Lessons Learned from a relative newb

Steve Lawson and Gonzo can get you thinking out of the box right here.

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:15 pm

More stuff:

Ear train, ear train, ear train - I've been spending effort here and it's paying off!! I'll hear a groove on the radio and I'm like: that's root, 5 below root, flat 7th below root groove, etc... Really helping me to develop my style.

Memorize key sigs both major and minor. Pain in the butt but nice to recognize those suckers on sight. Example, sight reading a piece in A, I immediately knew my sharps were F#, C#, and G#. Didn't have to go back and read the accidentals in the key sig.

Learn the chord spelling alphabet: ACEGBDF, CEGBDFA, EGBDFAC, etc... Hint: think the notes of the staff - lines and spaces. These are all a third apart and with accidentals, you can spell any chord. For example, the second one CEGBDFA is all the chord tones for C including upper extensions for 9th, 11th, and 13th. Pretty cool, huh?

Pick up a copy of Edly's Music Theory for Practical People. Easy read and packed with stuff. I'm still digesting all that.

Here's some heresy: Learn to play keyboards - will help with music theory. I haven't started this yet, but will spend some time on it this summer when my daughter starts piano lessons. There's a lot of music theory concepts I can't plunk out on bass or guitar, e.g. chords in spread position or certain voice leading concepts.

That is all for now.
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Postby Monkeyboy » Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:36 pm

I'd also add: if you can sing it, you can play it! I already said that! [smilie=fun_84.gif]

All great advice, especially the piano/keyboard. VERY key to have a simple recording program where you can play out the chords on the keyboard and loop it to play basslines/grooves against the chord progression. Does WONDERS for the playing!

+1 on the ear training. I need to focus on that more myself.
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Postby jstout » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:46 pm

Man, I won't lie: This thread got me thinking more about my bassplaying than anything I've read on the Internet recently. Matter of fact, it briefly had me considering giving up bass.

I've posted occasionally on another forum, but I've been really impressed with the "level" of conversation here. It just seems so instructional and so friendly.

And then there's this thread. Tard, it's amazing that someone who has the day job and the kids is taking lessons and constantly working to improve at your hobby. It sounds like playing is truly a passion for you.

It isn't a passion for me anymore, and I'm not sure it ever was. There's SO much I don't know. I mean, SO much. I'm a decent player, but I've been playing for 21 years - I should be a lot better than I am now, but I let life get in the way.

I've got the day job (actually I work nights, including every weekend) and the step-kids and the demanding wife, and I just don't have time to get the bass out of the gig bag at all. I kept thinking "man, I don't even begin to have the drive to improve like Tard does, why am I even bothering to stay in the game?"

Then I figured "screw it." I haven't been able to play with a songwriter friend of mine in a very long time due to money issues (can't afford to go galavanting around all over the place with gas at $3,000 a gallon), but sooner or later those will improve and I can start playing with him again. And that's so much fun. So even if I'm in a mode in my life where I'm not constantly improving (or improving at all), I can still have fun playing music with people.

I'd like to have Tard's drive to be the best bass player possible, but I think admitting to myself that I don't have that kind of drive is a good thing - at least I don't feel as guilty about never playing anymore.

I'll play and practice a lot more someday. I'll get my fretless fixed up and try to play fretless someday. It'll all happen with time. Someday I may be half as studious and committed as some of the people on this board, but until then, I won't sweat it.

But again, congrats to everyone on here who finds the time to constantly improve in the face of job and family responsibilities. You have a passion, I have a hobby. Congrats on pursuing your passion.

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:00 pm

Hey jstout - thanks for your reply. Makes all the time I invest in this thread seem worth it.

And for me, I really have to struggle sometimes to fit practice time in my sked.

Honestly, there are times where I'm like "screw it , I'm tired" but even then, 15 minutes of working on something, ANYTHING will pay off down the road.

I read somewhere, the best way to learn music is to not spend more than 10-15 minutes on any one thing, take a break, then work on something else. I used to spend hours working on something and after 15 minutes just would go into brain lock and spend (waste) a lot of time in frustration.

Honestly, I have to really make time sometimes. My wiife LOVES to watch TV: Law & Order, House, Boston Legal, and I enjoy the time with her as well. But there are times I have to decide to bag the TV and go play. Sometimes means missing a show, but I really try to arrange my life so I can maximize time with the fam as well as practice time.

I know a dude used to keep a practice bass in his car and over lunch would go to the parking garage and spend 30 minutes a day playing. If I wasn't in Phoenix parking my car outside, I might give that a shot as well.

As for passion, well that's a really cool story that I'll save for some other time. For now suffice it to say that I spent 25 years as an extremely mediocre rhythm guitarist when I first started on bass. I volunteered to do it for a church band b/c nobody else was available to play bass and I figured "what the hell, it's EAGD, how hard can it be?". Fast forward 2-3 months and I found I was "accidentally" enjoying it way more than guitar and after 6 months I was a better bassist than a guitarist (after 25 years). And I realized I wasted 25 years on the wrong doggone instrument. (well not all 25 years were wasted, a lot of what I learned carried over, but still....)

So I'm a bit driven to make up for lost time. I'm 46 years old and nowhere near where I'd like to be playing-wise. If I'd have started 25 or 30 years ago on this instrument, with my aptitude for it, I'd be as badassed as some of the other brothas here. But that's the way it goes and until they bury me in a box and send me off to the Great Gig in the Sky - I'm gonna keep trying to honor God by improving on the talents he gave me.

Oh well, I guess I didn't need another thread after all...
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Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
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Re: Lessons Learned from a relative newb

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:30 pm

Two things a bassist should never turn down:

a breath mint or a metronome....
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
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Location: Phoenix



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