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LordsoftheJungle

Looking for tips on learning bass guitar

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With a Hamer Cruise bass en route to my house I'm looking for suggestions on the best approaches to learning bass. Best books, DVDs, on-line courses, whatever you think...

 

thanks!

 

Hamer Cruisebass 85 SFG Pearl.jpg

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Train your ear and mind when you're not in the books or in multi-media learning.

Find a good Motown or classic soul station on your car radio dial and leave it there.

To "play" a bass, you have to start "thinking" bass. Pay attention to not only the lines, the runs and grooves, but to the interaction with the kick. THAT'S what makes a bassist versus a guy who can play a bass.

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I've been playing for almost two years now and, much to the chagrin of my guitars, I have fallen hard.  For me, it started with root, 5th, octave, being mindful to not play too busy and try to hit the one with the root.  That will get you quite a ways, surprisingly enough.  From there, you start to learn little runs, walkups, walkdowns, 7ths and so on.  In my case, I dove right in with a band, and I think that has helped a lot, as the bass, much like the drums, can get boring to play on its own pretty quickly, its really a social instrument.

If you find its just not for you, dibs on that Cruise. :wub:

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I recently read an article titled "How to Sound Like a Bass Player Without Sounding Like a Guitarist Playing Bass."

However, some of the "rules" touted are inherently ignored by Flea, Geddy, and Jaco. "If it sounds good, it IS good!"

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Start listening to and focusing on the drums, especially as Jeff R said, the kick drum.  Find a bassist you like and try to focus on just the bass line.  I love listening to Flea throughout his career.  He plays a wide variety of styles and he can hide deep in the groove or stand out and drive the song.  If you like blues based rock or hard rock,  listen to Michael Anthony.  He is a monster player in my opinion.  Great complement to Eddie's playing.  

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Even though I had already been playing bass for years and years, Best thing I ever did was start 4-tracking some AC/DC songs and analyzing what Cliff Williams does--and what he doesn't do.  Highway to Hell is a perfect starting track.  Simple, but not easy.

Like others have said, get inside the kick and snare in your mind.  Be an extension of that as a great place to start.

 

(Now if I could only take my own advice more, lol.)

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Posted (edited)

I know what worked for me has been to find a good instructor/teacher just to get the basic's down. You may not need many lessons just enough to get you thinking like a bass player. I know around here lessons cost about $20 - $30 per 1/2 hour.  I still go and see the same guy who helped me get back into playing guitar after 20 years of not playing. 

 

PS, Get a metronome or a drum machine something to keep time too when your playing.

 

Edited by Carl.B
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19 minutes ago, Bass Guy Dave said:

Even though I had already been playing bass for years and years, Best thing I ever did was start 4-tracking some AC/DC songs and analyzing what Cliff Williams does--and what he doesn't do.  Highway to Hell is a perfect starting track.  Simple, but not easy.

Like others have said, get inside the kick and snare in your mind.  Be an extension of that as a great place to start.

I did this too.

I also bought a CD of backing tracks  that was just a bass player and a drummer playing in different styles (for the purpose of allowing a guitarist to practice over the tracks) and had that in my car every where I went, and I listened to it on headphones at work. Listen to that long enough, you'll learn to lock naturally to the kick. Sitting in the pocket is the first priority here,  but it takes a little time.

Also, I remixed some early Duran Duran and Oingo Boingo tracks to be more bass prominent, because those two bass players, while not complex, are groove masters while  playing inside the box. And they have fun, too. If you are so inclined, listen to Dead Man's Party, particularly "Just Another Day" if you want to hear a rock bassist having fun without wandering into Les Claypool levels of incredulity. John Taylor and John Avila had a big influence on me playing wise, due to the brilliance of their simplicity. Even though I played mostly hard rock.

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Find the .mogg files that came from the guitar hero games.  They are online.  Download the Free Audacity audio editor.  It will open them and you can listen to just the bass tracks by muting the other tracks.  Some tracks have the drum split also, so you can listen to the bass line and the kick track.  

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Good luck with it! Nice bass! Mine's an '86- yellow ink stamp serial, in black with black hardware as well. 

Nice call on Michael Anthony Mathman. Funny coincidence but I was listening to an isolated backing track of "Beautiful Girls" just the other day and thought there was some cool bass work there. And, his killer high vocals were such a great part of the VH sound. Wolfie seems to do just fine but I still miss MA.

That's a great recommendation Ed re. listening to backing tracks to zero in on what the bass and drums are doing!

