#1
I'm at the point where I want to go beyond just learning songs from tabs and playing them along with the song.

I hear a lot of people talking about "practicing their scales", or using a metronome or a drum machine. I want to start learning more, theory, eventually map out the fretboard in my mind and get an idea of how to create basslines. The problem is, when I go to practice, I don't really know where to start. I often just find myself going back and practicing the songs I know, or learning new ones.

What do you guys do when you practice? Could you give me some examples of what I need to do to develop my sense of timing, rhythm and make the progression from cover bassist to actual musician. Thanks.
#2
Im not a bass player, but I do have advice that carries over from guitar.

First, if you want to develop a sense of timing and rythm, get a metronome and always use it. It can be realy frustrating, but it helps in the long run.

Learn scales, start out with the basic major, and minor scales and then their pentatonic forms. And learn how to play the same scale in different positions all over the neck.

Ditch tabs and do your best to learn songs by ear. Try figuring out the chord progressions and improvising new lines that fit. Read up on some theory.
"Good and evil lay side by side as electric love penetrates the sky"
#3
i try to learn as many songs or parts of songs as possible, to get a feel for how basslines are made, and usually they just come to me.
#4
Quote by GuitarNinja12

Ditch tabs and do your best to learn songs by ear. Try figuring out the chord progressions and improvising new lines that fit.


This is so much more effective than you might think at first. If you can't tab out what someone else plays, how can you figure out a bassline of your own?
Last.FM

Quote by Applehead
There are some things in life that are universally "good":

Sex, pizza, the smell of fresh washing and slap bass.
#5
Quote by Confused4930
This is so much more effective than you might think at first. If you can't tab out what someone else plays, how can you figure out a bassline of your own?


any good songs for starters?

EDIT: I tried to tab out this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_MSVALPhro&mode=related&search=

I found it hard because it has weird chords and I'm not even sure what scale it is in. Anyways have a look and tell me how easy this song should be to figure out. I'm really bad at this kind of thing.
Last edited by NC777 at Oct 17, 2007,
#6
My approach was to study music theory, trawl the net and books for hand exercises and figure scales and whatnot by ear and using theoretical knowledge. When it came to learning songs, I do it how GuitarNinja12 said - figure out the chord progression and key licks, then pick up the specifics by ear or improvise a part.

I never bothered learning many songs from tab because I was always a) too busy with the theory and exercises and b) figured that if I did the former properly, I'd understand HOW any given song is constructed, WHY it works, and thus be able to play it faster than sitting down with a CD and a pile of tabs or whatever.

Funnily enough, it worked. Nothing annoys me more than some flashy kid who can play like a fiend, at 250bpm and flawlessly, but can't play anything new without staring blankly and then burying their nose in a pile of tab sheets for what feels like an eternity.
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me: no, nor woman neither... nor women neither.
#7
Quote by Confused4930
This is so much more effective than you might think at first. If you can't tab out what someone else plays, how can you figure out a bassline of your own?


I have one of the shittiest ears going. I can't transcribe a song to save my life, and yet I can write fine basslines. Weird how that works innit?

To the TS I say get a teacher. (S)He'll be able to point you in the right direction and guide you as you go. It's the best thing to do in my opinion.
#8
You could do what I do and just dick around whenever you're not doing anything else. Occasionally I come up with a cool riff or something, but in reality, it's actually the most inefficient thing I've ever seen in my life.
Quote by Yerjam
Could be, but the most important thing to remember is that it wasn't your fault, even if it was.
#9
I'm pretty much in the same boat as you NC777, but part of that is the fact I had String Orchestra for 5 years and played upright bass in that...so I learned a lot of theory and music construction and what not through that. But lately, I've been working more with a metronome, I always work on doing finger stretching and speed exercises. Occasionally, I try to figure out ways to practice accuracy with finger placement doing string hops and up and down the board playing. But yeah, +1 to everything above.
I am a lucid dream to the illusionary slumber
Wading in a cesspool of forgotten memory
An insignificant host to the collective subconscious


~Sacred Slumber
#10
Im in the same position as you. I just find a song I want to learn, find the tabs and practice it. Once I get it down I move on to another song. I find it fun but I want to do more. So im going to go pick up a beginner bass book from a music store to learn scales and stuff.
#11
Quote by Confused4930
This is so much more effective than you might think at first. If you can't tab out what someone else plays, how can you figure out a bassline of your own?


Easy to say. But how can you LEARN hearing what someone plays. I mean: I can't. You than can say: practise. But that;s to easy to say I think. That's more like: I don't know exactly but that is what you can do.
#12
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I have one of the shittiest ears going. I can't transcribe a song to save my life, and yet I can write fine basslines. Weird how that works innit?

