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Mike M

Musician taking up bass

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59 minutes ago, FUBTAG said:

Sort of like drummers...  

Why, I oughta...!

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kinda having a bit of fun playing this thing......I do about 40 mins a day.

  I spoke to a guitar teacher in my area and he told me to: when sitting, put the bass on my LEFT knee (like a classical guitarist) and try to to keep the head even with my left shoulder or strap it "high" to keep the head at shoulder height - excellent suggestions as it's more comfortable.

I am also not playing everything in "first position" as the frets are not as spread.

I found some youtube play-a-longs; there are one-chord funk ones plus i found one with a turnaround progression that's fun...

My issue is that I can think of a bunch of great bass lines to play - but I don't have the chops to play them - go figure - kinda funny in a way.  I took out my bari sax and can play those lines, but on bass - just "vanilla" for now (foot, 5th, and a few leading tones).

This is a good diversion for me as everyday I hear that more and more of my gigs have been cancelled. There are two still "on the books" for Memorial Day weekend.....those will probably be tossed:(

 

A question: I tune the bass with an electric tuner just tuning the D string to A440.  I proceed to tune the rest of the strings by ear which works well except for the E string.....  I always tune it a bit sharp (this is the way I hear it). I recheck it with the tuner...when I bring it down it sounds flat to me......maybe I'm not used to hearing things in that register....    

 

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1 hour ago, Mike M said:

A question: I tune the bass with an electric tuner just tuning the D string to A440.  I proceed to tune the rest of the strings by ear which works well except for the E string.....  I always tune it a bit sharp (this is the way I hear it). I recheck it with the tuner...when I bring it down it sounds flat to me......maybe I'm not used to hearing things in that register....   

New strings or old strings? Old ones are harder to tune accurately. The intonation might be out requiring you to tune sharper for the zone you are playing in. If it is an old one, replace the whole set and tune up before you touch the intonation.

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When you tune, give the string a good solid pluck and tune to the attack, not the decay of the note.

Less expensive bass guitars almost always struggle with the low E. Like there are a couple of notes in there. I can't remember if you mentioned what the bass is, but that's a possibility. 

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10 hours ago, Mike M said:

A question: I tune the bass with an electric tuner just tuning the D string to A440.  I proceed to tune the rest of the strings by ear which works well except for the E string.....  I always tune it a bit sharp (this is the way I hear it). I recheck it with the tuner...when I bring it down it sounds flat to me......maybe I'm not used to hearing things in that register....

How are you tuning the D string to 440 Hz? That's A, not D, and the A on a bass is 55 Hz, the D is about 73.4 Hz. Are you fretting the D at the 7th fret to get an A? That would be 110 Hz. Many electronic tuners don't sense the low E well but in my limited experience they're better than tuning by ear--well, my ear, anyway. smiley-wink If your tuner is having trouble, tune the 12th fret harmonic, an E only an octave higher. As 1001gear suggested, make sure your intonation is correct. It could throw the notes off, especially if you're tuning fretted notes.

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11 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

How are you tuning the D string to 440 Hz? That's A, not D, and the A on a bass is 55 Hz, the D is about 73.4 Hz. Are you fretting the D at the 7th fret to get an A? That would be 110 Hz. Many electronic tuners don't sense the low E well but in my limited experience they're better than tuning by ear--well, my ear, anyway. smiley-wink If your tuner is having trouble, tune the 12th fret harmonic, an E only an octave higher. As 1001gear suggested, make sure your intonation is correct. It could throw the notes off, especially if you're tuning fretted notes.

The tuner can be adjusted to 440, 442, etc. depending on where I want the pitch to center. I understand the Hz concept🙂.

Maybe the tuner is having trouble picking up the E string's frequency (41Hz).......it's a cheap tuner......

FWIW: I have always felt that the lowest of pitches need to "come up a little" (at least to my ear) for a bit more edge.

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4 hours ago, Mike M said:

The tuner can be adjusted to 440, 442, etc. depending on where I want the pitch to center. I understand the Hz concept🙂.

Maybe the tuner is having trouble picking up the E string's frequency (41Hz).......it's a cheap tuner......

FWIW: I have always felt that the lowest of pitches need to "come up a little" (at least to my ear) for a bit more edge.

Same concept of stretch tuning on a piano. I'm sure it sounds fine when the instrument is playing solo - well, I'm not sure, but a lot of people seem to like it. But it has always seemed to me that the sharpened notes would be out of tune. If I play an A 440, and then add a bass note down low, but the bass note has been tuned sharp, then won't the 56Hz bass note be out of tune with the 440Hz A? Seems to me that it would be. On the other hand, there are those who say that the Western ear has been desensitized to notes being out of tune ever since Bach invented the equal tempered scale.

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11 hours ago, Mike M said:

The tuner can be adjusted to 440, 442, etc. depending on where I want the pitch to center. I understand the Hz concept🙂.

Maybe the tuner is having trouble picking up the E string's frequency (41Hz).......it's a cheap tuner......

FWIW: I have always felt that the lowest of pitches need to "come up a little" (at least to my ear) for a bit more edge.

