A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for June, 2016

Practice: 6/22/16 – warm-up and HLBM

I practiced tonight. I ran that exercise from Nazim Kemal Ure a few times and even made a simple 2nd part myself so I could link them together in a verse/chorus-type of pattern. I’ve found that simply varying the tempo so that I play it slower in the beginning and end but faster in the middle makes it sound like 2 different parts, or at least 2 different moods, so in a way I have 3 parts that I can play together as a simple song. The pattern is also easy enough that I can transpose it in different keys or play it in different positions for some variety.

HLBMI also decided that since I was awake and I’m not needed for thesis editing at the moment, I’d start going through the Hal Leonard Bass Method again. So, I ran the exercises on the open strings and the first set of lessons on the E string. I’m using a metronome this time though. Its the one at the top of the Links page. There’s some kind of upgrade to the page, so I just clicked the link to the legacy one, set it to a paltry 60 BPM and played everything.

Maybe later today, I’ll record some of the warm-up I did with that exercise and the new part. Playing it caused me to do a search on song structures so that I could get a general idea about how long a verse tends to be, compared with a chorus. I tried variations where each got repeated 4X, where the verse was repeated 4X and the chorus only twice, and then varying the actual playing of the exercise a little bit on certain passes. Each of these little changes, coupled with changes to tempo, made a big impact on the overall sound, especially with regard to tension, release and anticipation. Its interesting to hear and modify the sequence. The only thing is, at this basic stage, I don’t know if its interesting on its own, but I’m also trying to bear in mind that its just me and my bass with no accompaniment. That might change things considerably as well.

Ok. I’m going to run up and stare at the ceiling in the dark, since its 2 AM now.

Left-hand exercise and chromatic descending riff

I don’t post for a month and now look – 2 in one day! So, we did some Father’s Day stuff and went to our nephew’s 6th birthday. Bopps had fun – she played with water guns for the first time. On the way home, I found a 4-pack for her for $5 from Walgreen’s. She immediately took it to the shower when we got in.

Anyway – I had a few mins earlier and did a brief recording of that exercise from Nazim Kemal Ure that I mentioned earlier today. I was definitely optimistic when I said I was probably playing it at around 60 BPM. While I can, I wasn’t. I compared it to his actual 60 BPM, and I’m sloppy at that speed. I tried checking against a metronome, and it looks like I’m probably around 40 BPM. Here’s a snippet from one run-through:


Also, I don’t know why, but this AM, before we left for the birthday party, I was playing something that descended chromatically from A on the D string, but with stops on the E from the A string in-between. I liked how it sounded, so I managed to remember it when I came back and also recorded it so I can think about descending notes later. Here it is:


Its basically [A-A-E-A] [G#-G#-E-G#] [G-G-E-G] [G#-E] with everything on the D string except for the E’s which are on the A string. I’m mostly curious because its neither a major or minor scale pattern, in and of itself, so I’m curious about what my root or key is. That’s something I’ll figure out later though. For now, I’m going to go run that left-hand exercise from up top in different positions on the fretboard and maybe even go up and sleep tonight.

Happy Father’s Day.


Lock Up riff and left-hand exercise

Happy Father’s Day, to all the low-ender fathers out there!

I stayed up late last night, because I accidentally played that Lock Up video from Obscene Extreme fest and ended up zoning in on this part that I love about 2 mins into the video. Its probably a guitar part, but I ended up figuring out the riff on bass – if I did it right, it just uses some of the first 6 notes from E minor and should look like this:

  • Scale degree pattern: [1-3-2-1] [6-3-2-1]  [1-3-2-1-2]
  • Notes in E minor: [E-G-F#-E] [B#-G-F#-E]  [E-G-F#-E-F#]

Its one of the two times this month that I managed to pick up my bass. I’m almost done editing wifey’s thesis though, so I should be able to dedicate more time to bass in the coming weeks – I hope!

I also found a video last night, after watching Lock Up, with a bass exercise that I really like. I ended up watching a bunch of other bands from various Obscene Extreme shows and somewhere along the way, wanted to compare playing styles to Steve DiGiorgio, from when he played in Death. It led me to bass covers of some death songs – most of which I’ve already watched with awe over the years – but I found a new one. Behold:

Bass Guitar Left Hand Exercise Ring and Pinky Finger Strength 60-180 BPM

The bassist’s name is Nazim Kemal Ure. After watching that video, I looked at some other vids in his channel and came across this fun exercise, which I tried last night and can actually manage. I didn’t use a metronome though, so I don’t know how fast I’m going. I’m probably somewhere around his 60 BPM mark though.