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20 Tips I Wish I Knew as a Beginner Bassist (Avoid My Dumb Mistakes)
- Published on Aug 20, 2020 veröffentlicht
- Save yourself years of frustration and slow learning - here are 20 beginner bass tips I wish I knew when I was starting out.
Spotify playlist of recognizable bass lines: open.spotify.com/playlist/2oJ...
There’s tons of stuff I wish I knew when I was a beginner learning bass that would have improved my playing quicker and saved me a bunch of frustration… and here it is!
The beginner bass tips in this video will run the gamut of bass knowledge, from the basics of how to practice bass, to the tiny things pro musicians know to do with their gear to keep it from breaking. (or looking like a dumba$$)
Did you know you can actually learn faster by going slower? Or that going to bed can accelerate your progress more than endless practice?
By the end of this video you’ll have a handle on counterintuitive but useful truths - like those - that’ll help your bass playing keep evolving beyond the stuck points.
Subscribe for more bass tips, tricks, and cheat codes (hint - L R Start Select doesn’t work) - yeah.bassbuzz.com/subscribe
👉 My full beginner bass course: yeah.bassbuzz.com/20tips
Comments • 1 319
If you could share one bass tip with your former self from when you were starting out, what would it be? 🎸
Timestamps for this lesson:
0:00 - Intro
0:18 - Online Tabs Often Suck
1:11 - Listen to Bass
2:04 - Practice 5 Minutes a Day
2:46 - Slow It Down
3:30 - Practice Bitesize
4:03 - Learn the Alphabet + Fretboard
4:33 - Notice Your Progress
5:02 - Record Yourself
5:39 - Gear Barely Matters
6:26 - Get a Setup
7:01 - Wear a Strap
7:08 - Don’t Do This
7:31 - Unplug From the Amp Side
7:49 - Cable Through Strap
8:24 - No Drinks on Amps
8:34 - Learn Full Songs
9:07 - Sleep is Part of Practice
9:58 - Get Guidance
10:31 - Breathe
11:01 - Stop Believing in Talent
Stop trying to learn only the dang songs you like and learn your fundamentals! Step out of your rock/metal box and listen to all the greats, not just who influenced you.
Get a good teacher!!
Where is the list of 50 songs that was mentioned in the video?
Don't sell that first bass just bcuz you bought the second one.
I came here to learn BASS. Instead i learned how to get my life in order and how to learn new skills..
BASS SAVES LIVES
I agree - some people think that playing bass is just about hitting the notes. There is a lot to learning to play the bass. I like this approach.
Start by cleaning up your room.
(BLM) Bass Lives Matters 🔥🎸🔥🔥
@BeUri Vlz true
His advice on practicing 5 minutes a day is priceless. It will definitely lead you to playing more. This is applicable to anything you want to get better at, not just playing bass. Just starting alone gets you in the groove. I smoke cigarettes (trying to quit) and I find myself smoking much less the more I get into my music because the thought of needing a cigarette doesn't even come to mind when I'm playing. And I don't smoke in my house so I can't do it while playing. So playing, or making music is a good way to try to cut out bad habits as well.
I used to practice 15 minutes a day
I keep the bass & amp sitting in my living room ready to go. Also have a small Bluetooth-capable PA and a laptop on a stand next to it.
Way to go
I practice 30 minutes a day
5+ minutes practice a day is the best tip of all time - it really works!
69 hours a day.
@Vincent Delacroix ;)
1 minute to tuner
It really does. It's not too much commitment to make yourself sit down for 5, and it rarely ends just there. However, if you promise yourself a full hour, you'll have reasons to keep putting it off.
The next best has to be breathing. If you take a step back, calm yourself and breath, your focus is readjusted and I've found learning comes easier.
I have been playing electric bass since 1969 and have learned a lot from this channel.
My tip: practice.
Jimi Hendrix and Jaco Pastorius didn't come from other planets with powers and abilities beyond other musicians. They just played all the time.
Thanks Jacques, good tip! Yeah, the Jaco we think was some freak genius was the result of gigging every night for years and years, and practice for countless hours.
not totally true, here's a saying for you: Hard practice beats talent every time, except when talent practices hard.
I thought of Jimi when he mentioned quoting Star Wars - Jimi was always quoting other songs when he played live (especially bits of the Beatles)
Yes they came from other planets. So did Cliff Burton.
Totally, my wife was friends with Jacko Pastorius in the 70s and was aware he was pretty good, but she knever herd him play, except once with Dixie Dreggs. I met her in 94. She was just learning bass back then and the first time she walked into my bedroom, she asked for "Why do you have a picture of James on your wall?!". I played his solo album and a weather report album. She then said "Well, I just thought he was another musician, I had no idea. Maybe I should have taken him up on the lessons he offered me.". They aren't superhuman gods, just normal people who practice a lot and spent years gigging 8 hours a night 7 days a week. Do anything long enough and you'll get good at doing it.
