Best way to learn bass?

JukeBoxHeroJukeBoxHero Headliner
edited September 2007 in Less Rokk More Talk
What is the best way to learn bass? I just got a Jazz bass but can't really figure out how I should learn to play it.

Comments

  • AkaymayAkaymay Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    I would say get some Bass tabs off the internet, learn some songs you like, and get the hang of it.
  • LZ_RebornLZ_Reborn Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    Do plenty of finger exercises to begin to strengthen your fingers, left hand mostly(if you are a right handed player) also develops your finger speed and good hand position. There are a lot different exercises, look around and try as many as you can.

    And the other tip is simple....Practice, Practice, Practice. There's no way around it, go for at least 3 hours a day, I mean it!

    Good luck with your new bass.
  • xfMikexfMike Opening Act
    edited September 2007
    Get a metronome. Play to a metronome. Start at a really slow tempo, do several scales (well, lots of them) then go up another 5 or 10 BPM and do it all over again, and again, and again...

    Also, go get some actual lessons from a local guitar shop, just to get the basics anyway. I pretty much learned all by myself (I play guitar, not bass... but I can hop on bass with no problem), but I wish I would've atleast went to an instructor for the basics, and still want to go to one just to whip me in shape. :P

    Also... don't *just* look at TABs. I regret doing this a lot, and have a hell of a time trying to learn anything by ear... so I would suggest to learn everything you can by ear. Of course, learning how to read actual music notation would help a lot, but don't pidgeon hole yourself and just learn different things just by learning songs you like from tablature.

    As LZ said, PRACTICE! It may take a while to really get into it, but it is worth it. Learning to play any instrument is a really good learning experience, and is also a life long challenge in trying to perfect it (as nobody is perfect on any instrument... you can always learn new techniques no matter how long you've been playing).

    Also, here is a site that can be very helpful if you just want o learn on your own:

    http://www.cyberfretbass.com/
  • Rev0lverRev0lver Road Warrior
    edited September 2007
    a great exercise to get good at bass is to learn how to stretch your fingers well. unlike guitar, bass frets are further away from eachother and songs can be a bitch to play if you can't stretch your fingers well enough. if you don't have the money for lessons, just go ahead and buy some beginner books, or use the site posted above.
  • IbanezBassist_v2IbanezBassist_v2 Road Warrior
    edited September 2007
    Learn on your own. The best method is self taught. Lessons will help, but cost bu-cou dollars. Best method is to learn your timing, get some tabs, a metronome, and a tuner.

    Finger excercises are the best and don't forget to learn your scales!

    (EDIT) A great program for guitar or bass. Guitar Pro
  • Bakkster_ManBakkster_Man Opening Act
    edited September 2007
    xfMike;52034 said:
    Get a metronome. Play to a metronome. Start at a really slow tempo, do several scales (well, lots of them) then go up another 5 or 10 BPM and do it all over again, and again, and again...

    Also... don't *just* look at TABs. I regret doing this a lot, and have a hell of a time trying to learn anything by ear... so I would suggest to learn everything you can by ear. Of course, learning how to read actual music notation would help a lot, but don't pidgeon hole yourself and just learn different things just by learning songs you like from tablature.
    Yes to the metronome. Bass REQUIRES you to have almost perfect rhythm, so start playing like that. The slower the better to start. Also practice with a pick and finger-picked (two and 1 fingered) playing steady notes. Focus on consistent rhythm and volume.

    As far as developing good technique, buy a 'learn to play bass' book for $20 or so. It will have good exercises, scales, theory, etc. Also, it will likely have a CD to play along to, which is also essential. Any way that you can play along with a drum line is even better than a metronome. You will need to be able to lock in with a drummer, so start now. Treat it just like a metronome at first: play quarter notes over a rock rhythm. Then play scales at a constant rhythm, then scales at another rhythm (still on the beat).

    Use tabs as a kind of reward for good practice. Start with simple driving lines, but don't push yourself to play too fast. Use the workouts above to increase your speed, then use tabs to exercise that same speed, but across multiple notes. Don't get stuck in the rut of using tabs as your learning method.
  • SaltinesSaltines Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    IbanezBassist_v2;52756 said:
    Learn on your own. The best method is self taught. Lessons will help, but cost bu-cou dollars. Best method is to learn your timing, get some tabs, a metronome, and a tuner.

