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#1
Hi all

I recently bought a Warwick Rockbass and a bass course cd. I can see there arent as many resources for bass as there are guitar out there and I wondered how some of you self learners started out?

Unfortunately I have nobody to jam with just a buring desire to play bass.
So interested to read how other people started out.

Thanks
Shane
#2
I just started by learning some easy songs that I liked, and then sort of moved on from there.
The best thing you can do really is learn up on scales things of that nature.


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#3
get the hal leonord series for bass
those books are the best way to learn bass if your interested in actually learning properly.. meaning how to use proper technique + how to read rythmic and melodic lines
#4
I just started off reading tabs.
I then started reading about theory and such with books and magazines.
Then started networking musically.
BAM!
#5
Read the FAQ. It's a very good starting point. Other than that, I practise scales, finger strength and independance exercises, as well as working on speed and right hand patterns before learning songs.

Also, when I started, I made sure I got my fretting correct (once shown correct technique). Remember, one finger per fret, which includes your little finger, ad your thumb as a pivot on the backof the neck.

Also, do you have a bass amp? A guitar amp will get damamged by bass fequencies.
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#6
Bought bass, took it home and tuned it from the piano then figured out some easy stuff from songs I knew. I looked up a few tabs but never really used them that much - mostly I just worked out songs I liked from listening to the records.
#7
The lessons on this site.
www.bassology.net
www.mutantbass.com
www.talkbass.com
www.youtube.com

The internet is a huge resource. In particular, youtube is wonderful - not sure how to slap? Want to see an example of two-hand tapping? Just search for them. But don't become a carbon copy - take those lessons and make them your own. Don't rely on tablature. Be sure to learn sight-reading and always practice your ear! Transcribing songs is one of the best ways to actively listen to your favorite music.

I would also highly recommend taking lessons at some point. You can teach yourself, sure, but man is it awesome to have a helping hand. I've been teaching myself for nearly five years, and I think I'm a decent player but I know that I can (and will!) be better. What I've learned about lessons is don't just go for a handful - plan on taking them for at least six months. They are expensive but, in a sense, priceless.

EDIT - Its also good to have players who inspire you. Don't let something a superficial as "genre" deter your from seeking out new players and styles - a broad knowledge will make you a much stronger musician. They offer heights to strive for. And they don't have to be the Wootens or Claypools or whatevers. As long as a player moves you, as long as you think there is something valuable to be gained from studying them, go for it.

Might I suggest James Jamerson?
Last edited by aguacateojos at Jun 15, 2008,
#8
At first i learned easy things from bands like My Chemical Romance and Rage Against The Machine. Basically you work your way up from there. I think it's important to learn some music theory too, like knowing your notes and scales. Practice as much as you can, it will help.


Just don't give up, because at one point you'll think your bad and your not.
#10
Yes, it can. Its important to use youtube videos as a stepping stone, not a crutch. Also to remember that for every helpful video there are about two hundred that are completely useless.
#11
I find youtube's bass techniques stuff funny - it's such an inward spiral away from actual band situations and towards wank and pointless bedroom playing that it's pretty worthless but funny.
#12
When I first started out I didnt try to learn anything. I spent about 6 months just doodling about, seeing what sounded cool, getting to know what sounds came from where. It'll really help your ear this way too, and eventually you wont have to look up tabs to most songs to learn them. I wouldnt suggest getting lessons until about a year/ year and a half.
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#13
Well, listen to your favorite records and play bass to them. Not necessarily the exact bassline in the song, because in many cases it might be really boring. Pay attention to everything in the song, and learn to accentuate all the other instruments. Learn some basic music theory, and look for people to play with. The best way to get better is to jam with anyone and everyone. In no time you will be seeing great improvements if you just stick with it.
#14
Quote by bassmanjoe08
When I first started out I didnt try to learn anything. I spent about 6 months just doodling about, seeing what sounded cool, getting to know what sounds came from where. It'll really help your ear this way too, and eventually you wont have to look up tabs to most songs to learn them. I wouldnt suggest getting lessons until about a year/ year and a half.


In the mean time you pick up droves of bad techniques that are harder to break than it is to train your ear later on. Personally, the first thing I would do is get a teacher.
#15
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
In the mean time you pick up droves of bad techniques that are harder to break than it is to train your ear later on. Personally, the first thing I would do is get a teacher.

