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Re: i want to play bass, but i need some help...

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Posted by A on August 15, 2001 at 03:27:46:

In Reply to: i want to play bass, but i need some help... posted by krissi on August 14, 2001 at 17:10:44:

Like you, when I started to play the bass, there were no teachers around to get lessons from. Providing you are determined like you say you are, then you shouldn't have any trouble learning to play bass. I was about 13 (or 14, can't remember) when i bought my first bass (a p-bass for 110) and my first amp (peavy practice amp for 70/80). I don't think it's a good idea to buy expensive equipment to start with because a few months later you might find that you have lost interest or find it too difficult and give up, or any other reason why you'd stop playing bass. Once you get better at playing bass then you can go and buy a better bass or a better and bigger amp.

To learn you can buy books and videos to get to grips with the basics, also there are online lessons on some web sites. Once you have developed some skill then you can try playing along to your favourite songs. Find a song that has a simple or catchy bassline and then find the bass tab for that song (tab is simplified sheet music if you don't know what it is). There are thousands of bass tabs on the internet if you look for them. Once you know how to play the song then turn your bass amp and your hi-fi to about the same volume and play along to the song. This is good practice for keeping time, building up dexterity in your fingers,etc. and helps you build up a large repertoire of songs you can play.

The key to learning is practice and this shouldn't seem like a chore. If you don't enjoy playing the bass then you shouldn't play it, but bass is definatly the most fun instrument to play and i'm sure you'll love it.
I play along to songs for at least an hour a night and within the first year of learning to play bass I was competent enough to join a band and I knew around 50 songs. Think about it, if you play for an hour every day that's over 350 hours practice every year!

There are three things that I think are important
1) Learn to play with your fingers. If you like alternative rock and punk then it might be tempting to use a plectrum to play. Don't. Use your fingers to start with and then use a pick once you can play well with your fingers. It is good to know how to play with both, plus I think that bass sounds better when you use your fingers, even when i'm playing punk or hardcore ska.

2) Don't limit yourself to one genre of music. Try playing some jazz, funk, punk, metal, classic rock and all sorts of other basslines. This gives you experience of playing all styles of music, and it will help you find you own distinct sound.

3) I think it was a skateboarder who said "I don't do things because I know I can do them, I do things 'cause i'm not sure". Don't play simple basslines that you find unchallenging, always try to push yourself and play something difficult, otherwise you might never extend you skill.

This took a while to write but it is worth it if i've helped you. I think that bass is fantastic, it's a hobby, it's fun and it gave me something that no-one else I knew was better then me at doing, it also gave me more self-confidence.
I hope that you do well learning to play the bass, you don't really need a teacher providing that you practice every single day and try and learn something new whenever you can.
Good luck. Adam.

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