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Looking for Bass Tips

posted on #1
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I have little formal training. I did an intro package lesson that consisted of very basic learning. I did buy two books; Hal Leonard Bass Method complete edition and Rock House Bass method. I am wanting to expand and learn more, however I am not sure where I should go from here, I am wanting to get the foundations down. Right now I know enough to be dangerous. I was looking at more live lessons, however I am also looking at stuff online also (Fender Play, etc.).

My equipment:
Home built PC and a laptop
Behringer UM2
Tuner Korg GA
DAW: Reaper
Ibanez TMB-100 with DAddario XL Nickel Wound 40-55-70-95 strings
posted on #2
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Hi Leebo:)
the best place for improving your bass skills,is youtube,just search for, bass lesson, riffs,tips, etc,and you will find loads of video's on whatever you need.
posted on #3
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1.Learn the major and minor pentatonic scales for bass.
2.Practice them until your fingertips bleed.
3. Practice them every concievable pattern and to the point you can play them while holding a converation with someone and not even think about where to put your fingers.
4. Practice them even more.


99.9% of everything you will ever want to play will be the major and minor pentatonic scale.

When you get bored of playing them so much , go back and find ways of unbording yourself and learning even more ways to play them.
You will eventually want to learn "walking basslines" but that will do no good if you dont know what to play when you are not "walking" so LEARN this first.

Google " minor pentatonic scale for bass" and learn the patterns for every musical key.

Below is the MAJOR pentatonic for the Key of C and The Key of B. (The minor version is the same but includes some additional notes)
Notice the patterns? Notice if you change from B to the key of C what happens to your scale on the fretboard? Do the notes move up or down a fret but the pattern remains the same otherwise? What do you suppose happens when you want to play past the 12th fret? Maybe the pattern starts over again?

The main area in the Key of B will be the pattern around the 7th fret. The main area of the Key of C will be the pattern around the 8th fret.

Know this scale and how to slide it up and down the frets until you dont have to even think about it. Everything will come down to the major or minor pentatonic scales.

Until you know those two...the MAJOR and the MINOR pentatonic...you're spinning wheels and getting distracted away from the basics.


[img]https://musicmotivated.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/C-Pentatonic-Scale-bass-fretboard-notes-chart.jpg[/img]

[img]https://musicmotivated.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/B-Pentatonic-Scale-bass-fretboard-notes-chart.jpg[/img]

You want to play bass? You need to find the"groove" so even practicing two notes, find ways of playing those two notes rhythmically and find ways to make a "groove out of just those two notes....10 different ways.

Finally ....watch this. It will make you want to give up playing and throw your bass in the garbage.. This guy is insane BUT ...hes just playing the minor pentatonic:

[youtube]CFmELh_Kjno[/youtube]

Its so easy even a grandma can do it...

[youtube]WMznvEgOPhU[/youtube]
Edited by LittleWing on January 03 2019 07:06
posted on #4
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Joined: 24.07.14
Hi Leebo / all

Well I'm a drummer (and occasional guitar player), but I lived with a bass player for years, and hung out with a few...and I recommend watching any of Scott Devine lessons on youtube, as theres quite a few and he is a highly rated player and teacher. I met him at the London Bass Show, a really top bloke.

Also look out for used bass dvds on ebay, I've bought a pile of drumming dvds and they are worth every penny, when you think of what you are learning for what is about a tenner!

Lastly, chat to the people on here, there are many wonderful players who are very helpful too.

All the best, and happy new year
posted on #5
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Joined: 14.02.18
Leebo wrote:
I have little formal training. I did an intro package lesson that consisted of very basic learning. I did buy two books; Hal Leonard Bass Method complete edition and Rock House Bass method. I am wanting to expand and learn more, however I am not sure where I should go from here, I am wanting to get the foundations down. Right now I know enough to be dangerous. I was looking at more live lessons, however I am also looking at stuff online also (Fender Play, etc.).


Hi Leebo,

happy new year, and welcome to Wikiloops :)

If you can, get more lessons with a good teacher. He/she will correct your posture and everything before any bad habits creep in (it's hard to get rid of them later).

And self study with books or online lessons is good, but it will miss that corrective part which is important in the beginning IMHO.

But the best advice I can give is just to play - and you found the right spot to get more than enough "training material". It helps if you don't concentrate on just one style (like Rock), but to try each and every one. If you can also play live with others, do that - but this platform really is the next best thing to that. Ask for critique if you want/dare, and some will try to help in a constructive way.

LittleWing wrote:Its so easy even a grandma can do it...


