Lessons Learned from a relative newb

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

Lessons Learned from a relative newb

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:23 am

Only been playing bass 4 years (gtr ~30 yrs) and I have a few bass lessons learned to share.

If it's cool w/the mods, I'd like to have this as sort of a running stream of consciousness and post some stuff that may benefit newer players. For most of the guys here, this will most likely be an archive of the "duh journal".

Remember, part of my handle is Tard as in Re-tarded, as in slow to learn...

1) Don't rush into incorporating scales into your playing, most of your lines will sound like scale practice
2) You can do an awful lot with root-5, provided you are willing to experiment with different rhythms
3) Learn your triads in all shapes, all positions, and all inversions -- you can do a hell of a lot of playing just w/triads and the random passing tone here or there -- and your playing will end up very melodic
4) It's all about taste and feel, not how many chops you can cram into a song (my most recent personal epiphany) [smilie=fun_84.gif] [smilie=fun_84.gif]
5) NOTHING is more important than the pocket - I got my fave gig, from a guitar player I highly respect, and he said it was because of my ear and because I really sit well in the pocket and because even when I make a mistake, it's in the key we're playing so most folks won't notice (see #3 above) -- NOT because of my chops
6) Metronome practice is the most boring thing in the world - T.S. suck it up and practice anyway and spend less time dodging drumsticks thrown at your head
7) Variety in a bass line is good, but don't change turnarounds and walk ups/downs randomly, some repetition is good b/c a specific figure played in a specific location cues the other band members that a chorus or bridge is next (my second most recent personal epiphany)

Mods - feel free to move this to the gigs section if it's more appropriate there.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

More stuff....

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Thu May 04, 2006 12:02 pm

Often when learning 16th note slap grooves, I will tap eighths with my foot so that I can get the e's and the a's placed correctly. However, transitioning from tapping eighths to tapping quarters sometimes messes me up.

So my new stupid bass player trick is to sing or hum the groove and use my right hand to tap the quarters. For whatever reason, it is less of an overload to my fevered brain to do it this way.

The downside is I'm sitting in my office at work and sounding like Beavis playing air guitar:

da- dadada daaaaaaaaaaaaaayh dunh dunh dunh

Yeah, hmm heh heh, Flea rules, He Rules!! He Rules!!
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby Monkeyboy » Thu May 04, 2006 12:34 pm

Something I learned in drumline in highschool-if you can sing it, you can play it. Oh the LOOKS I get from my students when I ask them to put down the bass, and sing me the rythum!!!

You've got some great discoveries written above. Please continue with them. They reinforce things I'm teaching and it's great as a reminder for myself of how high the mountain seems to be to climb up when starting out!
"Moobs Mute Strings"
Monkeyboy
 
Location: West Sacto

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Fri May 05, 2006 7:55 am

Thanks for the encouragement. I honestly have no idea whether I am beginner, intermed., or advanced to be honest.

I just know I can't play near as well as my teacher and that's the goal. Pretty lofty goal too, since he's a monster player.

I hope more folks see this thread. It's probably the "duh journal" for the more experienced guys and for the new players, they will probably end up learning this stuff the way I did: by reading about it and having the light come on months later.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby randall » Fri May 12, 2006 1:56 pm

You make some very useful points.
randall
 

And another thing....

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Mon May 15, 2006 8:37 am

I have a loose-leaf notebook where I save all my bass lessons.

I occasionally will go all the way back to lesson one and spend a week working through all the material.

Sometimes I find I will need a refresher on something and I spend some extra time on it. Also, sometimes it reinforces and complements stuff I learned much later. Finally, there are times that it helps "make the light bulb go on" when I am trying to understand a new concept.

Looking back at my college days, I've forgotten so much stuff because I didn't use it. I don't want that to happen with my bass playing.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Mon May 15, 2006 8:42 am

While I am ranting, I may as well cover this one as well:

Spend your money on lessons NOT on gear. If you are learning, $500 will get you a decent used bass that is plenty good for most gigs. A $4500 Fodera will not improve your playing nearly as much as $4500 worth of lessons.

And if you are playing a high-dollar axe and not playing it well, everybody will know you are a stupid poseur wank stain douche bag.

it's kind of like skiing under the lifts wearing a day-glo parka -- you better be damn good or you will be ridiculed. But I digress..

Being self-taught at first and now taking lessons, I have improved much faster than had I continued with the self-teaching stuff. Books and videos are nice and they are a cheaper route, but nothing, and I mean nothing beats personalized one-on-one instruction.