Given that you said you tune the D string to 440Hz, rather than saying, "I set the tuner to A=440Hz and use it to tune the D string," I'm not sure you do "understand the Hz concept." Or maybe it's the English language that's the problem. smiley-wink As previously noted, cheap tuners do sometimes have trouble with the low E, and the 12th fret harmonic is an easy workaround. Finally, admittedly I'm just a hack but I've never understood the notion of an out-of-tune instrument adding "a bit more edge." "Edge," IMHO comes from playing dynamics and technique, which is probably why my own playing doesn't have much "edge." smiley-wink As always, YMMV.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/8/2020 at 10:55 AM, FUBTAG said:

Sort of like drummers...  

careful fellas, every once in a while you run into a musician that plays drums... and more instruments than some of you have even heard of...

you see ive always heard that mono-instrumentalists have small hands...  

Edited by Voltan

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"Tuning" is for conformists.  I will NOT be dictated to like that! 😬

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17 minutes ago, lug said:

"Tuning" is for conformists.  I will NOT be dictated to like that! 😬

thats the spirit!

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4 hours ago, lug said:

"Tuning" is for conformists.  I will NOT be dictated to like that! 😬

I think you sat in with our band a few years back when our bassist was sick. 😄😏

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18 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

I think you sat in with our band a few years back when our bassist was sick. 😄😏

If your hearing is still intact, that's very unlikely. 

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Well, I'm still "plucking away" at my electric bass venture.  I'm starting to play cleaner, albeit not too fast, just cleaner.

I've been playing mostly major scales, major arpeggios, plus a few jam tracks and kid tune melodies; Frere Jacques, Mary Had a Little lamb, Yankee Doodle ( kid tunes are used so that I can get used to the fret-board without looking at it...).  On a swing jam track that I'm doing I can now "walk through" the progression (D-/G7/Cmaj7/A7)....  I started out just the roots, next day root & 5ths, next day practiced the appropriate scale for each chord, next day tried to connect them; DEFA/GABD/CDEG/ABC#E (repeat).

I'm having fun "plucking around".... 

 

 

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On 4/16/2020 at 10:02 AM, Voltan said:

careful fellas, every once in a while you run into a musician that plays drums... and more instruments than some of you have even heard of...

you see ive always heard that mono-instrumentalists have small hands...  

I have VERY small hands..   and play a lot of instruments...  compensating I guess..   HA!

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My bass venture continued:

As of late I have been learning the instrument a bit more by "feel" ie; playing my scales/arpeggios while watching the news on TV as I feel at this point I 'd be best to make playing "second nature" so to speak.  (I run through my routine while looking at my left hand and then do it again without looking, etc.)  My technique is slowly coming together....trying to play clean consistently.

I'm (especially) trying to clean up my left hand while in 1st position due to the wider left-hand posture - that is coming along - slowly.

What should I be working on next? 

My long range goal/wish/desire is to have enough chops to answer a craigslist ad from a start up indie/original band and start playing a bit....  

I do not wish to gig professionally on bass....I do that on my woodwinds..  This is a fun venture on my part.

One thing is for sure - if this covid thing keeps me/us locked down for another month or two my chops should be pretty good

and

I can play bass with a mask on!

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mike M said:

My bass venture continued:

As of late I have been learning the instrument a bit more by "feel" ie; playing my scales/arpeggios while watching the news on TV as I feel at this point I 'd be best to make playing "second nature" so to speak.  (I run through my routine while looking at my left hand and then do it again without looking, etc.)  My technique is slowly coming together....trying to play clean consistently.

I'm (especially) trying to clean up my left hand while in 1st position due to the wider left-hand posture - that is coming along - slowly.

What should I be working on next? 

My long range goal/wish/desire is to have enough chops to answer a craigslist ad from a start up indie/original band and start playing a bit....  

I do not wish to gig professionally on bass....I do that on my woodwinds..  This is a fun venture on my part.

One thing is for sure - if this covid thing keeps me/us locked down for another month or two my chops should be pretty good

and

I can play bass with a mask on!

That you can!

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Glad to hear you're making progress. Wishing you continued success. As for the mask, yeah, some instruments seem made for our current situation and some of us actually look better. ;)

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Bellion-76.JPG

Getting ready for post-Coronavirus gigs......

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'still plucking away as of this writing.

Things are coming together...scales/arpeggios are cleaning up as the weeks go by.  

One thing that I have noticed: it's pretty easy to play bass "by ear"......as it's pretty much (at least to me) a memorization of patterns.

Once I get a pattern "down" I can move the pattern up/down a fret to change key (unlike going from C major on my sax to C# major...ouch!)

Recently I started thinking about which notes I am actually playing; Eb, G#, etc.  I can figure it out but not quickly....

so

yesterday I took out a cello beginner lesson book to read/play easy stuff.

I am starting to feel like I could actually play in a band....nothing too complicated mind you....although my endurance (finger strength) needs to improve.

...'still having fun at this point.

 

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Having fun is what it's all about. Sure as hell ain't none of us getting rich!

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Mike M said:

...'still having fun at this point.

As isaac24 said, that's the main thing, especially for a hobbyist. IMHO music should be enjoyable, not a chore. I come at it from a different perspective. As a guitarist I know how chords are formed. Not necessarily heavy on theory but I know what note(s) goes with what chord. Our praise band bass player, OTOH, plays trumpet as his primary instrument and doesn't have that same fretboard knowledge. Either way, keep on playin'. 👍

Edited by DeepEnd

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It is pretty easy to play bass by ear. As you say, the patterns are the same for every key, they're just in different locations. Of course, it gets more complicated than that, but really, it doesn't have to.

May I suggest that you also work on major and minor pentatonic scales?

Over the years, I have found that having a bit of music theory goes a long way.

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