Re: HELP! Beginner's questions need answering

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Posted by Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger on October 31, 2000 at 08:47:26:

In Reply to: HELP! Beginner's questions need answering posted by the learner on October 30, 2000 at 15:17:55:

: Hello all! Well here's the deal - I've recently taken up the bass guitar and I've got a few questions:

: 1.The bass I purchased was a used, mint condition (it was bought for a collection, never played) Fender American Standard P-Bass. I paid $425 total (375 + shipping) for it. Did I get a good deal or no? Also, the strings sound a bit dead, or flat, should I try boiling them?

Sounds like an OK deal.

As far as the strings sounding dead/flat, just curious, what are you using as comparison?

If the bass hasn't been played, you might get a little bit of oxidation on the strings, but I wouldn't think that the strings would have gotten *any* gunk on them, certainly not enough to warrant boiling them. Boiling works best with strings that have been used for awhile, so I don't know how much effect it would have in your case.

: 2.I've no knowledge of theory, scales, notation, etc. at all. I'm considering lessons, but should I go with Bass lessons or guitar lessons? All my friends say I should take guitar.

If you want to learn guitar, take guitar lessons; if you want to learn bass, take bass lessons. :-)

There's a good deal in common between guitar and bass, but there are techniques that are significantly different; guitar lessons won't deal with those differences, for obvious reasons.

: 3.Also, what's the best way to learn to recognize notes by ear?

The *best* way is to have perfect pitch (which I do), but that's not an option for most players... ;-)

An ear training course is probably the best way to deal with learning that skill; I *think* there's software available for that, but I'm not sure by any means.

: 4.Finally, and I know this is an extremely relative question, but what would you say is the minimum length of time it usually takes for the average person with no "natural ability" to become a decent/functional rock bassist? I'm talking straightforward rock and roll or punk rock. I'm not trying to be Steve Harris or anything (at least not yet), but I just want to be able to jam in a band without becoming lost when someone starts to play something, or says "lets start this one out in C".

That's a *very* difficult question to give a definitive answer to; a *lot* of people with "no natural ability" simply have never had the opportunity to develop what natural ability they *did* have, so it's kind of a misleading point.

Getting a functional level of expertise on bass isn't all that difficult, and then you go from there.

: I've sat idly by for years while all my friends learned to play music well. Now as I near my thirties (god help me), I'm realizing that music is what I've loved all along. It just that I always thought I would never be able to do it, or that it would take forever to play halfway decent (and not be laughed at).

It doesn't take forever; it just seems like it sometimes...

: Give me some inspiration fellas!

Remember what Edison said about genius, though; "1% inspiration, 99% persperation".

Hope that helps!


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