And find a bass player for an instructor. Not a guitar teacher who also teaches bass.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

One-Year Update

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:02 am

Have now been taking lessons for a year. With the odd couple of Wednesdays off, etc.. it probably adds up to closer to 10 months.

Anyway, here's what I've learned in this time:

Slap, including double pops and 16th note triplets
How to read notation
Chord triads and how to use them
Odd meters
How to transpose bass lines I have written
All 7 modes of the major scale

That's just sort of a snapshot of stuff.

What was really cool at yesterday's lesson was that I had a homework assignment to write a bass groove for a 12 bar blues in Amin. That was a fairly simple assignment, so I took it a bit farther and wrote the entire groove in 5/4 time. Used minor pentatonic for the grooves on the i and the iv, then opted for Dorian mode on the turnaround from v to iv, Dorian again for the i (bar 11) and finally a bunch of chromaticism on the v with all eighth notes except for beat 5 which was a quarter note D that just left you hanging and begging to be resolved to the A.

But the coolest thing was jamming out on that bad boy with my instructor. He really liked the groove and we jammed for like 5 minutes with him soloing over top of the groove. After the first 24 bars, I started changing the groove on the fly, mostly note choices, but also a skip here a slur there etc... There is NO FUGGIN WAY I could have done this type of playing a year ago, especially keeping good time with no drum or click track and a bunch of busy bass noodling on top of it distracting me. I CANNOT STATE IT STRONGLY ENOUGH -- SPEND MONEY ON LESSONS

Act II

Same thing, jamming on the fly, only this time with a funk slap groove I kind of made up on the spot. And into the solo, I started changing the groove a bit as well with some dead notes, triplets, etc... Few screw ups in there and a couple of really bad note choices, but this was the first time I had even attempted this and I thought it came out pretty well. And I managed to keep solid time while doing it. Again, there is NO FUGGIN WAY I could have done this type of playing a year ago. I CANNOT STATE IT STRONGLY ENOUGH -- SPEND MONEY ON LESSONS

Finally, I hope this doesn't read all high and mighty. This forum is packed with players that blow my doors off with only 2 fingers so I'm not trying to sound all uppity and I apologize if I do. However, based on the results of my year of instruction, I am very passionate about this topic. I am by no means a badass, however, I have no doubt that I am well on my way to eventually becoming one. I have some level of natural ability, talent, call it whatever you want, I am hungry for learning (including theory stuff), and I am willing to put in the 'shed time, even if it's only 5-6 hours a week.

I am really looking forward to School of Bass here in the P-H-X as well b/c there will be a ton of very concentrated instruction from some top flight clinicians.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:46 pm

Couple of new things -

1) Learn the major scale not just root through 8, but all notes in whatever position. Will make it easier to learn all the modes that way.

2) When practicing, crank the crap out of the amp and play softly. This has revealed, much to my chagrin, some muting issues and some string squeaks, etc.. that need fixin. Also, I'm trying to play with a softer touch and let the amp do the work. When I'm more relaxed, I groove better.

3) This may be painful. Record yourself. Not just with chords and a bass line, but also a metronome or drum machine groove. I am realizing that my timing still needs work.

4) Monkeyboy mentioned sight singing rhythms - do this w/ a metronome, it is a PITA which means it'll probably be really useful.

Sigh - I am again at that point where my bass lines are starting to sound like scale practice so I'm going to ask my teach for some ideas on this. Will eventually post the ones I find useful.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:04 pm

One more cool discovery - alternating note duration as well as dynamics can really make your bass line "speak". It's a subtle thing, but I recall something from Friedland's Bass Blues book about alternating staccato and legato notes when playing straight 8s (EDIT - that would be a Jimmy Reed feel) and I did it the other Sunday in church and the bass line just rocked. Our music director wouldn't know a groove if it bit him on the butt and he likes straight 8s or quarters for 90% of his music and insists on root whacking (Whack this, Pal!! [smilie=tosser.gif] ). Anyway, I did that little trick and the line really grooved.

