#1
Let me start this by explaining that I myself am not a Bass player, merely a guitarist/singer in the band. I write half of the music (Other guitarist writes the rest), and the drummer is capable of instantly doing a reasonable, original beat (And then tailoring various things to our requests, to make it a better match).

My issue, in basic, is a not so talented Bassist. He does not know the notes on his bass, and requires we manually show him what frets the root notes are. Now, I'm ok with doing that (I myself can only recognize notes by hearing them, not pinpointing them on fret board), but he is consistantly unable to learn things quickly.

Now, slow learning is one thing. I'm ok with that, feel free to insert a "all people learn at different rates/be reasonable" speech, but he seems quite incapable of playing anything original, or non-root-based. He can usually (note, usually) play single notes whenever a chord changes, and follow the chords, if we show him fret numbers to play. However, he can not write a single Bass riff, and near refuses to try and learn them for anything but songs he personally likes (Which, while we let him do some so as to be fair, are all completely outside the genre we play making it difficult to include).

What do I do to help him become a better bassist and be more pleasurable to work with? He's a good friend, and I've known him for years and years. I couldn't possibly kick him out. But it is dragging our limited practice times even shorter when I have to stop, grab his bass, and teach him everything, note at a time (Which, if it's more than 8 notes or is on more than 2 strings, forget it, he can't learn it). What can I do to encourage him to learn more efficiently? I'm afraid of this being a situation where nothing I can do will help, but as bassists yourselves, I bet all of you went through a stage where all you really played were root notes, and learning seemed tough. You clearly got over it (Or at least a lot of people must have; I love quite a few bass riffs), so what did it?
#2
He needs to learn theory is all. If he doesn't want to then you either have to deal with it or kick him out of the band. You could try to introduce him into music with more active bass lines. What genre is it and we can suggest him some music to listen to.
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#3
sounds like youre just giving song specific instructions. try taking a little more time and showing him how to see the patterns and shapes of the fretboard instead of just naming off notes in tab. remember how you thought about playing before you got to the skill level youre at and help him connect the dots as best you can so he can see a little deeper into what hes doing to make music. its like they say, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. it sounds like this guy needs to be taught how to fish.
#4
sounds like he doesn't like what you guys are doing and isn't telling you because he's a good friend. you said he doesn't like the music you guys play, what do you play, and what does he like?
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#5
maybe he's happy simply playing notes along with the music and isn't really the right bass player for your band. if you're a good friend, shouldn't you be discussing this with him one-on-one? maybe your friend feels he's playing fine, or maybe he feels so pressured he can't think. maybe he is only staying with your band out of loyalty to you and you'd both be better off if he was in a different band and you had a better bass player.

btw, you can't make someone be a better bass player - if he wanted to be a better bass player, he'd be practicing. maybe his standards of better aren't yours.

only one person can tell you what the situation is. why not talk to your friend?

Quote by Phantom123
Let me start this by explaining that I myself am not a Bass player, merely a guitarist/singer in the band. I write half of the music (Other guitarist writes the rest), and the drummer is capable of instantly doing a reasonable, original beat (And then tailoring various things to our requests, to make it a better match).

My issue, in basic, is a not so talented Bassist. He does not know the notes on his bass, and requires we manually show him what frets the root notes are. Now, I'm ok with doing that (I myself can only recognize notes by hearing them, not pinpointing them on fret board), but he is consistantly unable to learn things quickly.

Now, slow learning is one thing. I'm ok with that, feel free to insert a "all people learn at different rates/be reasonable" speech, but he seems quite incapable of playing anything original, or non-root-based. He can usually (note, usually) play single notes whenever a chord changes, and follow the chords, if we show him fret numbers to play. However, he can not write a single Bass riff, and near refuses to try and learn them for anything but songs he personally likes (Which, while we let him do some so as to be fair, are all completely outside the genre we play making it difficult to include).

