Want to learn Bass

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by Codeseven, May 15, 2017.

  1. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Go Steve!

    I think a lot of folks miss out on the fact that it is just plain out FUN when you get that groove and swing working and the bass surrounds you like a big warm blanket and it just moves you in some kind of unseen feedback mechanism.... Love that feeling!

    DOn't work on being pro anything, just have fun and pretty soon, you will arrive to the point where you are way better than when you started then stop, and allow yourself a smile! You will NEVER arrive, only reach a level of comfort and understanding of how it works that lets you take on new styles a bit easier.

    Well, I dropped back in here to share with the OP and others this gem from one of my biggest bass influences of all times... Derek Forbes of Simple Minds!

    (listens for the echos of 'WHO????!!!')

    This man can lay down a groove, make it interesting, has monster tone, and it is easy enough to pick up for even a beginner bassist. But man, if you don't find yourself swinging with the beat on this one, you might not be cut out for the bass.....;)

    The words are apocolyptic and the guitar is a bit loud for me, and it's a bit faster than the album version, but this lets you see the fingering going on.

    Notice how tight he and Brian McGhee (the drummer) are! They work like one unit with sledgehammer effect. This is what a bass is for. An extension of the drums and a solid foundation for the rest of the group. But more than that, he carries the whole song.

    Forget the whole notion that a bass is a second class instrument! :slap:

    EDIT: At the end, notice who calls the end of the song and cues the drummer! :thumb:

    That's right, buddy! The BASS Player!

    It also illustrates a technique that a lot of beginning bassists I have worked with don't recognize at first, and that is making full use of the open strings to make for some really funky changes, real easy!

    This is a perfect example as Derek makes full use of the open 'A' string as he bounces back and forth between it and the fretted notes. So easy, but so sweet sounding!

    And watch for the slide on the Low 'E' at the end... A little flange on there and it makes a sweet sounding growl!
    Enjoy!

     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  2. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi V.I.P. Member

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    Now that I am messing with bass, I've become a bit more aware of the bass providing the cues to the band, as to when and where the changes happen (sort of like bookmarks) and how to take my clues from the drummer. I had "reacted to clues" subconsciously before as a guitar player, but now it's much more obvious to me. I've also noticed that many of the techniques/methods are similar... using the scales to make walking lines, using arpeggios to "outline" the chords, etc.

    I can pop pretty good (from learning some Stones songs), and thanks to my fingerpicking lessons I can do a mean 3-finger gallop, but my slapping is still awful :D
     
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  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    That's it! You get it! :applause:

    You understand the art of the bass, especially the subconscious clues.

    It is a funny thing how that came about for me. It wasn't like i tried to develop the cue system or anything done on my part, I think it just comes out of the lead up - lead down walks that happen before the changes.

    Then one day I noticed our lead singer at the time looking over at me and counting the time off with a nod of her head as i was going through my paces and it started to click. I had always played the way I do by choice and style. It seemed to me at first that if anyone else got something out of what I was doing, then good for them! It wasn't intentional.

    But as my style matured i began to accept it as one of my duties as bass player no matter who I played for.

    I always played off the singer or lead player if they had one. If they missed a cue or jumped the time I would 'skip' a beat to catch up, or double beat to wait for them.

    While they were out on the limb soloing I always try to assure them I have their back by using cues to help them predict which way I am, and the rest of the song, is going.

    Also providing a solid foundation is a huge plus. I have had to play through many years of less that stellar players and roomfuls of young kids and other distractions.

    Being able to concentrate and not lose your place or time is a huge plus to any band especially when learning songs or rehearsing ones you haven't done in a long time.
     
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  4. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Nice thread.

    Am I right in thinking there's only a few body styles of bass....j bass heavy bass and p bass...the p being the more 'normal' guitar shape?
    What other styles are there and do they have a lot of influence on the tone?
    I read the j bass is a richer/punchier sound, think I prefer the looks of this type better https://www.andertons.co.uk/p/GSR18...SrS0Jpbno0Vvqm28nHaqKmyGUGzBhClAf-hoCMKnw_wcB

    Would that be termed an h bass heavy bass?
     
  5. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    The shape of the bass is more a question of style and balance.

    The length and thickness of the neck on a bass in proportion to the body is more exaggerated than on a guitar. So the body shapes and styles would tend to be more limited than on a guitar if comfort and balance are to be maintained.

    Of course there are some exaggerated 'metal' type basses etc. that are geared to a more specific marketing group, but by and large the classic shapes such as Leo Fender's precision bass and later his jazz bass have stood the test of time.

    Rickenbacker was also an early maker of a quality bass guitar with a different shape, but the elongated horn on the top still helps keep the balance.

    The bass in your example would do well for anyone. Ibenez has been putting out some very good playing and sounding instruments for many years now. My first was an Ibenez as well. As long as the neck fits you and the action of the strings is comfortable, it's a great way to start.

    This one uses the 'J' bass pickups (named after the jazz bass that uses them).

    These are single coil narrow field pickups that are known for their deep piano like tone and upper end sparkle.