You kind of pick up what works and doesnt work as you go, by observing other musicians and the techniques they use.
Besides, its not a race. I think, when your just starting out, making the sounds and being familiar with the instrument is more important than having the correct technique. But thats just me.

I dunno, it worked for me, but everyones different.

Plus, it's a thread about being self-taught, Balesy, not being teacher-taught.
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Last edited by bassmanjoe08 at Jun 15, 2008,
#16
I was lucky. My friend played guitar and got me into bass. From there I just kept learning things and some tequniches.

And I am completely self taught, and will be I hope.
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#17
I looked up bass lessons on certain websites (including this one), and I learned tabs.

Really easy tabs. And overtime, it just kind of came to me.
The.
#18
I tried to teach myself for a few months, and when I finally got lessons I found out I was doing most of the stuff wrong.
#19
my friend suggested i should try it and he taught me a few basslines on guitar

i then bought a cheap bass and it broke three times in about half a year so i returned it and got another one

i first played it with my thumb, and then a pick/plectrum and now i play with fingers

i got bass lessons but my teacher wasnt that great, and it was overpriced (£1 per minute) (£1 = $2) and only lasted for 15 mins

and i'm pretty much self taught, listening to songs and learning them from a tab and now from ear
#20
Do whatever works for you. Some will say that this is total crap and you should use proper everything no matter what, but really... you never see the "top bassists" using the SAME and PROPER technique. The main thing I have found in teaching myself is to constantly keep pressing, as with everything else, to get better and faster and cleaner with every note you strum.

It is (to me) just like sprinting in track, there is a point while running where you feel that you can not go any faster, (where you are at playing bass) but in order to be better, to be faster, to win, you must go beyond what you feel inside.
#21
Quote by TormentedRx
you never see the "top bassists" using the SAME and PROPER technique.


Really? Jaco, Les Claypool, Stu Hamm, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and Jeff Berlin all are considered "top bassists" and all have flawless technique. Weird...
There is a best way to play a bass guitar. It's that simple. It's not whatever works, because chances are almost guaranteed that there is a better way to do it.
Quote by BassManJoe

You kind of pick up what works and doesn't work as you go, by observing other musicians and the techniques they use.
Besides, its not a race. I think, when your just starting out, making the sounds and being familiar with the instrument is more important than having the correct technique. But thats just me.

I dunno, it worked for me, but everyone's different.

Plus, it's a thread about being self-taught, Balesy, not being teacher-taught.


The problem with observing musicians is that often they have poor technique. Yeah, the above bassists are all virtually perfect, but had you ever heard of those people before starting bass? Maybe one or two. A lot of the bassists who the average person not into bass or music would look at for technique have deplorable technique. I think ingraining good technique right from when you start and you're shaping how you're going to play is more important than "making sounds".

I realize it's a thread about being self taught. And I'm a guy who's trying to regale the importance of a teacher.
#23
Once upon a time, about 30 years ago I got a Fender Musicmaster bass and Musicmaster bass amp. I played in a "garage" band with some friends and just kind of found what key the guitars were in and went from there.
I just started playing again a little over a year ago and things make more sense now. I got a book called "Bass Guitar For Dummies" and got some stuff from it that helped and then I discovered "tabs", something that is really helpful. I download music and listen and find the tabs and play along. Something else I've done is recognize the chords the guitars are playing, get in that range and change as they change chords, just add some runs. Now I use a Geddy Jazz and a Fender Bassman 250/210 amp. Just read on, you'll find some helpful tips on here.
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#24
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Really? Jaco, Les Claypool, Stu Hamm, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and Jeff Berlin all are considered "top bassists" and all have flawless technique. Weird...
There is a best way to play a bass guitar. It's that simple. It's not whatever works, because chances are almost guaranteed that there is a better way to do it.


The problem with observing musicians is that often they have poor technique. Yeah, the above bassists are all virtually perfect, but had you ever heard of those people before starting bass? Maybe one or two. A lot of the bassists who the average person not into bass or music would look at for technique have deplorable technique. I think ingraining good technique right from when you start and you're shaping how you're going to play is more important than "making sounds".

I realize it's a thread about being self taught. And I'm a guy who's trying to regale the importance of a teacher.