I've been playing for about 5 years, and i still feel like a beginner some days. These tips are helpful for us all. Much obliged brotha!
I've palyed for 42 years & feel the same!!!
@Andrew Austin i think that's a good thing. Keeps a person from becoming complacent.
@T.J. Meechan correct!
what name depends on what your budget is, and if you are looking for new or second hand gear. The Squier Josh is playing in the video is sub $400 new, and you get a high quality instrument that won't hold you back as you progress.
what name My first bass was a 70's Fender Jazz. The Squier Jazz Josh plays in the video would do you well!
Your tips to learn slow and in small chunks is the biggest takeaway any player should take away from this. Learning too much too quickly and not enough repetition are the biggest mistakes I ever made. These are usually never emphasized enough in tutorials or books. We often get too enthusiastic for our own good, bulldozing through mistakes which achieves the skill of playing something fast but badly.
1. Self doubt is just as bad as overconfidence.
2. Always know where "The One" is. I learned from an experienced drummer in a band I was joining. It's the Downbeat. The first count of each measure/bar.
If you're adding some ghost notes and grace notes and doing some odd timing, it gets all that crap out of the way before hitting The One so you're not lagging behind or screwing everyone else up. Very important whether you're actually playing a note on The One or not. It keeps you in THE GROOVE!!! Yes, you can lay back a little when playing funk, for instance, but you still have to know where it is or you won't know where you're laying back from!!!
3. For visually oriented folks, your song note fingering will be in patterns on the fret board. Except for open strings, the notes will always be in the same relative positions to each other on the fretboard. Knowing those patterns in addition to the note names will make it a whole lot easier to learn songs, using your visual abilities, and later you will be able to transpose keys on the fly MUCH easier than others will!!!
4. Ear training. Learn what notes sound like and work in each chord; what a Major 7th sounds like, a minor, an augmented, a 9th, etc. Find out where those are on our pattern if you're a visual as in 3 above. Makes it easier to play if you know what it's supposed to sound like. (Although personally, as a gigging bass player, things like Minor vs Major chords in particular don't bother you that much because you rarely need to play a 3rd; but at least if you need one, you'll know how to find it fast. When your guitar player says it's an A minor, ask him what a minor is (only IF he has a sense of humor!!!)
5. When sitting while playing, even if you have your strap over your shoulder, put an object in your front right (or left) pocket to keep the bottom of the bass from sliding out. Hard to keep playing when you have to keep pulling it back in, disastrous if you ignored the warning about wearing your strap. I use a pocket knife, lighter, keys, whatever works. Beware that if you use your key fob, you may be setting your car alarm off out in the parking lot, trust me!!!!!
5. Now that I'm also singing, I'd be willing to bet that 90% of the time either the Internet lyrics, tempo, progression and even the key are WRONG. It is "free," and you know how that works out most times!!!
I am already on Lesson 7 of module 1 ;D
I think this time I will make it. I 'm trying not to watch a lot of other educational videos because I think it 'll overwhelm me a lot.
I also have ADHD, and I can't stress this enough, Josh: Your course is the most ADHD friendly I came along, since 2010 that I first picked up the bass. I also had 1 to 1 lessons but my condition really makes it hard for me, the theory, the practice, all of it.
Thank you so much for B2B.
Thanks, glad the course is working for you!
One thing I've worked out for myself is that there are usually 3 ways to play a song: the right way, the wrong way, and your way. I got into Maiden after I'd been playing for about 18 months & was thrilled that, apart from my right hand cramping on stuff like "The Trooper" and a few other odd bits not working out, I could do a lot of their stuff & it sounded pretty good.
I learned how to play "Phantom of the Opera" by ear. That was 1990. Then about 10 years ago I saw Maiden live, and they played "Phantom." The main lick is off the A string, 7th fret, and for the flatted thirds I would always go down to the D string, 5th fret bc that's how I thought it was played. Then I watched the video feed of Steve's left hand, and all of it was on the A string; 7th to 10th. I tried playing it that way after the show, and I know that's "correct", but it was more comfortable to me to do it off the D string like I'd been doing. So even though I know I'm doing it "wrong", it makes sense to me, it's feels right and, most importantly, I'm hitting the right notes at the right time. So does that mean I suck? Hardly.
I haven't looked but I'd be willing to bet he plays "Hallowed be Thy Name" in a similar manner as he does "Phantom," off the A string. Because I play it in a similar manner for myself, off the D string (pinky on 7, middle on 5, index on 4). And I can still throw that down.
In addition to playing bass, I'm also an Army veteran. Regarding the point of "slowing it down", one of my Drill Sergeants emphasized that with a mnemonic (another Keanu reference bc why not) when learning a new skill set; in this instance, it was Basic Rifle Marksmanship. "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast".