    They will give a bright poppy sound if you snap the strings, and blending the 2 gives a wider range of sounds than a single pickup bass can.

    The 'P' bass pickups are a split pair of single coil pickups, wired together in series to be humbucking, but still act like single coils under the strings, i.e. there are still only one set of pole pieces under the strings.

    This gives the 'P' bass a bit warmer and fatter sound than the 'J' bass. Good all around bass used on countless recordings.

    My preference is for what's known as a P/J configuration.

    These are usually a split single coil pickup in the neck position, and a Jazz pickup in the bridge position.

    This combo gives an even wider tonal range and really is like playing two basses in one.

    My Guild Advanced Pilot with P/J configuration.
     
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  6. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  7. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    That does look like a good starter! Makes me wish they had this kind of stuff when i was starting out. Most of the cheaper stuff was rubbish!

    Are you sure you want to start on a 5 string? Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course, I'm wondering if you have some guitar playing experience already.? I going to guess that you do since you are on this forum :rolleyes:.

    I only mention this because a standard 4 string bass is tuned the same as the lowest 4 strings of a guitar so it is note for note the same.

    This could make learning easier at first. FWIW I still use a 4 string, never needed a 5, but that's just me.

    On a 5 string you will have to reach over the low 'B' string to play in standard tuning.

    But since you are starting out you will find the best positions on the neck for what you are playing anyway and this will include using the low 'B' string, just higher up the neck.

    Make sure you get a decent amp too! That low 'B' is going to need a quality speaker and amp to sound good!

    And nothing makes you want to play more than a hearing a nice low tone that makes you smile and say 'oh, yeah!'
     
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  8. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Initial plan is to use my Kemper...hopefully that works out as I live in a flat...

    Spent a fair amount of time with classical and fingerpicking, chord tones etc so some of it should be familiar

    Was thinking getting the P/J pups and 5 strings would be good as would have different tones and at least find out how 5 string feels

    The guitar I linked to.....I assumed it was p/j pickups (because of how they look) but looks like it's not....
    Pick-ups: 2 x Black Knight Single Coil, is what it says

    I take it P/J usually have 2x vol and 2x tone controls

    Edit...the 4 string 'Lexington' states 1x single and 1x split so guessing it's just a typo!
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  9. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Must be a typo.. P is for Precision Bass pickup, the split coil one near the neck. And the J is for Jazz Bass pickup, the narrow single pickup near the bridge. The number of controls don't usually count in the description.

    This IS a P/J configuration...
    Looks like one Volume per pickup. Can be set anywhere in between for blending the two pickups together.
    Single master tone control.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    cheers...yeah I was pretty sure you could tell from the look, but was thinking maybe those were just covers with the pickup diagonal underneath, bit of a ridiculous thought!
     
  11. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Not at all! Here is a good picture of what's going on under the hood! This pic shows the 2 different types and the single row of pole pieces that are hidden under the plastic on the red Bass you are looking at.

    One of the P bass covers are off so you can see the coil of wire in there.

    Even though there are two pickups in a P bass setup, they are wired together to form one unit. Each unit picks up the signal from 2 strings in a 4 string bass. They are made wider for a 5 string.

    The jazz bass pickup is just a single coil of wire around 4 pairs of magnets. Since there is no other coil used like in the P bass setup, it will pick up outside noise and interference much more than a P bass pickup will.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Oh, BTW @paradice , the bass Derek is using in the video is a Fender Precision. He is using a pick and a bit of flanger effect for the growl.
    Playing through an Ampeg Amp, and you can't go wrong with an Ampeg bass Amp!
    So now you know what the P bass pickup sounds like cranked up a bit.

    They are also very deep and smooth if used with a little lower gain. Very versatile bass!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  13. LDS714

    LDS714 Member

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    Started on guitar as a kid, been playing bass for over 35 years now.

    First bass was an odd, cheap thing, but it worked, got me started. After that, got an early 70s Ric, had it ever since. Although as my tastes and styles of music I played changed over the years the arsenal has expanded. Currently have a the Ric, 72 Fender P-Bass, two 80s P-Bass Lytes (the Twins, dragged them to gigs for years), a 73 Fender Musicmaster (short scale, 30"), a G&L SB-1 (similar to a P-Bass), a Hohner B2B Steinberger-licensed similar to the Spirit, an LTD LB5 JR, an Ibanez Mikro, a 63 Gibson EB-3, a Dobro D-Bass, a Goldtone ME Microbass and a Kala Ubass.

    With those, I've been able to cover gigs and sessions in every genre from classic rock to blues to country to metal to acoustic singer-songwriter stuff.

