For some time now I've been thinking about putting some kind of bass lessons on this web site. After a lot of thought I have decided it would be better to put a "Playing Tips" page instead of a lessons page. Where as the "Bass Tips and Tricks" page deals with equipment issues, this page will deal with the playing the bass.
The internet is an invaluable sorce for information on playing bass. Living in the age of the internet you can put any question in a searc engine and come up with thousands of answers. Another good source of informatioin is forums. There is a forum on the net that I frequent very often. this forum is called Uglybassplayer.com . It is by far my favorite bass forum, There you can meet and talk to bassist of all styles and all levels of playing ability. From bassist that jam for their own pleasure to performing bassist and even a couple bass guitar builders. The information you can find there is priceless, and the friendships that you can find is even more priceless. So when you are serfing the net for information stop by and register at Uglybassplayer.com
In The Beginning
For the beginning bassist I am going to talk about how I started playing bass, and why it is beneficial to find a good teacher. I was a self taught rhythem guitarist trying to start a band in my home town. Where I lived it was difficult to find a bassist. My friends and I could get something started and then we couldn't find a bassist. So one day I went and bought my first bass. It was a red Charvel 1B. That bass brought on a bass madness that I still carry to this day. I absolutely fell in love with playing bass. Lived it. Breathed it. I would only stop practicing to eat or work. I practiced until my fingers and hands hurt so bad that I had to put sports cream on them, and sometimes Band Aids on my finger tips.
I learned how to play from listening to my favorite songs and trying to imitate on the bass what I heard, and jamming with anybody that I could. If I met someone better than me I would ask them questions about playing bass, or have them show me how. I was very persistent, I didn't give up easily. About a year later I was practicing in a band setting, and a little over two years after I bought my Charvel, I played my first song live on stage. I can still feel the way I felt on that stage that night, scared shitless!! Sixteen years later I am still at it, I really couldn't count how many shows I've played or how many venues I've played in.
Here comes the third part of this lesson: find a good teacher. This is why. After I got home from touring in 92-93 I wasn't playing in a band and I met a bass instructer named Glen who also played bass in a symphony orchestra. I've always enjoyed classical music so decided to study classical music. Whoa! What I found out was that I had taught myself a lot of bad habits!! So basically what happened is that I had to try retrain some of my playing techniques. Now if you really want to make it interesting, try breaking bad habits while learning new ones. It can get frustrating. Studying classical music with Glen totally changed the way I play bass, and just because it was classical music doesn't mean that you can't apply those techniques to rock music, country, or what ever it is you want to play.
1. Practice, Practice, and Practice some more. Be patient, nothing worthwhile is easy. Be persistent. Don't give up. If you get frustrated, take a break and then try again.
2. Learn from other people. Don't be afraid to ask better bassists questions.
3. Find a good instructer so you learn good habits instead of trying to break bad habits while learning good ones.