#1
i'm sure all you experienced bassists saw this thread and laughed, but i need tips, i'm getting all these opportunities to be in a band but the greatest common denominator? no bass player, ever, and tons of ****in dumbass guitar players, i'm one myself but i'm down to play bass and have resigned to the role. Its not even that i don't want to, but i picked up guitar first, anyway i was looking for general tips, practice techniques to improve bass playing, exercises, scales modes, give me your best shot guys!
Bassplayer!
1981 Gibson Grabber
Ibanez SR506
Fretless Hohner B2B
Roland 120XL Cube Bass.
#2
Damn I'm just a dumbass guitar player! SH*T!

It's probably alot like soloing on guitar. But IDK.
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#3
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Damn I'm just a dumbass guitar player! SH*T!

It's probably alot like soloing on guitar. But IDK.


You really are, aren't you?


OT: the FAQ at the top of the page is your friend.
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#4
Here are ten rules to get you started. They may not be the best ten, but they will take you a long way - especially if you are transitioning from bass to guitar.

Rule #1: The bass is not a guitar. It is a unique instrument and you must approach it that way.

Rule #2: Your job is first and foremost to support the song. Soloing at inappropriate moments will weaken the song and probably throw the whole band out of time.

Rule #3: You need to be heard. The bass frequencies behave strangely - just like bassists. Get someone to stand in the crowd area during your sound check jam and make sure the sound guy or girl doesn't bury you in the mix.

Rule #4: There is a lot more to playing bass than eighth notes on the root, or root-five-octave progressions. Learn you basic major and minor scales and modes. Learn to play melodically; rhythmically and in odd time signatures. It will definitely liven up your bass playing.

Rule #5: Playing bass with a pick is not the same as playing guitar with a pick. If you're going to play with a pick, you're going to need a heavier pick and you're going to have to get used to the wider string spacing.

Rule #6: You have to learn to lock in with the drummer. You and the drummer are the rhythm section. You need to play together as a unit or the band will fall apart. That means you need to practice together until you can practically read each others' minds.

Rule #7: If you're playing cover tunes, don't trust tabs unless they are professionally written. A lot of guitarists just write eighth notes on the root when writing a bass tab for a song. There's a hell of a lot more going on in the song with the bass if you listen carefully. If you leave it out; the song will probably sound like crap.

Rule #8: Just because the average bass has only four strings, that doesn't mean you're going to give Geddy Lee a run for his money in six months. Bass is harder and more versatile than you think.

Rule #9: To grow as a bassist, you have to listen to different kinds of music. Bassists borrow from a lot of genres no matter what they play. Metal bands play over funk rhythms; pop bands play over melodic progressions; funk bands play over driving rock lines and jazz players play over everything. If you stick to one genre, you will severely limit your playing and writing abilities.

Rule #10:Chromatic exercises with a metronome are your friend. Use them as often as you can and your playing, speed and fluidity will improve dramatically.

There are a million others, but these are a pretty good place to start.

Welcome to the Low End, my friend!
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Last edited by FatalGear41 at May 15, 2011,
#5
I'm in the exact same situation as you, man. I've been learning bass for 2 weeks now, using my friends bass and amp until I can afford a decent setup.

The guy's post above me is spot on. Learn your theory so you have more room to improv, I already know theory from playing guitar, and it helps loads.


One more thing, really helpful. If using your fingers, and your running straight 8th or 16th notes, RELAX. Don't tense up, or your hand will feel funky afterwards, and not the good funky. Relaxing also helps you play faster.
#6
Quote by FatalGear41
List of rules


Superb advice, you pretty much just summed up everything a new bassist should know, well done sir!
#7
Quote by FatalGear41
Here are ten rules to get you started. They may not be the best ten, but they will take you a long way - especially if you are transitioning from bass to guitar.

Rule #1: The bass is not a guitar. It is a unique instrument and you must approach it that way.

Rule #2: Your job is first and foremost to support the song. Soloing at inappropriate moments will weaken the song and probably throw the whole band out of time.

Rule #3: You need to be heard. The bass frequencies behave strangely - just like bassists. Get someone to stand in the crowd area during your sound check jam and make sure the sound guy or girl doesn't bury you in the mix.

Rule #4: There is a lot more to playing bass than eighth notes on the root, or root-five-octave progressions. Learn you basic major and minor scales and modes. Learn to play melodically; rhythmically and in odd time signatures. It will definitely liven up your bass playing.

Rule #5: Playing bass with a pick is not the same as playing guitar with a pick. If you're going to play with a pick, you're going to need a heavier pick and you're going to have to get used to the wider string spacing.

Rule #6: You have to learn to lock in with the drummer. You and the drummer are the rhythm section. You need to play together as a unit or the band will fall apart. That means you need to practice together until you can practically read each others' minds.

Rule #7: If you're playing cover tunes, don't trust tabs unless they are professionally written. A lot of guitarists just write eighth notes on the root when writing a bass tab for a song. There's a hell of a lot more going on in the song with the bass if you listen carefully. If you leave it out; the song will probably sound like crap.

Rule #8: Just because the average bass has only four strings, that doesn't mean you're going to give Geddy Lee a run for his money in six months. Bass is harder and more versatile than you think.

