#1
My 13 year old son just got a bass. Right now it's just a piece of wood to him.

What are the first and most important thing(s) to get him doing?

He loves the idea of playing and is eager to learn. I'm a 20 year guitarist, but don't know a thing about playing the bass.

Tips are very welcome. Thanks!
#2
well the first thing to learn is most of the notes in the first position, and then get him to play root notes of the chords you play with him. Then introduce some full songs with simple basslines in.

He should also learn how to pluck the strings with both a plectrum and his fingers. as you are a guitar player yourself it will probably be easier to teach him pick-playing first.

x
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#3
Quote by shinhoman
well the first thing to learn is most of the notes in the first position, and then get him to play root notes of the chords you play with him. Then introduce some full songs with simple basslines in.

He should also learn how to pluck the strings with both a plectrum and his fingers. as you are a guitar player yourself it will probably be easier to teach him pick-playing first.

x



good advice
#4
I would teach him the notes of every fret, and some theory to go along with it.. then give a dose of funk and unleash that beast on the bass
#5
Just curious what bass did he choose as his first bass?
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#6
he is part of the rhythm section. he may actually solo, but it is highly preferable that he does it in a much more rhythmic fashion. this is also why many virtuosic bass players are solo, it is much easier to solo when you choose your own time signature and note emphasis.

his goal is to work as a kind of glue- the drums to the melody. roots, slap bass, octaves, root fifth patterns, walking basslines, even an interlinking countermelody will be useful and viable ways to learn. knowing scales is a must, knowing chords is not near as vital, but still rather useful.

may I ask what kind of music your son listens to?
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#7
Quote by d K A p S
I would teach him the notes of every fret, and some theory to go along with it.. then give a dose of funk and unleash that beast on the bass


try not to go too much in depth with any theory yet. you dont want to put him off!

x
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Quote by Victory2134
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#9
Quote by shinhoman
well the first thing to learn is most of the notes in the first position, and then get him to play root notes of the chords you play with him. Then introduce some full songs with simple basslines in.

He should also learn how to pluck the strings with both a plectrum and his fingers. as you are a guitar player yourself it will probably be easier to teach him pick-playing first.

x



yeah, but learn him the natural notes first, such a E, F and G and not sharped/ flatted, unless he already knows some theory.

And you know the bass is tuned like a guitar, but one octave lower. (you said you knew nothing 'bout the bass... )

also learn him to tune it by ear!
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#10
just show him how to fret, show him the way around the fretboard, reading music, fingerstyle (but if you're a guitarist you could show him pick style...whatever he's more comfortable with). then just look up some simple songs of whatever artist he listens to.
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#11
IMO it's best to start playing with fingers ASAP. you dont want him to become dependant on a pick.

i found the best practise was learning and playing songs that i like
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#14
^^ For a first bass? Seriously? His dad must be insane.

But start on the right hand/picking hand. Teach him all of the styles, figner, pick, and slap. Teach him to alternate between index and middle, alternate picking, and refer to some older threads for slapping.
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#15
Quote by crownovercastle
He chose an Ibanez SR500 for his first bass. Peavy amp.

name his 3 favorite bands, to get a handle on what he will probably want to play.
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#16
get a book like bass basics so he can learn by himself if he wants. Don't overload him with theory.

UG is a brilliant resource so introduce him to tabbing. As you can play you will quickly spot which tabs are wrong let him choose his own songs but guide him to the easy ones.

Start playing proper songs from the start. U2 With or Without you has only 4 notes all played on the big fat E string and is a great starter; most of my daughters friends could play it within about 20 mins and the keen ones managed to play along with the record after a little more persverence. Chasing Cars by Snow patrol is easy too with most of the song having just one note per bar, lots of kids like Smells like teen Spirit and there are dozens of similarly simple starter songs.

Bass is a rhythm instrument get a metronome or a drum machine early on, say a month into staring to practice

enjoy yourselves.
#18
Quote by Cody_Grey102
^^ For a first bass? Seriously? His dad must be insane.


No--I'd call that a loving parent who wants to support an interest their son has. I bought my son a MiM Telecaster when he started 6th grade.

If you by your own admission , don't know a thing about playing bass, my advice is to get him a good teacher or have one your friends who plays bass get him started on a few basics and get him started right. And since you play guitar, find a few basic songs you both like and start jamming with him.
#19
Quote by anarkee
No--I'd call that a loving parent who wants to support an interest their son has. I bought my son a MiM Telecaster when he started 6th grade.

If you by your own admission , don't know a thing about playing bass, my advice is to get him a good teacher or have one your friends who plays bass get him started on a few basics and get him started right. And since you play guitar, find a few basic songs you both like and start jamming with him.