Hehe that was a good one, LW - and for Leebo, in case you don't know Carol Kaye - she's one of the best session players in the history of the bass right after James Jamerson. If you search for them you'll find many good tracks and "must learn" lessons.

Oh, and yes, listening to others is also always helpful. I just listened to "Out Here" from the Christian McBride Trio - a monster player. And even here you'll find many good and helpful players, so if in doubt, just ask.

Again, welcome - good to have you here :)

Cheers,
Wolfgang

Edit: just listened to your first two uploads, cool man! But since you asked for tips, try to use a compressor on your bass, a search like https://duckduckgo.com/?q=reaper+compressor&t=ffnt&ia=videos will get you started for your DAW and the tools it has already. More tips, partly, in the comments of your uploads.

Hope that helps,
Wolfgang
Edited by wjl on January 03 2019 16:13
posted on #6
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Joined: 04.07.14
First of all happy New year and welcome aboard.
I don't deny the aspect of a good foundation on scale and chords because I didn't. So I do believe it can be a big help to make quicker progress on which notes are playable in which chords, but...
Does that mean the other notes are wrong? No, depending on where you use them. I sometimes say that I can only memorize the chromatic scale LOL

One aspect of the bass in the often spoken about groove. The little things that to my knowledge just can't be notated in a chord-progress or a music sheet.
Making a song groove is for bass is mainly played in close relationship with the drumpattern(s) that are used. In live situations you probably have to move both until you catch it on recordings you the one that's first has to make the choices based on instinct.
Long story short what's important, imho, learn to recognize the basic patterns and feel that is often used in different kinds of music. Dig into your song collection and try to identify why certain songs or parts are more appealing.
And let it surprise you that some funky songs sometimes hold latin basslines or vice versa. Reggae style with backbeat on 2 and 4 instead of 3. Many things are possible, but try to recognize those major feels and what they (can) add to the beat or chord progression. And what is needed to make it work.

Big advice, follow the drummer. Where does he play his main kickbeats, are they single or double? For a you as a bassplayer, just try to be there when it hits the skin and often stay away from his snare beat, try to create a vacuum where it can land by dampening just before it lands. It will have it's effect accentuated. Drummers will like that, even the less skilled that don't have a clue what is the difference between you and that other bass-player.

Then explore the groove by being just a fraction before on or after the kick-beat, to give it a speedy or a laid back feel depending on what the song needs in your opinion.

You still have to consider the chord-progression and melody. Because as a bass you are the link between rhythm and melody. But listen to the drummer or else he will be more or less alone. Then you can experiment with basic melody-frames which can be picked up by (or used from) a lead part, voice or instrument.

When these skills are getting in shape you'll have a subliminal power to 'move' a song slightly into different directions. When playing live with musicians that can listen and play at the same time also they can add or alter from their little bag of tricks and then magic can happen. When recording these little shifts in time and the length of the notes you play make the difference, which note is sometimes less important as long it isn't extremely 'outside'.

I hope this doesn't scare you but makes you hungry. Don't focus too much on fancy flashy notes and also master the basic timing.

[youtube]jRHQPG1xd9o[/youtube]
posted on #7
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Joined: 25.11.13
I'm a sax player...how far away from a bass player can you get? More than a few of the bass players here know that I'm a nut for bass and will actively seek out tracks that have a great bass line. As others have pointed out the bass is mostly responsible for the "groove" beyond just drumming, and it isn't necessarily about playing fast. It's giving the rhythmic feel within a chordal structure so that others like me can join in and resonate with it. The "real" bass players here can give you the lowdown on tricks and licks. From my point of view it's most important that you combine two things that are seemingly incompatible. 1. you are immaculate in your timing. 2. Your timing doesn't sound like it's mechanical, it's got purposeful slight inflections that drive the sound, sooth it, or in some way give the rhythm "personality".

My favorite two instrument play is just bass and sax. It's like an impressionist painting in which the listener only has dots or splashes of color, yet can see the whole picture and get a feeling from it. Just two single note instruments describing chords, rhythm, melody, and hopefully telling a story or giving an emotion to the listener. "Less" can be "more". That's especially true for playing music. Getting the feel is most important thing. Playing lots of notes, while it can be impressive, doesn't always make for good music.

When I listen to professional players that I think are the best, they mostly make the music and their playing sound easy or just "right". It's the striving amateurs that try to make music sound difficult. Stretch when you practice, but play within your comfort zone when you play with others.
You're only as old as you smell
posted on #8
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Joined: 04.02.18
LittleWing wrote:
1.Learn the major and minor pentatonic scales for bass.
2.Practice them until your fingertips bleed.
3. Practice them every concievable pattern and to the point you can play them while holding a converation with someone and not even think about where to put your fingers.
4. Practice them even more.


