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Re: Bass is not a "sluff" instrument to learn

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Posted by Chris on August 28, 2000 at 22:03:32:

In Reply to: Bass is not a "sluff" instrument to learn posted by Steve on July 30, 2000 at 22:46:16:

It is all related to how good a person wants to get and also what kind of music they want to play. Spending years of practicing to master the instrument in order to play Ramones songs would be ridiculous. If someone wants to play in a simple band, they could practice 30 minutes, three times a week, and dedicate all his/her other time to party. If, on the other hand, one wants to truly master the instrument, and/or play in a really advanced Progressive Metal band or a Jazz/fusion band, well.. that's a whole different story. One has to literally eat/sleep/poop the instrument. I personally have practiced 8+ hours a day, 5-6 days a week, for the first 5 years of my playing. The next 3 about 2-3 hours a day. And I haven't practiced "seriously" in about 6-7 years, since I've reached a point where there was nothing I couldn't play. Now I just solo to myself (I prefer the ultra-fast Billy Sheehan kinda stuff) off the top of my head, whenever I pick up the bass. Once in a while, I may run some scales if my hands get rusty.. but that's all. Bottom line, a person will not become a master of any instrument without sacrifices. One has to be totally dedicated and willing to spend the time. One has to LOVE the bass guitar (I didn't practice 8 hours a day because I had to.. it was because I couln't rip myself away from the bass). One must also "listen" to all the great bass players around. That is a must. If you don't know how the masters play, then you won't know how to play. My 3 personal favorites are Billy Sheehan, Stanley Clarke, and Jaco Pastorius. There are many others too, but those are my fav 3. One has to listen to them play. Watch them play, whenever possible too (through video tapes). Learn WHAT they play. Play along to their songs and practice their bass lines. I disagree with you on the "Teacher" thing there, however. I never had a single lesson in my life. Some of the best guitar/bass players are self-thought. In fact, I fear that if a person learns too much by following another player, or a teacher, they never develop their own style. There are a bunch of Steve Vai's (I learned as much from guitar players as I did from bass players) running around Hollywood, because they never developed on their own. I feel that one has to look at WHAT other players play, not HOW. One has to take those players' bass lines and look at them from far away. Then decide how YOU will play them, in the most natural way to YOU. Books and videos are great. CDs featuring great bass playing are a must. But I would stress never to follow what another person says or does like a "sheep". Invent things on your own and, most importanly, develop your own style. One last important thing (for younger people hehe), one cannot be biassed against types of music they may otherwise not like. One has to separate between listening to their favorite bands/music types from listening to the great musicians no matter what music they play. My favorite music is Death Metal, but obviously, to learn the instrument, I had to listen to a lot of Jazz/Fusion. That's where all the best bass players are :-).


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