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  #1  
Old 01-25-2011, 03:09 AM
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Default bass guitar... advice...

I've taken a few bass guitar lessons. I'd really like to learn it, but I guess I don't have the natural guitar fingers. It's very frustrating whenever I practice because as of now, my fingers can't spread that far apart, which limits the things I can play. Obviously, with lots of practice and hard work, I could become much better at bass, but it would require some sacrificing from my drumming time to put the extra work into bass. I don't have very much drumming time as it is... With homework and sports I usually get an hour every weekday, and maybe 2 (sometimes 3) on the weekends.

I know bass will really help with my drumming ability, especially the timekeeping element.
So do any drummers who also play bass have any advice? How should I get started? And how much time should I take out of drumming to put into bass?
Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:27 AM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

I actually learned bass before picking up drums, but I consider drums my primary instrument. Like you, I think my hands are a bit small to bridge octaves and major chords on a 34" scale. However, I'm pretty much done growing (chuckle), so I don't think it's getting any easier. I do play quite a bit, and not just for amusement any more, I do play bass in a local group as the opportunity presents.

How much time you put into it will pretty much determine what you get out of it. So what do you want out of it?

If learning music theory (chord structure and such) is your goal, while you *can* learn those things on the bass, guitar and piano are more "gateway" instruments because they are normally played by playing chords. The bass uses chords and scales mostly to compose basslines; it's rarer to play more than one or two notes simultaneously.

However, the bass is kind of the bridge between the rhythmic and melodic/chordal worlds. In my mind, it's a logical choice, and you *can* pick up some of the knowledge you are looking for playing it. But probably only as much as you apply yourself. There are many bassists who learn songs by tab only and know nothing of the theory behind their instrument - - similar to the reading vs. non-reading controversy that sometimes flares up in these pages.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

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Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
I actually learned bass before picking up drums, but I consider drums my primary instrument. Like you, I think my hands are a bit small to bridge octaves and major chords on a 34" scale. However, I'm pretty much done growing (chuckle), so I don't think it's getting any easier. I do play quite a bit, and not just for amusement any more, I do play bass in a local group as the opportunity presents.

How much time you put into it will pretty much determine what you get out of it. So what do you want out of it?

If learning music theory (chord structure and such) is your goal, while you *can* learn those things on the bass, guitar and piano are more "gateway" instruments because they are normally played by playing chords. The bass uses chords and scales mostly to compose basslines; it's rarer to play more than one or two notes simultaneously.

However, the bass is kind of the bridge between the rhythmic and melodic/chordal worlds. In my mind, it's a logical choice, and you *can* pick up some of the knowledge you are looking for playing it. But probably only as much as you apply yourself. There are many bassists who learn songs by tab only and know nothing of the theory behind their instrument - - similar to the reading vs. non-reading controversy that sometimes flares up in these pages.
I'm not really interested in music theory... I just know it's good to learn more than one instrument, and bass seemed like a good choice. I'm sorta just trying to expand my musical knowledge, and get experience with a variety of instruments, while still keeping drums my primary. (I play a bit of piano too... Nothing serious though.)
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

It's a fine choice, and please don't construe anything I said as knocking it. If anything, getting acceptably proficient is somewhat easier than playing guitar of keys, in my opinion.

I played other instruments before the bass, so my theory was in hand before picking up either bass or drums. But that's what I would pick up a melodic instrument for - to try and learn a little about the other half of music (rhythm being one, melody the other).

In any case, singing and jumping around while playing the bass is fun.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

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Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
It's a fine choice, and please don't construe anything I said as knocking it. If anything, getting acceptably proficient is somewhat easier than playing guitar of keys, in my opinion.

I played other instruments before the bass, so my theory was in hand before picking up either bass or drums. But that's what I would pick up a melodic instrument for - to try and learn a little about the other half of music (rhythm being one, melody the other).

In any case, singing and jumping around while playing the bass is fun.
Are there online resources good for learning bass? I doubt we can afford private drum and bass lessons...
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

I played bass for 20 years before playing drums. There are alot of exercises you can do to help strech you hands. One is to learn the major and minor scale and play it in every postion of the neck using one finger per fret. Or if you hands are really just tooo small you can alter your fretting hand. A lot of stand up bass players us their first and middle finger independely....... their ring finger and pinky are used toghther(ex first finger first fret : secound finger secound fret : 3rd and 4th finger on 3rd fret). You will have to slide up and down the neck more but it will work and the ring and pinky together support each other. The pinky alone on the e string can be hard to press by itself.

It sounds like you dont have alot of time to pratice. You might only want to diddle with the bass. I wouldnt give up time from drums to pratice the bass.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

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Originally Posted by daredrummer View Post
Are there online resources good for learning bass? I doubt we can afford private drum and bass lessons...
There are, and don't discount the power of a simple chord chart (kind of like rudiments for drums, the basics of what playing bass is about). I would recommend using a search engine rather than asking me, because I learned what I know about playing the bass in jazz band classes in school and went pretty much on my own from there.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanmurr View Post
I played bass for 20 years before playing drums. There are alot of exercises you can do to help strech you hands. One is to learn the major and minor scale and play it in every postion of the neck using one finger per fret. Or if you hands are really just tooo small you can alter your fretting hand. A lot of stand up bass players us their first and middle finger independely....... their ring finger and pinky are used toghther(ex first finger first fret : secound finger secound fret : 3rd and 4th finger on 3rd fret). You will have to slide up and down the neck more but it will work and the ring and pinky together support each other. The pinky alone on the e string can be hard to press by itself.

It sounds like you dont have alot of time to pratice. You might only want to diddle with the bass. I wouldnt give up time from drums to pratice the bass.
Yeah thats a good technique going from the first fret to fourth fret using one finger on each
Ex: start on E and go down the frets 1,2,3,4, using your pointer for , middle for 2, ring for 3, and of course pinky for 4, Then do this on each string down to the G, then when you get to the end try doing it backwards, and so on and so forth

Hope this is any help to you, haha its a bit difficult for me to explain it
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:27 AM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

Ok thanks for all the help guys.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2011, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

I'd recommend a short scale bass (30" scale).

I used to have a Hamer Slammer SB4 which was great for the price ($150 or so)
There's also the Rondo Music short scale basses - SX brand name (also around $150)
And if you want to spend a little more, the Fender Mustang bass is very nice. ($500)

I'm a bass/guitar player just getting into drums.
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

l always wanted to learn, but I just haven't found the time.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: bass guitar... advice...

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Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
It's a fine choice, and please don't construe anything I said as knocking it. If anything, getting acceptably proficient is somewhat easier than playing guitar of keys, in my opinion.
.
This can be true, but then you get guys like Victor Wooten, Sean Malone and Michael Manring.

Basic keys are also one of the easiest instruments in existence to play, you can get keys that are not even weighted that will simply play the note with the same intensity regardless of how hard you press them.
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Last edited by Frost; 02-09-2011 at 04:00 PM.
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