    Lately I've really been digging the short-scale basses. The Musicmaster is OK, neck-dives really badly and 'quacks' when you dig in too hard, but it has some nice upper mids. The EB-3 has been my go-to for the last 20 years or so. It's had 3 neck repairs and unspeakable horrors committed on it prior to my finding it on eBay. The Gibson repair shop had it for about a year after I purchased it and refinished it to an original cherry color as well as redoing the previous headstock repair. The P-Bass Lytes were road dogs for about a decade doing blues and classic rock gigs. The Ric is my favorite, my first 'real' bass and I've gigged it for most of it's life. But the gem in the collection lately has been the Goldtone Microbass. 23-inch scale length makes it incredibly easy to play, and the rubber strings give an amazing upright-type sound, but the addition of a SansAmp lets it growl and snarl enough for metal. The Kala Ubass lives on a hanger behind my desk for noodling during the day.

    OK, so that's a few basses. But one thing I've learned is that the sound is more in the fingers than the instrument. I can't count the number of times that people have insisted on the old P-Bass on a track. I'll do a quick track on the Precision then redo it with either the Ric or the EB-3 after they leave. The next day the reaction is usually a smile and a comment like, "I told you the Precision was perfect for that part!" The last progressive alternative album I did was almost exclusively the solid body uke bass (the Goldtone).

    So my point with all of this? Play the bass that's comfortable, easy to play and that inspires you. Squiers are great value, Ibanez makes a fantastic instrument for the price, and don't believe it when someone tells you you absolutely have to have a long-scale or a P-Bass to be legit.
     
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  14. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    ^^^^^^^
    BRAVO!!!! Good post!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    The 5 string I mentioned got delivered today!
    It's not amazing quality wise tbh but it seems to play fairly well, I have no real point of reference tho so, hmm....

    There was a rattling noise coming from the neck pickup area so I took the cover off, surprised the pickups just kinda rattle around inside the covers! but it looked the same as the one on the left in your pic so assume it's meant to be like that. Put it back together and the rattle has stopped!!
    I take it they're just help in place by the magnets pulling againt the strings? IMG_20170620_185016[1].jpg IMG_20170620_184941[1].jpg

    The volume and tone knobs were all grinding off the body, just needed to pull them up a little but there's marks left under each one from when they've been rotated

    Playing seems pretty good tho! Had to raise the string height a bit to stop buzzing which made it much nicer but i tend to get a lot of slap bass sounds when I'm just trying to play, might be playing too hard although i kinda assumed I'd have to play harder on a bass!
     
  16. LDS714

    LDS714 Member

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    I've seen quite a few with a piece of foam under the pickup to hold it in place, you may want to try that.
     
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  17. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    No, they are not supposed to rattle!!

    Do you see the foam tape on the bottom in your first pic?
    That is supposed to act like a spring and push up on the back of the pickup and hold it against the cover.

    The cover has the ears on it for the screws in this case, not the pickup.

    Two easy fixes, get a wider thicker piece of foam (its just weather stripping foam used around windows and doors in houses), or take a dab of silicone adhesive (or superglue) and place a dab on the face of the pickup and push it tight into the cover. The glue will do nothing to alter the sound as it is not magnetic, and you will never see it under the cover.

    The metal springs are to raise and hold the pickup against the adjusting screws.


    Having to play harder is a big negative....

    A bass may be harder to play because of the bigger strings and wider frets, but it does not have to be played hard.

    It is amplified, just like a guitar, so minimal movement of the strings is required to get a good sound volume.

    Check the neck relief too. take one of the center strings and hold it down on both ends of the neck. 1st fret and a couple up from the last ones and look for space between the string and the frets somewhere around the middle of the neck.

    There should be a small amount of space ( a few mm).

    A lot more and the strings would be in the air. A lot less and the strings will be laying flat across all the frets with little to no space.

    This flat condition will cause a lot of extra buzz with very little effort.
     
  18. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    thanks...will try the foam...never had a guitar with pickup covers before. think the ones with the poles showing have a bar underneath them that the screws go in to so work a bit different than these

    I've let off the truss rod a bit, there's a gap if i do that test but it's only JUST 2mm, if it's even that.

    can't complain tho...expected to do a bit of tweaking to get it at it's best

    was just playing along to Diana Ross Upside Down :D (well, kinda!)

     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  19. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    That's still pretty flat but try it from there. That big fat 'B' string is going to need some room to shake so you may have to go a tad more. But you are in the ball park.

    Does it seem to rattle a little less than before? Then you are going in the right direction.

    You don't have to pull on the strings (clawhammer) a simple tap with your finger tip will be more than enough.

    Try a thin guitar pick when you get a chance. Not medium, but thin and try striking the strings with that. You will be surprised how much noise it makes!

    That will help illustrate how light a touch is needed to make noise!

    BTW, as you progress one of the biggest things to master is the discipline to not over play!

    That is, learning to hold back from beating the strings to death in your frenzy of bass playing ecstasy! :laugh2:

    But another day for that! :rofl:
     
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  20. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    cheers...I tried a pick and don't get the unwanted slap sounds so obv it's my fingers...
    seems to have improved, not goinna touch it again tonight...planned to leave it for a day before touching anything but that rattling pickup was too much....

    also turns out there's Ampeg profiles on the Kemper......need headphones to hear lower notes tho, my PC speakers are rubbish!
     

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