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Old 2005-03-17, 12:12
New Blood
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
tips for a newbie?

i just picked up a bass a couple weeks ago. i've been looking at sites like and learning some tabs and shit, but i still don't know the techniques of playing and everything. most of the time i use just my index finger for picking, but i know youre supposed to alternate between it and the middle finger, but whenever i do i fuck up. there is no instructor any where near my area so that isn't an option. just give me some basic tips and stuff please.
Old 2005-03-17, 13:15
Local_Hero's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Posts: 88
Practice, practice, practice.

If you can't do it right, keep doing it until you can. That's it.

BTW, you don't really have to use the index and the middle fingers. Some famous bassist I can't remember the name used only one. Of course, the more fingers you use, the faster you play (not to mention it will take you longer to get tired).

Last edited by Local_Hero : 2005-03-17 at 13:18.
Old 2005-03-17, 14:36
New Blood
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
oh, also, a big problem for me is muting. especially when i go from one string to another string.
Old 2005-03-17, 14:58
Senior Metalhead
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 318
Originally Posted by vartex
oh, also, a big problem for me is muting. especially when i go from one string to another string.

If you're new at the bass thing, and the problems you're worrying about are things such as using more fingers and making the muting sound better, then it sounds to me you're already past some beginners anyway. But just like that one dude replied: practice. And don't really TRY to use both fingers or get the muting down exactly. Just play what you can, and before you know it, you're better. If you've got a talent for it, then don't worry about learning shit. It'll come natural to you. Just don't strain too hard on one problem, cuz then you'll become obsessed with it, get frustrated, and lose valuable time on learning things naturally that will help you out alot. Just fiddle around and attempt to do whatever you can. Then you should start picking those types of things up pretty quickly without even realizing it.
Old 2005-03-17, 21:28
My Ass, Your Face
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,557
I have to agree with Local Hero, practice, practice, practice. You will get much better.
A little section of Requiem's "I finally got laid" posts.
Originally Posted by Requiem
Wore her out before I could finish(which im grateful for)

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Old 2005-03-17, 21:57
Stachio's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 62
This will probably seem annoying at first, but practice songs slowly at first. Make sure it's perfect at whatever speed you're comfortable with then SLOWLY increase the speed until you get it right. A lot of people will learn a fast song and find out they can't play it that great at slower speeds.
This might not always be possible, but the best thing you can do for yourself is get a good teacher, and try to learn some music theory along with technique.
Give my projects a listen (Canvas Solaris, The Universe Divide, and Karamazov Project)
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Old 2005-03-20, 01:20
Senior Metalhead
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 165
of course like everyone else, I'll say practice till your fingers bleed.. then practice some more.
but especially on your fret hand try to use all your fingers (except thumb of course) and it will make learning songs than span 4 or more frets a LOT easier. On your fingering hand, just play the way that feels most comfortable.
One technique that I still use, is pick a song that you know you can't play, and learn it really really slow. Then play it faster and faster as you get better, and then when you got it up to the appropriate tempo learn another song in the same way. I suggest Anesthesia (sp?) by Metallica or even the intro to Souls of Black by Testament for starters. You can also get online "lessons" for simple stuff.
The way I learned to play fast is to play scales over and over. It's great because you have a huuuge variety, and you can look them up on the internet if you're not sure.
Old 2005-03-22, 18:23
Senior Metalhead
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Posts: 274
Try to alternate between those two fingers for every note. You'll develop picking as you go on, but it also helps sometimes to just sit there and do something that uses only open strings and repeat it over and over slowly. You should just sit there and watch TV while playing the same string over and over again, making sure that each note is of equal duration and more or less as loud as the last one. Use a metronome if you want, and change strings every once in a while. Look up the internet for simple practice exercises and warmups.

Apart from tabs, there is also stuff you can listen to and play along with. There's a program called Powertab I recommend you download. Using powertab you can program a song (or a riff), and then the program can play it back to you. You can adjust the tempo to something you're comfortable with and play along. There are tons of songs you can download and learn by slowing the tempo down like that.
Here's the site, just follow links to get the program and download songs:

There's another site that's good too. You can play the songs directly from the site; you don't need to download anything. You can also adjust the tempo on this one too. The only problem is that most of it is for guitar and some of it uses strings you don't have, and depending on how patient you are, you might not want to figure out how to transpose it to bass.

Some people say to think outside the box.
I say do away with it. You can always stand in its former location if you need to make use of the perspective it gave you, but will benefit from the ability to situate yourself in different loci with ease.
Destroy the box.
Old 2005-03-22, 21:06
New Blood
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: houston, texas
Posts: 25

everyone has posted really excellent information for you newbie except i'm seeing one element that is key. yes that's right. inspiration. if you find someone that inspires you to play man that will change your world. study that person. get videos on them if they have them. try to choose someone that is established and has a reputation. typically a person like that will have music videos or live videos and study there technique and the way they play watch there fingers on both hands. practice is the elementary key that will fix much of what your worried about. like i said everyone gave really good advice and if you follow it you can keep what works best for you and grow into an awesome respectable bass player.

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