What do I do to help him become a better bassist and be more pleasurable to work with? He's a good friend, and I've known him for years and years. I couldn't possibly kick him out. But it is dragging our limited practice times even shorter when I have to stop, grab his bass, and teach him everything, note at a time (Which, if it's more than 8 notes or is on more than 2 strings, forget it, he can't learn it). What can I do to encourage him to learn more efficiently? I'm afraid of this being a situation where nothing I can do will help, but as bassists yourselves, I bet all of you went through a stage where all you really played were root notes, and learning seemed tough. You clearly got over it (Or at least a lot of people must have; I love quite a few bass riffs), so what did it?
#6
Kick him repeatedly until he stops moving. Then explain what you want him to do (if still conscious), and threaten more violence if he doesn't comply. If the kicking rendered him unconscious, when he wakes up (if he does), then explain what you want done. If that doesn't work, threaten with more violence. Repeat when necessary. Oh, and don't forget to shoot him in the kneecaps, nothing solves a problem quite like a .45 ACP through a kneecap. Yay violence!
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#7
Quote by patticake
maybe he's happy simply playing notes along with the music and isn't really the right bass player for your band. if you're a good friend, shouldn't you be discussing this with him one-on-one? maybe your friend feels he's playing fine, or maybe he feels so pressured he can't think. maybe he is only staying with your band out of loyalty to you and you'd both be better off if he was in a different band and you had a better bass player.

btw, you can't make someone be a better bass player - if he wanted to be a better bass player, he'd be practicing. maybe his standards of better aren't yours.

only one person can tell you what the situation is. why not talk to your friend?


We have talked, quite extensively. His musical tastes are largely in the Beatles-to-alternative area. Our band plays RAWCK (Or, Hard rock, as some call it. ACDC, Van Halen, Chickenfoot style stuff), and we cover some of his songs as well, to avoid him feeling left out (Which he does quite like our music too, just his moreso). The thing is, I'm worried it might be a skill deficit. He practices quite a lot, I know, but never seems to improve. I'm thinking, maybe it's just a case of not knowing what to practice, other than specific songs. I'm not a bassist, so I can't help him there. But I figure you guys could. As bassists, you'd know what theory might help him, or excersizes he should work towards. I don't, though
#8
scales, spider scales, and the old copy paste. old Macca, that thumpy ol crone, he knew how to weave a line. listening to how Paul set a mood would be helpful. maybe throw some prog at him, like Yes. that style of playing is in pretty soft songs, but it would fit a heavier set of songs too.
Quote by FatalGear41
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
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


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#9
he sounds like on of those guys that doesn't want to put in any work into playing.
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#10
Yeah being in a band means doing your homework.. particularly if you're the least talented or knowledgeable individual. I get he's a friend, but friend can be honest with each other. Let him know you wanna keep him around, but he's gotta show strides in improving and learning his instrument. It's not too much to ask.. no, check that.. it's not too much to demand that he come to practices more prepared.
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#11
I've been there, done that with band members that just werent into it.

Everything from consistently being late to our already short amount of practice time, to just not caring enough to try to get better.

It usually goes, 2 talks and 3 strikes

first talk, express concern
say that you're concerned as to whats wrong, and that 'it seems like' (<-- good words to use alot) he isnt putting his a-game into it, but that if he were to step up and be a little more active in his attempts/as a member of the band, he could go far.

Talk two, point out what's happened
if it gets to this point, say that you need to see him catch up, his falling behind isnt good, and you as band members are concerned that he's preventing you from progressing and that you really want to see him improve and show some initiative, and make sure he understands it, dont let him shrug you off, make sure he knows that he's on the chopping block

There isn't a 3rd talk, merely a 3rd strike.

Luckily I've never had to do this, we were 24 hours away from kicking our first guitarist out when he quit

EDITED to say that yes, you could possibly consider kicking him out. Basically, if you dont, the whole bands gonna be drug down and not doing something about the problem makes you, as a significant part of the band, look like a crappy leader.

There have been times where I've considered leaving a bad because nobody would do something about a particular problem.
You dont want that happening to you, do you?
Last edited by Rock_Bassist at Jul 11, 2009,
#13
Quote by SOADriff
he sounds like on of those guys that doesn't want to put in any work into playing.



I hate those kind of people >.>

Why even play music if you dont want to be creative?
#14
Find a new bass player.

Through highschool I met a lot of musicians and there was only one other bassist who compared to me (not gonna lie, he was a little better than me at some stuff). With that said, the rest of the bassists were like your bassist.

They bought basses because rock is "cool" and being in a band is "cool". They have no actual desire to become GOOD. They just want to be a part of the scene.

