#1
I'm really starting to get serious about improving my skills on the bass. I definitely want to start setting aside at LEAST an hour a day for practice but hopefully closer to 2-3 hours. The problem is, when I go to practice, I don't really know what to play or what hand exercises to work through. I'm hoping that some you experienced fellows could give me some advice on what you've adopted or found to be effective in your practice sessions.

At this point, I usually just run through the major and minor scales and then play along to some songs I've learned, but I just feel like I'm missing out on a tonne of good exercises and patterns that would benefit my playing. Naturally, I want to improve my understanding of music theory as well. (I've gotten about as far as basic scales, intervals -> assonance + dissonance and resolve, going with the chord progressions of the song). I'm self-taught so I'm also looking for some good music theory books. Even ones not related to bass, just basic musical training. All ideas are greatly appreciated.
#2
honestly the one thing that did amazing things for me is to play with an actual drummer. great for keeping time and improv
#4
learn a song by one of your favorite bands (it has too have a decent bassline too it). I like to warm up with killing in the name by rage against the machine, because it is constant, easy yet I use all my fingers while playing. or if you don't want to tune to D you could play Higher Ground by RHCP for some slapping and popping warmup. If you just like to rock, not get to funky, you can use the bassline to YYZ
#5
Just play lots and lots of songs by your favorite artists, that'll help build your ability to adapt, and will begin to influence your style when you start writing your own original music.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#6
The opposite of what you want to do for serious practice is play songs. Unless they are technical studies of a technique you want to learn, or a transcription of a theoretical idea, like transcribing Miles' Freddie Freeloader solo to try and comprehend some modal jazz ideas.

For theory, the internet is a great resource, but I prefer to have a real person explaining it. It seems to make far more sense when you have someone writing it out with you.

Here, in all honesty, is what you need. You need to find a teacher and on the first day, go through the kinds of things you've been doing lately and say, "Challenge me with something." The best way to improve is to be put under pressure. To me, if you want to get technical, you need a teacher.
#7
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
The opposite of what you want to do for serious practice is play songs. Unless they are technical studies of a technique you want to learn, or a transcription of a theoretical idea, like transcribing Miles' Freddie Freeloader solo to try and comprehend some modal jazz ideas.

For theory, the internet is a great resource, but I prefer to have a real person explaining it. It seems to make far more sense when you have someone writing it out with you.

Here, in all honesty, is what you need. You need to find a teacher and on the first day, go through the kinds of things you've been doing lately and say, "Challenge me with something." The best way to improve is to be put under pressure. To me, if you want to get technical, you need a teacher.


Ya I agree completely with your opinion and I realize how important a teacher would be, but it's just not really an option for me at this point ($, schoolwork, no license or rides, etc). So I'm going to go with the best alternative to that. There must be some good books out there than can deliver some fraction of the information and useful practice methods that I could get with a real teacher. I guess I'm looking for a resource like a school textbook with an explanation, practice questions, and an answer key. If I have trouble with any of the concepts I could search for the answer on the internet. As a result of hard work throughout high school, I've developed this skill of teaching myself things without a teacher to a pretty high degree.

EDIT: I guess what I'm saying is that I need some theory based direction in my practicing. Once I get some kind of direction or idea of where to start, a list of what to learn, and where I should be going I think that a combination of music theory sites, guitar pro tabs, forum posts, youtube videos, and theory books could allow me to really expand my musical ability much more efficiently.
Last edited by NC777 at Feb 14, 2008,
#8
I'm going to poke holes in everything you've just said for reasons you cannot get a teacher: $- get a job/budget the money you have from a job; schoolwork- manage your time, remember you're the one who is trying to practise 2 hours a day, an hour lesson is only half of that, no more time than you would regularly spend; no license/rides- public transit.

If you're not willing to... I guess... take a bus, then I guess I'm out of ideas. Keep in mind that once you graduate from beginner books there aren't a lot of comprehensive books out there. They're mostly technique/genernized.
#9
Jazz is right. You need a teacher. If you don't have a license, presumably you're under 17. Get your parents to pay and drive you, if possible, or find someone who teaches at your school.

I repeat: you really do need someone to teach you in person if you want to learn technique and theory quickly. I started taking lessons about 2 months ago, and I've improved more in the past 2 months than in the past year. And I spent 3 hours a day (at least) teaching myself over the summer. Do whatever it takes to get lessons, and you'll find yourself getting better.
#12
something that might help is just simple finger exercises like such
(written in first position for simplicity, but it can be played anywhere on the fretboard)

|---------------------------------------------1--2--3--4|
|--------------------------------1--2--3--4-------------|
|-----------------1--2--3--4----------------------------|
|--1--2--3--4-------------------------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------4--3--2--1|
|--------------------------------4--3--2--1--------------|
|-----------------4--3--2--1-----------------------------|
|--4--3--2--1--------------------------------------------|

|--------------------------------------------4--2--3--1--|
|------------------------------1--3--2--4----------------|
|---------------4--2--3--1-------------------------------|
|-1--3--2--4---------------------------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------3--2--1--4|
|-------------------------------2--3--4--1---------------|
|----------------3--2--1--4------------------------------|
|-2--3--4--1---------------------------------------------|

etc, etc, you get the idea. start out slow and keep at it until you can go up and then down with amazing speed. after time and practice, this is possible. translate these kind of finger movements and speed onto scales, and you can make some really cool basslines. keeping in mind the chromatic nature of these exercises you can use them directly for walking lines in jazz too.
A T-bird and a Big Muff in your GAS list!? Egad man, are you trying to kill me!?
Fender MIM Jazz Bass
Line6 LD150Member of the Bass Militia, PM Nutter_101 to join
#15
And I am 1/8th Yakima, w00t! Tho' most people could have told you I was NEVER an average white girl by any definition of the phrase.

Anyway---if you can't afford a good teacher, I would recommend taking advantage of workshops and getting yourself a good library of books. If you want recommendations on books, pm me.

But even if you can scrape together some cash for a few lessons to work on your technique and theory, it will pay off considerably. Frankly, I would forgo coffee and walk the 5 miles from my house with my 13 lb Epi to keep taking lessons with my current bass teacher.

And to the person who mentioned jamming with a drummer, +1. This or a drum machine will also help push you to the next level and lock your sense of rhythm. But unless you have a good understanding of basic theory and how scales relate to the music you play, I wouldn't recommend the bass grimoire as a book.