My other mutinous act was to root whack, but to do it syncopated like crazy playing on the e of the 1 and the a of the 4 and all over the place and to have ties between measures (see TOP bass line above). He didn't notice, but the music sure grooved better. Drummer dug it a lot as well.
Last edited by Cheap Bass Tard on Mon Dec 04, 2006 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby Monkeyboy » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:30 am

I was just talking with a coworker about things I miss from Monkey/playing with better skilled musicians:

The subtlties. If I can break down all great songs, groups, albums and all it always comes down to the subtle interplay between the musicians!
"Moobs Mute Strings"
Monkeyboy
 
Location: West Sacto

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:51 am

Another update:

Discontinued my lessons a couple months back (while leaving the door wide open for future lessons w/the same guy). I realized that while I had learned a bunch of stuff I had not MASTERED it. I was learning it just well enough (limited practice time being a dad with family, kids and day job) to get something new at the next lesson, but certainly did not MASTER what I had learned. For example, I can play my scales ascending anywhere on the neck in any shape and any mode now, but playing them descending is a whole different deal. Another example, I can spell out my scales from 1 to 8 pretty easy, but going 8 to 1 is really hard since the ABCs are now the CBAs. Need to really spend some time memorizing my scales and chords.

    So the upshot of all this, is I am
    *spending some quality time learning my keys up down and backwards, learning the ENTIRE fretboard, not just the first 7 frets - including notes on the D and G strings, not just the E and A (knew this from my guitard days),
    *spending some time practicing my reading skills - they're fair to middling, but nowhere near where they need to be for sight reading so I'm gonna hit it - ties that go across a bar line are especially tricky for me,
    *spending some time getting it together with scales and modes,
    *spending time working on getting my slap speed up there and cleaning up my technique in general


I also have 5 or 6 books to get through, mostly focused on creating grooves in various different styles or focused on various artists (Jamerson, James Brown Rhythm Sections, or old school R&B musicians). Once I am confident that I have mastered this stuff - not only playing it but understanding how and why it works and how to apply it to new songs/situations - I will be ready for more learnin from my teach.

Stay tuned to the Tard blog for approximately quarterly updates.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Postby GonzoBass » Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:55 pm

Ahhh...
A man with GOALS!

I love it!!!
_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Image

Aloha-
Papa Gonzo
User avatar
GonzoBass
Global Bouncer
 
Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Links: .
Tools:
Steinberger XP2 Workhorse (DB Bridge)
Steinberger XP2 (B-E-A-D)
Steinberger XP2A (Back Up)
Wilkat GonzoBass #001
Fender Deluxe 24 Fret Jazz
EBMM Stingray Natural/Maple
Xavier Custom 6 String
Ibanez AEB10K Acoustic
Dean Rhapsody 8 String
Carvin BK2A Fretless
Gibson EB3 (Project)
Epiphone Newport EBS
Synsonic Half Scale
Fender Mandolin
A couple Flea Ukuleles
and a few guitars...

Rigs:
Small-
GK MB112 combo
Medium-
GK MB500
GK 2x10 Neo
Large-
GK 1001 Mark II 2x10 combo
GK 1x15 RBS

Effects:
Line 6 Bass POD XT Live
BBE 462 Sonic Maximizer

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Mon Dec 04, 2006 1:48 pm

Well Gonzo - I just realized that I could get a lot more out of my lessons if I'd really work hard to get a solid handle on what I already know and that until that happened I was really wasting $$$$.

And the cool thing is when I get back into it, I'll be probably a bit burned out on books and scale practice and I'll be ready to be filled up with all kinds of cool new knowledge and my current limitations won't be holding me back so much.

Also realizing that I need to keep current on practicing my scales and arpeggios or I'll forget 'em.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Tard Update

Postby Cheap Bass Tard » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:38 am

Just for giggles I took a placement quiz for a music theory course at the local community college and scored 28 of 30 correct so I must be getting there theory-wise.

Can ID my major key sigs by sight now and am getting there on the minor ones.

Have been practicing sight reading rhythms in 4/4 and making progress.

Am working on reading skills in treble clef as well as recognizing chords written in standard notation instead of chord symbols.

Trying to learn a few things about voice leading as I go.

Expect some time in the next few years to learn some rudimentary keyboard skills.

Sadly, my bass clef note reading skills have slipped a bit.

Off to musictheory.com again - great site for drilling all that stuff.

Also, probably need to do some more ear training.
USACG J-bass, P-neck, Nordies w/3-band Aggie pre
Atkinson Custom J-bass, P-neck, Nordy Big Singles and 3-band pre.
GB Shuttle 9.0, Uberbass 410
User avatar
Cheap Bass Tard
 
Location: Phoenix

Next

Return to CHARTS & THEORY



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron