hi guys

i ve been playing bass for a good 4 or 5 years! and been playing in church and at cu reglauir but feeling that my bass playing is lacking somewhat as i know where the notes are on the fret bored but i only use mainly use the E and A strings up to normally the 5th fret and advice on how to make my playing more exicing??


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Did you ever hear that old joke,asking "What's the way to Carnegie Hall?". The answer is "Practise!" and the same applies here. I'd start with scales in the keys you commonly play in. Even over one octave, you'll have to break out of that little box you described, although ideally you will extend them to at least two octaves and also learn how to fill in the lower notes (so, for example, rather than stopping at a C, you can carry on down through B, A, G, F and E when playing a C major scale).

As well as this technical approach to improving your comfortable range, work on learning the basslines from recordings. Pick songs you like and which don't sound too difficult. What you are really looking for are the tunes that are fairly easy but make you work a bit and, again, pull you out of of that box.

So, how much do you know about music? Do you read music? There are some great DVD's to help us develop. I like to add notes in sometimes that are in the cord structure.

Here is a good thing to try? MJS Music PublicationsEasy Bass Guitar Theory (DVD)




not much i know if it says the note say G i ussauly use the G string or E string 3rd fret but carnt read the dotes. dont know much about music as im dyslexic so that donst help. thanks will check them out!

well that's okay. just get a poster of the bass neck and begin to learn new notes on the neck.

Well, there are patterns on the fret board that you can use to find other notes. A guitar player on your worship team should be able to tell you the basics of Chords. Whatever notes are in the chords can usually be played with that chord. For example, the G chord is made up of a G, B, and D notes, and you can use any or all of them while the G chord is being played by the guitarist or pianist and it would sound good. Once you know that, learn where the octaves of notes are. Also, learn the notes all the way to the double dot on the first string(E)......then the second(A). Once you know those things, then you'll find tha the whole fret board is you playground. And keep it simple, Go with the feel of the Spirit. You can never go wrong with that!

Something I've noticed is that bass players are usually MUCH fussier about technical musicianship than guitarists. I'm not sure if it's because there are less strings, because it can be difficult to hear whether the bass is playing appropriate notes or just simply because they need to underpin everyone else musically and it requires a better working knowledge of musical mechanics than it does to improvise on guitar.

I'm never going to be a 'good' bass player because I've no interest in learning more than I need to 'get by'.

To improvise from a chord chart will require you to be a better musician than the guy who looks at it and says "I can't do that". Of course, it also requires you to be a better musician to nail the dots or play coherently entirely by ear.

I think the key point is to work on things that stretch you and seize the opportunity to play in settings that start out just a little bit beyond you. Playing from a written score, backing up a musical, would definitely be a learning opportunity (in fact, one I wouldn't mind a crack at myself) even if your worship playing context doesn't provide a set of dots to follow.


Any advice on how to improve the rhythm of bass lines?  I think I'm fairly proficient with the

fretboard, scales and knowing what notes make up chords etc.  But the drummer wants me

to break out of my rhythm "box" and not  just be stuck on eighth or quarter notes on downbeats.

Sometimes I hear counter rhythms in my head but not often. How can I get better at that?

Could it be that the drummer is wanting the bass to do something that is not needed?

If Diana is only playing quarter and eighth notes then I think the drummer probably has a point. Three routes for improving your rhythm vocabulary come to mind:

1. Listen to and try playing along with songs that don't fall into the rhythmic ruts you are familiar with. Even just tapping your hand along in time with the bass would help.

2. Do the maths. Even with just quarter notes and rests, there are several combinations in a single bar of 4/4: eg. q q q q | q r q r | q q r q | etc. Allowing yourself to add ties and rests adds even more: eg. q_q r q | q r r q | etc. Now try some patterns that repeat over two bars. Once you've got the hang of that, work on the same patterns but count each quarter note as an eighth note (so every bar is, in effect, twice as long). Rinse and repeat. Even before you get down to sixteenths or add in other twists like triplets, you should have found a few patterns ("rhythm riffs" is the name I was given when I learned them) to add some variety.

3. Work with the drummer. A common trick is to play the same rhythm as they play on their bass drum although there are also plenty of other approaches and the drummer might be the best one to show you.


Thanks guys.  Actually that is very similar to how I learned to play African drum

rhythms (Djembe and DjunDjun drums).  I'd count out loud and play  1 2 3 and 4

  1 2 and 3 4      and 1 and 2 3 4 to get out of our Western music style to the

African style off beats. I guess its just not as easy on bass when I'm thinking about

specific notes as well.

Quickie question then - eighth notes refers to how the bar is segmented, rather than to sub-divisions of a crotchet? I never needed to know, but in that case it makes guys playing 16ths seem a lot less awesome!


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