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(@bassboy)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
18/06/2009 7:24 am  

My friend plays bass and has for about 5 or 6 months. He hasnt really learnt anything except some parts of some very easy covers. We just recently got a drummer and another guitarist. He doesnt really learn anything on his own, usually i have to show him. Ive been playing guitar for about 8 months and have showed him stuff like the bass note for a g chord. What should i show him so he can start to become a good bassist? Scales?


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(@ph0nage)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 216
18/06/2009 12:58 pm  

I had a VERY similar experience to what you describe. I had played guitar for about 6-8 months when I convinced my friend to buy a bass. He learned some tabs and we started a band.

He could read tabs, strum with one finger, and knew what knew the open pitches of the 4 strings. He never seemed inspired enough to learn scales, strum with 2-3 fingers, learn to use the pick, or just better himself on the bass.

I tried to help him out and even had my guitar teacher offer him 2 free lessons (which he didn't seem interested in doing).

What I found is that my friend did not have the desire to practice and improve. He liked the idea of being in a band, but did not have the drive that it required. He eventually quit when we learned harder songs and learned songs at a quicker pace. We now have a bass player that loves music and is willing to put in the necessary work.

Hopefully you won't have that experience. It seems that many people pick up bass because it is the "easy" instrument, thinking it won't be much work. (NOTE: I am NOT saying bass is easy or weak or anything like that - I played tuba for most of my life and respect the bass, having picked it up myself)

But my main point is that your friend has to be dedicated and want to improve - you can't do it for him


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1440
18/06/2009 12:59 pm  

To keep things simple, you can show him a couple of patterns that apply all up and down the neck. It will give him the 1-3-5 and octave of the chord.

Let's take G as an example..
-----------
-------5--- (octave)
--2----5--- (3rd and 5th)
----3------ (root)

Another quick way of finding the 5th, is to play the root on a higher string and the 5th is always 1 string above on the same fret....
---------
----5---- (root)
----5---- (5th)
---------

Bass player for Undercover


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3998
18/06/2009 2:24 pm  

I already played guitar (and also keyboard some years ago) and knew about theory when I switched to bass but this book was very helpful:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/review/complete-idiots-guide-to-playing-bass-guitar/


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(@ph0nage)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 216
18/06/2009 2:35 pm  

I hope that I didn't seem too negative in my previous post. I concur with Nuno that Dave Hodges: Idiots guide to bass is a great learning tool - as I am going through it myself when I have the time. If your friend is able to practice by himself, this is a good way to do so and learn lots


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(@gabba-gabba-hey)
Reputable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 355
18/06/2009 3:03 pm  

What should i show him so he can start to become a good bassist?

The drummer's foot.

Even if he plays nothing but root notes on "the one" beat, he needs to learn to lock in with the drummer.


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(@bassboy)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
18/06/2009 5:46 pm  

Alright, well thank everyone. He does have the drive i think to learn bass stuff, he wants to learn bass stuff (i think). Ill just have him look at that book. So how important are scales in bass?


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(@huffheinz)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 10
18/06/2009 8:41 pm  

Do you know what his practice set up is? Does he play with a stereo and an amp? Does he use headphones? My standard practice rig is my bass and an mp3 player (or computer) plugged into a small mixer while listening through the headphones (for my wife and kids' sake). A good practice set up can help with the desire to practice.

I would show him the major scale and then I would get him some form of learning media. Some people just don't take to books so a DVD would be better...some geeks (like me) might prefer software.

Some peer pressure might help too, but don't ruin your friendship over it.

- Huffheinz


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1440
19/06/2009 11:13 am  

So how important are scales in bass?

Scales are very important in bass! You can play rhythm guitar all night and never think about a scale, but with bass you are playing single notes from the scale 99.9% of the time. BUT, what I was saying above is that you don't have to start out learning the minor pentatonic scale to start learning bass. Let that come when it's time. You can start out just learning the 1, 3, 5 and octave and play all day with just that. You may need to show him the major scale just to explain what the 1, 3, 5 and octave are.

You don't start to teach someone to speak Spanish by showing them all the different verb forms. You tell stuff like dog in Spanish is "perro." Know what I mean?

Bass player for Undercover


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(@mahal)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 108
21/06/2009 11:41 pm  

My friend plays bass and has for about 5 or 6 months. He hasnt really learnt anything except some parts of some very easy covers. We just recently got a drummer and another guitarist. He doesnt really learn anything on his own, usually i have to show him. Ive been playing guitar for about 8 months and have showed him stuff like the bass note for a g chord. What should i show him so he can start to become a good bassist? Scales?
It has to come from within. I assume he hasn't asked for help and is willing to just thump the root as the chord changes. On many a rock song you hear the bassist do little more. As a new motor skill just keeping time will be challenge enough. While a team is only as good as its weakest link, music is different another member can step up and provide the support for a weak member, that skill is what sets the greatest band arrangers apart, they arrange for specific musicians and not just a standard that they expect all professionals or students at X level to meet. As a band accept what he is willing to provide, one day he may decide its not fun and bail out or a more dedicated bass player may hear you and wish to make music with you.


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(@jbiafra)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 10
27/06/2009 11:23 am  

i have a similar friend. he put plenty of time into practicing, but didn't seem to be improving. i only played guitar at the time, but i tried to help him. i haven't seen my friend in a while, but i just recently picked up the bass myself. he's played bass for 2 years now, and i've played for a month tops. i have no reason to believe that he's the better bassist between the two of us now. he simply lacked an understanding of musical concepts. i wanted to make music, he was happy making sounds.

if you want to help your friend, suggest that he go online and hit the forums, do the lessons, and listen to the mandatory 24 hours of music daily. make sure he's paying attention to the basslines. i never took lessons, and don't endorse them, but maybe they could help your friend, especially if he's not getting info from books, online, or elsewhere. if he's teaching himself without any guide, he's got a fool for a student.


