A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

David Ellefson (bassist for Megadeth)

[note] This post used to be the bottom part of a post about practicing that I wrote when I first started this blog. It was included because the video focuses on information from Dave Ellefson about practice. I’ve snipped it in half, so now Dave Ellefson and my Practice post can live their separate lives. The first half of the original post can be found here: Practice

I’ll go deeper into some practice stuff that’s been on my mind later. For now, here’s a video from David Ellefson (Megadeth) about practice routines:

David Ellefson’s Rock Shop, Developing Good Practice Habits

Its interesting to note that David contests what Jeff Berlin says about the speed of gaining musical ability from practice. He says its almost immediate. I think that they’re probably considering different audiences and scopes of practice though. I’m sure that basic skills are learned more quickly and more complex skills and conditioning take longer to acquire (David’s video is aimed at beginners, the part of Jeff’s video that I saw was somewhat of a “best practices” and refutation of accepted practices collection). David also recommends going to a teacher in the beginning of your bass education. 

What he says about practice time about 2:00 into the video intrigues me. He recommends dividing practice time into segments and suggests the following: 

(1) Studying musical passages and doing exercises,
(2) Studying free flow and improvisational techniques or theories and then
(3) Playing music (songs or parts of songs) that you enjoy. 

What’s also interesting, that I never considered, is using cello suites for bass practice. On hindsight, this makes perfect sense. 😉 He says to also break out of your comfort zone. If you’re into rock, for example, study funk & jazz. Personally, I like this idea a lot. Many of the metal bands that I listen to incorporate elements of jazz into their playing. It might not always be recognizable as jazz, but I don’t know if its meant to be. 

David suggests that jazz studies prepare the bassist for every style of music because they incorporate reading music, reading chords and improvisation. I have read in other books and on the internet that having a strong understanding of chord structure is important to bass players, because of the support role that the bassist often plays in music. Apparently, bass chords are used to accentuate or highlight what other instruments are playing. We’ll look at that later on though, when I have a little more of an understanding of the concept. And, for you other beginners, don’t worry about chords yet. I think you’re supposed to understand scales before tackling chords; which are based off of scales. 

Finally, I find it interesting to note that he also speaks of music as a language that is read, written and spoken – much like what Alex Sampson said.

Oh, and at about 8:42, he talks about clenching balls. 😉


One response

  1. Pingback: Practice « Ugly Bass Face

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