Yeah, well.... your from Winnipeg.

But I guess this is just one of those things we have to disagree on.
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#25
For me, I saw a video on youtube of some guy doing a cover of Hysteria by MUSE, and had to learn how to do that. I looked up a tab for it, and I learned from there.

Really, I suggest learning an intermidiate difficulty tab first, they have techniques in them that you need to know as a bass player. When I saw the Hysteria tab, I thought "what is a hammer on and a pull off?" I wikied, and I learned. Lessons have been the greatest help to me, they allowed me to understand techniques that were vaguely explained elsewhere. I found that books were ultimately not helpful in learning, as if you did not understand what they were saying, you were screwed.

And of course, after teachers, the good ol' bass forum was one of the most helpful resources in learning.
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#26
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Really? Jaco, Les Claypool, Stu Hamm, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and Jeff Berlin all are considered "top bassists" and all have flawless technique. Weird...
There is a best way to play a bass guitar. It's that simple. It's not whatever works, because chances are almost guaranteed that there is a better way to do it.


Les Claypool is very bloody good, but to me, his technique seems far from flawless. And there is that "whatever works" thing. For me, at least. I couldn't giver two tosses how a famous bassist plays. I've never had a lesson in my life, and my playing style is personal to me. However, I've always been able to progress. I've always managed to get quicker, play cleaner, with my technique.

The problem I have with the set way of playing is that it becomes very sterile, everything starts sounding the same. With hoofing it out yourself, I think you have that extra bit of personality in your playing, which is much more important.
#27
I think it's a question of intent. I got a bass so I could meet up with the guys and play some Metallica or Sabbath tunes in the garage after college before heading to the pub, and I've got no plans to take it much more seriously than playing for my own pleasure or at parties or whatever, so there wouldn't be much reason for me to get a teacher. There are plenty of guys on here who plan to make a career out of music or are trying to get into the college jazz band or whatever - they're going to want teachers. I could get some lessons just for the sake of taking lessons (pushing myself, working on my own technique, sticking to a decent practice schedule) - you know - just for the generic skill of learning something and practising to improve myself. I'm not too bothered though, and I've got better things to spend the money on.

I'd guess the threadstarter is in the same camp as me - it's just a fun/social thing and so listening to music, watching videos and gigs studying the bassist and asking questions on here will do fine rather than taking lessons.
#28
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Les Claypool is very bloody good, but to me, his technique seems far from flawless. And there is that "whatever works" thing. For me, at least. I couldn't giver two tosses how a famous bassist plays. I've never had a lesson in my life, and my playing style is personal to me. However, I've always been able to progress. I've always managed to get quicker, play cleaner, with my technique.

The problem I have with the set way of playing is that it becomes very sterile, everything starts sounding the same. With hoofing it out yourself, I think you have that extra bit of personality in your playing, which is much more important.


The problem with whatever works is that sometimes it doesn't work best. A manual screwdriver works, but an electric drill works better, faster and with more versatility.

I think that to learn proper technique is just a vessel to become more creative. It's called proper because it's efficient and, ultimately, that allows you to play with less restraints on your sound.
#29
I really think "proper technique" is just a label people have put on something to make some people look better than others. I may not have "proper technique", but I've also never felt restricted. I adapt to it. I've never felt creatively challenged. I play bass for fun, first and foremost. I've never been interested in getting a teacher. I've never been interested in becoming the best technical bassist in the world. I doubt I ever will. However, I'm always wanting to improve, and I've had absolutely no troubles at all. Which is why I don't think a teacher is necessary, through my own personal experience.
#30
i agree there is no true proper technique. there is,although, improper technique. if it hurts don't do it. problem solved.

I am self-taught at bass but i had training in music before this. my mother started teaching me piano at about 4yrs old and while i didn't practice i did at least learn note names. then in 5th grade i started playing trombone for the school band.freshman/sophmore summer my brother started teaching me acoustic guitar and sophmore year mid-november i got my first bass. i had already had many years experience with music and playing the trombone really helps you listen for intonation as you would on a fretless bass.
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#31
Start off learning theory, Seriously you'll be glad later. Most begginers just want to get started playing. I understand the feeling. But really start off strong. Eventually you'll want to know theory and it's easier to learn now when you have a blank slate rather than learning later. Get a teacher. I wish I had one. I'm still in the market for one actually.
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#32
Part of my job at work is that I have to get people trained in new technology. Now some people I can throw them in front of computer based training, get them a few books and they're off and running. Others I need to get them in a classroom with a live human. All of these people are highly intelligent, its just that one group learns more efficiently and effectively with a mentor / teacher.

