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Really new bass player, tips???


simmsdn

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Here we go, first post, just got my first bass today (Music Man 5-string)

 

I've played before, but always on borrowed basses. I'm really a percussionist. I've played in death metal bands and symphonies, so I'm pretty well rounded and versed.

 

What are some of the best tips you can give a guy who is starting to get serious about learning the bass. Keep in mind, I already know scales, music reading, and such. I'm more interested in playing the bass itself.

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Bass is not really a solo instrument. It more of a dicipline thing. It connects the drums to the rest of the band. Being solid is the most important thing about being a bass player. Number two is knowing when to play fills and when not to play. For the most part alot of listning and learning is required. Many of the people in this forun have learned fron listening to respected bass player and creating their individual style. This should be the first step. After that hook up with a drummer and a great band and start playing. Some of the guys here can give you great examples of guys to listen to. Most of all, the one thing to never forget, is to have fun and love what your doing.
I didn't come here to play. I came here to make babies.
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Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I want to be Terry Bozzio on a bass. But I meant to say, I'm intersted in the mechanics of playing the bass. My main objective is not really to sound like someone, but rather just to find a band, evnetually, and just have some fun playing in dirty bars, jamming on AC/DC or Metallica. I'll always be a percussionist first, but I've noticed a real void in quality bass players who are into the kind of gig I'm into. No money, just a little bit o' fun.
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I recommend studying good bassists. If you know theory & have a good ear, you should be able to do some of your own transcriptions from albums & then learn those. If you search, you'll find a lot of threads on great songs & albums for bass. I'd also suggest the book "What Duck Done." I just got it myself, and it takes you through a bunch of Duck Dunn bass lines which are not terribly technically difficult, but which illustrate outstanding taste & an intelligent approach to constructing bass lines. After that, check out "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" for a bass groove master class with James Jamerson, who was the greatest bass player of all time. Check out www.carolkaye.com for excellent learning materials for all levels, from a veteran & legend. (What can I say, I like learning from books.)

 

Really, what's most distinctive about bass (imo) is the part that it plays in the music, both rhythmically & harmonically, & the challenge in writing & playing good bass lines is mastering the demands of that part of the song.

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TO A BEGGINER BASS PLAYER:

 

1. Learn how to read

2. learn your scales

3. practice with a metrenome

4. get a teacher

5. stay humble

6. remember your not the forfront instrument

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY

7. Stay true to the music, no one, NO ONE likes a show off

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Welcome to the forum Simms!

 

What's been said so far sounds pretty darn good, so I can just reiterate that the BEST thing to do is start jamming right away with some fellow musicians. Play as simply as necessary in the beginning, because just a super simple bassline still sounds awesome! Then you'll stumble across a song which has a more complicated bassline and you'll want to learn it, and then you're off!

 

There are times when I can play root notes only and as long as I do it with feeling... I get tons of "wow, you are a great bass player!" Believe it, it's true. It just happened this past Sunday.

 

Relax and find your place in the music. Know the "role" you are providing as a bass player. Start listening to all kinds of music and listen to the bass parts, just to see what's going on.

 

I've only been playing a couple of years, so I don't have a lot of technical info to share, but I can say that you'll be amazed at how much you will learn, once you start playing songs with other musicians. I am sure it was probably the same for you on percussion.

 

Oh, and remember, you are the second half of the rhythm section when you are a bass player. I didn't know that when I started playing, and I wish I would have. I learned that here on the forum! I thought that I was one of the "guitar section." :o WRONG!!!! :D I am in the "rhythm section." :cool:

 

That's all. Hope you enjoy this place. I certainly do! There's so many GREAT people here.

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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Ok, basic mechanical stuff.

 

LEFT HAND: Take a pencil and hold it like you would hold the neck of your bass. Thumb on the back of the "neck" (err...pencil) and the fingers on the front. See the nice arch of your hand and fingers? That's the position to aim for. Imagine there is a groove run down the back of the neck on your bass, all the way down the middle. Aim to keep your thumb in that groove. Do not let your thumb peek over the top of the fret board. What this will do is force you do fret the notes with your finger tips, not the fleshy bits. It will also help you to prevent getting your fingers caught in the other strings. The position of the thumb will give your hand a fulcrum and which it can rotate, as well as serving as a point of reference.