Doesn't just apply to knocking down targets at the range.
Bass and guitar tabs are often wrong, however realising this and learning to spot the mistakes and correct them by listening to the track and watching what the original player plays on you tubes clips, is great ear training. And cheaper than buying books, although I do I that too.
Yes thank you for saying this!! When I was learning they were like the holy grail, but then I started to change the tabs because I was more confident to change it up
I’ve done that - only to later realize that I was wrong too.
Learning an instrument is a transformational process especially for old stock. I was 60 when i picked up a bass and a year later am working on drums and keyboard, too.
Thank you, Josh.
Love your lessons. Not only do you teach important material in a thoughtful manner, but you are the most entertaining Bass/Guitar teacher I have found on YT. (& I've seen a lot!). Cheers
Tip 18 is actually so important.
I'm primarily a guitarist and I felt like I just wasn't progressing with an old teacher. I had practically taught myself everything anyway so I took the plunge and switched teacher. I've improved SO much in just one year because I found a teacher who was actually interested in honing techniques properly. I had played guitar for a few years before and on my first lesson with the new guy, I finally learned how to hold my plec properly. It's insane how much an engaged and interested teacher can help you
This is such a great video! Getting lessons has definitely helped me as well. I record videos and monitor my progress. Regular practice has made the biggest difference. I have a second hand amp and SX bass for learning. I've gone leaps and bounds in 12 months! Clip-Share videos like yours have also really helped and kept me motivated!
Learning the neck is super important if you want to play with others, and play original songs. Knowing what chords the song uses is all you need to know to play along or come up with bass lines. Even when playing cover songs I usually don’t bother looking up the tab, I create my own bass line.
As helpful as tabs can be to get you playing as a beginner, it's good to be able to become less dependent on them further down the track, especially one you start playing with other musicians (who don't play fretted string instruments). Sheet music, although maybe daunting at first, is an incredibly useful resource which gives you every piece of information you need to play the music right these on the page, in addition to making what you say intelligible to other musicians.
I've yet to get a bass (I've been trying, but I might need to put it off even more), but there are a few universal lessons here, for example when it comes to talent and practicing. I've always been the best drawer in class growing up (in non-art-focused environments), and people kept asking me how I got so good at it. They always looked at it like a magical power. My secret? I drew all the time. To me, drawing was like playing. Most kids draw, but a lot of them stop at a certain age. I never did, and part of that is due to positive reinforcement by people around me. So it's not that I somehow had a special gift, I was just motivated and I practiced a lot, because I enjoyed doing it. Maybe that's also an important thing to add to this: make sure you're having fun when you're practicing.
Thanks for sharing! Fun definitely helps. :)
I found a channel "Dave's world of fun stuff" Dave knows his stuff. His earlier videos really taught me a lot about setting up my bass. Check him out. Not a sponsor, just a fan.
I remember when I started playing bass at 12 years old. I wanted to play guitar but that wasn't offered at school, but bass was. I didn't think there was much of a difference at that age so I we t ahead with it anyway. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 15 years later I'm so glad I stuck with it. I can't imagine what my life would even be like without it.
I absolutely respect the fact that you incorporate books on diverse subjects into your training. :-D
Hi, Josh. I'm a professor for the last 30 years, and I can say your teaching didactics and your lessons are wonderful. Any chance of a future class on 6-string bass? Congrats once more, and greeetings from Brazil.
Thank you Joao! No 6-string lessons from me, I'd just get lost. :P
@BassBuzz Hahahahahaha, Ok, Josh. But I´ll keep following your 4-string lessons. Best wishes.
Just quickly on the "Notice your progress bit" After 6 years of bass I was feeling like I was still as crap as when I started, so I randomly opened my old school books with the old basslines I had to play for music class. once I played those notes and I realized how much better my first attempt in 6 years to play those songs as opposed to my like 50th attempt when I first learnt. Really built my confidence back up
Thanks for this man. Been feeling discouraged while practicing lately. This definitely helped
Glad I could help!
Just started your "Badass" bass lessons! Absolutely love it! I've been trying to play for about 2 months and have learned more in one week of your class than I ever imagined!
Thanks for putting the lessons together as you've found your calling!
Rock on! 🎸🤟🥳
Glad you're enjoying the course Gerald!
Great tips and amazing editing skills Josh! 9:26 I laughed so hard at that hahaha
If any of you guys reading is looking for a bass course I can't recommend Josh enough. I am almost finishing the beginner to badass course and it is top quality. He is a great teacher, he is a nice guy, and will make your learning process enjoyable which in my opinion is probably the most important part.
Another tip for all us bassists: let the notes flow into each other, instead of plunking every note and leaving noticeable space (unless the song commands so). Make love to it a little bit, even if you hit a wrong note or fret buzz. When you get into the "feel" of it and just relax, your playing improves immensely. That's a very easy thing for most of us musicians in general to miss.
