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Miscellaneous First steps on bass guitar

MikeMorrell

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Learning to play bass has been on the (unlit) back backburner for many months since my Big Bands started rehearsing again and I've been focusing on sax.

FWIW, a member of one of my Big Bands had (due to a medical condition) to give up playing trombone and decided to learn bass. Although she had lessons, she soon developed a tendon injury and had to take a six-week break to recover. Browsing the net, there's a lot on bass player injuries and tips for avoiding them. Top of the list (as I remember) are:
- always doing a 'warming-up' before playing
- limiting the amount and duration of practice as a beginner

She started off trying to 'play along'with BB rehearsals by playing the first note of each bar. She's now (wisely) decided to focus on first learning 'the basics'. I was impressed when our regular guitarist effortlessly filled in on bass guitar during our regular bass player's vacation. I saw the same thing happen during Paul McCartney's Glastonbury set.

OT, but I looked up the members of Paul McCartney's band. They are all highly experienced and talented musicians in their own right. All band leaders, composers, producers, etc. All have played with the best. No wonder they sounded so good!
 

LostCircuits

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Isn't bass guitar the same an octave down?
You can play bass on a regular guitar with a pedal. With the right pedal you get a drummer too.:)
That's like playing bari on an alto.
You are old enough to remember the BMW 2002 Touring: "As beautiful as a van and as roomy as a sportscar"
 

Targa

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That's like playing bari on an alto.
You are old enough to remember the BMW 2002 Touring: "As beautiful as a van and as roomy as a sportscar"
And to remember when BMW stood for Baader Meinhof Wagon because they were so easy to steal.
 

Colin the Bear

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I've had a Kitten and a Rebel but the most memorable was the optimistically named Regal Supervan III. 700cc of load carrying utility. :rolleyes:
 

MikeMorrell

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Hmm ... I''ll leave it to real bass players to comment but (in my extremely limited beginner's experience) playing bass (guitar or acoustic) is a completely different musical experience (and requires very different skills) than for example guitar, sax or (I assume) other strings.

What I personally like about playing bass (guitar) is that it's the fundamental bridge between 'rhythm' and 'melody' (chords). The rhythm has to be completely in synch with the drummer. On the other hand, the notes you play affect the chords being played at any one time. To a large extent, this applies to all musicians. But all musicians rely on the drummer and bass player to set the rhythm. So as a bass player (MHO) you can play around, and do variations (relying on the drummer for the beat) but eventually you have to pick up 'the beat.

Experienced bass players say that they soon can tell the difference between a guitarist who's also picked up bas s and a 'real' bass guitarist.
 

Jimatunes

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Hope you will have a great time playing with your band. I would say that the main thing to understand about playing bass guitar is that you are the one who makes everybody else sound good and who rarely gets credit for it. You are providing the structure or skeleton of the music, therefore, you are the band's timekeeper. But before all that all I would suggest studying guitars and their accessories.
 

turf3

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The key thing is to play BASS. The instrument you play it on is secondary to understanding the role of the bass in the style of music you're playing, and doing that; not some other stuff.

Guitarists who transition to bass usually (in my experience) play way too much stuff rather than keeping it simple and driving the beat.

Whether you do it with a tuba, bass guitar, string bass, bass saxophone, bass ukulele, bassoon, keyboard bass, or the pedals on a Hammond, you're always playing BASS.

Of course, down the road you can go all Jaco on us, but I can tell you that he could damn sure drive a band too. Learn how to drive the band before you start worrying about the other stuff. No one's going to hire a bass player than can noodle all over the fingerboard but can't play a straight two-beat, four-beat, rhumba, or straight rock eighths; if you can do those things well but your soloing is meh, you'll work all the time anyway.
 

MikeMorrell

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My 2 Big Bands are blessed with 2 experienced (upright and guitar) bass players. They - together with our drummers, keyboard players and guitarists - occasionally get tips from our MD's but far less than other other sections (Saxes, Trumpets, Trombones). It means so much to a BB to have a 'stable and competent' rhythm section. In fact, the most common tip to Saxes, Trumpets and Trombones- and also to piano and guitar - is to 'listen to the rhythm section!' (meaning drummer + bass).

During a recent vacation of the bassist of 1 of my Big Bands, the bassist of my other Big Band agreed to fill in at rehearsals. When I suggested beforehand sending him some scores, his reply was 'I won't have to rehease them and anyway, it's just jazz'. His 'filling in' was perfect!

Mike
 

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