Rule #9: To grow as a bassist, you have to listen to different kinds of music. Bassists borrow from a lot of genres no matter what they play. Metal bands play over funk rhythms; pop bands play over melodic progressions; funk bands play over driving rock lines and jazz players play over everything. If you stick to one genre, you will severely limit your playing and writing abilities.

Rule #10:Chromatic exercises with a metronome are your friend. Use them as often as you can and your playing, speed and fluidity will improve dramatically.

There are a million others, but these are a pretty good place to start.

Welcome to the Low End, my friend!


Fantastic advice, I may just add that to the FAQ.
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#8
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One more thing, really helpful. If using your fingers, and your running straight 8th or 16th notes, RELAX. Don't tense up, or your hand will feel funky afterwards, and not the good funky. Relaxing also helps you play faster.


Yeah, one thing that's not covered very often for those making the switch from guitar to bass is that you have to pay a lot of attention to ergonomics and what's going on with your body if you really hit the bass hard. The instrument is larger and heavier (unless you're coming from beefy mahogany guitars to basswood/agathis/etc. basses), it requires a fair amount more oooomph from the right hand when playing most popular genres, and a new kind of movement for the left. Plus, with the player hankering down into the rhythm so much, it's just a very physical instrument in general.


If you're already a fairly competent guitar player and have a good grasp of theory, I'd say the most important points above to focus on are 1)don't play it like a guitar and 2) sit down with some drummers and learn all about the pocket. Get deep down in the pocket, make it your best friend. Once you're tighter than tight with it, you can start hopping out and running circles around it if you like.

And what wasn't mentioned: dynamics and implicit timing. Even when you do play straight 8th notes, you're going to have more dynamic range than you would on rhythm guitar. Those one and threes really stand out and even subtler dynamics hit the e&as when you're doing 16ths--every style has it's own needs obviously, and it's super pronounced on the bass. Also, there are often un-acknowledged stacatto notes, swing notes, and the like throughout music that the bass players is just supposed to intuitively figure out and make work. These are the things that make even root-thumping expressive and musical and they lie heaviest on the back of the bassplayer.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at May 16, 2011,
#9
thanks for the advice guys, it might be helpful to add i'm working with your standard doesn't know his major scales guitarist any suggestions on dealing with less educated musicians?
Bassplayer!
1981 Gibson Grabber
Ibanez SR506
Fretless Hohner B2B
Roland 120XL Cube Bass.
#10
Best advice for working with those without theory knowledge? Don't ever act like you're above them for it. It just leads to animosity and a rubbish situation. He probably knows more theory than you both realise, to be fair- everyone does. 'Dealing' with less educated musicians sounds so... Negative and chore-like, which is the completely the opposite of what should be happening. You aren't dealing with a less educated musician- you're playing with a friend.
#11
Tell them to drop out of the band and come back when they learn more...jk but seriously

The thing with uneducated musicians is that you can play simple cover tunes with them, heck you can even write some simple I-IV-V-IV type songs. And that's fine if you like that type of music but if you want to as a band be able to play more complicated music, you are going to have to put some serious practice time in alone and with the band.

If your guitarist is willing to do that and if the band is willing to grow with them as a musician then you have no problem. Your set list will consist of songs they can play at a performance level and practice songs harder than they can play until they get to the point that they can perform.
#12
Simple stuff that's based mostly on a good sense of rhythm is a great starting off point. When I picked up bass, I learned Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire front to back. Otherwise, I'd suggest playing every day for as long as possible. Remember that bass takes a fair bit more muscle and that might take a bit of getting used to.

Also, polyrhythms. Polyrhythms are sexy.

As for playing with uneducated musicians, as long as they're willing to improve, you shouldn't have much of a problem. I know some completely self-taught musicians that are fantastic players.
Last edited by UnoriginalUsern at May 17, 2011,
#13
Agreed with the comments about simply respecting and encouraging your friend w/out much theory background. If you want him to improve in theory really quickly, I suggest encouraging or tricking him into taking piano lessons from an instructor who often teaches adults.

Theory is easiest to learn IMO on the piano, it's more a explicit part of beginning lessons on that instrument than any other, the lessons are usually cheaper than guitar ones, and an instructor who often teaches adult piano will go at a much faster pace then pretty much any other instructor of any other instrument.

First month of guitar lessons: let's learn three chords and build 5 or 6 songs out of them. First month of piano: let's learn all the major scales and be able to name the notes in them off the top of our head rather than memorizing shapes. Plus if your buddy lives at home, it's probably the easiest type of lesson to convince his parents to cover the bill on
#14
Quote by FatalGear41

Rule #6: You have to learn to lock in with the drummer. You and the drummer are the rhythm section. You need to play together as a unit or the band will fall apart. That means you need to practice together until you can practically read each others' minds.


Great post!!!

IMO this should be #1 though... the drum is the heartbeat of a song, the bass is the songs backbone. Without those two, your song is a cripple!!!

OP, The first thing I would recommend is watching this, it's just a clip on rhythm but it's a damn helpfull excercise. Then I would work on simply finding the pluse of any song, and being able to lock into it. As a bassist your #1 job is to groove, if you can lay down a rock solid groove and create a deep pocket... people will be beating down your door to play with you. Behind every great guitarist who shreds for a 10 min long solo, there is always a great bassist holding down the groove, and letting him solo

http://www.youtube.com/user/antwellington#p/a/u/0/8Sw_trDFJw8
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Well played, sir, well played.