99.9% of everything you will ever want to play will be the major and minor pentatonic scale.

When you get bored of playing them so much , go back and find ways of unbording yourself and learning even more ways to play them.
You will eventually want to learn "walking basslines" but that will do no good if you dont know what to play when you are not "walking" so LEARN this first.

Google " minor pentatonic scale for bass" and learn the patterns for every musical key.

Below is the MAJOR pentatonic for the Key of C and The Key of B. (The minor version is the same but includes some additional notes)
Notice the patterns? Notice if you change from B to the key of C what happens to your scale on the fretboard? Do the notes move up or down a fret but the pattern remains the same otherwise? What do you suppose happens when you want to play past the 12th fret? Maybe the pattern starts over again?

Know this scale and how to slide it up and down the frets until you dont have to even think about it. Everything will come down to the major or minor pentatonic scales.

[img]https://musicmotivated.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/C-Pentatonic-Scale-bass-fretboard-notes-chart.jpg[/img]


Okay, so i went to the site for those images and this is the thing I see. It has a chart with the image.

C Pentatonic scale
1st 2nd 3rd – 5th 6th –
C D E – G A –

I am assuming that as long as I start with C and follow the order, it does not matter where on the fretboard I play the note, as long as it is in order. Am I correct in assuming that?
posted on #9
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Your answer is ...NO. You want to know the scales so well, you can hop, skip and jump around the notes in any order you find pleasing to your ear without thinking about rudimentary things like "where should my fingers be?" You want to know them so well, you make playing them sound like YOU ARE NOT playing them.

Okay so first thing about any song is you want to figure out what key it is in.

The most quick method , not having a trained ear is to find the "Root" note on your lower E string. You can quickly go E, F, F#, G and play all the notes on just the lower E until you find the one note that fits into the song better then all the others. That one note that just sounds like it matches that song is the Root note aka The Key.

Once you know the key ( Lets say C for example) , you can go online , print your C minor pentatonic(or major-They are same scale but minor has few additional notes)and play those notes on that chart and those notes will "fit" within the song. You are not required to "start" with the root (The C).

Practicing scales sounds boring but the trick is to learn them then make it sound like you ARE NOT playing them (Think "Fa So La Ti Do"...you are going to find patterns that "fit" using your ear, to play something that adds to that song. Every song is different, every player different. So its all what sounds good ..TO YOU. You may find playing Fa So Fa So Fa So Do Do sounds awesome as a riff.)

You want to KNOW the that scale but know it so well, you can jump around the order at will without worrying "Am I putting my fingers in the correct fret?"or beginning worries such as that. Once you know these scales , your hands will automatically play around them and you can be confident that whatever you play will somewhat "fit" or at least "fit " once you play with the song further.

The more you practice playing scales WITHIN a song and change them around when you find something that sounds pleasing , you will remember it , and add that to your "knowledge base".

Thats where experience and practice come in...certain patterns or playing on a certain part of the neck you will find things that "work" and add to your "arsenal " as a bass player. After learning scales, you can watch another player and know where they're fingers are going even if playing fast because you know they can only play the notes within the scale.This gives you confidence that YOU can play anything they are playing if you practice or work it out.

So now, I am presenting the down and dirty method of learning.
You have to listen and use your ears and also get your fingers to do your command ..once the fret board stops becoming a learning mystery to you and actually becomes a playground.


SCALES are all notes that "fit " within that songs "KEY". Most any order of those notes (PATTERNS) , any way you play them, will sound good in the song, but certain patterns will sound more "meant for the song" to you.That you learn as you get experience and practice:

The scales provide a framework that is almost idiot proof to solo, add sudden fills , play basslines even though you are making the song up on the spot, or figuring it out the first time etc...etc...

The scales are your "map" of all the correct notes for that song. The sequence you play them in is up to your creativity and imagination. There is no "right or wrong". its all YOU.

So your command of the major and minor pentatonic will give you:
a. Confidence anything you play sounds correct within a song.
b. A framework to assemble particular notes to create a "riff" or a "bassline".
c.You can improvise on the spot and sound good playing with a guitarist or saxist or keyboardist because they are playing that same scale and practice and experience will instinctively tell you where the song is heading or what they probably will do next in the song even if its the first time playing it because you know from your experience and ear..WHAT FITS.

So no, while C may be the root , your job is not to play the scale sterile and robotically.