    Finger excercises are the best and don't forget to learn your scales!

    (EDIT) A great program for guitar or bass. Guitar Pro
    I love me some guitar pro..

    If you cant get guitar pro(costs money) then go for power tab, a dumbed down version but still pretty helpful.
  • JukeBoxHeroJukeBoxHero Headliner
    edited September 2007
    Thank you all for posting. I think I'll start off better with this advice.
  • tf5_bassisttf5_bassist Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    Guitar Pro and Power Tab are both awesome...

    As far as advice on actually getting down and dirty with bass, here's what you need to focus on:

    Hand and finger strength - as mentioned before, bass is harder to play because of the stretch required between frets. Bass strings also are much heavier, and require a different amount of force to fret. Start with the basics, do a lot of scales, or even just random fingering exercises - what I'll do when i'm bored is, say, fret in patterns. basically, think of how you fret on Guitar Hero, like going from GRYB with each of your fingers in succession, and do that from top string to bottom string, and back, forwards and backwards. It's a good easy way to work on hand strength and building calluses, and also allows you to work on your right-hand technique and timing as well. I'll go back and forth between doing stuff like that, just random, non-melodic fingering patterns to doing scales and other more melodic exercises.

    Right-hand technique - how you play with your right hand says a lot about two things: the tone you desire, the grind, grit, and spank you want to come through in your sound; and how much effort you put into playing (in my opinion). Basically... Pick-wielding bassists (popular in punk, pop-punk, some emo/screamo, and some metal) have a lot of chunk, attack, and aggression in their tone, and it's a really awesome sound (First instance I can think of off the top of my head that exemplifies this is MC Lars' song "Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock", featuring the punk band The Matches, the bassist uses a pick. You can get very fast, very easily with a pick, but I feel it's pretty limiting to bass, and it's tone never changes. Compare that vid to a vid of MC Lars performing live with a "guest band" or something where the bassist plays fingerstyle (and they have a violinist playing the guitar part?? haha)... And that's not even getting into slap/pop and tapping. don't worry about that now, though, the freedom to easily start slapping and tapping is why I don't play with a pick, as well as desired tone.

    The ear - Start listening deeply to music... Hear the drums, especially the kick, and listen to how the bass interacts with the drummer. Listen to how sometimes the bass follows the kick, sometimes it takes up an opposite feel. Listen to how the bass will sometimes follow the guitar, chord and melody-wise, and how sometimes it does something completely different. Learn to know when to do what. You don't always want to follow the guitar, it gets boring, there's no flavor there. But you don't want to always be out in left field, creating odd harmonies and chords with what the guitar and vocals are doing all the time, because then you're either just not caring, or you're a wanker. There's always got to be a balance, it will help your songwriting improve.

    Strum/strike/fingering positions - learn what sounds are made when you finger/pick/whatever near the bridge, near the pickups, near the neck, ON the neck... Even with picking, strumming closer to the neck gives a more full sound, with a softer attack (how bright or punchy the note is), whereas picking near the bridge cuts out a lot of low end and makes it attacky and bright and angry as hell.

    Just a few things I can think of now, it's 4am, i should probably sleep. Good luck! :D

    feel free to PM me if you have questions, that goes for everyone.
  • xfMikexfMike Opening Act
    edited September 2007
    Hmm, to continue from tf5 posts, a couple more examples of bassists that play with a pick as opposed to fingering it. ;)

    Motorhead/Lemmy Kilmister plays with a pick (and distortion) so it sounds like a real low and angry guitar to your average listener. Ace of Spades is a good example of this.

    Metallica/Cliff Burton (Kill 'em All to Master of Puppets) played only with his fingers (and with distortion every now and then). Cliff played very fast and often times was mistaken as a guitarist as he used distortion as well as a wah pedal (Anesthesia, and a part in Orion, and the intro to For Whom The Bell Tolls)).