 

RIGHT HAND: (I'm gonna assume fingerstyle here.) Give someone the finger :D (uuuu hu hu hu I said finger) then stick out your first finger to form a V. Now stick out your thumb. Turn the whole lot upside down and anchor your thumb on the B string. That is your standard playing position. Try to ensure that your right forearm isn't resting too hard on the body of the instrument as this can cause you to cut off the blood flow to the small muscles in your hand. (In extreme cases this can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Very nasty. :cry: ) Now walk your fingers on the A string. Get the sound nice and strong and consistent. One finger will be stronger than the other, meaning that the weak finger will tend to "snatch" at the string a little to try and produce the same force. Practice walking on one string, playing crotchets with a metronome clicking at about 60bpm. Once your sound is nice and consistent, look at the angle at which your fingers attack the strings. Now try walking across the strings, keeping that angle as consistent as possible. You will find that you have to move your elbow and wrist a bit to keep the angle of attack the same all the way across. (This is something that I only noticed when I started teaching and was trying to correct my student's right hand technique.)

 

I hope that is all going to be of some help to you. You may find that your fingers get really sore. Don't worry your baby soft skin will soon toughen up :D .

 

As Connie pointed out...you are NOT a guitar player. Without trying to be funny about it, there is an attitude that seperates bass players from people who own a bass and play it. (My keyboard player doesn't own a bass guitar, but he is a great bass player.) Being a bass player is about foundation, support, subtlety and thinking like an arranger.

 

Welcome to the deep end.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Originally posted by NickT:

Ok, basic mechanical stuff.

 

LEFT HAND:...

 

RIGHT HAND:...

NickT you are awesome! You have given me just the info I needed at just the right moment. I've been a "picker" thus far, but while I am 'vacationing' (a.k.a. looking for a new band)... I want to experiment with "finger style".

 

Thanks! :thu:

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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Originally posted by Connie Z:

I get tons of "wow, you are a great bass player!" Believe it, it's true.

That happens to me too, even though I suck. wierd... :freak:
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Originally posted by phil6006:

Originally posted by Connie Z:

I get tons of "wow, you are a great bass player!" Believe it, it's true.

That happens to me too, even though I suck. wierd... :freak:
My brother! I suck too!!!! :D

 

Thus more proof of my case. :)

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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I get tons of "wow, you are a great bass player!" Believe it, it's true.
Aren't they talking about the great bass that you own? I'm a green bass player.
A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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Originally posted by tom rivet:

I get tons of "wow, you are a great bass player!" Believe it, it's true.
Aren't they talking about the great bass that you own? I'm a green bass player.
LOL! :D

 

Well, actually, now that you mention it... they might have been! :P

 

Because even though my baby is only an Ibanez GSR200, she is a GREAT bass! :thu:

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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I guess I'm a little more advanced than I sounded. Some good tips here, luckily, I'm past much of what has been brought up. I've been playing drums for over 20 years, so I dig the rhythm section and know what that's about. Know my scales, know how to read, etc etc.

 

Thanks for the tips.

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Hi, everybody!

 

I had to comment on the number of "I suck" postings and "Me too" postings that are coming up in reply to this. I'm very new (about a year) at bass myself and find myself getting compliments that I know are COMPLETELY UNDESERVED! But what I think may be a lot of what's behind that phenomenon is what the legendary Lee Sklar was talking about in this quote:

 

"I'm amazed at how bad a bass can sound soloed but how rich and beautiful it sounds with the other instruments."

 

Amen and amen. Certainly my experience! A bass solo might be fun now and then, but it truly is an ensemble instrument.

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Hi Simmsdn, Hi Robarc, Welcome to the Lowdown!Many of the other folks have/will give you better advice than me. However, there are three things I often notice about new bassplayers.

 

1.) They seem to wear the instrument too high or too low. Doing this will limit your dexterity on the bass and long term, can cause serious physical problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome as well as chronic back or shoulder pain...not good.

 

2.)Play with too heavy an attack. A lighter attack will help you to play with greater fluidity/dexterity and will help you avoid fatigue.If you need more overall volume get it from the amplifer, that's what it's for.

 

3.) Limit the styles of music they listen to. Simmsdn, you mention a wide range of musical experience so this probably doesn't apply to you but bassists (as well as all musicians, IMO) should listen to a wide variety of musical styles and understand the proper application of their instrument in each.

 

Just my humble 2 cents, hope it helps!

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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