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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not a bass player, I am a guitar play that owns a bass. That being said, I'd love to learn. I bought it cause I've always wanted to play, I have a PA and such, so it could come in handy if a jam spontaneously breaks out...

So, here's what I know. It's an Epiphone, Embassy. The truss rod cover says Standard IV. That's it....

... oh, it's blue.

I can noodle on it, play some signature bass lines, but I don't "understand it". Bass lines I try to write become too busy. Where does a guitar player start when they want to get proficient at playing bass?? Is there a particular instructor on You-Tube, a DVD (what are those?!?!) start with learning chords, what are the chords?? Do I pick a song and learn the bass part to get the feel of it??

Any help would be great.

Thanks
 

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Yes, as @bw66 said, less is more.

I believe the bass should really, really support the song and not take the song over - even moreso than the guitar. Play what the song needs and not any more. Less is more.

Learning simple root-fifths and walking patterns is a good place to start. There are a few songs where the bass line is an intrinsic part of the song, but they are in the minority, by a big margin. Put on the radio or some music at home and try and identify and play along with the bass.

Really, any guitar player that can play the rhythm pattern of the song should also be able to play a useful bass line for it as well.

Just be aware that the bass is a longer reach and the strings are heavier, so you can potentially stretch or work your fingers and forearm to fatigue and beyond when you are starting out if you're not careful (IME).

Most important. Lock in with that drummer, get in that pocket and have fun!
 

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As has been mentioned, start with major and minor triads and arpeggios all over the neck, they will provide the most mileage.

From there add major and dominant 7ths.

After that, scales so that you can determine how to walk and/or play passing tones and approach notes between changes.

Do not ignore diminished and augmented arpeggios, they can be very useful.

And the one piece of information that nobody likes to hear but should be considered essential if you want to truly communicate with other musicians never mind actually know what you're doing, learn the names of the notes on all strings and all frets. Tip: learn the 4th and 3rd strings first and remember that the octaves are found 2 strings and 2 frets higher.
 
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When I picked up bass, it was obvious that I'm a guitar player trying to play bass.
I found YT helpful for learning bass lines for songs.
As you get the feel for it, the patterns seem to flow naturally for improvising.
 

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I am not a bass player, I am a guitar play that owns a bass. That being said, I'd love to learn. I bought it cause I've always wanted to play, I have a PA and such, so it could come in handy if a jam spontaneously breaks out...

So, here's what I know. It's an Epiphone, Embassy. The truss rod cover says Standard IV. That's it....

... oh, it's blue.

I can noodle on it, play some signature bass lines, but I don't "understand it". Bass lines I try to write become too busy. Where does a guitar player start when they want to get proficient at playing bass?? Is there a particular instructor on You-Tube, a DVD (what are those?!?!) start with learning chords, what are the chords?? Do I pick a song and learn the bass part to get the feel of it??

Any help would be great.

Thanks
Learn the entire RHCP Blood Sugar Sex Magik, by the last song you'll be more bassist than guitar player
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Learn the entire RHCP Blood Sugar Sex Magik, by the last song you'll be more bassist than guitar player
One of my “stranded on a desert island” albums!! I should be so lucky to play 1/10th as well as Flea

Thanks for all the tips. I do test my fretboard knowledge regularly. By the sounds of it, even more important with the bass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Learn all the bass lines from this album.

Lenny Kravitz - Let Love Rule (Bass)

Holy High School Flashbacks Batman!!! I remember when this album came out. A guy (bass player) in my music class was going on about Lenny. How good he was, great song writer, blah blah.... I'd only heard Car Driver at this point and sort of shot him down. He had the (cassette) tape on him, we went into the music lab, and he played his bass along with this song. I was floored! Not just that he'd learned it, but how good the song was... is! Drives the song, but not overly complex. "Tasty Bass"
 

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Classic rock bass is about the driving rhythm; that's why folks say start with the root 8ths. From there, move around the box as people mentioned with 3rds and 5ths (but 2nds and 4ths are useful as transition notes; bring those in later), turn some of those 8ths to quarters etc but don't drop the ball.

