#1
Hi! Calling all experienced bass players!

I've been a musician for 29 years, starting on piano at 7 years old but lead guitar being my main instrument from age 14. I'm pretty fluent in theory but only insomuch as I've come across it as a guitarist in rock, jazz-funk and metal bands, in music GCSE, piano grade 4 and the theory/composition modules on my old music technology degree.

A few months ago I had a change of direction not long after starting to play the bass in a friend's band.

I already owned a Squier Vintage Modified Jazz bass that I'd been using to lay down bass parts in my own songs but not long after the band got together I traded in my pride-and-joy Gibson Les Paul Studio along with a Marshall guitar cab and a few guitar effects pedals for a Carvin 1kW bass stack, and bought another Squier Vintage Modified Jazz bass - this time the fretless version - the same day.

So... bass is now "my thing" - my primary instrument - and I want to improve.

This is where I'm at right now... The following link is my band's demo on Myspace that we recorded a few weeks ago in a disused hotel bar and I mixed in my dining room. There's 6 songs on there, so you should get an idea of my playing from this...

My band All The King's Friends' first demo - linky to our Myspace page - click here

Any and all serious suggestions of how I could best go about improving welcomed.

Whether that be improving my technique, my theory knowledge, my composition approach, or even a single note in a single riff I'm playing on one of the songs... however great or small the suggestion, I'd like to hear it.

Thanks in advance,

Phil
Last edited by retrocausality at May 30, 2011,
#2
Well; you sound pretty good in the songs. If you want to stretch your playing out from root notes or simple riffs, you need to learn your scales and modes to flesh out some of your parts. Now, you might find that such "excessive" bass playing doesn't fit your music, but it's nice to be able to do it.

If you want to improve technique, practice scales and modes to a metronome. You can also learn odd time signatures if you think they will spice up your songs. Are you playing with a pick or with your fingers? How you attack the strings will make a big difference in your tone and in your ability to play fast and fluidly.

It sounds like you're off to a very good start. Good luck to you and your band!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#3
I would start practicing scales. That will improve your dexterity. After that just start learning covers. Make it a challenge for yourself too, easy songs are cool but the harder sogs are a lot more rewarding. You already have solid music experience so you're learning curve with the bass won't be as difficult as someone who's learning their first instrument.
#4
Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

FG41 - I use fingers, not a plectrum, and yes I've noticed there's a large range of tones available depending on how (and where) I attack the strings.

From playing guitar I already know my modes of the major scale, blues scale etc, and I'd love to stray from the root a bit more... I'm aware of chord composition, standard triads, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths on guitar and piano, but I'm still struggling to get my head around the general concepts of playing non-root bass notes, so if anyone can help expand this part of my playing I'd be most appreciative.

I think the only song in that list of 6 on our myspace that I stray from the root for any length of time is "Those Nights" that has a few sections where I'm playing the low 3rd (the F# on the E string) while the guitarist is playing a D, but otherwise I think I'm quite unadventurous at this side of things still, so I'd definitely like to know more if anyone can help.
#5
Have you thought about finding a teacher? A good teacher can help you (arguably I guess) a lot more than reading things then applying them to your practice can.
I've been playing for about 6 years and I'd still love to have a teacher, sadly there's really no one around here.
Basses:
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
1967 Fender Coronado Bass II
Warwick Star Bass
Squier Precision Bass TB
#6
Quote by consecutive e
Have you thought about finding a teacher? A good teacher can help you (arguably I guess) a lot more than reading things then applying them to your practice can.
I've been playing for about 6 years and I'd still love to have a teacher, sadly there's really no one around here.


A teacher would be ideal but there's just nobody in the area I live - too small a town unfortunately, so an online forum like this is my best shot as far as I'm aware.