    The interlude of Orion is a nice example of a softer finger picking style, as fingering usually takes the bite out of each note as opposed to hitting it with a pick.

    Metallica/Jason Newsted (...And Justice For All -> S&M concert) played with a pick, and you can hear a difference in the older songs when they are played live with a pick as opposed to Cliff's playing.

    For thump/slap Red Hot Chili Peppers would be the most well known example of slapping. I'm not a bassist, so I can't explain how you would slap/thump and such, but I understand how to go about doing it and what it sounds like.

    Steve Wonder's Superstition is a good example of a slap technique as well as some funk. Rage Against The Machine also fits the bill has using slap (Guitar Hero 2 "Killing In The Name").

    Primus is probably one of the best examples I know to use slap bass. (Guitar Hero 2 "John The Fisherman").


    Also, if you want to develop a "double thumbing" technique/some crazy slap stuff, I suggest looking into some Victor Wooten stuff (check him out on YouTube).

    Good luck on your bass. :)
  • Rev0lverRev0lver Road Warrior
    edited September 2007
    You know who else plays with a pick? Pete Wentz. You can be just like him someday.
  • gh2masterwellalmostgh2masterwellalmost Road Warrior
    edited September 2007
    I am not a bassist (heck I'm note even a guitarist yet) so take my opinion with a pinch of salt (or for the forum veterans, a ton of salt).

    I know the differences not from playing, not the exact science of it, just because of the music I love. One of the few songs I would ever consider playing on bass (I'm a bit picky - i just want lead myself) would be YYZ. Finger bass.

    The other songs my mate (learning bass) is learning is Radiohead. (National Anthem is the PERFECT example of a fantastic, catchy, but very simple bass riff). Finger bass too.

    I suppose you'll just have to play some tabs, and see which you prefer. But learn both - it means you can alter whenever you want.
  • tf5_bassisttf5_bassist Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    xfMike;55850 said:
    Hmm, to continue from tf5 posts, a couple more examples of bassists that play with a pick as opposed to fingering it. ;)

    Motorhead/Lemmy Kilmister plays with a pick (and distortion) so it sounds like a real low and angry guitar to your average listener. Ace of Spades is a good example of this.

    Metallica/Cliff Burton (Kill 'em All to Master of Puppets) played only with his fingers (and with distortion every now and then). Cliff played very fast and often times was mistaken as a guitarist as he used distortion as well as a wah pedal (Anesthesia, and a part in Orion, and the intro to For Whom The Bell Tolls)).

    The interlude of Orion is a nice example of a softer finger picking style, as fingering usually takes the bite out of each note as opposed to hitting it with a pick.

    Metallica/Jason Newsted (...And Justice For All -> S&M concert) played with a pick, and you can hear a difference in the older songs when they are played live with a pick as opposed to Cliff's playing.

    For thump/slap Red Hot Chili Peppers would be the most well known example of slapping. I'm not a bassist, so I can't explain how you would slap/thump and such, but I understand how to go about doing it and what it sounds like.

    Steve Wonder's Superstition is a good example of a slap technique as well as some funk. Rage Against The Machine also fits the bill has using slap (Guitar Hero 2 "Killing In The Name").

    Primus is probably one of the best examples I know to use slap bass. (Guitar Hero 2 "John The Fisherman").


    Also, if you want to develop a "double thumbing" technique/some crazy slap stuff, I suggest looking into some Victor Wooten stuff (check him out on YouTube).

    Good luck on your bass. :)
    very very good list. and the correct term for what Mike called "thump/slap" is "slap/pop", called such because you "slap" the strings with your thumb, and then you "pop" with your fingers, pulling up on the strings and snapping them, creating that "pop" sound.

    Vic Wooten's double-thumping is something that I NEED to learn, but never get around to it... He's super fast with it though.

    and gh2master is right, Geddy Lee plays primarily finger-style on almost everything he does, if I remember correct, so YYZ is a good example of that technique.

    and while we're on the topic of GH2 bass tracks, Jordan is a fake bass part. it's not real bass, it's programmed, along with the drums.
Sign In or Register to comment.