#1
I started out playing guitar, I've been playing for a while and I'm fairly decent. However, I've been playing bass for a couple years now. The only reason I picked up bass is because my friends needed a bassist for their band and I wasn't as good of a guitarist as the other two guitarists in the band so they asked me to play bass. I went out and bought a bass and started playing with them and realized that I really liked it. We were a fairly successful band and we did very well locally. While I wasn't a good bassist (I played with a pick and I played mostly root notes until later on) I was tight and for the style of music my band was playing it worked. That band ended a while ago but right now I still have Peavey Grind BXP and a Acoustic half stack.

Recently after abandoning bass and just playing guitar for past two years I picked up my bass again. I realized I'm more comfortable on bass than guitar. It's a more natural instrument for me. The thing is, I still think and play bass like I'm playing guitar.

I've decided that the best route for me would be to focus on playing bass and actually learn how to play the instrument the right way. I have nicer bass gear than guitar gear and I've already had a lot of experience playing bass in a bands. The only problem is I don't really know where to start. I've tried some beginner lessons, but I breeze through them without really learning much. I know I need to learn how to fingerpick and I'm slowly getting better at that, but what else should I focus on as a converted guitarist?

Thanks guys
I'm the same as I was when I was six years old
And oh my god I feel so damn old
I don't really feel anything
Last edited by StreetLight3989 at Jul 19, 2013,
#2
Well; if you are looking for instructional material that will focus on specific techniques, skills, etc., in order to make yourself a better bassist, then the best place to start is BassBooks:

http://www.bassbooks.com/shopping/default.asp

They've got every book and DVD for bass that is presently available, as well as a lot of free stuff you can download. Even if you don't want to buy any of their wares, just reading the product descriptions can give you an idea of what you need to study and work at. After that, you can look for tutorials on the web that cover the particular subject.

Good luck, and welcome back to the Low End, my friend!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#3
It all depends on what kind of music you want to play. In my honest opinion i am always for being as versatile as possible, keeping that in mind these are some of my recommendations for bass (being a multi instrumentalist myself, but with emphasis on guitar and bass)

There are a lot of things you can do on bass, so i am going to try and break it down into short sections. Mind you, i won't have the time to write everything down, so if you like what i'm about to say and want to know more, send me a PM. I also have lot's of recommendations on bassists and bass heavy music.

Anyway, here are some things that are crucial for a bass player. You will notice that most of what i am about to say are things that great players such as Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius etc.

Now, the bassplayers main role is to groove. A bassist that grooves will get the gig over any other bassist. I have experienced this myself. I auditioned for a series of gigs in my area with a band with a couple of other bass players, and i was nervous cause a lot of them had better technique than i did, they played better. But when we got into audition i was the one that ended up getting the gig. Why? Cause i laid down the groove. I wasn't flashy with techniques, and at the same time i didn't play only root notes. I felt the song and played what i felt was suited for the song.

Now, groove in my opinion (And Victor Wootens aswell) is all the 10 elements (well 10 main elements atleast) of music put together.

These would be:

"Notes" (Scales, Arpeggios, Chords etc)

Articulation/Duration (How long the note is played, in what manner the note is played. Is it played staccato? Meaning is the notes duration shortened. It all has to do with how long you let the note go for.)

Technique (Having the physical capacity to execute things on your instrument. There are a lot of techniques out there. Slapping, Double thumping, tapping, hammer ons and pull offs, plucking, using 3 or 4 fingers to play, hammer ons from nowhere etc)

Emotion/Feel (This is very hard to describe, so i will just write trying to convey a message here. Cause that's what we are doing with music after all. What's the feel of the song? Is it a sad song? Or a happy song?)

Dynamics (Are you playing soft or hard? Loud or quiet?)

Rhythm/tempo (All music is made up of different rhythms, and they all have their unique sound. For example an eight note followed by 2 sixteenth notes are often called a gallop by guitarists and bassists. Tempo is basically "rhythmic feel" of the song. You can have a fast song, or a slow song. You can have a shuffle or swing etc)

Tone (The sounds you make. Much like a singers voice you can alter the tone of your instrument. There are singers that can sing with a very "full" tone very high, but also a very airy voice high. Managing to get different tones out of your bass)

Phrasing (Much like me writing here, you need commas and ends to sentences so you know that they are done and they can be followed by a new one. Same with music, phrasing is basically how you play. You can play eightnotes all the time, OR you could play a quarter note and 2 eight notes. Then you've phrased it differently)

Space/Rest (Not playing is as important as playing.)

Listening ( Using your ears, what sounds good? What doesn't sound good? Adapting yourself to the current situation you are in. It's all about the ears).

Well that's me being philosophical for today. In all honesty though, actively working on all these areas will make you better. Then there are of course different ways to do it. Like take "notes" for example. I don't personally sit and practice arpeggios up and down everyday. But i understand the theory behind it (like a major arpeggio is 1 3 5 and a minor 1 b3 5) and i can use it.

I mostly learn stuff i like by ear and analyze it, aswell as practicing improvising lines and grooves. The point i wanted to get across is to be aware of these things, cause they are what makes your playing different from other players.

Anyway, hope that was helpful. Any questions just send me a PM.
Cheers
Sickz
Last edited by Sickz at Jul 19, 2013,
#4
Thanks your post has a lot of what I was looking for. I think I'll go through those steps one by one and focus on a different step every week and cycle them. I may also buy a couple lesson books but I never really liked learning from them when I was learning guitar and eventually my teacher scraped them and I ended up learning a lot more. That said, I had really boring lesson books.

And back to the style of music I want to play. I used to be in a deathcore band, which helped me a lot with playing cleanly with speed and playing weird picking patterns. It was really fun, but I don't even like deathcore.

I want to go more in the direction of "indie" and post-hardcore music. I want to learn to play bass in the style of stuff like Modest Mouse, Pavement, Brand New, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Husker Du, Fugazi, At the Drive In, Circle Takes the Square, Touche Amore, and Sonic Youth. I know those bands vary in style, but those are my main influences, that's my style of playing on guitar, and I'd like to learn to play in a similar style.
I'm the same as I was when I was six years old
And oh my god I feel so damn old
I don't really feel anything
#5
Well; since you are here, you are familiar with UltimateGuitar.com. You can check out the tabs for the bands and songs you like, and start there. I recommend a program like Guita Pro, which actually plays certain tab files (and lets you create your own). See if there is anything of use to you there.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#6
I think the most important skill for any musician to have is to be able to write songs. In my opinion this is especially important for the bass, as you are relatively free to spice up the songs your band is playing with anything you can think of. The question now would be what exactly you think of while playing and I noticed that I'm constantly taking bits and pieces from songs I've listened to and incorporate them in my playing, often without realizing.

What I'm trying to say is that listening can be more important than playing. Listen to your favorite records again and analyze how the bass works, what you like about it and what you would do differently. Once you try learning those things and incorporating them into your playing, you will soon encounter problems, e.g. not getting the right sound and feel out of a certain lick, not getting a certain groove down properly or whatever. At that point, you should refer to Sickz' great post again and see where the problem is.

I think this is a pretty intuitive way of progressing as a bass player, especially when starting out. Forcing yourself to learn styles you're not too familiar with of course has its advantages and is important to become more versatile, but in my opinion you should first play what you like until you're comfortable enough to try new things.
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#7
i too was in your boat man......... and when everything was over and the dust settled stuck with bass..... and to be honest i just literally learn any song i hear and like, i dont care if its a new carcass song or katty parry ... if it slightly gets stuck in my head i learn it.

i played in numorus bands origanals(mainly metal) and cover bands(everything from country to top 40 stuff) and always stived to be that bass player that stuck out so i already looked up too guys like wooten but you have got alot of metal players that get lost in the magic of scooped recordings........ listen to mudvayne, that guy is amazing hell if they didnt have a guitar player on the first album i dont think id care, then you got steve in maiden, cliff in metallica (even though i hate metallica), steve digorio (i know i messed the spelling up he played with a ton of people but iced earth's horror show has him on it and there is a ton of awesome "not your basic metal bass stuff") but you know who has some killer bass licks kings of leon............ pretty simple but still fun to play
i guess what it seems like we are all geting at is you just kind of have to break out of the shell every now and again but in the same token youll find some new and refreasing stuff in the music you listen too already sometimes
#8
Quote by thorbor
I think the most important skill for any musician to have is to be able to write songs. In my opinion this is especially important for the bass, as you are relatively free to spice up the songs your band is playing with anything you can think of. The question now would be what exactly you think of while playing and I noticed that I'm constantly taking bits and pieces from songs I've listened to and incorporate them in my playing, often without realizing.

What I'm trying to say is that listening can be more important than playing. Listen to your favorite records again and analyze how the bass works, what you like about it and what you would do differently. Once you try learning those things and incorporating them into your playing, you will soon encounter problems, e.g. not getting the right sound and feel out of a certain lick, not getting a certain groove down properly or whatever. At that point, you should refer to Sickz' great post again and see where the problem is.

I think this is a pretty intuitive way of progressing as a bass player, especially when starting out. Forcing yourself to learn styles you're not too familiar with of course has its advantages and is important to become more versatile, but in my opinion you should first play what you like until you're comfortable enough to try new things.

Thanks for this post. I definitely need to listen more closely to the bass work on some of my favorite albums. I love Modest Mouse's bass work in particular, he has a great tone.

Writing wise I'm already decent. I'm good with progressions and rhythms and I wrote a lot of the rhythm guitar/bass parts for my old band (I wrote them on guitar though and just played root notes and messed around with them basically on bass). My main problem writing wise is I have troube differentiating my bass parts from the rhythm guitar parts.
I'm the same as I was when I was six years old
And oh my god I feel so damn old
I don't really feel anything
#9
Quote by StreetLight3989

I want to go more in the direction of "indie" and post-hardcore music. I want to learn to play bass in the style of stuff like Modest Mouse, Pavement, Brand New, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Husker Du, Fugazi, At the Drive In, Circle Takes the Square, Touche Amore, and Sonic Youth. I know those bands vary in style, but those are my main influences, that's my style of playing on guitar, and I'd like to learn to play in a similar style.


The best way to learn that is by studying the artists you want to sound like. Contrary to FatalGear i don't recommend learning songs by tabs. I'd recommend getting some sort of software like "Amazing Slow Downer" and start learning tunes by ear. Your ears are THE most important thing you can work on. And the more you do it the easier it will get, and you will benefit from it in a lot of different ways that you wouldn't by learning from tabs.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#10
Quote by StreetLight3989
Writing wise I'm already decent. I'm good with progressions and rhythms and I wrote a lot of the rhythm guitar/bass parts for my old band (I wrote them on guitar though and just played root notes and messed around with them basically on bass). My main problem writing wise is I have troube differentiating my bass parts from the rhythm guitar parts.

I also switched from guitar to bass at some point and guess what, I had the exact same problem wiht my writing. Playing in a band forced me to adapt to a different playstyle and to come up with independent and interesting basslines on the spot so that really helped.
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#11
Hey, you already sound pretty good to me, you talk about bass like a bass player. Don't knock root pounding or using a pick either, there have been some great songs played this way. Having said that picking gives you twice the variation and options when playing so doing both is good.

check out Scott Devine's lessons on Youtube, there's lots of useful lessons pitched at beginner through to fairly advanced intermediate and all in bite sized chunks.

The main thing though is to listen to and study other bassists, preferably by learning some of their songs, there's nothing better for understanding how the bass fits into the music.

Welcome to the low end.
#12
put the pick down until you're a boss at fingerstyle.

learn some songs not from your main genre.

this has gotten me much further with bass than I otherwise would have gone.
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