Or, you could just play old school metal with a lot of E and A pedal tones which are great especially on stage. That lets you look cool playing with only your right hand and leaves your left hand free to drink some iced tea in a Jack Daniels bottle or adjust the foil wrapped potato in your spandex. That's where the real sweet spot of bass playing lies!

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12 minutes ago, ZR said:

Or, you could just play old school metal with a lot of E and A pedal tones which are great especially on stage. That lets you look cool playing with only your right hand and leaves your left hand free to drink some iced tea in a Jack Daniels bottle or adjust the foil wrapped potato in your spandex. That's where the real sweet spot of bass playing lies!

Why didn't you come over and say hi when you saw me play in Vollmer? :lol:

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The mel bay books are a pretty good start, and help you learn to read music.

Definitely the Mo-town era stuff. Classic R&B had great bass players. Stax records had great house bands, with people like the late Donald "Duck" Dunne. He also did the Blues Brothers albums, which are great for good bass lines.

Roger Waters of pink floyd did some good bass work.

John Deacon of Queen laid down some phenomenal lead bass tracks.

Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath

1984 and earlier Van Halen has some nice bass lines too. Nothing ground breaking, but it keeps the songs together with Eddies Lead/Rhythm style.

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As others said, start thinking like a bass player and avoid sounding like a guitarist playing bass.  Also, start buying a lot of PA gear and learn to load, setup, teardown, and unload it by yourself. 

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It's not about thinking like a bassist but feeling like a bassist.
The big trick is the rhythmic aspect. The bass is filling a rhythm function much more so than other instruments (except drums of course).

I worked with an annoying singer who said one intelligent thing about bass - "You play what the girls dance to".

So, to get the rhythm stuff right in your head, dance a little while you practice, rehearse and play. Doesn't have to be much, you can even dance inside your own head. But, it connects you to the pulse of the music and will help you bond with the drums.

p.s. I've played bass as my first instrument for 45+ years.
My problem is that I sound like a bassist when I play guitar!

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1 hour ago, Steve Haynie said:

As others said, start thinking like a bass player and avoid sounding like a guitarist playing bass.  Also, start buying a lot of PA gear and learn to load, setup, teardown, and unload it by yourself. 

This is exactly what happened to me 3 years ago. At least I know we have a good PA!

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As a guitar player I try to play bass as though the drummer's foot is picking the note. Then it's just a matter of not getting in the guitar's way. Because THAT is most important. B)

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8 hours ago, LordsoftheJungle said:

With a Hamer Cruise bass en route to my house I'm looking for suggestions on the best approaches to learning bass. Best books, DVDs, on-line courses, whatever you think...

 

thanks!

 

Hamer Cruisebass 85 SFG Pearl.jpg

Tip:

sell it to me and go back to playing guitar

😁😁😁😁😁😁

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37 minutes ago, HSB0531 said:

Tip:

sell it to me and go back to playing guitar

😁😁😁😁😁😁

Okay, but first I need to learn the Barney Miller theme song and then "You Never Know" off of my first and favorite Jeff Beck album, then you can have it. B)

 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, LordsoftheJungle said:

Okay, but first I need to learn the Barney Miller theme song and then "You Never Know" off of my first and favorite Jeff Beck album, then you can have it. B)

 

 

 

Damn that’s a difficult one.

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46 minutes ago, LordsoftheJungle said:

Okay, but first I need to learn the Barney Miller theme song and then "You Never Know" off of my first and favorite Jeff Beck album, then you can have it. B)

 

 

 

I wish I had spare cash.

Thats my favorite era of cruise bass.

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I was going to be a wise guy and post something by Jaco Pastorius as an example of overplaying, but listening to a few songs it is apparent that he was able to stay in the pocket no matter how he played a bass line.  -_-

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4 hours ago, LordsoftheJungle said:

Okay, but first I need to learn the Barney Miller theme song and then "You Never Know" off of my first and favorite Jeff Beck album, then you can have it. B)

 

 

 

Wait a minute now, I called dibs a good four posts or so before HSB0531.  

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1 minute ago, G Man said:

Wait a minute now, I called dibs a good four posts or so before HSB0531.  

Duly noted!

Thank you one and all for the advice, it will help me get started and then we'll see where it leads me. I've read good things about "Peavey Presents, Play It All Bass Guitar Beginner". That and Mel Bay's "Note Reading Studies for Bass" will be my starter books I think.

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Also check out Scott's Bass Lessons on YouTube.  At least the first several, after that it becomes more of a show than instructional.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, G Man said:

Also check out Scott's Bass Lessons on YouTube.  At least the first several, after that it becomes more of a show than instructional.

Thanks,,, I'm intrigued by those gloves he wears. I wonder why.

Edited by LordsoftheJungle

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