A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for November, 2011

I hung the basses yesterday

I finally hung my basses up in the living room. I’ve wanted to get them up on a wall since I got my hands on the two 6-strings. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I worked on it a bit, and yesterday, I mounted everything. Its not perfect, but as a non-handyman, I’m happy with the results.

I live in an old house. It was built in 1940, before drywall was invented. The walls are made from plaster, so mounting anything is difficult because its hard to find the studs behind the walls. I was worried that if I put anything heavy up (like the Brice basses) they’d eventually pull down the wall and leave gaping holes that wouldn’t go with the couches wifey picked out. She’d never have that.

Here’s what I did:


Its been a year since I started to learn bass

Today is my 1-year anniversary on bass.

Last year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (11/24/10), I grabbed my old bass and found the instructor that I’d take two lessons from before going solo. I missed out on a few months of practice when I stopped after the first week in May until the second-to-last week in September. So, realistically, I’ve had less than six months of learning. Still, I definately know more than when I started (even if I’ve found a little less time in the last 2 weeks to bother anyone with lengthy posts as I stumble through theory and other stuff).

Right now, I have a basic understanding of chords and scales and I’m beginning to gain the ability to play on certain parts of the fretboard without looking at it (mostly the area around the 9th fret). My aim for this coming year is to learn the fretboard, learn to read music (at least the bass clef) and learn songs. I don’t know any from start-to-finish yet. I’ve figured out parts of basslines or signature riffs to songs, but I’ve not played anything in its entirety yet.

I’ve also grown my collection of basses from my original 4-string Ibanez to include the fretted and fretted 6-string Brice basses. I love them. If I make enough progress, then this time next year, I want to grab an acoustic or acoustic/electric lefty bass. I’ve seen 5-string models at Adirondack Guitar that look really nice.


Practice: 11/23/11 – Jam Track Boogie Rock

I was reading a thread on TalkBass called How do I practice (or something similar 😉). In it, the original poster asks about details as to how to structure a practice session, and for warm-up drills. In reply #9, MalcolmAmos responds to him with some ideas and includes two practice jam tracks. I’ve never used one of these before, but I found the first one to be fun.

Jam Track Boogie Rock


The Low End – Riding Home From the Alamo

Spanish Bass

I found this video on Youtube the other day. Its two bass players performing a song called Riding Home From the Alamo. I really dig it. Hunting around on the internet, I found that the players are Tyson Galloway and Cameron Allen, and together they’re The Low End. They play two 6-string basses. One is a regular 6-string and the other is a tenor 6-string bass.

[edit 2/3/2015] This video is no longer on Youtube, but can be found on The Low End’s Facebook page:

So I took the plunge…

I emailed the International Institute of Bassists last night with some questions about their courses. It mostly regarded when classes are released, whether they’re live or pre-recorded, how long we have access to materials and what kind of access we have to instructors.

I received a reply last night, but didn’t know until I checked email today. They’re fast. 😉 I’ve been emailing Cliff Engel back and forth. He’s the founder of the school, and from what I gather, the main instructor. He was polite and answered all of my questions. I didn’t realize that there was a link at the top of the page with course descriptions that leads to an FAQ, which actually answered all of my questions and then some.

Here’s what I like:


Jeff Berlin Bass Clinic in NYC (11/20/11)

I might not have to head over to the office in Long Island in the morning. If I manage to stay out, I’m going to head down to Guitar Center on 14th Street, in Manhattan. Jeff Berlin is hosting a free clinic at 7 PM.

Jeff is something of a controversial educator in the bass world. A lot of his advice goes against traditional methodology for learning bass. He also writes columns for Bass Player Magazine regularly. I watched his DVD, Principles of Bass, last year and was really impressed. He is the founder of the Players School of Music. Here are a few links with information about him. I’m running off to bed with the hope that I can get myself over to his clinic.

Here’s a video of Jeff at NAMM 2011

MarkBass Presents Jeff Berlins Bass Lesson at NAMM 2011

[edit] I made a sad AND ugly bass face. I didn’t have to go in to the office today. However, as wifey pointed out to me via a quick phone call while I was at Home Depot… Jeff Berlin’s clinic was on September 20th, and I don’t have a Tardis. This is what late night blogging and working 6 days a week will do to a person. Alas… 😦


International Institute of Bassists

I was browsing through some bass-related WordPress blogs yesterday, and I discovered Diary of a Female Bassist. One of the posts was about an online school called the International Institute of Bassists. You can read that post here:

I went to the website that she linked to and found it intriguing. Here are the two main pages that I looked at:

Emily Wallace, the owner of Diary of a Female Bassist, said that she took the Jazz Bass Lines course and that it was packed with information. I looked at the course outlines (there are 3 courses listed) and found that a lot of the first one is composed of stuff that I’m trying to teach myself.