This is fantastic. Your mindset and approach are spot on. Applicable tips to other skill development as well. And great video work too. 💯 👏
Hey Josh, I've been checking out your videos for a few weeks since I bought my first bass. I really appreciate your information, knowledge and sense of humor! I used to play guitar and I have decided to go to the bass since it is waaaayyy cooler.
Very good and practical tips. Unless I missed it, locking with the drummer is fundamental. Find the tempo and groove with them. Everyone talks about it, but not all can do it. I think a good tip in this regard is to play ever so slightly behind the beat.
I got an electric bass a month or so ago. ive made some good progress, but I did have my background as a cellist to help, as well as just already knowing how to read tabs. I thought it would be a lot harder, but i really didnt have too much trouble. there are still some things i need to learn bc playing cello is very different from bass, so videos like this are a huge help. thanks friend!
Totally agree about the tablature. I refused to use it from day one. I felt like I wasn’t going to be learning anything. Instead I would go by the sheet music portion, and even though I was dirt slow reading music, I would learn my own fingering that way. I learned many bass clef parts from piano/vocal/guitar books. Eventually as my ear developed, I was able to just learn by ear.
That was 30 years ago. These days I like to watch youtube bass covers after I’ve already learned a song, and I notice it’s almost never how I do it. Which is fine with me. But sometimes I see something I missed, which is nice.
I've been trying to listen for bass more in songs and I was surprised by how many songs have an almost invisible bass line and the songs I love have a much louder, active bass.
All brilliant tips! Have just taken up bass after 30 years playing guitar (often badly) and 40 years of playing piano (mostly much better!). Bass is the instrument I’ve taken up in adulthood, and these tips make so much more sense to me than when I was younger. My progress has been great, I’m just loving it!
I would add: play with others, no matter how you or they might suck. You will both develop much quicker, it doesn’t have to be with the view to forming a band, just have fun.
As a beginner bassist this has helped so much the past couple of days. i cannot learn from online tabs, just generally so i usually end up watching how other people do it and it get better at it. But these tips are so great, thank you so much !
I'm a guitar player but recently I started learning bass cause I think it's a cool instrument and it's pretty awesome to learn, and let me say that everything you are saying here it's gold. Thanks!!!🤘
Your videos are so awesome. You inspired me to get into bass and I have been loving it. Just starting bass a few days ago your work has been so much help.
Thanks Joey, congrats on starting bass!
You're an amazing teacher not only are your videos extremely helpful but also hilarious and highly enjoyable, thankyou!!!
7:50 this is true kids. I once was playing in a festival, and during the final song I walked a little away from my amp, and there were only some return monitors here and there, so from where I was standing, I couldn't hear myself clearly, so I went with my instinct.
It was the final song so I gave all I had, like, the performance of my life. Head banging, jumping, eye contact, devil horns, faces, everything... While I'm smiling, waving a thank you to the audience, I see my cable on the floor... I was unplugged for who knows how long. Until today I wonder if Anyone noticed anything....
I once played an entire song with my band in front of hundreds of people and then noticed my amp wasn't even turned on.
@Brett Sommer , yours and Matheus Viera's war stories are hilarious!!! LMAO
Hey, at least they didn’t do to you what my old band had to do to our first bassist. We never let him play with his amp on if we were playing live.
Make McCarthyism Great Again no man, the gay bar thing was cool, I even found Marty, my 45 Year old boyfriend that loves me for whom I am. Marty also doesn't care going out with a straight guy like me.
@Joey Wheeler oh man, that's harsh. 🤣
Couple of weeks into Josh's "Beginner to Badass course. He's a really great teacher who really has me motivated. Knows how to keep things fun!
Thanks Dee, glad you're digging the course!
Tip for tabs: try to find ones in guitarpro (or similar) format so they're easier to edit. Expect to be editing as they are rarely correct straight away. This is also a big time saver if you want to change some bits for a more unique cover of the song. As guitarpro will play a midi version of the transcription you can fiddle as needed without having to have the instrument in your hands as well to check things while you work.
You're an absolutely brilliant teacher, demonstrator and player. Keep up the great work buddy.
I just started bass, and found this channel! I would just like to thank you for making all the vids! They really helped me, and I hope to continue improving!
Great videos Josh . Your playing and video production are on point. Fun and amusing also 🎸👍🏻
I’ve wanted to play bass for years and I finally got my first one today. I’ve never been more excited. Thanks!
Are you still playing?
Enjoy your content Josh. Been playing about 7 months now and you've been there every step of the way. Keep safe and thank you
I'm writing here on your page because it's a lot more fun and easier to spout off than work on a transcription project I'm procrastinating on!
These tips were all gold. Seriously. Thank you.