Now reggae or funk bass on the other hand, that's all about dynamics; where you don't play becomes the important thing, and this next line is a Granny trademanrk: "Fast bit, slow bit, no bit" as in the overall riff or phrase is composed of at least one of each of the following: a run of 8ths/16ths, at least 1 longer sustaineed note, and a rest. Not necessarily in that order. Sometimes the long note and the rest slurr together into a short note going into a rest if the bass vibe is tight/thumpy vs round and mellow.

And remember (because Flea came up), nobody likes a slapper (except other slappers). Becoming a slapper does something to the brain, that cuts off the part that lets you know that nobody's into it - kills self-awareness:


editted to clarify: In all seriousness, BSSM was a wicked record; slap has it's place (like that record and the Seinfeld theme), but it is overused (often shoehorned in to a song) and should most likely not be the thing you do as a matter of course.
 

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Classic rock bass is about the driving rhythm; that's why folks say start with the root 8ths. From there, move around the box as people mentioned with 3rds and 5ths (but 2nds and 4ths are useful as transition notes; bring those in later), turn some of those 8ths to quarters etc but don't drop the ball.

Now reggae or funk bass on the other hand, that's all about dynamics; where you don't play becomes the important thing, and this next line is a Granny trademanrk: "Fast bit, slow bit, no bit" as in the overall riff or phrase is composed of at least one of each of the following: a run of 8ths/16ths, at least 1 longer sustaineed note, and a rest. Not necessarily in that order. Sometimes the long note and the rest slurr together into a short note going into a rest if the bass vibe is tight/thumpy vs round and mellow.
Good points on rhythm. As a guitar player playing bass, my biggest 'crime' is probably not varying the rhythm and just playing 4's or 8's. Hell, I'm just hanging on and not trying to make any mistakes. As a guitarist, I can hide a bit among all the other guitarists and keyboards, but as a bassist, every wrong note stands out like, well, those ugly multi-colored D'Addario ball ends!
 

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Learn blues bass lines. Be conscious of when you think like a guitarist (and then stop). The kick drum is your new best friend. As has been said, less is more.

It's gonna take practice. You'll notice bass parts more predominantly in everything you listen to.
 

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Gotta learn to walk to play bass... Your the beat, the pocket... Your the timing for guitarist that lose themselves ...
 

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Many moons ago I started to learn to play bass, you know 4 strings is less so this should be easy right?

The question should be: what is your goal in learning to play bass? Just cause you want to jam to songs with friends or because you genuinely want to learn the instrument and proficient?

If the former, get some tabs and play along to some songs.

If the latter, learn the fretboard intimately, learn theory (all the stuff above about root, third, fifths, dominant 7ths), get your timing to be impeccable as the bass player is the time keeper for the most part, learn many different rhythmic patterns in many musical styles, etc...

Then you get into the discussion on finger vs pick vs slap styles of playing. Each one has a place in music.

It truly is a great instrument, guitar is easier even with 2 more strings :)

Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk
 

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editted to clarify: In all seriousness, BSSM was a wicked record; slap has it's place (like that record and the Seinfeld theme), but it is overused (often shoehorned in to a song) and should most likely not be the thing you do as a matter of course.
With all due respect this is a very superficial opinion. Anything will lose the point if it is overused but you can find wonderful songs plagued of slap bass all over the spectrum from pop ballads to spiritual music. A more accurate description would be saying that not all unexperienced bass players know how and when to play slap.
 

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Holy High School Flashbacks Batman!!! I remember when this album came out. A guy (bass player) in my music class was going on about Lenny. How good he was, great song writer, blah blah.... I'd only heard Car Driver at this point and sort of shot him down. He had the (cassette) tape on him, we went into the music lab, and he played his bass along with this song. I was floored! Not just that he'd learned it, but how good the song was... is! Drives the song, but not overly complex. "Tasty Bass"
The amazing thing to is I believe that Lenny played most of the bass on this album.
 
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