To the TS I say get a teacher. (S)He'll be able to point you in the right direction and guide you as you go. It's the best thing to do in my opinion.


+1
#13
Quote by Caustic
Funnily enough, it worked. Nothing annoys me more than some flashy kid who can play like a fiend, at 250bpm and flawlessly, but can't play anything new without staring blankly and then burying their nose in a pile of tab sheets for what feels like an eternity.


meet your nightmare!
#14
Quote by Confused4930
This is so much more effective than you might think at first. If you can't tab out what someone else plays, how can you figure out a bassline of your own?


I'm tone deaf and my right ear drum doesn't function properly. I still write perfectly good (IMHO) basslines.

Remember, Beethoven was deaf too.
#16
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I'm tone deaf and my right ear drum doesn't function properly. I still write perfectly good (IMHO) basslines.

Remember, Beethoven was deaf too.


He was deaf, not tone deaf + he was a genius.

We're studying him at school, turns out he had the most unbelievable inner hearing. He was getting random strokes of inspiration and could hear melodies played on various instruments in his head. He almost never wrote through improvisation (a few exceptions though, the most famous being "Für Elise")

So nothing really changed after he lost his hearing - he could still hear the melodies in his head and write them down. What a guy, eh?
#17
Quote by recondite11
Easy to say. But how can you LEARN hearing what someone plays. I mean: I can't. You than can say: practise. But that;s to easy to say I think. That's more like: I don't know exactly but that is what you can do.

Just practice, yes its easy to say, yes it takes a long time to do, but if you want to be a musician don't expect it to be all easy.

If you want to practice in it, just ask for tips.
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.


Ben Hamelech
#18
Quote by BassistGal
Just practice, yes its easy to say, yes it takes a long time to do, but if you want to be a musician don't expect it to be all easy.

If you want to practice in it, just ask for tips.


I just did...
#19
^ Misunderstood your post then.

Get someone to play\record a simple melody for you on a piano, and try to figrue it out.
Once you can do it with one, go to another, and so on and so on, then move on to easy to recognize bass lines and riffs like: Memphis Soul Stew, Politician, etc..
And when you can do those without a flaw go for full songs.
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.


Ben Hamelech
#20
Quote by BassistGal
^ Misunderstood your post then.

Get someone to play\record a simple melody for you on a piano, and try to figrue it out.
Once you can do it with one, go to another, and so on and so on, then move on to easy to recognize bass lines and riffs like: Memphis Soul Stew, Politician, etc..
And when you can do those without a flaw go for full songs.


I take theory lessons on our local music school and we do stuff like that there. But I just can't hear it.
#21
Sly Taco hates practicing bass alone!!!! But when he does, he just usually plays unplugged watching tv. Just running scales up and down the neck not really paying attention to what im playing. Its more of improving stamina and muscle memory.
#22
Refine my playing technique so that i use the minimum muscles required to play, so that i have less to practice.

I mostly practice musically. I am confident enough in my technical ability, so i just practice ideas.
#23
listen man, alot of these guys abouve me here really know their s***, and one of the best ways to improve over all technique, is to just jam with the radio... that way, you know you dont know al lthe songs, u just wing it, go up and down the neck playing the bass line YOU would have made for the song...
(\__/)
(='.'=) This is Green Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your
(")_(") signature to help him gain world domination


Member - Geddy Lee Fan Club -

Hartke 4x10, 400W VX cab
Hartke HA3500 350W head

Squire Custom JAZZ Bass (Midnight Blue)
#24
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
To the TS I say get a teacher. (S)He'll be able to point you in the right direction and guide you as you go. It's the best thing to do in my opinion.


Before I get on Bales and my favourite soap box. My personal practice is about 1/2 scales and music theory (shapes, arpeggios etc etc) and 1/2 improvising or learning new songs. I also tend to run through scales etc when watching TV , or when I am doing a similarly mundane activity like talking on the phone or waiting for dinner to cook.

Yes, I know everyone has heard it from Bales and I before, but a teacher can really be of value for setting up a practice routine and laying a foundation to build one concept upon another. For instance, I am working bass chords right now and if I didn't have scales, chord construction, arpeggio shapes down before it, I wouldn't really understand how to play them or use them effectively. At least with a teacher (personally) there is a method to the madness and you get to proficiency considerably quicker.

[EDIT] and I use either a metronome, a drum track or the live in residence drummer always. If you play well but your timing is poor, you are not a true bass player or musician.