(But I do question the five minute thing; most of the players that influenced me at a deep level spent more time at it. I can see why the pressure of practicing would be so heavy that people might kind of crumble under it and procrastinate. Maybe the five minutes is like a lure and once they get to it they study longer. :) My tip would be what you said, just listen more, figure out things by ear.
I play electric, but I fell in love with these vids! Most of the tips work for any instruments I think, especially the “5 minute rule”. It really helps, because once I take my guitar it eventually leads to an hour or two of practice.
Amazing work, thank you!
Thanks for the tips! I'm a beginner bass player who's been learning for about 4 months or so now. I'm a massive metal nerd, and have learned three songs already ("Bewitched" by Candlemass, "Blood Bound" by Hammerfall and "Holy Diver" by Dio). I learn them in sections, taking it a few bars at a time, practising the individual bars then stringing them together when I'm confident enough. I deliberately picked low to mid-tempo songs because they're easier for me to follow, though I still slow down if I need to.
Do you have any recommendations for tab books of metal bass songs? A nice variety would be good so I'm not relying on Songster as much. Also, I have an annoying metal twang with my bass which I pretty much cover by tuning both the drive and the bass equalisation WAY up. Will getting my bass "set up" beyond tuning help this?
Hey Josh.....hoping you keep up with the great instructional videos in 2021. Would be great if you do a music theory video for bass (would prob need to be at least 20-30 mins long). Plus I searched Clip-Share and was looking for any videos that go into a bit of detail about passing notes/chords but couldn't find much. Otherwise Happy Holidays in this most bizarre year ever.
Thanks Alex! More coming for sure. (including some stuff about passing notes in the next vid!)
The last advice is so true. I look at this "this person's got talent" as an excuse to not sit down and spend hours practicing like most musicians do. I hate when people say it's talent, it's really disrespectful to all the trouble we go through to learn the craft.
Hey, thanks for the both entertaining and super helpful videos! I‘d be super happy to hear an 'expert opinion' about one little question: when using alternating finger-picking technique, would you see any advantage in starting with a particular finger? (For example… always index on the downs and middle on the off-beats or the other way round or something totally different…) I guess there‘s always a portion of mere preference in questions like this but I feel like this is a decision that would be hard to revise after years of playing so… maybe this is also a candidate for a potential tip that one would want to know as a beginner ^^ @BassBuzz
I did not follow #16. I picked up the bass after my brother brought the Rush in Rio DVD home and immediately had to learn every song on it. Long story short, there were a lot of hand cramps and frustration, but I got incredibly good at learning by ear and got fairly good fairly fast. Still can’t quite play “YYZ” all the way 100% through cleanly… 20 years later 😅…
Thank you for this video! Definitely some things I didnt know (though most i did fortunately). I've been playing bass for about a month now, but I picked it up extremely easy due to my 2 years of guitar experience. In the beginning I had trouble with my plucking hand, because I was so used to using a pick for everything, but after watching other people play I managed to pick it up. A tip for visual learners, watch other people. Notice techniques they use, see what their doing with their plucking and fretting hand. I've been able to improve by watching people play
as a pro sax player turned bass, I find many of these helpful. one tip on the recording yourself, and this goes for any instrument, is to pick a solo piece, to record yourself on. don't even listen to that recording the first time, practice solidly for at least a week, then record yourself doing the same song. then compare the two, you should be far more aware of the progress you make after hearing the side-by-side comparison. on getting your first bass (or any instrument), generally suggest to my new players that they don't need to break the bank on a new instrument, but they should go for something of good quality as a crappy instrument just doesn't handle well. it won't tune well, it won't have good intonation, and while a good player might be able to make it sound better, the beginner won't be able to.
I love how you are incorporating things you read in books (which are not entirely specific toward bass playing) in your playing and lessons.
Josh, I teach AP Psychology and I love how you incorporate psychology into these!
Thanks Thomas! I'll try to keep incorporating psychology and not psychosis. :P
Yes. I love the incorporation of what helps you learn in this video. Like tips on sleep and the myth of talent. Well done.
Tip 6 - found an interesting way to work on that last night. Was looking at the bass clef - I used to play piano, but I'm much better at reading the treble clef, where most of the action is in piano. So, if you just add one ledger line below the bottom line of the bass staff (is that the right word? I mean the group of five lines) that is the open E string. Then, the mnemonic "GBDFA, good boys deserve fudge always" tells you where the rest of the staff lines are, which lead you up to either G string 2nd fret (A) or E string 14th fret. If I have it right, middle C is at 5th fret of G string and, of course, one ledger line above the bass staff. Etc. This should help me find my way around the fretboard and also help me with reading standard sheet music on the bass clef. The staff lines move up in thirds, some major, some minor. Fell asleep happily visualizing and thinking about all this last night - lol
I find that I understand timing concepts and rythm much better in a group setting with a guitarist and drummer. I guess I'm pretty lucky to have that option but it's definitely helped me the most.