I was just saying, what if he don't stick with it? More of a joke than anything.

Also, books. Hal Leonard got me started pretty good.
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#20
The VERY basics of bass are pretty easy to pick up on. It's not quite as difficult starting right out as guitar because you don't have to learn to transition from chord to chord and such. Later, a teacher may be exactly what he needs (especially once he wants to start learning bass-only techniques like slapping and such), but I think right now what he needs most is a rock-buddy. (That's you.)

Do you really have to "teach" him fingerstyle? To me, it feels natural. It’s something he can pick up all on his own. Picking seems way harder to me. Let him learn about things he's interested in. If he takes an interest in Bass Chords, you can help him by getting him a book (Chord Bassics, it's like 5 bucks) and by applying your guitar chord knowledge to help him get comfortable with it. If he takes an interest in slapping or theory, get him a teacher or some good books/DVDs. Don't press him, but don't stifle him either. It's important that he grows at his own pace.

I would still say the most important part will be having you to play with though. Honestly? playing bass alone? Not that fun. Playing along with a CD? That's a little better. But when I go hang out with my friends who play guitar? It's amazing. It's 10x more effective than practicing on your own, AND it's way more fun. Just being able to jam with you or one of his friends for an hour or two a week should keep him hooked. And if he could find a band?...
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#21
^In my opinion the beginning is the most important time to get a teacher. This is when all of the habits are going to be formed that are going to allow him to advance. And finger style isn't as natural as you might think. I tried to teach it to my friend and it takes a while of proper teaching to get on the right track.
#22
Another thing to consider, that as a parent, no matter how talented you are, teaching your child can be extremely difficult, esp. when one of the two of you gets frustrated.

This is one of the reasons I found a good guitar teacher for my son, instead of taking it on myself. This way he gets taught by someone else and we can concentrate as a parent and child on enjoying playing music together.
#23
As a guitar player, look out for his thumb position on the back of the neck and the way he frets, it shouldn't be exactly the same as the way you do it on guitar.

You can probably google some nice pictures or youtube some videos on proper form, but basically have him do one finger per fret when fretting (great to devlop while he practices some scales), and remind him to keep that thumb on the back of the neck where it belongs, not hung up over the E string or anything like that.

IMO, bass players drag a lot more out of one bass by where their picking hand is between the bridge and neck. Once he's comfortable with picking half way between bridge and neck, get him to start playing right at the bridge or right at the neck--it's a very very noticible difference both in sound and feel ( I know it also is on guitar, but not nearly as much), and worth the time to show him.

Lots of better suggestions listed before mine, but hopefully those are helpful too.
#24
Quote by anarkee
Another thing to consider, that as a parent, no matter how talented you are, teaching your child can be extremely difficult, esp. when one of the two of you gets frustrated.

This is one of the reasons I found a good guitar teacher for my son, instead of taking it on myself. This way he gets taught by someone else and we can concentrate as a parent and child on enjoying playing music together.

so true, I am good with linguistics and tried to learn spanish from my mom, spent the whole time arguing.
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I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
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#26
Quote by froggyman
Because god forbid he plays bass with a pick


being dependant on a plectrum limits his playing options. starting out with fingers is the best way to learn bass because most techniques are just an adaption of finger picking
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#27
Quote by skater dan0
being dependant on a plectrum limits his playing options. starting out with fingers is the best way to learn bass because most techniques are just an adaption of finger picking


This is probably true considering his age (i.e.: He's not likely to understand playing styles and such right off the bat), but its worth noting that Chris Squire learned entirely with a pick. For all we know this kid could develop some sort of wild plectrum style of bassing
Quote by thefitz
That's because you're a 13 year old who only focuses on guitars. I bet most people can't tell the difference between your voice and your mother's.
#28
I don't think you need to get too hung up about picks or fingers. Ultimately you choose to use them because they are appropriate for different styles of music. A year or so after you start you try the other and it feels clumsy but you get it in the end because you practice.

I agree with the comment about the Hal Leonard books, I've a few and the quality is excellnt by and large, certainly worth a look.
#29
Teach him technique first of all, if you start off with bad technique it is very likely it will stick and hinder his playing ability further down the line. Also, don't teach him guitar, teach him bass. (i.e, you anchor on the neck)

I'd start him on fingers as said before and teach him some notes so he can have his way with the bass
Also, get him a teacher.
#30
i would let him learn all by himself. i say this because thats how i learned. i have never had a lesson in my life and i've been playing for almost two years and i know pretty much every technique (not to brag). i most certainly am not the greatest, but the point is, learning by yourself increases the opportunity to expand without barriers. but, if his first song he tries to learn is jerry was a race car driver, he needs help.