Some people have the ability to read, study and learn from watching pros. Some of us (aka "me"), don't learn well in that scenario or have the discipline to learn on their own. I stumbled about for a few years and picked up some really awful habits because of my inconsistent ability to "self teach". My two years with several teachers have paid off and I have learned much faster than I would have on my own. It also forces me into a discipline of practicing and a focus in how I approach bass. Its built the foundation that I can then go off an explore other things and build upon. My current teacher couldn't give a rat's ass about Primus or Fred Firth, but he's given me the theory and basic skills that I can jump off now and explore them on my own. And honestly, I can't imagine learning the theory and concepts to play Jazz bass effectively on my own.


And the other plus of a studio / teacher situation is that it will throw you in with other students and playing opportunities. Because of the studio I go to, I have the opportunity to play with students and teachers, both better and worse than I am, and I've learned from all of them.

I still think if you want to learn quickly and efficiently, a teacher is the best way. But its not the only way.
#34
I understand where you're coming from, jazz, but there's a difference between, to use your example, using a screwdriver and playing bass. The former is science: there are hundreds if not thousands of ways to perform one task, but there are really only a handful of tried-and-true methods. You could, theoretically, hang a shelf on the wall using a whole bunch of super-glue, but it would work best with a hamer and nail or a drill and a screw. It's what's necessary for the task to work, so it should be used.

The latter, however, is art: if everybody learned to paint the exact same way using the exact same colors, lines, shapes and textures, everything would be the same. It would all look nice, most likely, but there would be absolutely no expression at all. In fact, it would probably cease to be art. If every bassist everywhere had to learn all the techniques to play the cleanest and fastest or what have you, it would become a dull, rote experience.

I don't think teachers are bad. They can help give you a jump-start into becoming a musician. But, if you want bass playing to go from a hobby to a skill, you need to think outside the box and, if need be, throw out the "correct" way to play and play what works best for you. That's what makes music exciting, hearing different musicians who play hundreds of different, completely unique ways and yet they all still make incredible music.
#35
Is a technique really wrong if you can still play the same music, comfortable to you?
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#37
Quote by Yawsbass
The latter, however, is art: if everybody learned to paint the exact same way using the exact same colors, lines, shapes and textures, everything would be the same. It would all look nice, most likely, but there would be absolutely no expression at all. In fact, it would probably cease to be art. If every bassist everywhere had to learn all the techniques to play the cleanest and fastest or what have you, it would become a dull, rote experience.


How would it cease to be art if people knew the same colours, lines, shapes and textures? It's those basic things that allow you to become fully expressive. I don't know, I guess I look at it from a knowledge leads to the ability to create point of view.

I think Tams has got it perfect here; it just depends on how people learn. I just find a lot of people resent teachers because they thinkt hat will automatically make them some kind of machine.
#38
I've found that with a teacher that teaches you the "proper technique" you will, to begin with, sound a little sterile and samey but as you grow as a bass player, you learn to use this "proper technique" in a more personal way so although you are using the same technique as millions of other bassists around the world, you can mold it to your way of playing.

I've had a teacher for the whole 4 and a half years I've been playing and he's taught me all the basic techniques etc. and how things should be done for maximum efficiency. I've got other friends with the same teacher who've been playing almost as long as me and all our techniques are completely different in the way we use them but very similar in the way we approach them, we've each tailored these "perfect techniques" to the way that we play.

I do also agree with Tam though that it depends on how people learn best.
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#39
Quote by BodaciousZac
I tried to teach myself for a few months, and when I finally got lessons I found out I was doing most of the stuff wrong.


What he said.
#40
I started out mostly imitating left hand movements I'd seen other people make (in person mostly, I hang out with a lot of musicians) and I'd been playing guitar for a few years at that point so I already knew my way around the fretboard and how to execute most left hand techniques (although some adaptation was required I picked it up pretty quickly)
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