A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Practice: 11/10/15 – E & A strings

So, I started late again tonight, but I did all of the exercises from the HLBM that I’ve been doing for the past few days, stopping at “More Notes on the A String” again. When I resumed I worked on some finger exercises and incorporated triplets using 3 fingers, because I like the way that sounds – its fun to get little “gypsy” sounding patterns doing that and using approach notes. Then, it occurred to me that I could record some of these to share as warm-up exercises, something I discussed briefly with Shelby from Grrl + Guitar recently. So, I set up a Soundcloud account and downloaded the app on my phone. I also plugged in my bass and tested it for a few mins. I can’t remember the last time I plugged it in. This is definitely the first that I’ve done so this year though.


I noticed that being plugged in, I use less force to attack the strings than I do when unplugged. I remember someone – maybe Victor Wooten or Jeff Berlin – said something about plugging in and using the volume to make yourself play louder, so you can maintain a light touch and increase your speed when playing. I think that might be what I do. I couldn’t raise the volume much, because its 1:30 AM and I don’t want to wake the baby, but being plugged in does let me use less force and helps me to move more easily.

It also amplifies the sounds I don’t want to hear, so I’ll have to look at muting techniques, which I didn’t have to use as much when unplugged.

Ok, so maybe sometime in the next week or so, after I’ve decided whether what I hear is passable, I’ll include some short sound clips of exercises. Then, in 20 years, my daughter and her friends can get drunk and laugh at my attempts to learn to play this thing.

Also, if any of you have Soundcloud accounts, let me know here or on the Facebook page. I’d love to hear what everyone else is doing.


7 responses

  1. Shelby Stronger

    I very much use soundcloud as a blogging backdoor because it’s so expedient, and because having that something to ‘get drunk and laugh at’ seems really worthwhile when learning. I started recording to give myself a sort of soundcheck. Having those, it seemed silly not to post them on the blog sometimes. Actually, my weird history with soundcloud started on the poetry blog, since at first I didn’t have a sustainable was to make poetry videos happen. It became primarily used for grrlplusguitar over time, though.

    I haven’t done any bass recordinfs with it yet, though. Or guitar, for that matter. Maybe I should…eventually. For the moment though, I’m still a newborn on those journeys.

    Look forward to hearing where you’re at.

    November 10, 2015 at 6:25 am

    • vishalicious

      I don’t think I’m very far at all, but I’m thinking that I might record some attempts at exercises from the HLBM and other practice stuff. It probably makes more sense to hear that stuff than to read about it, in certain cases.

      I’ve also seen a lot of people recommend that we record ourselves to give a better objective source for analyzing our playing so we can hear how we actually sound and improve technique, timing and other stuff. It makes sense to do.

      That said, there are probably different benefits and drawbacks to audio vs. audio + video.

      November 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

      • Shelby Stronger

        Sure. I actually use both at different points. Video gives you a look at your hands and wrists. Audio is all about sound. For whatever reason, the sound of my fingers sliding along the strings of my bass from fret to fret is really obvious when I record (sort of a zipper sound, not to be mistaken for a slide), so I haven’t kept those. Not sure why the strings are so loud just going from point a to b, or what I’m doing to make it so. I use video when I want to check out my wrist angle, and that sort of thing, but taking the visual away forces you to focus on just what you can hear.

        November 10, 2015 at 10:39 am

      • vishalicious

        Your finger is probably making contact with the string when the sliding sound happens. I’m pretty sure that’s my problem as well. I don’t know if its something that needs muting or if I just need to raise my finger a little more. Right now, I’m more concerned with hitting the right note. 😉

        I think after I’ve practiced a bit more, I’ll be able to make better use of video. I might be able to actually show people what notes I’m playing so that they can more easily understand what I’m doing. Blind leading the blind… 😉

        November 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm

  2. That looks like you.

    November 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    • vishalicious


      November 10, 2015 at 5:39 pm

  3. Pingback: Hal Leonard Bass Method (Ed Friedland) index | Ugly Bass Face

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