Thanks so much for the tips Josh! I just picked up my own bass, a music man sterling :) I’ve found that the breathing tip and the cable through the strap trick are AMAZINGLY helpful!
This is fantastic!
I'm a seasoned drummer for years and I'm picking up bass guitar because I'm ready for something new. This is such good information that I wish someone had told me when I picked up sticks years ago!!!
Some great points here, but I just wanted to add from my perspective, as an "advanced beginner" (I've been playing for a year, and I already knew some basic guitar and could read music), I find online tabs really useful. One of the things I love most about playing the bass is hearing a song and thinking "wow that bass is really cool" and being able to instantly start to try and learn it and play it. Sure, I could try and transcribe it if I had a couple of hours and software to isolate the bassline, but that's no fun for me. And I don't want to be dropping money on bass books all the time, and what if the song I want to play doesn't have an official book? Personally, I've found another facet of my development and skills on bass has been to recognise when an online tab is just wrong, listening back to the song and using my knowledge to try and improve it for myself, or disregarding it if I feel it's hopeless. I also don't use Ultimate Guitar or anything like that, where the tabs are just written without "context". I prefer to use Songsterr, which are like proper transcriptions, sometimes of the full track, so you can really nail the rhythm and understand how the bass fits in. That's not saying the Songsterr is any more accurate than any other tab website, it's only as accurate as the user submitting the tab, but just something I like to do! Personally, as I play at home for fun I don't really care if it's 100% accurate, if it sounds pretty much right, and I enjoy playing it, I'm happy.
Omg the guy is so good....such good comedic timing. He is a great teacher, i've been playing bass for a long time, and always learn new tricks on his videos. I wish you tube and his classes were around when i was a teenager.
Picked up my first bass this week (Cliff Burton's birthday, so apropos!) and oh, man, when I heard that first note through the amp it was love. Been playing guitar for a little while but I'm super excited to try something new and completely unfamiliar. I'm glad to have found your videos! So far they've been helpful in getting this newbie started. Thanks for doing what you do!
Love your editing style and all of your points are useful. Thank you.
For me, the most important thing in the process of learning a song is liking the song.
If you feel lazy and bored in your practice time, try playing a song you really enjoy.
Even if it is too difficult, try it. And if you fail, turn that song into a goal. You will not only become a better player, but also be inspired to continue practicing!
These are all great tips. I've been playing for about 20 years and it took me way too long to figure a lot of this out on my own.
I have played guitar for 31 years now and recently switched over to bass for some diversity and just to feel the groove of the music. To be honest he is correct tabs online suck I have always known this however sometimes if a note is just hanging me up for some reason a quick glance at a tab might be the trigger to figuring out the rest of the bass line. Great videos I have enjoyed them!
Recording myself was actually the best thing I ever did. I learnt to listen if the bass is even slightly out of tune, got better at my picking technique, improved timing, fretting found much more about getting the tone I want and much much more.
My advice? If you have about 50€ to spare, buy a behringer sound card, download Reaper and get playing!
I’ve learnt more from your channel in 5 days than a whole 3 months put together! Cheers, mate!
Hey Josh (and comment section) I've been recording myself practicing for a little while but I'm a little worried I might have something wrong with my fretting hand technique. Every time I record, I end up with so much scratchy clacky noise - not just that rattley buzz if I press too far over a fret, but on every note. I guess my normal setup just for videos of me noodling would be recording a video using my amp to prop up my phone (so the mic is kind of perpendicular to it) while I sit on the floor in front of it and play bass. If I turn myself up louder and stand across the room the clacks mostly don't pick up but I'm not sure how much noise is normal. I've seen plenty of videos of people playing bass that get pretty close and personal with the fretboard and they don't seem to have this issue so I'm not sure if there's behind the scenes magic I'm not seeing or if I need to practice better.
I am not a pro, but sounds like your string action could be too low for your playing style or your phone recording poorly. I have a high end smartphone(from my job.. would never pay 1000$+ for a phone) and it doesn't pick up the bass at all. I haven't done it myself, but you might want buy some cables and adapters and directly record from your amp into your computer. At least that is what I am going to don't since it is cheaper than a good microphone
Great video Josh, brings back memories lol. I started out learning from a beginner bass book that taught you how to read and count and was mainly 12 bar blues. Was super helpful especially for timing.
And developing your ear as you mentioned, try work out songs yourself. Some tabs out there at times makes me think, what song are they listening to as it's so far away from the song they've put up as a tab.
Oh and one other thing regarding buying a bass.
My 1st was a 60 buck job, I broke it after a few months.
I went to a music store, saw and liked a 2nd hand Ibanez bass. Splashed out about 500, didn't know much about bass guitars still, didn't ask and didn't even try it. Saw it, wanted it, got it. Pretty stupid looking back now but the bass was fine, no problems with it.