If he was a GOOD bassist, he'd show more interest and wouldn't have that attitude towards songs he doesn't really like.
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#15
Imo, he's not bass playing matterial. Guitarist (Rythm) maybe, but bassist - never. No matter what genre a bassist plays, he must learn to jazz first. Just have him learn to make fun little jam riffs, walking lines, with a drum loop (Someting simple 4/4 @ 120bpm, jazzy, not too confusing to keep track of). Get him to feel the bass. If you can't just get him stoned, give him a bass and a drum loop. If nothing works, try explaining to him, that he's just not cut out to be a bassist without wanting to experiment in music.
#16
Quote by nesveikuolis
Imo, he's not bass playing matterial. Guitarist (Rythm) maybe, but bassist - never. No matter what genre a bassist plays, he must learn to jazz first. Just have him learn to make fun little jam riffs, walking lines, with a drum loop (Someting simple 4/4 @ 120bpm, jazzy, not too confusing to keep track of). Get him to feel the bass. If you can't just get him stoned, give him a bass and a drum loop. If nothing works, try explaining to him, that he's just not cut out to be a bassist without wanting to experiment in music.

no he doesn't.

the inclusion of one genre in his arsenal will not make him good or bad. more versatile, yes. but jazziness is not the extent of bass. sometimes a root note pounding is exactly what to do. it adds to the power for a chorus for sure.
Quote by FatalGear41
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
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#17
Honestly, even in my most humble beginnings I've never felt the urge to play anything that wasn't an interesting and original bass line. Sure, my early attempts failed and my ability always held me back somewhat, but the thing is, I enjoyed playing bass and your friend patently doesn't. This is not a question of ability or talent, it's a question of effort. I've seen people who want to put the effort in become brilliant musicians in a matter of months.

My advice would be to try and get him to understand what he's actually playing and why he needs to be there (easier said than done). At the moment, it seems he is in the band because he's your friend, not because he wants to make good music and if you want to sound good as a band this has to change. I recommend teaching him songs with actual bass riffs, cause root notes will always be boring and expecting him to make them more interesting on his own is a tad unfair. Improvising around roots is something a good player will pick up naturally over time, but not necessarily something you can teach. Unless of course, you get him to read a bunch of theory books, but that'll probably just put your friend off.

Another thing that's important is getting him to train his ear to be able to play along with stuff from pitch alone, which is an important skill for writing an improvising. Some people have naturally good ear, like you, but others have to work on it a little. A simple way to start would just asking him to play along with recorded music on his own and try to find the "right" notes.
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Last edited by wouldyakindly at Jul 11, 2009,
#18
Quote by nesveikuolis
Imo, he's not bass playing matterial. Guitarist (Rythm) maybe, but bassist - never. No matter what genre a bassist plays, he must learn to jazz first. Just have him learn to make fun little jam riffs, walking lines, with a drum loop (Someting simple 4/4 @ 120bpm, jazzy, not too confusing to keep track of). Get him to feel the bass. If you can't just get him stoned, give him a bass and a drum loop. If nothing works, try explaining to him, that he's just not cut out to be a bassist without wanting to experiment in music.



Disagreed- I've been playing bass for 8 years, but never played any jazz until I needed to learn a couple pieces for a gig a year ago.

The best you could get for the least amount of work would be teaching him the first 12 frets on the E and A strings, then showing him major and minor scales from these roots. If he learns these, then you should be able to give him a chord progression and he should be able to possibly figure out some notes to play besides the root. Unfortunately, this all hinges on his motivation, and is likely totally unrealistic for him. In that case, I'd say you're SOL.
#19
Quote by Phantom123
We have talked, quite extensively. His musical tastes are largely in the Beatles-to-alternative area. Our band plays RAWCK (Or, Hard rock, as some call it. ACDC, Van Halen, Chickenfoot style stuff), and we cover some of his songs as well, to avoid him feeling left out (Which he does quite like our music too, just his moreso). The thing is, I'm worried it might be a skill deficit. He practices quite a lot, I know, but never seems to improve. I'm thinking, maybe it's just a case of not knowing what to practice, other than specific songs. I'm not a bassist, so I can't help him there. But I figure you guys could. As bassists, you'd know what theory might help him, or excersizes he should work towards. I don't, though


How good is he at playing his preferred style of music? If you want him to be a better player, get him to playalong with his favorite songs, getting an ear for the drumbeat and developing a natural anticipation for which notes to hit. Have him practice with those ALL DAY until he's mastered them, inventing improv lines here and there, then introduce him to something more complicated, but still within his style of music.

