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Online Max Wedge

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Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« on: November 21, 2017, 05:57:50 AM »
So continuing on my modern day renaissance man theme, and wanting to knock another thing off my bucket list, I've started to research learning the bass. Possible for old dogs to learn new tricks? 

I looked for lessons in my area as I thought this might be a good way to kick start my learning. I came up with a high rated "rock school" not too far from me. Renting an instrument was kind of pricey, especially compared to what I could buy a bass for. So my questions for the EOE: Is this a crazy waste of time and money? Is the Yamaha TRBX174 or 304 a decent starter axe?

 I don't want to spend a ton, but I want something that I will like to play and not be frustrated because it doesn't work right or sounds like crap. Similar to starting to ride on a clapped out DT175 or a nicer Rebel.

 My goal is to be able to play along with few songs for my own enjoyment.


« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 06:14:30 AM by Max Wedge »
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Online SLK50

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2017, 09:28:23 AM »
I’d recommend you buy “up”.
i.e. A Mexican Fender Jazz will feel better and
sound better. Sure, it’s three times as much
but you will only cry once.
If it turns out the bass isn’t for you you’ll be
able to sell it with little depreciation.
The Yamaha, OTOH, is yard sale fodder.
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Online squeezer

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 11:10:31 AM »
Do it! There's nothing but fun there. And you can get started on bass fairly quickly. If you can play root notes on the downbeat, you can fit into a band. After that, you can go anywhere.

And face-to-face lessons aren't a bad idea to get started. But really, the level of instruction online is pretty amazing. I just started playing again (6 strings, not 4) and I'm finding I can learn what I want at the pace I want from better teachers through online lessons. And I don't have to keep a regular appointment. So, yeah, start with a real person if you can for the basics and to have a chance to meet other people interested in playing. If making the lessons starts to be a hassle, remember that you've got a ton of resources right in front of you.
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Online jadziadax8

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2017, 11:14:12 AM »
Fourstring.  Fourstring to the white courtesy phone, please.
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Online R Doug

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2017, 11:41:09 AM »
Learning the bass is something resonates with me (double bass aka THE bass, not bass guitar).  Between riding, track days (4 wheels), kayaking, etc..., I've debated picking up a new hobby.  But, I love speed, the outdoors, and music the most in life.  Why not become more involved in the things we love?

I'm jealous and will be watching your progress with interest. 
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Online Max Wedge

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 11:41:35 AM »
Fourstring.  Fourstring to the white courtesy phone, please.

yes please.
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Offline mr.awesome

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 11:52:35 AM »
Just do it. I started playing guitar a couple years ago. I still can't play a true song to save my life but can play some sounds that I rather enjoy. I started with an instructor for a couple months. I had no problem keeping the appointments but I could not keep up with what he wanted me to learn in the week between lessons. As already mentioned, there are plenty of good tutorials online. Get a halfway decent instrument cause if it sounds like crap, you won't know if it is you or the instrument. Even though I can't really play, I still pick mine up a few times a week and really enjoy it. Good luck with it.

Online Max Wedge

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2017, 12:09:28 PM »
Can a decent bass be had for the $400 range?
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Online Max Wedge

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2017, 12:14:26 PM »
Learning the bass is something resonates with me (double bass aka THE bass, not bass guitar).  Between riding, track days (4 wheels), kayaking, etc..., I've debated picking up a new hobby.  But, I love speed, the outdoors, and music the most in life.  Why not become more involved in the things we love?

I'm jealous and will be watching your progress with interest.

Thanks for the encouragement. Between the gym/running, range time, and yoga, with bass lessons I'm hoping I can keep my sanity for the winter until I can ride daily again. I find 'zen'* activities help a lot.

*zen for me is an activity that challenges you to become proficient, has a lot of growing room and satisfaction from achievement, along with a concentration level that will not allow the mind to wander and needs focus. I get his from climbing, and if I lived in area where it was readily available, I would be hopelessly hooked.
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Online Vulcanbill

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2017, 12:23:49 PM »
Can a decent bass be had for the $400 range?

Absolutely.  Decent is a relative term but very much yes. 
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Offline Slides

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2017, 12:30:14 PM »
You can absolutely get a decent bass in the $400 range. I wouldn't go less than $300, but around $400 you start to see higher quality materials and in general, good sounding instruments.

Private lessons are a good approach, but you can also cover a lot of ground with a beginner bass book. There should be plenty of options at the local music store.

Let the fun begin!!

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2017, 12:34:43 PM »
I commend your decision.  Assuming you have some sense of rhythm, then you should be fine.  If this isn't already you, I'd recommend the following:

Get a really good set of headphones and start listening to your favorite music but turn up the bass and pick out that instrument and analyze it's role in the music.  Different players have different styles.  Sometimes it will be hard to follow, sometimes it will be boring and easy to follow but you'll learn a lot about the roll of that instrument in the music and how dramatic an impact it can have one way or the other.  Some bass lines are extremely obvious and jump out at you...  sometimes during only a portion of the song.  Example, everyone knows part of the bass line for Hotel California but train your ear to follow it through the rest of the song.  Pretty much all of just about any Rush or RHCP songs will have a prominent bass line.  Learn to set aside the lyrics, set aside the lead guitar and any electronics or keys and just absorb the bass while paying a little attention to the drums because they are often quite incestuous in their purpose.  Once you start hearing bass lines in songs you know but didn't pay attention to before, the instrument and your motivation to play it become much deeper. 

Oh, and learn good technique right away please.  :)  It'll be worth it in the long run. 
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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2017, 01:06:38 PM »

Oh, and learn good technique right away please.  :)  It'll be worth it in the long run.

Absolutely. Some of us (ahem) are having to relearn things because we didn't do it well the first time.

But don't obsess over that either. The music is the fun part.
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Online Max Wedge

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2017, 01:25:13 PM »
Once you start hearing bass lines in songs you know but didn't pay attention to before, the instrument and your motivation to play it become much deeper. 

Which is why I picked the bass, it is the instrument I always hear.I have always listened for the bass lines, but they jump out at me anyway.

So recommendations for a bass?
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Offline fourstring

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Re: Learning the Bass: Whatcha think?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2017, 02:26:28 PM »
Can a decent bass be had for the $400 range?


Oh yes.  The new stuff coming out of Korea and Thailand is outstanding, although China has a ways to go in its QC.  Japanese, Mexican, and of course the US-made stuff is usually considered superior in quality, but anything in that range is going to be good these days.  I prefer Yamaha to some of the Ibanez stuff, but that's just my preference.  I've owned MiM Fender and the price these days is a little dear for what you get, IMO.  I would avoid Fender's cheap section, Squire.

Couple of sites for you:

www.talkbass.com is the go-to forum for bass knowledge and hangout, including instructions, questions, links, and feedback.  It's "well curated", meaning it can get a little prissy, but there are some genuinely nice guys posting regularly.  My handle there is fourstr00. 

www.sweetwater.com is where I buy most of my gear these days.  Excellent customer service and return policies, and midwest-based. 


From an instruction standpoint, if you just want to learn a couple of tunes and get a feel, I have to admit that Rocksmith is a hell of a tool.  You can learn at your leisure and focus on what interests you.  I would also take at least a couple of local lessons to get the fundamentals, especially form, stance, fretting, and plucking.  It'll save you injury and soreness later and increase your enjoyment.  Plus playing it right looks cooler.

Bass can't be that hard.  They let me do it.


If you want to ever talk about it, PM me and I'm happy chat.
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