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Old 01-15-2011, 12:31 AM   #1
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OT: Beginning Bass

Hey guys and gals,

so I'm 18 and I've never played an instrument in my life. I've listened to so much music, and I really want to play.

For Christmas, my brother gave me his beat up bass guitar and I fixed it up a good lot.

Basically it goes like this. All activity I do with this guitar (at least for now) is gonna be just me learning it through YouTube, etc. I do not have the time or resources (money) for lessons.

So that all being said, any hints or tips for starting off? Any feedback would be greatly appriciated, thanks.
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:05 AM   #2
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I got my first bass when I was 20. Never too late to start out.
Although by 21, I was more interested in the guitar.
I've never taken a lesson and certainly never paid for any.
You can teach yourself well enough*.

As for tips? I think the toughest thing about the bass is simply fretting the notes and ease of maneuvering your hands/fingers around the fret board. But in tandem* with getting used to fingering the frets and changing around and plucking the strings. etc. is also the basics of understanding notes.

You want to be able to know what an E, G, A, etc. is and find it easily.
If you are just playing the tabs and looking at (5th fret, first string- sort of thing) are you really learning anything other than how to play that specific song? You might as well kill two birds with one stone and learn what note the 5th fret is on the first string. (it's A)

You might dig for some bass tabs at 911tabs (Google it). Early U2 is real easy and a great place to start because playing those 16th notes (the fast driving notes like the intro to Out of Control) is good training for general playing. If you can play fast, you can play slow. Play along to those songs, and as you do so, familiarize yourself with which notes you're playing. If all you care about is playing the specific song (as I said above) then you aren't really learning what you should be learning. That's JMO.

Comfort of fretting/general playing will only come with time and labor. It ain't easy.
But an understanding of what you're trying to play can come much sooner if you are interested in doing so. I would recommend it.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback, I appriciate it. I guess studying, if you will, would help out. Especially if I want to make any creations of my own. Among U2, I've been able to tackle WOWY and I'm really shooting hard on New Year's Day because that's pretty much my inspiration with the bass.

May I ask though... am I developing a bad habbit by not using two fingers? I'm very uncomfortable using two fingers, I prefer the cleaner sound of using just my thumb, and in some cases the pick is much quicker. Should I force myself to use my fingers and try and develop a rythym?
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:33 PM   #4
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I used my thumb all the time as well. It's really much better to start to use your fingers, as for quicker rhythm and changes you cannot do it with just your thumb.
Let me know if you get New Year's Day, otherwise I've a tab for you.


Sometimes I do still thumb it tho.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:50 PM   #5
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Oh with New Year's Day I'm using a pick. It's WOWY that I'm thumbing. Mainly because it's so slow that my fingers a) move too quickly and b) have an unequal rythym.

I'll go ahead and try and make that adjustment as well though.

New Year's Day, so far I'm just sticking to the chorus and when I nail that I'll move on. I can get the 11 11 9 11 down pretty easily, transferring to the 2 2 1 2 is tough though, especially holding down the frets on 1. Always get a nasty response on the amp because I'm not holding it down hard enough.

Hmm... what tabs do you speak of?
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:28 PM   #6
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I've tabs for NYD in both tunings, since I find it annoying to tune my bass 1/2 step down for just a song. Pretty convenient

Also got Streets and Crazy Tonight tabbed fully, those should be on Ultimate-guitar.com under the same nickname.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:10 PM   #7
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I wouldn't know the first thing about tuning. I see, I [try to] play
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #8
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Well a guitar and a bass both have tuning. You have standard tuning, which is E A D G, meaning the thickest string of your guitar is an E note the second is an A, and so on. U2 play live a lot of songs 1/2 step lower. On your bass it'd result in playing a fret to the left, so if you play E1(which is an F) when it's tuned 1/2 step down you play an E.
The only difference is that the songs will sound slightly different, but you can still play like that. On guitar I never play SBS 1/2step down, I hate tuning my guitars, but it sounds good all the same.

If you want to understand and learn more easily, I'd suggest you look up some of the basics of music theory. I haven't gotten any myself, but had a nice music teacher from highschool who taught me the basics of the bass guitar. That really did help and now I just do whatever.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:24 AM   #9
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Well thank you for the info. You know, I think that's the biggest intimidation part of an approach to a new instrument. Honestly, it's completely foreign to me. I never knew that guitarists adjust the tuning. I always assumed that every guitar was different from each other (but every string was tuned to the same note).

