I'm trying to learn bass after years of classical and acoustic playing. But I'm having a terrible time memorizing bass notation. I get stuck thinking of the notes in terms of the acoustic guitar and it's hampering my progress! I can't afford lessons so I purchased some books instructional books that have the cd/dvd. I have one book that uses a lot of tab, which is great for me, but I wonder if learning bass by tab and not using standard notation is a good way to start out.
I started by tab. It works fine unless you expect to run into a lot of notation along the way. Of course, my first full time instrument was trombone and so i learned notation for that so I have a somewhat easy time switching between tabs and sheet music. I would definitely work on it but unless you're gonna join a jazz band or something it probably won't come up that often. If you try to learn cover songs there's tabs all over the internet.
Sight reading is a very good thing to do. I often will transpose songs from Musical Sheets to tablature, or tablature to sheet music. It helps the understanding.