A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for March, 2014

5 Techniques Every Bass Player Should Know

Cool video which shows ghost notes, thumb muting, raking, harmonics and trills on bass. I’ve actually not really seen raking or trills on bass before. I’d only read about them.


Mistakes and Accidents Can Lead to More

Great blog entry about making mistakes and going with them, recovering from them and learning from them.


Mistakes. Everyone makes them. But sometimes they can be a great way to a new discovery or a great start to a useful practice.

Practicing and noticing mistakes
In practice everyone makes mistakes, its going to happen because practice is the one place you can mess up and not have to worry about losing time/money in recordings or being judged upon by a crowd. And without practice you wouldn’t be able to play what you can play.
A very important thing to do during every practice is to identify any mistakes and learn where you’re going wrong and what is making you go wrong. This could be anything like missing a note or playing an extra note. Take a break and find out where this mistake keeps appearing, now list what problems could be causing this mistake and focus your practice time on fixing it before your brain gets used…

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Bass Aerobics – Workout 1

So, the other day, I was on the Talkbass forums while eating breakfast (something I only started doing this week, and so far, its helping my energy in the mornings). I came across a thread where the original poster was trying to decide between buying Josquin des PresBass Fitness book and Jon Liebman‘s Bass Aerobics.

Well, I’ve had Bass Fitness for years, although I haven’t really used it much. I got Bass Aerobics in January and while I’ve read through it to get an idea of what it has, I hadn’t started using it… until two days ago.

The book is about 112 pages long and is divided into 5 chapters, with one exercise (Workout) per week (although its going to take me longer):

1. Chromatics
2. Scales & Arpeggios
3. String Crossing
4. Slapping & Popping
5. Advanced Bass


New Scientist – The Secrets of Success (2/2)

This is a continuation of my previous post, because it grew a bit long.

Motivation, Willpower & Self-Control

So, the article then asks, “What makes people gritty?” It says that part of the answer is motivation and that people have been shown to score higher on IQ tests when they are given an incentive, such as money. The other part is willpower – the ability to see something through to the end. This includes hard work, resisting distractions and having self-control.

Self-control is shown to have lifelong benefits. The article says that its a better predictor of test results than IQ scores. Students with more self-control are more likely to stay in class, do homework and resist distractions such as television. I’m sure that they do their bass studies as well. All of this compounds into better grades, which in a school setting is a measure of achievement. To us bassists, it translates into more single-mindedness in our practice regimen, and ultimately a buildup of skill.

Apparently, a study in New Zealand found that after following 1,000 children from birth until they were 32 years old, those who showed greater self-control in childhood grew up healthier and more emotionally stable. They were also more financially-stable as adults.

An important feature of self-control is that it can be improved. In the article, its compared to a muscle that can be strengthened through exercise. Apparently, exercising self-control in one area improves it overall (kind of like burning fat – its a global thing, not region-specific).

The article says that self-control is also a key requirement for focused practice, which, of course, is vital for the development of any skill – like playing bass. Deliberate practice is about “pushing yourself to do the most difficult things, rather than just going through the motions.”


New Scientist – The Secrets of Success (1/2)

Small warning – this post is about both child-rearing and learning music. Readers might need to skip around if they’re less-interested in one than the other.

About 2 weeks ago, I chanced upon an article in a British magazine called New Scientist. The cover story was titled “The Secrets of Success”. The byline was “Why some people reach heights others can’t”. I was intrigued by the title – as a general curiosity and because our daughter is now 18 months old and I often think about what actions we’ll need to take as parents to give her the greatest chances of happiness and success in life.

Reading through the article though, I found that it also pertained very strongly to music, and to bass.

It opens with two different viewpoints on what it takes to achieve success. One is from President Obama, in which he acknowledges that “success in the US is now more dependent than ever on being born into wealth and privilege.” The other is from Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. He suggested that “Success is all about IQ,” and “all we can do is give the brightest kids the best chance to succeed.” So, essentially, this is the nature vs. nurture argument.


What Bass Players Actually Do

Just saw this on TalkBass. Sadly (or maybe not) the last part is true!

Bass Player - What I Actually Do

[edit] There are actually a bunch more on the internet – with varying degrees of funny.