After 6 months I decided to have some lessons, only had about 10 but at the 1st one, my teacher said let's tune up. He grabbed my bass to tune and said, Oh you've got a frettless.
I said, ummm is it, what's that?
Haha what a dumb ass. That bass was great tho, as I really had to stretch my fingers and be precise.
If your starting out or looking at upgrading your bass, do your homework. The internet is obviously a great way but also speak to other bass players if you can and if your in a store, try several out and ask the sales dude, although over the years now I've come across some that are clueless regarding bass. Cheers
Practicing 5 minutes a day really helps, one weekend I ended up practicing for about 2 hours when I was going to practice for only 5-10 minutes, also if you get stuck on a note that doesn’t sound right run though all the money notes to make sure you’re playing the note right you could be playing an F instead of E
Great tips. Especially about slowing it down and just engaging in some practice everyday. Anytime I pick up my bass I always end up fooling around for far more than 10 minutes 😀
I've been playing guitar/bass forever, but a thing I didn't do early enough was learning full songs...and I mean FULL songs. Learn every little nuance part of it, if the bassist does a little 4-5-6 fret swing on one verse and the next verse they do a 4-4-6 part, even if it sounds like a mistake, listen for it and replicate it. It helps train your ears and maybe you'll pick up a little trick for getting parts to feel a certain way by learning all of these little things.
I played bass 5 nights a during the 60s. The day I bought it I played a job with it. I had to sing while I played. Made sure I got the chords right at first. I already played rhythm guitar so I was familiar with playing in front of an audience. Although I became very proficient I never felt the need to overplay. There were many great patterns in the songs we were playing at that time so you had to get the fingerings right. My point is playing in front of an audience kept the pressure on me so I learned at an accelerated pace. It taught me the role of a bass player.
Excellent, excellent advice usable in learning just about anything. Thank you Josh.
This is sooo relevant!!! This applies to all musicians, not just bassists. Thank you, kind sir. Needed to be said.
I've been playing for 6 months and I consistently hit 6 hours every day and I improve quite a bit every 2 weeks and I'm very happy with my progression
I couldn't imagine playing less than 2 hours let alone 5 minutes
All good advice, but Number 2 is the most important. You should also listen to other types of musician too- listening is far more important than technique, gear or anything else. I learned to play bass & guitar by playing along to records (a long time ago!), which led to a 35 year semi-pro career of playing in bands, depping for other bass players and being the resident bass for hire at numerous jam nights. I didn't become a star, but I was out playing, learning & earning up to five nights a week, which was most satisfying.
My top bass tip is to learn what different intervals sound like by trying to work out what notes are being played without an instrument in your hands and trying to play the song later. If you can do this, you can play hundreds of songs in any key and this will bring you a lot of work- possibly more than you want!
My kid's karate teacher likes to say, "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." That advice works for just about everything :)
The tip about keeping the cable thru the strap to avoid the guitarist tripping over it and pulling it out brings back an old memory. One of the bands I played in had a bassist who loved to use a Nady wireless system so he could run around in the crowd while playing. During a gig, the 9v battery in the Nady died. As did the bottom 80% of the entire song, all at once. You just don't appreciate how much the bass IS the song until it's no longer there. In one fell swoop, you go from great tone to "...And Justice For All" tone.
No drinks on amps? Also good is no actual alcoholic drinks on stage. Stage lights, alcohol and adrenaline are a bad mix. I'm speaking from embarrassing experience :)
The "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast" made me smile.
The "'... And Justice For All' tone" made me comment. Righteous.
Hi Josh, I only want to say thanks for all your videos. I have been playing since 2 years ago and they have been incredibly useful. So, that's it, thaaaaanksss :)
You're welcome Jaime!
Great Tips or reminders for every level of player....Tip 6 - learning the fret board is one of the most important tips (IMO) that Josh discusses.
Great video, I like how you incorporate cognitive habits and other psychology. We are mind and muscle memory. we are creatures of habit. everything we practice we process and backup in our sleep and hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard! great content.
I really enjoy the videos. I have learned sooo much about the bass since i found your channel. You are an excellent teacher. Thank you, from Beaumont, Texas
Slow it down helps a bunch, I am trying to teach myself Seeman by Rammstein, for me the tricky part starting off was the first shift to get out of the high end of the fretboard because my pinky isn't fast enough to reach the fretboard, but I finally got through that (somewhat) now my issue is doing a stretch in which my index is on the 9th fret and my pinky is on the 14th
My five minutes often turns into an hour. I try to get in some practice 5 days a week. I will take a short riff and master it, then go to the next part. Been working on some Steve Harris from your other video. I find if I'm practicing a hard piece, slow it down a bit until it's correct, then I have better success. The next day, I am even better. Odd how that memory thing works.
