning Piano, no matter what instrument your learning, even drums or cow bell. Learning Primus from tabs and listening to their song is cool, being able to read their song book and play it by reading the music is cooler. Tabs are always starter place, but I suggest this be for strengthening your fingers and exposing yourself to the bass culture, and a reason to practice. Learning the bass as an instrument will go a long way, so I suggest adapting your tabs into sheet music, so that when you listen to the song, you know the timings.

3. If your learning by playing tabs, make sure your playing with a meternome or play to the song(know your timings). It might feel cool to be able to play a section of your favorite song, but its cooler to play it correctly. Of course at first you might not be able to even play it period, but learning it correctly is half the battle, and learning without playing along or to a beat can cause serious timing problems latter on. Your a bass player, and your keeping the tempo as clean as a drummer, and being able to sync with drummers and guitar players is a great skill to learn. In theory the bass is the centerpiece between Drums and Guitars n Singers.

4. Practice Smarter, Not Harder. 5x 30 minute sessions is better than a solid 2.5 hours, even if those 30 minutes are spread through mon-fri(think of it like working out, you make sure to cover every muscle and rushing it doesn't help). Its also like studying and you shouldn't study for more than 1 hour at a time. If you do, you study 50 minutes, take a 10er, and repeat. When dudes say they practice 6 hours a day, their not talking like they went to work and spent 6 continuous hours in a band room practicing. Where talking 6 hours spread between 16 hours of being awake. That is like 2-3 x1-2 hour sessions, and a couple hours of laid back jamming while watching Netflix or waiting while your baking dinner.

5. Make as many friends as possible.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:59 AM   #8
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Practice exercises for a good right hand technique as well as good left hand posture. Muscle memory is what you want, so repetition will be crucial.

As far as theory. Start off with learning the notes on the fretboard, then move onto distinguishing between different kinds of scales in terms of note intervals. (ex minor means flat 3). Learn arpeggios and play them up and down (in order you would go 1 -> 3 -> 5 -> octave). This will help you read sheet music faster when there is a chord at the top of the bar and you just go "oh, thats just an A minor 7, so I play this arpeggio," Then move onto pentatonics.

I like to explain my right hand technique as swinging your middle and index finger from your knuckles like a pendulum and land your finger on the string above the one you strike. So if you play the A string, your finger will land on the E string. Thumb can be positioned whatever way is comfortable, but for more control rest your thumb across the strings above the one you are playing. So if you play on the D string, you have your thumb muting the E and A strings.

But there is no right or wrong technique, just some with limitations. Learning different songs is fun, but if you don't get a good technique down you may develop bad habits. So look into that.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:33 PM   #9
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For me the hardest thing I had to deal with, was in guitar, I could look at any song, and generally just pick it even it were all down strokes. Picking is easier than coordinating essentially two picks which is your two fingers.

In bass you need to do every other between pointer and flipper finger which doesn't sound hard until you add more than one string and add open strings with hammer ons, then start having to not follow this rule when you go from small string to big. When you go from high in note value to low(from small string to big string), you have to use the last finger you used, which is opposite of the main rule. This is the only thing holding me back from being a wizard, cause my left hand is already bad ass from playing guitar, but it still is adjusting to two fingers.



Look up the scales, like Major Ionian or Minor Dorian. Just going up and down using 100% fingering, is the fastest way to preping your hands to play other things. Worst habit is just playing what ever finger you want.

What I do still, is above the music, I write which left hand finger I use, and above it, I write which right hand finger to use(including T for thumb).

This might sound cliche, but I got the Dummies Bass Excercise Book from the library and it really helped me develop practical and correct lessons.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:38 PM   #10
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To everything else I want to add--practice with a metronome or a good drum track. There are quite a few free drum loops and drum machines on line. Groove is everything when you play bass as is consistency in rhythm

And as soon as you feel comfortable, jam with people. Nothing is going to excel you faster than playing with other musicians.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:49 PM   #11
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To everything else I want to add--practice with a metronome or a good drum track. There are quite a few free drum loops and drum machines on line. Groove is everything when you play bass as is consistency in rhythm

And as soon as you feel comfortable, jam with people. Nothing is going to excel you faster than playing with other musicians.


Playing with yourself is just as good. Get a default drum track, or even just put on an easy Beatles Song, and play along. #1 method of learning, is playing to the song that you have music or tabs for. Its how you get the right timing and rythem.


Paul McCartney has some videos on youtube where he teaches you his moves and songs. Its easy casue you can just use your thumb if your fingers are not ready:

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:01 AM   #12
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Play music you like. I wouldn't first learn too much theory or technique. I would first get acquainted with the instrument and with the sounds it can produce. Learn some easy songs. You can use tabs or ears (tabs are the easy way to start but you must also listen to the sounds you play).

First theory thing I would learn would be the note names. I would learn all the notes on all strings from open string to 5th fret first. Those are the frets you are going to use the most.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RyanStorm13
Playing with yourself is just as good. Get a default drum track, or even just put on an easy Beatles Song, and play along. #1 method of learning, is playing to the song that you have music or tabs for. Its how you get the right timing and rhythm.


Its a good start but not as good. I'm not saying that playing along with songs or a track is a bad thing--its one of the key things we all do at some point as part of "bedroom " practice. But its not a substitute for the benefit you will get playing with other people and it will get your game on musically in a very accelerated way. It teaches you what sounds good and how to lock with other musicians, who may or may not be as consistent as a recording or a drum track.

And because you are the only bass player, it will teach you what works and doesn't work in your playing quickly.
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Don't you mean "Why do we alcoholics keep taking about bass?"?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LHWok-9xhc Yup.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:08 PM   #14
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I am thinking about the fact that the instrument is brand new. Unless you got friends who have band rooms, then the only thing you can do everyday is jam with yourself.

I had friends with bands or band rooms. So even though I played guitar, I would play bass for them so they can practice.

If there was one thing I wish I would have done earlier, was actually memorizing the full songs instead of trying to play it completely by ear, of course songs aren't hard to play, but with a mediocre drummer or a different song, cues aren't always super apparent. So my transitions were terrible my first year playing bass like in 8th grade.


Like for example, Beautiful People, was a song everyone liked to play, cause it was super easy for all instruments, and Manson was the coolest music to play. But in that song the bassist needs to cue himself in. So I always recommend learning the actual music, not just to make sure your playing the correct notes(and correctly), but to know the timings. Tabs are not accurate and don't show you 100% how to play a song.

I didn't own a bass, so I just showed up after practicing guitar all night, and would jam on a bass. I don't know if Jamming is as important in your first year. Cause you develop bad habits to make up for you inability to play the songs correctly, cause your trying to keep up with people who already know what they are doing(for the most part). For example, a drummer just can't play songs with people if they can't do it by themselves. They can, but
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:53 PM   #15
Julius_97
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Thanks for all the Information. Yeserday I had by me an new Amp "Marshall MB30" It had a great sound and it makes fun to play. Sorry for my bad english but it isnīt my Language.
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