Dipping my toes in bass playing...

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by betocool, May 15, 2020.

  1. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    I suggest you check out Scot's Bass Lessons. Lots of great free stuff there. The (paid) fundamentals course is epic.
     
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  2. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    What exactly do you mean by fretting sound, but while not actually fretting? Learning to mute bass strings with your fretting fingers is arguably more important on bass, than on guitar. IMO, anyway.

    Sound of the strings hitting/clanking on the frets? Bass strings are big and heavy, so you're gonna hear more clanking than on guitar. Plugged in and amp turned up, unless it's killing sustain, you won't hear it. Work on moving your plucking fingers across the strings, instead of plucking like on an acoustic guitar. That will reduce clank.
     
  3. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Holic

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    Don't play with your thumb unless you want that sound occasionally...its usually better to anchor your thumb on a finger rest, the pickup or the edge of the pickguard, whichever feels best...
    I am pretty sure that this is incorrect. I don't play bass like that and I don't recall ever playing with a bass player who did, and I've never heard that before...
    It is in my opinion good to be able to play bass with a pick for that sound, but not exclusively with a pick.
    What that is saying is don't just doodle around...play a part, a solid part that can stand on its own.
     
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  4. johnnylaw

    johnnylaw Tele-Afflicted

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    Since you asked... Bear in mind, advice is worth what you have paid for it.
    1) Don't think of this instrument as a guitar (assuming you play a Tele now).
    2) Learn, note for note, one funk tune, one country tune, one blues tune, one pop tune, one grunge tune, one jazz tune, one folk tune, one metal tune, etc., maybe even a rap (no tune there).
    3) Don't be afraid of open strings, just be aware how unruly they can get, and how fabulous or disastrous that may be in the context of your song.
    4) Aim for fretting the tonic (root) notes with either your pinkie of ring fingers, and avoid defaulting to your index for this. Thank me later.
    5) Flatwounds are worth a try. When you are just beginning, they tear up your fingertips less. You can always go to round or oval wounds later.
    6) The best bass player I ever worked with used a pick (rock band). I play almost exclusively with the first two fingers (rock band).
    7) The drummer is the engine that pushes the bus. The bass player steers the bus. The song writer provides the navigation/route. The rest of the band climbs aboard for the ride!
    8) Very often, less is more (see #s 1&2).
    9) Have large fun.
     
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  5. tdoty

    tdoty Tele-Meister

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    It's something I read in a book lately. I've been playing bass off and on for 35 years and had never heard it before. However, it takes a lot less hand strength to get clear notes without the occasional buzz I often had to deal with. I'll take whatever I can get to be able to play bass with a lighter touch. "200 things a good bass player should know" has a few little tips I had never heard of.
     
  6. Twang-ineer

    Twang-ineer TDPRI Member

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    Tdoty is 100% correct. Fretting hand accuracy is incredibly important for correct articulation and very clean sound. It is also true for guitar, but way less important. I've spent thousands of hours listening to myself on playback, so I can tell how cleanly I executed a run/riff. "Clacking" is something I never hear in my own playing, but some folks dig it as rock and roll.

    You can play bass any way that you like, with any pick or finger combo that gets you where you want to go.

    My wife recently picked up bass so I searched the internet for what I thought was the best instructional videos. Stu Hamm videos on Truefire are fantastic. He teaches the way I was taught way back when. I am not a good teacher, but he sure is!
     
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  7. tdoty

    tdoty Tele-Meister

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    So, I did a bit more research, since I had bought several books at the same time. Among them was "101 Bass Tips....stuff all the pros know and use" by Gary Willis, published by Hal Leonard. Tips 47 & 48 regard left hand accuracy and minimum pressure.

    I'd never heard of fretting directly over (even a bit past) the fret. It still isn't entirely intuitive or reflexive, but I have incorporated it into my playing and practicing. The technique provides a bit of muting and makes the buzz easier to avoid.

    Try it. What do you have to lose?
     
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  8. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    I played 1&5 on upright in a bluegrass band for years. Later on I transitioned to rockabilly/blues with a drummer. All that time I also owned electric basses, and continued to play guitar. Still consider myself better at upright than slab, because there’s no way in hell your gonna try to play guitar licks on an upright, lol.
    Bass ain’t really about the notes as much as the space between em.
     
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  9. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I would rather play bass than guitar for sunday morning P&W, but everytime, somebody new comes along and says, "yeah, I can play the bass!" so I give them that chair and I go back to guitar. none of those I have given the bass chair to could play the bass.

    well, not compared to me. I was getting pretty darn ferocious on it. bass is more fun to play, for me.
     
  10. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    get the book "soul fingers" with a big selection of Duck Dunn basslines in it. learn those songs and you'll be a bass player. for real.

    edit: whoops, i'm sorry, I mistook you for the OP.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
  11. stonetone7

    stonetone7 Tele-Meister

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    Everyone has already covered it all, pretty much.

    So I’ll just say this: Be prepared to reject (or accept!) a ton of offers for work.
     
  12. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Ha ha ha! Thanks again for all the kind replies. There's a lot to look for.
     
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  13. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    An entire thread about bass playing and Jaco Pastorius' name did not even get mentioned -- blasphemy!
    :D

    James Jamerson. Go listen to all the old Motown tunes from about early 1960s to early 1970s or so. You can hear James' bass lines all over the place on those tunes -- simple and solid. He really anchored that sound in so many ways. Tragically, he left us way too early.
     
  14. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Holic

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    Here's a bassist shown good use of thumb technique...
     
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