Learning to play bass guitar
The story so far
by Simon Horsey
Fortunately I had a head start when learning to play bass guitar as I could already read music and knew roughly where the notes were on the neck, having toyed with playing guitar as a teenager. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a guitarist by any stretch, I do know the position of the notes and basic open and barre chords.
The first songs to rehearse were some simpler (at least in terms of chords) rock standards such as All Day And All Of The Night and Satisfaction, I Saw Her Standing There and other similar songs. I duly found the music for these, initially the tab, but I found I just couldn’t work with bass tab. I really needed the dots as well, even if I checked the tab to find out the best position on the neck to play. As somebody able to read traditional music I find tab spectacularly inefficient to read as it doesn’t normally show time values. Having said that i know many students who use it day-in-day-out to learn pieces
I bought a copy of Bass Tab White Pages as a starting point. It has most of the songs we have discussed playing and actual, well-scored music as well as tab! This made it much easier for me to read and learn the pieces, but also showed me where on the neck to play the notes.
I found initial pratice and rehearsals difficult over longer periods of time. My fingers were blistered, the bass was hurting my neck...I questioned why I was doing this on more than one occasion but organised my practice targets so I didn’t have more than two or three small targets to achieve each session. We also cut our band practice time down from 3 hours to 2 hours after having to rehearse on a Thursday night instead of a Sunday one week. We found we got as much done, and were more focused for the entire rehearsal... this made it easier for my poor fingers as well so I decided to persevere.
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