A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for March, 2011

Lesson 1: 3/31/2011 – Ex. 11 (E String)

I fell off the boat again for the past 2 days due to house stuff, editing wifey’s statement of purpose for another grad school and work stuff. Earlier today, I picked up the HL Method and went over what I’d worked on the other day. I did the open string exercises (while reading the music) pretty quickly and moved on to the E string again.

I’m trying to go slow, for now. So, I did the first exercise (Ex 10) , which was just E-F-G-F-E on the E string using whole notes. For those of you who just do tab, that’s 0-1-3-1-0 on the bottom (thickest) string. Its easy enough. I’m beginning to understand the differences between tab and notation now though. With tab, I’d never have been able to say what kind of note to play on that string. I don’t know of a way to indicate whole, half, quarter, or whatever in tab. However, with notation (especially since I’m so new to it) I don’t know which E to start on. There are E notes on other strings on the bass, and if you’re using standard tuning, there’s an E on the E string, up at the 12th fret. If the book didn’t specify to use the E string and first 3 frets, I’d have probably been lost. Maybe, as I learn more, where to play on the neck will be made apparent.



Lesson 1: 3/28/2011 (E String)

Sorry. This first post with the new book is going to be lengthy.

So, I started going through the Hal Leonard Bass Method Complete book yesterday. I did the open string exercises and the lesson on the E string. I’m learning to read standard notation as I go (at least as far as bass is concerned, I think the treble side of things is different), so I’m going slowly. I’ll probably do the same lesson over again, to make sure its ingrained in my head. Here’s a breakdown of what was covered so far:

Equipment & Position:

1.  I glossed over the pages on parts of the bass, the amp and tuning methods. I’ve seen enough of that in other books, so I think I know how it works well enough to move on.

2.  Playing positions covered both sitting and standing. They each get ½ a page with 4 bullets. This is discussed a lot more thoroughly in other books. However, there are differences in things like hand position when sitting vs. standing that I’ll write about later, as it could be helpful to beginners, like me. I’ve grabbed info about left and right hand positioning from the internet and was especially impressed by the videos from Adam Neely which I posted on March 4 (the day I started this blog).



My Amazon order came in on Saturday! They’re so fast and I’m so slow. Between working on the house on Saturday, and work at the office on Sunday, I didn’t get to go through it as well as I wanted until last night. Here’s what I got:

Hal Leonard’s Bass Method Complete Edition by Ed Friedland: I’ve been waiting for this. I dug in after work yesterday, and then re-read some of it again before bed. I really like it so far. Its slow, and does start with reading music, but it does it one string at a time, so I’ve been able to follow along without any trouble. Initially, it shows you where notes on the musical staff go for each of the 4 open strings, and that’s not so bad. Then it goes on to focusing on the first 3 frets of the E (thickest) string. So, you learn E, F and G. After a few exercises, it shows you F#/Gb. Since it was late, I didn’t get to play along with the book, but I’ll fix that today. As I was reading, I saw that it gradually introduces other music symbols, like naturals and stuff to let you know when to repeat a part. I’ll go into all of that later though.

This Complete Edition contains volumes 1, 2 & 3 of the series, as well as 3 CDs which have examples and tracks to play along with. It says that the bass was basically recorded with the right speaker, so if you want to play along without the bass (so you can play the parts yourself) you can pan the volume to exclude it.


Jeroen Paul Thesseling (bassist for Pestilence & Obscura)

Jeroen Paul Thesseling was the bassist for Pestilence when Spheres was recorded. He’s noted for his 5 & 6 string playing and – I recently discovered – fretless as well. He’s actually more known for playing fretless now than fretted. Currently, I believe that he’s playing in both Pestilence and Obscura. Here’s a really nice interview with Thesseling from De Bassist, a Dutch bass magazine with a print/online version that I can’t read. 😦

De Bassist – Jeroen Paul Thesseling interview


Pestilence – The Level Of Perception / Aurian Eyes / Soul Search

The Level of Perception is one of my favorite Pestilence songs. Spheres (1993) is a really unique album that a lot of older death-heads despised when it came out. It was very progressive, and Patrick Mameli said that at the time, they were really being inspired by jazz and classical music. Looking at it now, lyrically, I can make many associations between it and playing bass & music theory from the 3rd line and onward.


The Seven Mile Journey – The Engram Dichotomy

This is The Engram Dichotomy from The Seven Mile Journey‘s new album, Notes for the Synthesis. I’ve been driving with this album for the past 2 weeks. Wifey’s also gotten into it. The album is all instrumental, and its beautiful.

[edit 2/3/215] The Youtube account that originally published the song above has been removed. Here’s a new link to the song:

The Seven Mile Journey – The Engram Dichotomy


I’ve been bad. For the past week, I’ve not practiced regularly. Work is ramping up. We have a big presentation tomorrow in Great Neck and I’ve been editing my wife’s statement of purpose for her application to Columbia for a 2nd Masters degree. At night, instead of practicing, I’ve cooled down by reading ahead in Bass Guitar for Dummies, and recently in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Bass Guitar. I bought both at the same time, but didn’t crack the 2nd one open until last week. I’ll do a writeup sometime, comparing the two. Initially, I was going to just grab one of them from Barnes & Noble, but I grabbed both a few months ago from Amazon for cheaper than what B&N was offering and had free shipping.

I’ve also been reading the forums at TalkBass.com a little over the past two weeks. Its a community of bass players of all experience levels. In one of the threads, someone asked if it was better to start learning to play by getting Bass Guitar for Dummies or Hal Leonard’s Bass Method Complete Edition. The general consensus was that the Hal Leonard book was the way to go. The Dummies book was looked at as a reference book, which could be used in conjunction with the Hal Leonard’s method book. They also said that the book was very logically laid out. Last night, I ended up ordering the Hal Leonard one from Amazon (its only around $13.00).

I’m actually pretty excited to start HL’s Bass Method. It begins by slowly teaching you to read music and apparently covers a lot of technique at a manageable pace afterwards. I’ll likely supplement it with the Dummies and Idiot’s books as I go.

Here’s a link to the poll/discussion at Talkbass:

Bass Guitar for Dummies vs Hal Leonard Bass Method (Complete Ed.)