A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for December, 2015


Lemmy passed yesterday. He turned 70 on Christmas Eve and was diagnosed with cancer the day after Christmas. Two days later, he had succumbed. I read a statement from Motorhead earlier this AM. They’re not going to continue without him, which makes sense, because Lemmy was Motorhead. My Facebook feed was absolutely flooded with news, because I’m on a bunch of bass groups as well as metal groups, so it was a double-whammy. I really love that he was universally appreciated. No one had anything negative to say about him. All acknowledged that he wasn’t the most technical bassist, but he was a genuine human being. He had a dependence on chemicals and alcohol – which I think might have been more of a personality dependence and lifestyle choice than actual substance addiction, but he still spoke clearly about people and really didn’t condescend or slander. He really was the living embodiment of rock & roll.


Practice: 12/08/15 – HLBM 42 & 45

HLBMRan through the whole HLBM book until ex. 45 again. 42 (D-Lite) stalled me again until I listened to the track. For some reason, the notes just don’t come together in my head until I’ve heard the track. Maybe its a country thing? I don’t know. The notation should transcend that. I just don’t feel that particular exercise at all.

45 is also giving me pause. Its the new finger shifting one, on the D-string, with sharps, flats and specific fingers on specific frets. I have to break it into smaller chunks and tackle it that way. But, its nearly 5:00 PM now, so I’m going to break and hang out with the baby until its time to get the wife from the train. She has some piano-ing to do.

We got a piano

Wow. So, I didn’t practice for a few days on account of having guests at the house and not being in my home office during my usual hours. Sometimes when I skip a day or two I come back energized and rested and everything flows. Not this time.

My string-skipping warm-up was harder than usual. Luckily, although I had to take a minute to reacquaint myself with notation, my reading hasn’t significantly declined. I started with the latest exercises I got to in the More Notes on the D String lesson in the HLBM and then worked backwards from there. Although I tripped up a little bit I’m still able to play everything that I was playing on Friday, so yay!

Also, this Sunday, we got a piano from one of wifey’s co-workers who was giving it away. Its a Baldwin and has been in his family for a long time. He moved it to NYC from Pennsylvania but doesn’t have room in his apartment to keep it any longer. Judging from this webpage, its a full size/professional upright piano (its about 5 feet wide) and the cabinet style is Early American. The picture they have on that page for Early American is pretty spot on with what we have.

The baby loves playing it. Wifey is also getting familiar with notation again and was playing some nursery rhymes and carols from sheet music for the baby. I was looking at the sheet music and found that I can read the bass parts. They mostly consist of chords, which isn’t something I’ve really done on bass, but I might be able to improvise a bassline for some of what she’s playing. It looks like its going to end up being roots at the beginning of each measure. I’ll give that a go when we carve out some time for it.


Strange Bass Gallery 11

December is upon us. The year is winding down, but the basses aren’t gaining in normalcy. Rearranging letters from random DC comics suggests that Stig Pedersen is actually Sting from Bizarroworld.

Anyway. Duck!



HLBM 44: More Notes on the D-String

So, I finally did it. After I stopped working through the Hal Leonard Bass Method for a few months, I picked it back up and spent a month getting back to where I was. As of this AM I can say that I’ve made it past the exercise that I had stopped on before, so I’m finally working on new material again.

Today, I started the lesson called More Notes on the D String. I worked on exercises 43, 44 & 45. These introduce us to D#/Eb and F#/Gb on the D string. The first 2 are 4-bar exercises. The last one is 8 bars and includes a shift between 1st & 2nd positions.

I mostly have 43 & 44 down, but I’m going to run them throughout the day. My plan is to try and take a break from sitting at the computer for 10 mins every hour so I can stand and practice. Working from behind a screen all day with no pause is supposed to be pretty bad for our health, so maybe this will benefit me more than just musically. If I manage this consistently, it’ll give me 80 mins of practice each day.

Ex. 45 looks like its going to take a little more doing, mostly because its got that shift, and like the previous shifting exercises (21, 22, 23) from More Notes on the E String, it asks us to shift on specific fingers. I should probably put all of them together on a page to work on them together.

HLBM44 - More Notes on the D String.jpg

It feels good to tackle new material again. It feels like progress.

Practice: 12/04/15 – HLBM 42

I practiced a bit this AM. Warming up took me about 15 mins, with the two exercises I’ve been running. I’m doing them across all 6 strings, not just the 4 that I posted earlier in the week, so its a little more tiring. I understand now how some people have warm-ups that are like 30 mins. Its really about the exercises you do, even though I’m only doing a single run of each, together, they take a chunk of time.

Anyhow, after that, I ran ex. 42 in the Hal Leonard book again, to see how I’m doing, and its smoother than when I last posted it. So, I’m getting it under my fingers. I’m trying to think of that whole thing differently now as well.

Previously, I fretted about memorizing exercises from the book because I want to use them as reading exercises, but I watched a video from Scott Devine about learning licks, and how they become part of our voice. I’m trying to think of it like that – if I physically memorize a sequence of some sort, then for the time that it remains in my tenuous memory, its part of my repertoire of “licks”. Moving along a few pages in the book will probably work it out of memory again.

Anyway, this is how it sounds now, as opposed to how it sounded a few days ago.

Advice from Chick Corea

Just came across this awesome list from Chick Corea on FB.

Cheap but good advice for playing music in a group:

Chick Corea.jpg