Thanks for doing this and all your bass vids. I did expect to find "Pretty Little Ditty" on your practice list ;-) No worries, I added it to mine. I was amazed to learn Flea is a killer trumpet player (trumpeter? trumpetist??) when I dug into that tune.
This channel is actually so amazing. Thank you! Keep up the good work, Josh!
Thank you, excellent advice, very practical and helpful
Not gonna lie, I started playing bass because of your videos.
I was rocking a Squier Affinity Jazz Bass for a good 5 months now but have picked up so many tips and techniques that I decided to buy a Fender Players Jazz Bass.
Please keep on with the videos. Your slap video helped me the most of all.
Hey did you notice a big difference with the Fender? I have a Squier Affinity P and thinking about upgrading to a Player.
Derrick Pina big difference. The pickups are highly better, the fretboard is more smooth and glossy while the back of it is completely almost satin. I can tell it’s a higher quality instrument.
Damm, my first bass is coming over in two weeks. I'm an old dude around 50 and finally - after all that bullshit that I stumbled across - happy this youtube thing is around and even more happy that I found this guy here. Very excited to start and adamant to play all those Motown and RHCP basslines in the next 50 years to come. Thanks young man, you're doing a great job. Grab yourself a beer and feel good this day - well deserved.
Im a 56 years old guy but feel so much younger when play instrument and specially bass guitar. Wish all People could enjoy playing. So good for life!
50ish isn’t old. I’m 67 and just started taking bass lessons last summer 2021. It’s fun and I’m so happy with it. Your still middle age - stop calling yourself old!!!
Just started out a week ago!I'm very excited and your tutorials have helped me so much already. Thank you!
I enjoyed this very much. My favorite tip was to practice 5 minutes a day. You gave a couple of good reasons to do so.
Just curious, how long have you been playing bass?
Hi Josh, I'm curious what your thoughts are on Rocksmith 2014? I was always a fan of Rockband back in the day and have been playing Rocksmith now for a few weeks. I like it for learning songs in a more interactive way than just plugging away with tabs.
Also, If you are paying a song and you just cannot find the root (or any notes) that sound right, realize some songs are pitch shifted (or speed inaccurate) not necessarily an even half step. You may have to tune you bass to the song to play it. If you are tuning more than a half step, you are not in the right key. Should only have to turn less that a half step.
Yes, good tip Christos!
Very true. The better my ear got, the harder it was to play a song rooted in between notes. I had a screwdriver in the motor speed pot of my tape player for that very reason. Tune the song rather than the bass. Or I’d play fretless and not use open strings.
I've been playing bass for a little over two years and my biggest regret is never learning to use my pinkie on the fretboard. It made things a lot easier to start out with but Now that I am learning more advanced I wish I had practiced with my pinky sooner
@Bassbuzz: Agree on everything but 4. You think different when playling slow vs. playing fast. Therefore pushing up the metronom until "you get there" can also act as a wall for not reaching certain speeds whatsover cause you think wrong. Theres a difference in thinking (let me try it in text) C - D - E - F - G = vs thinking C-G or CDEFG. Most good players did this automatically and never thought about that - however if you dont do it you cant get faster at some point cause you cant think faster anymore. Its relaitvly simple idear. Problem is basicly that it takes time to send infromation from brain to muscle - so (and thats part of your point 5) we need to chunck bigger information in one go instead of sending every single movement. These are 2 different skills and you wont learn the one by playing fast and the other one buy playing slow due to - if I remember right - the brain uses even different parts for slow and fast (kinda). However its still important to also learn fast stuff slow first, thats due to you need to make sure your brain knows these exact movements so you are able to chunck these up later and get them clean on faster speeds. However, cause of this I woud instead advice on learning a new riff in detail and very slow, then do bursts of speed for certain parts of the riffs (think about what parts make the most sense in the rythm) and if you do misstakes go back to go through it slowly. Then put burst parts together to the full picture. So basicly alternating between fast and slow. Just putting up the metronom 1bpm each go is a brute forcing method which uses alot of energy and time and only works if the target speed is below what your brain can handle (which is in the end genetics). If its higher than that, you need to get more creative to deal with the situation.
Agree or disagree. Hope that puts up an alternative that everyone can try out and test for themselfs.
I just got my bass back from getting a setup. Practiced, and OMG! You were right! Huge difference! Thanks!!
Bro, your videos are incredible. You have the spirit of a middle school teacher and I would love to use your videos in my elementary and middle school band programs! For older kids, the language stuff isn't a big deal, but I can't use your stuff with 5th-7th graders for fear of the more "conservative" parents crucifying me lol.
If you kept everything the same and pulled the occasional swear word, mature movie references, and other things I don't want to talk to young kids (and their parents) about, I would absolutely pay money for this content.
Thanks again for the killer videos!
I like your tips! Thankfully a lot of them I’m already doing. Question: what do I do for shoulder pain? I have to practice every other day because of the pain- please help!