For the non-textbook learning musicians, getting an ear for notes is best when it falls under a preferred style of music, not only will it not feel like you're working yourself, but knowing that you can play you're favorite songs even better than how they were recorded is truly a rewarding feeling, and will make you want to learn more. Well, at least that's how I learned, I went from Nirvana, to Metallica, to Stevie Wonder, to Charlie Parker to making my own little solos. Learning theory isn't for everyone, music sometimes comes from simply really enjoying what you love about it.
#20
Quote by ZanaZulu8070
How good is he at playing his preferred style of music? If you want him to be a better player, get him to playalong with his favorite songs, getting an ear for the drumbeat and developing a natural anticipation for which notes to hit. Have him practice with those ALL DAY until he's mastered them, inventing improv lines here and there, then introduce him to something more complicated, but still within his style of music.

For the non-textbook learning musicians, getting an ear for notes is best when it falls under a preferred style of music, not only will it not feel like you're working yourself, but knowing that you can play you're favorite songs even better than how they were recorded is truly a rewarding feeling, and will make you want to learn more. Well, at least that's how I learned, I went from Nirvana, to Metallica, to Stevie Wonder, to Charlie Parker to making my own little solos. Learning theory isn't for everyone, music sometimes comes from simply really enjoying what you love about it.


We do play some of his music (We'd feel bad if we didn't; we try to include all of our tastes into the final product, and everyone has a relatively fair share in the music choice), and he's about the same on that as he is anywhere else.

My issue, I don't think, is his motivation. He was in this band (somewhat) before me and the other guitarist were (Basically, we joined when his old guitarist went away for summer and he wanted people to jam with him and drummer. Me and guitarist were in another band that was going no where quickly, and we took the chance to have a drummer as a positive. We've virtually reinvented the band since (Not by force; Our arrival just had the driving stimulus necessary to reinvigorate the drummer/bassist's group practice schedule, and we started writing originals quickly), down to name and decision of major genres/image. All that said, he seems to care alot. He practices a lot (I know this as a fact; his older sister complains pretty consistently to me about it =P ) and he does generally try to learn things. It seems more of a talent issue (Except I don't believe talent is really the word I'm looking for).

I'm not asking for mastery of musical theory or godly performance. I myself am not great. I know little theory (I can only name things by ear, not by theory law; I dunno note-letters to correspond to frets unless you first play the fret) and I don't really expect him to need it. Then again, I'm no bassist. Maybe it's more essential to a Bass player to understand those things. I mostly just rely on my ear (Which I generally like to assume is pretty musical) to tell me what's good and what isn't. Then again, I have the sheer mechanical stimulating force to keep me playing hours a day (I enjoy it, more than nearly anything else). I believe he feels the same about his bass, but it concerns me just a bit.
#21
If worst comes to worst and you can't get through to him to learn any songs or attempt to improve himself... just leave him behind when you're writing new material.

Don't tell him the notes, force him to learn it himself.
If he asks, just tell him you don't play bass and that's his job.

Eventually he'll either get his game on and rise to the challenge... or he'll leave in disgust, forever frustrated at his instrument.
#22
when we decided to cover electric eye, i had never heard it but once ever. i don't remember things that quickly, and i didn't want to walk into practice without knowing it, so i spent several hours with it the day before. i focused on it, listening till i had the breaks and such. i let it repeat while i did some stuff around then house. then i picked up the bass, located the root notes, and started playing along. within those few hours, i had it down, and i still know it years later.

i'm not saying everyone needs to work that hard at it, but you do have to work at it to learn the songs. on the other hand, finding the notes should be easy on stuff like beatles. someone who can't find the notes at all may be tone deaf for real.

have you ever actually heard him play anything on the bass?
Last edited by patticake at Jul 13, 2009,
#23
U can't have ur cake and eat it too. If u want a good bass player, fire him. if u want ur friend in a band u have to deal with it. If he takes lessons he should get better. maybe u can just show him how to do it. Another thought is get hi to play synth or something and get a new bass player
#24
Quote by nirvanabassist
U can't have ur cake and eat it too. If u want a good bass player, fire him. if u want ur friend in a band u have to deal with it. If he takes lessons he should get better. maybe u can just show him how to do it. Another thought is get hi to play synth or something and get a new bass player

how imformative.

now check the date next time.
Quote by FatalGear41
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
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


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