Bass Players: Learning Advice

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by bluessyndicate, Aug 22, 2005.


  1. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

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    Hey you Bass players. A friend of mine has suddenly gone out and bought a 5 string bass out of the blue...he played piano as a child but has no guitar experience...he's just a music lover who wants to get involved.

    My question involves your recommendations for a near term learning plan for him. He has asked for some help from me to get him started. I have my own ideas that I use for beginning guitarists, but I have not experience teaching bass, or much playing bass...so what would you recommend?

    The obvious is;
    Tuning
    names of strings/frets/notes
    correlation between piano keys and fret 1/2 steps
    chromatic finger exercises
    sheet reading

    but then what else? since there is less emphasis on chords...I am contemplating getting him some rapid results to hook him into it by showing him a box blues pattern so he can jam along with some blues tunes a little...trying to balance theory with practical application.

    But what else is the call here from a bass perspective?

    Thanks all!

    P.S. this starts tomorrow evening (Tuesday).
     
  2. Ah Xoc Kin

    Ah Xoc Kin Member

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    Essential Bass Technique covers in detail the left and right hand mechanics involved in playing bass. For someone just starting out, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Even advanced players can benefit from this book.

    In addition to other theory topics people may recommend, I strongly suggest playing at least with a metronome, and preferably with a drum machine, drum tracks, jam tracks, or a good live drummer.
     
  3. Antero

    Antero Member

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    The obvious-obvious answer is rhythm. Nothing is more important for a bassist than being able to lock in to the rhythm.
     
  4. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "less emphasis on chords" but if I interpret correctly, it's quite the opposite.

    Leaving certain players aside, a bass is total emphasis on chords. At the very least they typically outline the root and the fifth of a chord.

    A good place to start is with some bluegrass music. The basslines aren't all that hard and they provide excellent fundamentals for other genres.
     
  5. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

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    What I was saying is it would seem you spend less time training muscle memory to move from hand contortion to hand contortion in learning chords....and what I was looking for is that perhaps while not having to manipulate chords, that this leaves more time to understand music theory including the construction of chords from a bass players perspective.
     
  6. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Gotcha. Seems like you've got some good stuff for your bud, that should keep him busy for awhile.

    BTW - It drives me nuts when I tell a bassist "A minor chord" and he starts throwing in a C#.
     
  7. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the ideas all! Great suggestions...

    Chord Construction Theory
    Rhythm Exercises
    "Essential Bass Technique" program
    Metronome/Drum Machine
    Bluesgrass fundamentals as a launching pad

    Certainly more than I can use in just one night...we plan on getting together before some of our adult league ice hockey game...so I welcome further inputs as they come in.

    Thanks so much!



    :eek:
     
  8. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

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    Things went well last night and he made some great progress in understanding.

    It was funny for me because I have no experience with 5 string basses and 7 string guitars. I was having a hard time with that big old B string being in the way....but then today I got to thinking that maybe it's not as inconvenient as I had thought... maybe, for example, when playing bass lines in the key of G, rather than thinking of the first position as the 3rd fret of the E string, perhaps I should be thinking of the first position as the 8th fret of the 5th string...and perhaps by doing this I benefit from having narrower fret spacings which might make it easier to play?

    Is this one of the commonly thought benefits of a 5 string bass, or is it just about being able to hit lower pitched notes?

    We were looking at his bass technique book and damn that hammer stroke could take some time to nail down. How prevalent is that hammer stroke? What other strokes are there? Any advice for perfecting the hammer stroke?

    Question: He has a 5 string Koa Carvin Bass. It seems to have some actives in it as it takes a 9 volt battery. There was a volume knob and 3 other knobs with detents in them. What would those three be? Tone for each of the 2 pickups and a preamp that adds or takes away gain? Or some other EQ type arrangement? There was seemingly no switch or pull pot for activating whatever is supposed to be active.

    Thanks all!
     
  9. Antero

    Antero Member

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    That's definitely one of the main benefits - you can reach lower without having to dart up and down the fretboard.

    You mean hammering-on notes? Yeah, you want to be able to do that.

    Question: He has a 5 string Koa Carvin Bass. It seems to have some actives in it as it takes a 9 volt battery. There was a volume knob and 3 other knobs with detents in them. What would those three be? Tone for each of the 2 pickups and a preamp that adds or takes away gain? Or some other EQ type arrangement? There was seemingly no switch or pull pot for activating whatever is supposed to be active.[/B][/QUOTE] What year is it from? I'd suggest going to www.carvinmuseum.com and asking what the setup is, especially if you could include a pic of the bass.
     
  10. CAFeathers

    CAFeathers Member

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    Bass Logic brought to you by the same people that did Fretboard Logic.
     

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