#1
Hello everybody..

As the title says, I'm an intermediate guitarist that's willing to learn some bass.
Music-wise I can play and jam on a good level on rock/blues/pop tunes, I understand some jazz and funky but I'd say I'm a beginner on those music genres.
Technic-wise I know how to build chords, how to use the major and the minor scales and how to harmonize them.

So this is my background..
When I play the bass, btw, it's clear that it's not my main instrument.. I play it as I would play a guitar, not strumming chords, but you can tell that it's not the proper style.
I understand that this is very subjective and one should search for its own approach to the instrument, but right now I'm not experienced enough to say that.

What am I missing?
#2
You're not really doing anything wrong by playing the bass like a guitar. You can even play chords on it. Look at Lemmy. Or at Robert from Metallica.


Practice.

Experiment with fingerstyle and picking.

Can you play slap?


There is no proper style. Style is something personal and unique.

You might not have the proper technique.

The left hand has to work good. Press the strings just behind the fret. After strumming the string you can let it go to cut the sound or hold it for sustain, same as on guitar.

The right hand is mainly the rhythm. Your rhythm has to be near perfect at all times. And if you should fall out, you should be quick to going back. A half second is the maximum.

Don't be afraid to play a bassline differently than the original.

Experiment with octaves - they are the most basic 'trick' a bass player uses to make his sound more interesting.

And use fifth notes.

And power chords.

Experiment by combining whole, half, quarter, eight and sixteenth notes - all during the same line.

I can't help you any further without knowing your exact problem or hearing what you're playing.
#3
I totally agree with you, style is something very personal, but I think you must have at least a basic knowledge of the instrument to properly develope one.

I like funky bass players like the Jamiroquai one: you can say he's following the melody line, but he somehow manages to throw in those sweet, little, out-of-scale licks. It's badass.

(The funny thing is that if you do that while playing guitar you're usually dubbed as an over-playing douchebag, lol)

For the left hand I'm doing the same routine practice for guitar, the good old 1-2-3-4 fingers runs up and down the fretboard, mixing the "fingers order" (1-2-3-4, 4-2-3-1, 2-4-1-3..), skipping strings.. I guess that's fine, right?
I do them also for the fingerstyle, which obviously needs more work than using a pick

I don't have much groove, though. I guess that's what you mean by "combining whole-half-quarter-etc" notes, right? Do you know some exercises?


EDIT: Slapping is so cool but no, I don't have take a look at it yet. Definitely going to do it sometime in the near future.
Last edited by Senor_Homme at Nov 18, 2013,
#4
To know how to play "like a bassist" just listen to what other bassists do and play their basslines. If you hear a cool fill, learn to play it. You need to think more about rhythm - for example on guitar you can just sustain long notes and play really fast and impress everybody. That doesn't necessarily work on bass. If you want to write your own basslines, listen to the drummer. Listen to the beats the drummer accents and make your bassline fit the beat the drummer plays.

Edit: And it's also really important to know how different notes sound over different chords. Sometimes it sounds better to play the third or fifth of the chord instead of roots all the time but if you don't know what you are doing, it may just end up sounding bad. Root note is always the "safest" note to play over a chord.

Also, interesting basslines may not need lots of notes. They need to fit the groove of the song and have the right rhythm. Sometimes it's really cool to just play a really simple bassline. I always use "Runnin' with the Devil" by Van Halen as an example of a great bassline that is really simple (main riff/chorus is just quarter notes on the open E string and verse is quarter notes on the open A string) but supports the song. Without it the song would lack its balls.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Nov 18, 2013,
#5
Quote by MaggaraMarine
To know how to play "like a bassist" just listen to what other bassists do and play their basslines. If you hear a cool fill, learn to play it. You need to think more about rhythm - for example on guitar you can just sustain long notes and play really fast and impress everybody. That doesn't necessarily work on bass. If you want to write your own basslines, listen to the drummer. Listen to the beats the drummer accents and make your bassline fit the beat the drummer plays.


Good tip, thank you
#6
A really good DVD for (I'd say beginner) bassists is Victor Wooten's Groove Workshop. It focuses a lot on the rhythm part of the bass and how that's really the most important.

A pirate buddy of mine currently has a copy if you would like to borrow it.
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
#8
Less Is More…with bass. I'm a guitarist convert as well and it was easy in the beginning to overdo everything. Play a bit laid back, whip out some fast runs when the moment calls for it.

If you are going to use a pick, slap some flatwounds on the bass…awesome motown thump that way!
#9
Quote by WaltTheWerewolf
Less Is More…with bass. I'm a guitarist convert as well and it was easy in the beginning to overdo everything. Play a bit laid back, whip out some fast runs when the moment calls for it.

If you are going to use a pick, slap some flatwounds on the bass…awesome motown thump that way!

I agree but it also depends on the style. Sometimes really aggressive bass sounds awesome. For example in Guns N' Roses Duff played some cool stuff all the time. It worked for Guns N' Roses but I'm sure for some other style it wouldn't have worked at all. It's all about knowing the style and not overplaying. For example if you play some AC/DC, it's just single note straight 8ths all the time. But some styles require constant filling.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#10
Quote by Senor_Homme
I totally agree with you, style is something very personal, but I think you must have at least a basic knowledge of the instrument to properly develope one.

--- This is true

I like funky bass players like the Jamiroquai one: you can say he's following the melody line, but he somehow manages to throw in those sweet, little, out-of-scale licks. It's badass.

--- I don't know that player, but funk is all about groove, rhythm and octaves. I don't know any funk player that doesn't utilize slap, so you'll have to learn that at a certain moment. For funk and slapping, listen to Flea ( overrated but he IS skillful ) , Les Claypool and even Fieldy from Korn ( though he's not really a funk player he has some cool stuff )

(The funny thing is that if you do that while playing guitar you're usually dubbed as an over-playing douchebag, lol)

--- Ignore that bullshit. Is Buckethead an over-playing douchebag? Or Satriani ? Or Vai ? Or MAB ? Or Malmsteen ? Or [ insert any shredder here ] ? Of course, it has to sound good, if it sounds good, speed is good! And a lot of notes is nothing to be afraid of, at least if you can play them. Same goes for bass. Listen to Billy Sheehan.

For the left hand I'm doing the same routine practice for guitar, the good old 1-2-3-4 fingers runs up and down the fretboard, mixing the "fingers order" (1-2-3-4, 4-2-3-1, 2-4-1-3..), skipping strings.. I guess that's fine, right?
I do them also for the fingerstyle, which obviously needs more work than using a pick

---- The exercises are just fine for now. Learning fingerstyle will help you to develop proper hybrid picking technique for guitar, which will benefit you too. Just keep doing them for now and you'll be fine.

I don't have much groove, though. I guess that's what you mean by "combining whole-half-quarter-etc" notes, right? Do you know some exercises?

--- Groove can be anything, so it can be this thing too. Put simply - Don't play constantly the same rhythm structure / number of notes. Of course you have to keep up with the drummer, but you can double up the speed, let a note ring, make a triplet and many other things. Some things come from practice only.

EDIT: Slapping is so cool but no, I don't have take a look at it yet. Definitely going to do it sometime in the near future.


--- Don't be afraid if you can't do it in the beginning. Slapping really has nothing to do with theoretical knowledge ( in terms of the right hand ) - it's a do or do not thing. If you decide to slap, remember this tip which worked for me - start with the E string only and slap it NEAR THE BRIDGE with your thumb facing a bit down, not parallel to the string and near the bridge like most players do. It's easier to produce the slap sound there I think, though you won't get 100 percent of the percussive effect. Some people prefer this, me included.



Answered all your questions in the quote.

In addition to that :

Think like a drummer - for most people it works. But know something - the drummer is not the keeper of the rhythm like it's commonly believed. It's the whole band. Practice with a drum machine, with a metronome AND without anything at all. There is a fantastic lesson on this by Victor Wooten on Youtube. Look up the Bass Workshop by Victor Wooten on youtube, it's there but in parts. It's fantastic what the man explains.


Less is more - true. But more is more, too! Everything is more. But playing good is the MOST.
#12
Anymore advice would be to focus on Bass in songs…after a while when your mind is set on tending to the bass role is that you will start to nice the baselines more than guitar. coming from a lead guitarist stand point now…I rarely focus on the guitars now and my body tingles when the bass kicks in!

the bottom end rocks!