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4485
15/07/2009 7:26 pm  

Wow this story sounds like our bass player although he has improved over the past year and has taken lessons his drive to practice is pretty low, some how I get the feeling he thinks he's just going to improve magically.

But there's a bit of a difference with him and that is that he really thinks he's good when he's mediocre at best, but being his friend I don't feel it's right to tell them to his face so I try to use other forms of encourgement to get him to practice etc.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!" It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 10340
15/07/2009 8:44 pm  

Get him to listen to the songs you want to learn on Youtube, or on CD - ask him to play along. He'll soon find out there's more to bass than just hitting the root note of the chord every now and then - the bass is not only there to add a little bottom end, it's there to carry the rhythm as well - which is why JW's advice is good, watch the drummer's feet. Heard that before - I think it was Cat who mentioned it, or at least the first time I noticed it.

Seems like a lot of bass players - or would-be bass players - think that a couple of notes on each chord will see them through. There's a lot more to it than that....I'd recommend following the link Nuno suggested to David's "Complete Idiot's Guide to Bass Guitar"..... https://www.guitarnoise.com/review/complete-idiots-guide-to-playing-bass-guitar/ - it's well written, easy to follow and WILL improve your (or your bass player's!) playing in no time.

CNev - if your bass player really thinks he's good, and at best he's mediocre, I'd suggest taping one of your rehearsals - letting him hear how he sounds. The bass has got to add some balls to the mix - if it doesn't, you and the rest of the guys might as well start a Taxi service, you'll be used to carrying passengers. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but if he really can't be bothered improving, maybe it's time to find someone who can play, or at least someone who's got a bit of enthusiasm for his part. There's nothing worse than jamming along with someone who really can't be bothered learning anything new. Just my opinion, of course - and if he's a good mate, it might be hard to tell him to his face that he's not that great. In the long run, though, it might be a kindness - some people need a kind word, some need a kick up the backside, just as some donkeys respond to a carrot, and others respond to a big stick - you're never going to know unless you have it out with him!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4485
15/07/2009 9:10 pm  

Vic yes yes and yes I couldn't agree more. He does have illusions of grandeur though and that's just his nature. We've already tried all the things you've mentioned and I guess he's made some progress but it was extremely frustrating several months ago when I don't think he even picked up his bass between practices with the band so learning new material was near impossible.

So we kind of badgered him into going back and taking lessons which he did for a few months and this time he was working with his instructor to be able to create his own bass lines for songs. Before that he'd be all over the fretboard with no clue what he was actually playing. I think half the time he wasn't even in the right key. So there is some improvement there but not as much as I had hoped. I don't think he ever actually learned the REAL basslines to any of the songs we play. Thank god we don't really play any that have a bass solo, but you're right it ain't just about hitting a few bass notes.

I tried some reverse phsychology with him and tell him we both stunk and needed to pick our game up. That kind of got him motivated for awhile but he tends to wander and lose focus to much.

I also think he's more into trying to look cool on stage and telling people he's in a band then actually doing the work to be a good player. I don't use the word musician because I don't consider myself much of a musician but my goal is to still be able to play well and I think the two can be independant of each other especially since all we play are covers.

On the recording thing you hit the nail ont he head. We tried but I didn't get a good recording with the Tascam 4 track I have I have a post out there but I don't think there are many people that use that recorder.

It's funny because my wife was also a guitar player for years (she wanted it to be her career but doesn't play much now)anyway, every time we practice the bass player would ask my wife how we sounded and especially how HE sounded thinking that he was the knees bees, and the wife tried to be nice and just kept telling him to record it and listen and he'd keep asking How do we sound, and she'd tell him record it and listen. After she went upstairs I looked at him and told him why do you think she said that...because we don't sound that good..any he was shocked.

we have come along way as a group and we are much tighter, not saying we are great but much tighter now if we could only find a singer.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!" It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1440
16/07/2009 1:17 pm  

I've never been very good at offering criticism, which is why I struggle at work managing others. But being in a band, I've learned a little bit about how to nicely and diplomatically offer a critique. Cnev, when you said "WE need to improve..", that's one of my favorites. Do you guys send email back and forth? Maybe try using a "things we should improve on" email to everyone and try to offer some critiques of everyone, including yourself. Ask everyone else for their opinions and complaints. What you don't want to do is come across as "everyone else in the band is doing great, but you suck!"

If you have someone else in the band that is a little more vocal or not as good of a friend of his, have him voice your concerns to him. Or take turns w/ that person. The singer and I have the closest to the same vision for our music and we will bring up concerns between the two of us. At one point, I had made 2 or 3 "hey, can you change this a little" requests to our guitarist and I had another one, but asked our singer to say it because I didn't want to always be the bad guy.

Vic, I think that was Gabba that offered that advice, but I do think it is very important. We have fired our original drummer (it's a long story) and for the past few weeks have been practicing w/ a friend of our singers. Unfortunately, he is in another band and can't commit to us, he is just subbing for our show tomorrow night. I never could quite get in the groove with our original drummer because I never knew what he was going to play and we just didn't communicate well. Our sub is soooo much better, it's ridiculous. He plays a much smaller kit, so I can actually see his foot and he plays consistently. He throws in really tasty fills, but keeps the beat while doing it. And we've only had 3 practices, but already he watches me for the song endings and he can just nod at me during some songs and I know he's going to do a particular fill for that song that I can follow. Our sound has completely changed.

Bass player for Undercover


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