Interesting, good to know.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:03 AM   #10
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It'd probably be useful to get to know the neck of the instrument well, that's what my teacher kept hammering on. So that you know that if you play the fifth fret of the E string, it's an A, the same note as the open 2nd string. There's always a few ways to play a song, and with that you can figure out what the easiest for you is.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:31 PM   #11
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While I know nothing other than the example you just listed when it comes to that kinda stuff...

I did notice that on WOWY... can be played 10 5 7 3 or 5(A) 5 7 3.

Much more convinient to play the closer strings, in my opinion.

Anyways, thank you so much for all of the feedback. I'll put it to good use.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:05 PM   #12
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That's what I meant. Though the way Adam plays it, which I consider the easiest, is A5(D), A0(A), A2(B), E3(G)
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:45 PM   #13
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Galeongirl is right.
Quote:
It's really much better to start to use your fingers, as for quicker rhythm and changes you cannot do it with just your thumb.
Absolutely you should try to play with your fingers.
It's going to be hard no matter how you start out - such as you mentioning this:
Quote:
Always get a nasty response on the amp because I'm not holding it down hard enough.
Yep. That was my problem on both bass and guitar - getting to the point where you could fret the note solidly and note have it 'rattle' or whatever. Every guitarist (AFAIK) struggles with this. You can even hear Edge mis-fret and rattle a note in SYCMIOYO. There is an official term for that I'm sure...but "rattle" gets the job done.

The main point is, there is no set 'easy path' but the best advice I could give you is the advice I wish someone gave me when I was 20/21 (whether I listened or not at the time would be a different story ) and that is to try and do some tough things simultaneously.

But we'd rather play it now - the easiest way possible. That's what I did.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:29 PM   #14
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Dropping in on this convo, I totally understand the opinion of playing just with the thumb, but once you get the motion of your individual fingers down, you'll learn that the placement of your thumb also easily mutes the strings not being played. I do use my thumb at times when I'm doing a kind-of nontraditional tremolo on two notes at the same time, this being sort of borrowed from nylon string guitar playing.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:44 PM   #15
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Okay so the general proper way of practice sounds like using your fingers over using your thumb...

so where does that put a pick? I dont use it all the time (generally it makes a completely different sound IMO. Songs like New Years Day though, seems just more natural with a pick.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:50 PM   #16
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Some songs are played with a pick(Vertigo, Pride, Streets for example) but not all of them. I think Adam uses a pick on NYD as well. Pretty much down to personal preference I guess. I like the sound more when you play with your fingers.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galeongirl View Post
Some songs are played with a pick(Vertigo, Pride, Streets for example) but not all of them. I think Adam uses a pick on NYD as well. Pretty much down to personal preference I guess. I like the sound more when you play with your fingers.
I completely agree about the sound... smooth clean sound with your fingers that flows.

With a pick it's more brash (and probably too precise). Easier to pick up that bad song for a song like WOWY as opposed to the songs you've listed, which are much quicker.

So... if it's okay to use a pick... I will follow (no pun intended).
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:03 PM   #18
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Brash is a good way to desrcibe it, hard and fast rock and roll works with a pick, but its much more expressive to play with your fingers, which also gives you more options for playing style, and again allows you to easily mute the strings that aren't being played.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:35 PM   #19
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So... I know that whole rattling is bad... but what about when you've got the fret right but what about when you get a response from the string clashing into the fretboard? Does that register on the amp? I've tried to listen to see if I can hear anything, but quite honestly I cant tell if it's going through on the amp.

Which leads me to question amplifiers... I mean I'm just using scrap material put all together... is there a difference between amps? If so, I'm fairly certain the one I'm using is specifically for guitars or more of the distorted type.

Can't get a clean sound regardless of how much I mess with the settings.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:20 AM   #20
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Yeah there's a BIG difference between bass amps and guitar amps. Guitar amps are lightweight 'wussy' amps. Bass amps have bigger speakers and thus give a broader, cleaner bass sound. And they're much louder too. Ofcourse there's a difference between amps too, the tiny ones aren't big enough to carry the sound so I'd suggest getting a decent sized amp at least.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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