Your job is to know those notes so well, you can hop, skip and jump around them in a pleasing manner for whomever is listening to you.
Edited by LittleWing on January 04 2019 06:56
posted on #10
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Here is a very easy way to get good .

Behold , The A pentatonic scale:

[img]https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/49205082_10212226902736982_5358984094271143936_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-1.xx&oh=5fafb6ef56646d14a90f3af3d6a9c281&oe=5CD1F246[/img]


We now want to work with ONLY FOUR notes. G, A C, and D which are in the A scale.

On your lower E string find The G on your 3rd fret and the A on your lower E 5th fret.

G and A on the lower E string-A million rock songs were built using those two notes.

Now find C and D on your lower A string. This will be on the 3rd fret and the fifth fret of the A string.

So we have G and A and also C and D on the string above it.

4 notes that are in the A Pentatonic scale.

Those four notes are 90% of Rock Music right there! Its insane how many songs are just those four notes!

Now...Find a drum track with just drums. You can search Wikiloops for drum only tracks in "Rock".

Once you find one, any speed and every drummer will be different...make a song using only those four notes.

Use G and A for your Verse.

Use C and D for the chorus of the song.

Make a simple song playing with the drums. Its all your creativity HOW you play those four notes. Play them any way you feel pleases you.

Try to blend in with the drummer because as a bassist, the drummer is really the only guy in the band you really need to concern yourself with as you and he are the foundation of the songs rhythm.

Create a "groove " that sounds good. It doesnt matter the style of music you play those notes in (You can try to sound "Reggaey, or "Metalish"...etc..) Change them any way that you think your song sounds good. In any band or musical style the drummer and bassist are the all important foundation. It shouldnt matter if the guitarist is playing like Eddie Van Halen or BB King. You should find the drummers "pocket" where you and he mesh perfectly like a well oiled machine. The vocalist and guitarist and all other band members become secondary in your role as bassist. You and the drummer "set the groove" of the song or in metal music...the "thump".

If you feel it isnt happening with that drummer , find another one and try with that drummer. Maybe one drummer you feel you "CONNECT" with . That happens all the time in bands. Certain players you will be attracted to others not so much.Playing music is an extremely personal , cerebral thing . Its normal to prefer a certain players style over another ones.It doesnt mean any one is "bad", it just means you work better with one person rather then another.

Once you make a song out of those four notes. Replay that song and figure out from the scale what notes AROUND the notes you played , you can use as "fills".(Fills are little patterns of the scale used to make what your playing blend the song better. Kind of blend in sections better. They are usually short and "spice" up your playing . -Maybe like three notes that you throw in after you are done with the A and are now going to the C and D part.

Those four notes have created thousands of number #1 songs. Use creativity and imaginatrion and try to find a "pleasing groove " while playing those four notes with a drummer. You can play with several drummers and get several completely different sounding songs but yet...its still just those four notes.

Learn to change the pattern around with each drummer and then slowly when you are comfortable , add in notes that surround those four. Look for notes close by , in the A scale , that when played at a certain time , maybe add to the song and make it even more pleasing to you.

It should be FUN , not tedious and boring.

Scales are the roadmap to playing any style of music. The Pentatonics are the most commen scale you hear on the radio. The key is to know them so well , your fingers automatically know where to go once you know the songs key and you know the corresoponding Key scale . You can be confident knowing the key and the keys scale , most anything you play will "sound correct" in the context of the song. You can also figure out songs knowing the scale because you will know roughly whereabout what the other person is playing.Its your key to the fun and enjoyment of making music you are proud of .

I am not discouraging further study of music theory howver I just gave you the laymans guide to learning bass. You can read and study and nothing wrong with that but bass is an "ear" extensive instrument. You have to learn to get loose and funky and a book cannot teach that.Nor can you read about "bonding with a drummer to create a groove or lay down the "thump" in a metal song". You just have to do it.

Play , Play and play some more.

I learned guitar playing to my brothers Led Zeppelin IV album when I was 12 . Picked out the notes. Even the solos and can still play that album note for note all the way through start to finish. If i was confused or had trouble , I would go to the music store, find the sheet music and roughly get an idea of what chords were being played at the part and then figure it out from there.

So have fun with it and always look for FUN ways to learn. Music is about freedom and pleasure. Make what you play, even if only one note...FUN to listen to.
Edited by LittleWing on January 04 2019 08:03
posted on #11
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Joined: 04.02.18
Thanks to all of you ever so much, especially you LW. I mean that is very very valuable knowledge you have given me. Thank you very much
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